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ARCHIVE: 2014-2017 AA Miles Award: TN / Air Tahiti Nui award redemptions

ARCHIVE: 2014-2017 AA Miles Award: TN / Air Tahiti Nui award redemptions

Old Jan 1, 12, 8:33 am
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ARCHIVE: 2014-2017 AA Miles Award: TN / Air Tahiti Nui award redemptions

Welcome to the updated "Air Tahiti Nui award redemptions" thread for 2015 and onward.

The obsolete thread with previous requests and queries on this airline is:"ARCHIVAL Air Tahiti Nui / TN Business & First w/ AAdvantage miles (Consolidated)"

Air Tahiti Nui (TN) is the flag carrier of French Polynesia / Polynésie française / Pōrīnetia Farāni, an overseas country of the French Republic (pays d'outre-mer) offers flights between PPT / Faa'a International Airport, Papeete, Tahiti (their hub and main island of French Polynesia) and Los Angeles (and onward to Paris), as well as Auckland (Sydney is connected with a codeshare and AA miles can not be used,) and Tokyo with five Airbus A340-200s in a two-class configuration. All five will be modified with a Cabin Improvement Program (CIP) this year - read on.

NOTE: Air Tahiti Nui (TN / THT) does not belong to any alliance (though they are pursuing a JBA with AF); one can only earn AAdvantage miles LAX-PPT-LAX on Air Tahiti Nui flying it as an AA codeshare (Dec 2012). TN does not fly to Bora Bora (see below for "Air Tahiti" and this thread); one can not use AA miles on QF codeshares operated by TN (or on Air Tahiti). One can use AAdvantage miles (according to this chart) on Air Tahiti Nui for all flights, if available. TN Website.


Air Tahiti Nui / TN route map (2012)

AWARD FARE & SERVICE CLASSES:

UPDATES: As reported in this thread., AA agents quoting ~$400 round trip YQ for award tickets on TN are incorrect. See post #37 as well.

TN has extended their lease for the A340s with ILFC (for 5-7 years) and has announced they will renovate their cabin interiors in 2013 with a lie-flat Poerava Business product and new low-profile seats in Moana Coach. Three CIP aircraft are to provide LAX-PPT service as of June 2013; N.B. at least one A340 remains in the old (see end) configuration into early 2014.

TN sells counter upgrades for ~$800 one way from Moana Coach to Poerava Business, first come first served, only on those holding TN ticketed lights; codeshares can not be upgraded any more.



Poerava Business (62.5k miles one way, "I" fare booking class): 32 seats in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration, these Sogerma "lie-flat angled cocoon" seats recline to an angled flat seat with in-seatback IFE; 60" pitch, an improvement over the old product (see end of post).


New Sogerma "cocoon" angled lie flat seats



Moana Coach (37.5k miles one way, "W" fare booking class): 264 seats with 30 rows (10 - 42) in a 2 x 4 x 2 configuration and 4 more rows in a 2 x 3 x 2 configuration, with seatback AVOD - seats offer 32" pitch, "recline" no more than 4-6 inches.


Economy Moana seats and cabin



Newly configured A340 with CIP / two class service

AWARDS AVAILABILITY: Note Poerava First is no longer available. LAX-CDG seats tend to be scarce in Poerava Business; seats can be had, but they are scarce and it's useful to try to find these as early as possible (330 days out, when they are released). Travel tools such as KVS or ExpertFlyer can show TN booking classes, including award classes (shown in each service class description above).

Moana Coach is generally more easily available. July and August are peak holiday season in France, and the flights tend to be very full at this time of year (as are hotels, and prices on the ground tend to reflect that). The M/S Paul Gauguin cruise ship holds 332 passengers, and sailing dates can be difficult to find awards or low fares on.

LOUNGES: IF you are flying TN in Poerava Business or First you have lounge access at departure, whether on paid or award ticket. "Air Tahiti Nui offers First and Business Class travelers access to full service lounges. Invitation cards and specific directions to the lounge will be provided to customers upon check in. Lounge locations are subject to change at each airport." N.B. As TN is not a oneworld airline, oneworld status itself does NOT gain one lounge access at any TN lounge, even CX or QF lounges used by TN.

PPT / Faa'a, French Polynesia: Salon Manuhiri / Premier Lounge on second floor. The lounge is open ~150 minutes prior to, and to 60 minutes after, departures. Non-smoking; children 2 or under admitted free; guests extra. Various amenities including disabled access, air conditioning, Internet access, Wi-Fi, newspapers, television, snacks, buffet (minor), soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Also accessible (verified Dec 2012) with Diners, Airport Angels or Priority Pass, though TN ticket agents will tell you Diners and PP are ineligible. There is no arrivals lounge facility.

