Paul Chai

Is it possible for ultimate relaxation to kick en-route to island paradise? We needed to know, so we tested Air Tahiti Nui’s Economy service from Papeete to Auckland to see how they fared.

I am jumping on this early-morning flight out of the Tahitian capital the night after the news that Air Tahiti Nui has just commenced commercial ticket sales on its new range of Dreamliners set to start flying from November 2018.

The airline also released the details of its new Moana Premium Economy class that features extra legroom and space, as well as The Z535 seat designed by ZODIAC Aerospace, displays a uniquely thin backrest to provide an optimum pitch of 38 inches, a width of 19 inches and a seat recline of 8 inches.

The new Dreamliner Business seats

The new Dreamliner Business seats

But I am just in regular old Economy for now, and pretty happy. To me, the measure of a good national carrier is that it should reflect the destination in the air, like a preview (and extension) of your holiday and Air Tahiti Nui delivers with cheery tropical murals, paintings by famous Tahitian expat Paul Gaugin and staff dressed in floral prints with fresh flowers behind their ears.


The Seat & Entertainment

Air Tahiti Nui business class food service

The economy section is set up in a 2-4-2 configuration and they are very comfortable. I am not short and the difference in legroom from the Qantas leg of my journey (back to Melbourne) is palpable and allows for a mid-morning snooze. Seats have a pitch of 32 inches and recline to a cosy 118 degrees.
The seat has a 21-centimetre screen and entertainment system that has music, TV and movies.

The latest movie selection is small but it has a good mix of blockbusters and more brainy fare, but what I really love is the local touches. The Tahitian music section has a good selection of local artists that helps me uncover my new favourite Polynesian artists in Sabrina Laughlin as well as watching the Tiare TV channel of local shows. I clearly don’t want to be leaving.


Service & Food

Air Tahiti Nui aircraft

It’s brekky service and what is on offer is a simple omelette but with some French touches like crunchy white bread rolls and a pain au chocolat. There is also some French yoghurt and fresh fruit salad. Coffee is good for plane coffee, but not a patch on the great brews I have been getting all over the French Polynesian Islands.

The service is perfect Polynesian hospitality with airline efficiency.


The Verdict

Air Tahiti Nui-aircraft

Like a tropical party in the sky, the playfully Polynesian design, French food flourishes and comfy seat all help ease the pain of leaving Tahiti.

Flight: TN101
Class: Economy, Seat 40F
Aircraft: Airbus A 340-300
Timing: 4.5 hours

Click here for more information on Air Tahiti Nui

READ: FIRST PICS: Air Tahiti Nui’s new Dreamliners are here.

READ: Resort Review of Le Meridien Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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