Most visitors arrive by air. Faa’a International Airport, on Tahiti, is the only international airport in French Polynesia. There is no departure tax within French Polynesia.
Many people choose to buy tickets with a package tour. Flights can be booked online at www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings.
If you’re travelling to multiple countries, a round-the-world (RTW) ticket – where you pay a discounted price for several connections – may be the most economical choice.
A Circle Pacific ticket is similar to a RTW ticket but is cheaper and covers a more limited region. This ticket uses a combination of airlines to connect Australia, New Zealand, North America and Asia, with a variety of stopover options in the Pacific islands. Generally, Circle Pacific fares are a better deal from the USA and Asia than from Australia.
Online companies that can arrange RTW and Circle Pacific tickets that include French Polynesia:
Air Tahiti Nui operates flights between Japan (Narita/Tokyo) and Pape’ete. Return flights from Tokyo start at US$1400. This is often the cheapest connection to other parts of Asia, although it can be quicker to go via Australia or New Zealand.
All flights from Australia to Pape’ete are via Auckland. In Auckland, Qantas Airways flights connect with Air Tahiti Nui. Fares increase considerably in the high season (June to September and over Christmas). From Sydney expect to pay about A$1050/1500 for a return trip in the low/high season with either Qantas or Air New Zealand.
As in Australia, fares from New Zealand increase during high season. From Auckland return fares start at NZ$850/1250 in low/high season. Both Air New Zealand and Qantas/Air Tahiti Nui offer connecting flights from Pape’ete to Los Angeles.
For Pacific islands other than those listed below, you’ll have to connect with flights from Hawaii, Raratonga, Noumea or Auckland.
Pape’ete–Noumea – Aircalin (Air Calédonie International) has one weekly flight.
Pape’ete–Easter Island – One flight per week with LAN which continues on to Santiago, Chili.
Pape’ete–Honolulu (Hawaii) – Hawaiian Airlines once per week; has many connections to the US mainland, other Pacific islands and Asia.
Pape’ete–Rarotonga (îles Cook; Cook Islands) – Once per week plus one supplementary flight every two weeks with Air Tahiti.
LAN Airlines operates flights between Santiago and Pape’ete; one flight a week has a stopover on Easter Island. Return fares to Easter Island cost around US$805 and round trip onward to Chile is around US$3300.
Air France and Air Tahiti Nui have flights to Pape’ete via Los Angeles; Air New Zealand also runs some of these flights with a code share with Air Tahiti Nui. Return fares from Paris and Frankfurt start at around €1650. From other destinations in Europe the easiest option is to travel to one of these cities and connect with flights to Pape’ete.
Coming from the USA you can either fly direct from Los Angeles to Pape’ete or go via Honolulu (fare differences vary greatly depending on the season). Air New Zealand and Qantas do a code share with Air Tahiti Nui on this route, and Air France and Air Tahiti Nui flights from Paris to Pape’ete go via Los Angeles. Return fares from Los Angeles to Pape’ete range from around US$1485 to US$2000. If you are starting your trip in Honolulu, return fares from Honolulu to Pape’ete start from US$1140 in the low season (January to May) and US$1700 in the high season (November to December).
There are no direct flights from Canada, so you will need to go via Honolulu or the US West Coast.