LAX: Shared lounge - often Korean Air, sometimes others; sometimes, none - in which case you are entitled to a meal voucher.

CDG: Eligible passengers on TN use the Cathay Pacific Lounge (N.B. in Coach you are not entitled to use this lounge through oneworld status).

AKL: Qantas Business lounge. Those on codeshare TN2120 have access to the Air New Zealand lounge.

SYD: Qantas Business Class Lounge (N.B. in Coach you are not entitled to use this lounge through oneworld status).

NRT: Qantas Business Class Lounge (N.B. in Coach you are not entitled to use this lounge through oneworld status).

Link to TN lounge page.

Because of the timing of flights, one will often have to overnight on the main island of Tahiti, near the city of Papeete (pop-ay-ay-tay), on at least one leg of the journey. The airport is actually located at Faa'a (fa-ah-ah), and hotels can be found nearby (to avoid transportation challenges and the fact that Papeete itself is not laden with nice hotels). (Aéroport de Tahiti website - French language; Wikipedia article on Faa'a airport.)

The island of Tahiti itself is not a very popular destination, though one can find things to do there for a day or two. The popular destination of Bora Bora (BOB) is available for ~$450 and up on Air Tahiti, not affiliated with TN nor AA and does not accept AAdvantage miles (but can be purchased with US Bank Flexperks, Chase UR or City TY points - see post # 176), in smaller aircraft. Moorea is available by small aircraft on Air Tahiti, but is more economically easily available by high speed catamaran ferry from Papeete's port; cars can be rented on arrival at the Moorea dock at Vaitape. See the Oceania (Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific) Forum for further information.

Alternate options for AAdvantage miles to Tahiti: Hawaiian Airlines offers a flight Saturday (return very early Sunday morning) between HNL and PPT. (As the question is asked, there is no way to fly between PPT and NAN / Fiji directly.) MS Paul Gauguin seems to leave PPT Quai de Paquebots 2345 / 11:45 PM, perhaps to allow a very tight connection for incoming passengers on HA.

CLIMATE in French Polynesia: rainy season begins sometime in November and precipitation begins dropping off in February. Rains can be periodic showers or prolonged rainstorms lasting a few days. Temperatures are remarkably stable throughout the year.


Climate chart for Bora Bora, similar climate on other islands


HISTORICAL INTEREST through May 2013 LAX-PPT (and 1 or 2 remaining A340s until 2014)

Poerava First (72.5k miles one way, "A" fare booking class, but as of July 2012 not bookable with AAdvantage miles): Six seats in a small forward cabin in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration; these are the same seats as Poerava Business, but installed so they can recline fully flat. Service is slightly more upscale than Poerava Business, and crew are reported to use the cabin as a changing room on occasion. Poerava First will be eliminated with the 2013 CIP.


Poerava (Black Pearl) First cabin service


Poerava Business (62.5k miles one way, "I" fare booking class): 24 seats in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration, these seats recline to a flattened "Z" and angle of ~154 degrees; 53" pitch, 20.5" width, armrest stowage AVOD screen. Not excessively comfortable, but infinitely better than Moana Coach.


OLDER Poerava Business Class seats

Moana Coach (37.5k miles one way, "W" fare booking class): 246 seats with 31 rows (10 - 41) in a 2 x 4 x 2 configuration and 4 more rows in a 2 x 3 x 2 configuration, with seatback AVOD - seats offer 31" pitch, "recline" no more than 4-6 inches. These are older seats and quite uncomfortable for an eight hour redeye, with very tight legroom and some seats ahead of bulkheads with no recline at all (writer flew Dec 2012).


Economy Moana seats and cabin


Last edited by JDiver; Sep 5, 16 at 6:02 pm Reason: update from flying TN 12-2012; lounges update
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Old Apr 15, 12, 6:08 pm
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wrong forum... sorry AA (darn search function).

Last edited by DirtyDan; Apr 15, 12 at 6:11 pm Reason: wrong forum... darn search function and sorry AA.
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Old Jan 22, 14, 11:47 am
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So I have read this thread and am still not entirely sure what's happening in my situation.

Flying Jan 30th, 7pm, JFK-LAX. I'm EXP on one ticket, gf has no status on another ticket.

I return on Feb 7th. She returns on Feb 2nd.

She's my companion on the outbound upgrade, and on her own on the return.

