Andy Mossack enjoys the creature comforts of Air Tahiti Nui’s Premium Class cabin
Getting to the Islands of Tahiti is quite the adventure. Paris to LAX and after a two-hour transit change through US immigration, another flight to Tahiti’s capital, Papeete. But those hours can be made all the more comfortable sitting in Air Tahiti Nui’s Premium Class cabin wrapped up comfortably within a state-of-the-art Dreamliner.
Flying Premium Class has plenty of benefits. It’s a lot less than the Business Class fare yet you get to enjoy added benefits over the standard Economy cabin. The seats are wider in a 2-3-2 configuration and there’s almost a 100-centimetre gap between rows. The recline angle is 20 centimetres, not flat admittedly, but more than enough to make it perfectly comfortable for a long-haul flight. There’s a footrest too if you want some added support. Premium passengers also benefit from an amenities kit, a fleece-lined blanket and a 33 cm entertainment screen.
There are benefits to enjoy at the airport too. You get your own check-in line and priority boarding. Don’t know about you, but I always feel a little smug when I can stroll through the gate in front of the masses.
Tahiti’s national carrier certainly got me in the Polynesian mood with very colourful interiors channelling tropical pastels, and a single fragrant tiare mā’oh flower (Tahitian Gardenia) the national flower of the Islands of Tahiti resting peacefully on my seat arm. The seat configuration is generous and fortunately when the row in front reclined it didn’t disturb my own space. A bugbear that afflicts me frequently travelling in Economy, particularly if, like me, you have long legs.
The Dreamliner is an excellent plane for long haul. The large windows have no blinds, just a rocker switch to darken as and when needed, the air filtration system is cutting edge, the engine noise has been dampened considerably and the cabin lighting changes colour depending on the time of day or night. It’s all designed to reduce the effects of jet lag as much as possible.
Speaking of technical things, Ait Tahiti Nui had one of the most entertaining safety videos I’ve seen. Using a stunning beach location, the cast acted out safety drills using a variety of resort tools. Two golfers in a golf buggy demonstrated how to buckle seat belts, the plane’s exit rows were indicated by the plane outline drawn in the white sand and four ladies lying on sunbeds received oxygen masks from above. You get the picture.
The cabin service was attentive and offered tasty choices for all the meals served with plenty of snacks and drinks available in the galley out of mealtimes. It wasn’t a rushed food service by any means and there were refills for wine and soft drinks available if requested.
When we arrived at LAX the instructions on how to transit through for the next onward flight were clear and precise. So important in an airport as big as LAX. Unlike most transit scenarios, when it comes to entering the USA, you have to clear immigration before continuing on to the next gate.
There’s no getting around the fact that flying to the Islands of Tahiti from Europe is a very long journey but sitting in Air Tahiti Nui’s Premium Class made it a lot more enjoyable than it might have been in Economy. It might not have the cache of turning left as you board, but it’s an affordable way to travel comfortably and don’t forget, there are a few smugness points to be had too.
All images except Featured Image (C) Andy Mossack
Tell me more about Air Tahiti Nui Premium Economy Cabin
Air Tahiti Nui is the national carrier to French Polynesia with departures from Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Auckland with connection flights available from London Heathrow with partner airlines.
Charles De Gaulle Paris to Papeete via LAX Premium Economy return fare from £3,220 (included ticketing fee). Please note that all fares quoted are subject to availability and subject to change at any time.
You will find the complete guide to all Tahiti’s islands at the official Islands of Tahiti website.