United Airlines Announces It Will Fly To Tahiti In Winter 2018

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort And Thalasso Spa
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort And Thalasso Spa

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If there’s one thing you can guarantee in this world it’s that if I have to get on a medium or long-haul flight with no wi-fi someone in the airline world will come out with an interesting announcement while I’m in the air – today is no different.

After teasing us with images on social media yesterday United Airlines has today announced that it will offer 3x/week service between San Francisco and Tahiti between 30 October 2018 and 28 March 2019.

This is the schedule United has released:

UA115 SFO 14:25 – 21:25 PPT (Tue, Thu & Sun)
US114 PPT 23:45 – 09:50+1 day SF (Tue, Thu & Sun)

The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

The route will be operated by a 787-8 Dreamliner which means that the flight will offer 36 Business Class seats, 70 Economy Plus seats and 113 Economy seats.

In Economy Class things could be worse – the seat width may be a tight 17″ but at least the seat pitch is a slightly more palatable 32″.

In Economy Plus the seats are no wider than what you’ll find in regular economy but you do get a decent 35″ of legroom.

In Business Class (which United very annoyingly insists on calling “Polaris”) you’ll find an old-fashioned 2-2-2 seat layout that will look like this:

a row of seats in an airplaneUnited 787-8 Dreamliner Business Class

The timings of the flights are interesting…and not in a good way.

A lot of people visiting this part of the world are using Tahiti to get to more outlying (and beautiful) islands like Bora Bora and Moorea….and to get to those islands you’ll have to take a flights (or a ferry if you’re patient).

If you land in Tahiti after 9pm (as the United flight is scheduled to do) you won’t be going anywhere til the next day – that’s an enforced overnight stop that you don’t have if you fly with Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles.

I can only speak from personal experience and, when Joanna and I were fortunate enough to visit Bora Bora in 2016, it was nice to be able to get to our final destination without having to stay in a hotel somewhere on our way.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort And Thalasso Spa

It will be interesting to see how well this route works out for United as the competition from Air Tahiti Nui and Air France (both out of Los Angeles) will be tough.

Both of those airlines offer what I would consider to be a better all-round schedule and Air France offers its reverse herringbone Business Class seats out of LA which blows United’s premium offering out of the water.

a table in a planeAir France 777 Business Class

Still, I genuinely hope that United can make this route work as extra capacity to a destination that’s expensive to get to can only be good news for travelers – let’s hope we see it returning for winter 2019/20

Bottom Line

I expect United to be quite tight with premium cabin award availability on this flight until they get a better idea of what load factors are going to be like….but hopefully availability will appear sooner rather than later.

Overall I’m really happy to see this route announced as I’d love to head back to Polynesia. With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points transferring to United Miles in a 1:1 ratio this could be an economical way to do another visit.