Is this the best way of doing this on the outbound? Would we be better trying to upgrade her alone? Though she'd have no status?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 28, 14, 10:34 am
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Is it possible to book a Y seat and then upgrade with AA miles from LAX-PPT? How many miles would that cost?
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Old Jan 28, 14, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ASUDan130 View Post
Is it possible to book a Y seat and then upgrade with AA miles from LAX-PPT? How many miles would that cost?
No. Flight would need to be on AA or BA metal which it is not.
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Old Jan 28, 14, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by ASUDan130 View Post
Is it possible to book a Y seat and then upgrade with AA miles from LAX-PPT? How many miles would that cost?
No, not with miles but you can buy-up to business class with $$$ at check-in on the date of your flight (assuming seats are still available). Cost will vary depending on your original booking class. Be there 4 hours before departure time, and stand on business class line, to get first availability. The ugrade is one way only; you would need to do this again in PPT on departure to upgrade.

YMMV -- some pax have been told they cannot buy-up to business on award tix -- only paid tix -- others have been successful.
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Old Feb 5, 14, 4:51 pm
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This is a newbie question that 2 other people asked up thread but does not seem to have been answered:

When booking 330 days in advance, do you book/reserve your LAX - PPT flights first, wait for availability to open up on PPT - LAX and book that later?

Or do you wait to see round trip award and book at the same time?

I did read through all 15 pages of this thread, but did not see it (apologize if this has been answered and I missed it).

Thanks!
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Old Feb 5, 14, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by sunshine213 View Post
This is a newbie question that 2 other people asked up thread but does not seem to have been answered:

When booking 330 days in advance, do you book/reserve your LAX - PPT flights first, wait for availability to open up on PPT - LAX and book that later?

Or do you wait to see round trip award and book at the same time?

I did read through all 15 pages of this thread, but did not see it (apologize if this has been answered and I missed it).

Thanks!
I booked LAX-PPT the first day it was available and marked my calendar for the return portion two weeks later. I was not taking any chances and waiting for the entire trip to be available. We are going in three weeks and can't wait
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Old Feb 5, 14, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by sunshine213 View Post
When booking 330 days in advance, do you book/reserve your LAX - PPT flights first, wait for availability to open up on PPT - LAX and book that later?

Or do you wait to see round trip award and book at the same time?
All awards using AA miles are one way. There are no round-trip awards.
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Old Feb 8, 14, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by Austinrunner View Post
All awards using AA miles are one way. There are no round-trip awards.
Attempting to book honeymoon travel in Dec. The plan being Boston to Napa for a few days followed by LAX to PPT before flying back to BOS. Would I be able to fly BOS-LAX-(then 5 days later) - PPT for 62.5 or is BOS to LAX going to be considered an additional leg? In that case, would I be able to book BOS-SFO (Napa leg) and then be able to fly SFO-LAX-PPT as one leg?

Also how far in advance should be be looking to book PPT to bora bora?

Sorry the the multiple questions, just a bit lost in booking through multiple airlines!
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Old Feb 8, 14, 12:45 pm
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Your best bet is to call AA and ask. But you will have to pay money for PPT <-> BOB because no AA partner flies there.

Last edited by Austinrunner; Feb 8, 14 at 12:50 pm
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Old Feb 8, 14, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by RedAverages View Post
Also how far in advance should be be looking to book PPT to bora bora?
Most days you can book the internal flights as a walk up although I obviously don't recommend that. Some flight times and days are more popular than others so I would suggest 3 months out.

They limit baggage weight severely so if you want to take a normal amount of luggage with you I suggest you choose the excess baggage fare (Z space?).

There is a ferry as well.
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Old Feb 8, 14, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by RedAverages View Post
Attempting to book honeymoon travel in Dec. The plan being Boston to Napa for a few days followed by LAX to PPT before flying back to BOS. Would I be able to fly BOS-LAX-(then 5 days later) - PPT for 62.5 or is BOS to LAX going to be considered an additional leg? In that case, would I be able to book BOS-SFO (Napa leg) and then be able to fly SFO-LAX-PPT as one leg?

Also how far in advance should be be looking to book PPT to bora bora?

Sorry the the multiple questions, just a bit lost in booking through multiple airlines!
Free stopover in lax
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Old Feb 8, 14, 5:48 pm
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There would be a free stopover in LAX if TN publishes a BOS -> PPT through fare that allows BOS -> LAX (AA) - > PPT (TN).
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Old Feb 10, 14, 11:15 am
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The way we got free tickets from Tahiti to Bora Bora and back is to each get Barclay's Arrival card or similar travel reward card. The initial bonus is 40,000 points (about $400 each) plus points on whatever you spent. Then, after you have the necessary points you book the airfare and redeem. We used AA miles for all the other flights (also gained from credit card signup bonuses).
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