Tahiti non-stops from San Francisco

picture yourself in French Polynesia (c) 2017 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Flying to Tahiti will get a lot easier beginning next October 30. United Airlines has announced nonstop Dreamliner flights from San Francisco to Papeete. Flying three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday), United plans serve this route from October 30, 2018 through March 28, 2019.

Why I'm excited by this news: 

You can avoid LAX, a monstrously inconvenient place to connect. Domestic flights arrive at one of eight terminals, and you have to schlep yourself and your baggage to the international terminal, check in again with Air Tahiti Nui (which means leaving airside), and go through security again (plan for a long wait in line). If you plan to check bags, you'll have to see if your domestic airline has an interline agreement with Air Tahiti Nui.

Flying through SFO will be a dream by comparison. Being a United hub, you'll have easy connections from all over the US with your bags seamlessly checked all the way through to PPT. Passengers can walk between United's domestic and international gates without having to go through security again. And SFO offers a choice of lounge experiences — the American Express Centurion Lounge or United's Polaris Lounge.

The timing of the flights is bit disappointing. The outbound flight departs SFO at 2:45 p.m., arriving PPT at 9:25 p.m. Because this is too late for connecting Air Tahiti flights onto Bora Bora or Moorea, you'll have to overnight in Papeete; I recommend the InterContinental Tahiti. The return, departing PPT at 11:45 p.m. and arriving SFO 10:50 a.m. the next morning, is fine.

However, the "season" for which United is flying the route makes no sense — from October 30 until March 28. This is "summer" in French Polynesia, the rainiest and most humid time of the year. The best months to visit Tahiti begin in April when you'll enjoy the driest weather and most comfortable temperatures. Oops! Guess someone at United failed to check the "high season" for Bora Bora and Moorea.

I've been twice ... so please contact us to plan your dream trip to Bora Bora and ask about the value-added Virtuoso and Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities. We can save you hundreds of dollars on your trip of a lifetime.

copyright (c) 2017 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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