Getting to Tahiti
While it’s rarely cheap, getting to Tahiti tends to be easy and straightforward. There are only a few airlines that fly into Papeete’s Faa’a International Airport, which serves as a hub for the entirety of the South Pacific. Regardless of which direction you are coming from, you’ll be arriving on a huge wide-body jet such as a 747, so even the coach seats tend to be roomy and comfortable.
Coming from North America
Specifically from the United States there are only two airports with flights to Tahiti, with Los Angeles being the more popular, but Honolulu also provides options for those who might stopover in Hawaii along the way.
Los Angeles to Tahiti = 8 hours 15 minutes each way
Tahiti is south of the equator, but in the Western Hemisphere, in the UTC-10 time zone. This means that from November through mid March there’s only a 3-hour time difference from Los Angeles, and the rest of the year (during Daylight Saving’s Time, which isn’t in affect in Tahiti) there’s only a 2-hour time difference.
Air Tahiti Nui
The national airline of Tahiti operates three flights per day between Los Angeles and Papeete.
- Depart LAX 1:30pm – Arrive PPT 6:50pm
- Depart LAX 4:25pm – Arrive PPT 9:25pm
- Depart LAX 11:40pm – Arrive PPT 5:00am
The airline has codeshare agreements with American Airlines and Delta Airlines, so if you live somewhere in the US or Canada other than Los Angeles, you can book one ticket starting on either of those airlines and then on to Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui.
The portion between Los Angeles and Tahiti usually runs a bit over US$1,000 round trip by itself, and you can add between US$100 and US$300 if you are starting other than in Los Angeles. The high season runs from June through October, and there are frequent fare sales during the rest of the year, so keep on the lookout for those.
Air France has one flight per day between Los Angeles to Tahiti, also on a huge plane.
- Depart LAX 10:30pm – Arrive PPT 3:55am
The airline is part of the SkyTeam Alliance so you can fly to Los Angeles on Delta Airlines, or through a codeshare agreement on Alaska Airlines, and then change planes for the flight to Tahiti itself.
Those who are stopping in Hawaii on the way there or the way back will be happy to know that Hawaiian Airlines flies from Honolulu to Tahiti, and also connects Honolulu with all the major cities in the western states of the United States. The bad news is that the Tahiti flights are only a few days per week, depending on season, so you’d be quite lucky if they fit your schedule perfectly.
>>>Check for airfare deals to Tahiti
Coming from Europe
Tahiti and all of French Polynesia are popular with Europeans as well, and particularly with the French. Air Tahiti Nui flies daily from Paris to Los Angeles, and then of course on to Tahiti from there. This will often be the best deal if you are leaving from Paris, but for anyone else you’ll probably find better deals starting from London, Frankfurt, or Amsterdam to Los Angeles, and then continuing on according to the flights mentioned above.