Air France’s Tahiti Route Returning To LAX in September

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Update 13 August 2020: In a new schedule update, Air France has extended its route to Tahiti via Vancouver until 30 September with its service via LAX now due to restart on 1 October.

A couple of days ago I published Air France’s plans for its USA routes in the months of September and October but, while the new schedules look good for SkyTeam flyers based in the US, there was no news surrounding the return of Air France’s flight between Los Angeles and Tahiti which was set to return in August. Well, we now have news.

As things stand, Air France is operating its Paris CDG – Tahiti route via Vancouver but, for one very key reason, this isn’t of much use to anyone based in North America – Air France does not have the rights to sell tickets for travel between Vancouver and Tahiti.

It’s because of this (and the fact that Air France has 5th freedom rights between LAX and Tahiti) that a lot of people have been wishing Air France would return to its old schedule which had the airline use Los Angeles as its stopover rather than Vancouver. A few weeks ago it looked as if those wishes were about to come true.

Until recently, Air France was set to restart flights between Los Angeles and Papeete in August but, as suddenly as that flight appeared in the schedules, it then disappeared without any explanation from the airline.  Hopes were raised and then dashed in very quick order. Now, however, hope is alive again 🙂

Following yet another schedule update, Air France’s flight between Los Angeles and Papeete is back on course and set to return from 3 September 2020 on the following schedule:

AF76 LAX 23:35 – 05:15+1 day PPT (Tue, Thu & Sat)
AF77 PPT 07:20 – 18:30 LAX (Wed, Fri & Sun)

The route will be operated by an Air France Boeing 777-200 which, according to ExpertFlyer, has the following cabin breakdown:

  • 40 Business Class seats
  • 24 Premium Economy seats
  • 216 Economy Class seats

The Economy Class seats are incredibly tight (they only offer 17″ of seat width), but their one saving grace is that they offer an inch more legroom (32″) than you’ll find in the Economy Class cabins of a lot of other long-haul carriers (aim for row 23 where the legroom is fantastic courtesy of the exit row).

In Premium Economy things look pretty standard with the seats offering 38″ of pitch (legroom) and 19″ of width, and the absence of an exit row dividing the Premium Economy cabin from Business Class (there’s a wall instead) means that the best seats are probably in the middle row of the cabin – row 20.

Business Class is where Air France often excels and this aircraft is one on which the Business Class cabin is light years ahead of the cabins that come behind it. The reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout gives all passengers in the cabin direct access to one of the aircraft’s two aisles and the amount of privacy each seat gets is impressive for a non-suite cabin.

a table in a plane
Air France 777 Business Class – Image courtesy of Air France

I’ve traveled in both the Business Class and the Premium Economy seats that this aircraft offers and I would recommend that anyone looking to book an award on this flight pays the extra to sit “upfront” as it is well worth the premium.

Bottom Line

Air France has returned its 5th freedom flight between Los Angeles and Tahiti to the schedules with the route set to restart from 3 September 2020…now let’s hope it’s here to stay this time around!