Review: Air Tahiti ATR72, Bora Bora – Papeete

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The worlds greatest lagoon is situated at Bora Bora, French Polynesia. It is located a fifty minute flight way from the main international airport of Papeete. French Polynesia’s main domestic air carrier is Air Tahiti, which is not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui- the international carrier. We would take Air Tahiti on our domestic leg from Bora Bora to Papeete after our three day Bora Bora stay.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air Tahiti ATR72, Bora Bora Motu Mute Airport – Papeete Faa’a International Airport


Booking Air Tahiti:

Air Tahiti is the national domestic air carrier of French Polynesia. In it’s small fleet of less than fifteen aircraft, it operates two versions of an ATR72 aircraft. We booked Air Tahiti via their website. We were able to book our open jaw tickets of Moorea – Bora Bora – Papeete with them for 48,054 CFP’s ($460 USD) ; hardly a steal for two flights of less than an hour in duration. The flights included a light fifty pounds of baggage allowance. As the sole carrier operating between these destinations, paradise doesn’t come cheap.

Getting to the Bora Bora Airport:

After our wonderful three day stay at the Le Meridien Bora Bora, we took their included water taxi from the hotel to the Bora Bora Motu Mute Airport.

Getting Ready to Depart Paradise
Views of Mount Otemanu at Dusk
Bora Bora Motu Mule Airport
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Checking into Air Tahiti:

There was only one Air Tahiti check in agent working the airport today and he seemed to be in a rush. He didn’t charge us for our excess baggage like on our Air Tahiti Moorea – Bora Bora flight on the way out; although the ramp agent was calling out the weights of each bag to be transcribed onto a sheet. I don’t know whether the check in agent couldn’t be bothered, or whether the other fees went straight into the check in agent’s pocket at our Moorea stop; possibly a little of both.

Checking into Air Tahiti at Bora Bora
The Sole Check in Area at Bora Bora
Some Queues Today to Check In

There wasn’t any free wifi from the airport, or any lounge available for travellers, but there was a “Pora Pora” coffee shop where we snacked on a surprisingly tasty panini since it was dinner time.

The Pora Pora Coffee Shop
The Dining Area at Pora Pora Coffee Shop
A Limited Flight Destination Board departing from Bora Bora

Over at the gate, the downpour was so substantial, that they were loading the flight before us using golf umbrellas. That was something that I hadn’t seen before!!

The Waiting Area at Bora Bora
Single Gate Departures
Boarding an Earlier Flight to Bora Bora with Golf Umbrellas

When it came time for our turn, we were among the first in line. We headed out and boarded the ATR 72. There was no formal security check for our flight, just some signs that indicated not to carry guns and weapons on board

Boarding An Air Tahiti ATR72
Ground Operations Around our Air Tahiti flight
Rear Door Boarding on the ATR72
Air Tahiti
Economy Class (L) – single class of service
BOB-PPT (Bora Bora – Papeete)
VT 429
June 19, 2017
Booked: ATR 72
Flown: ATR 72
Departure: 6:05 PM
Arrival: 7:25 PM
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On Board Air Tahiti ATR72:

It was much drier on board and we took among the first available seats towards the back on the right hand side. It was more of the same tight fit seating. As with the way down, there are no assigned seats.

A View of the Cabin on the Air Tahiti
Air Tahiti Economy Class Seating
Compact Leg Room for Tall Travellers like me

We had a nice climb and got to see the resort row from the right hand side of the aircraft. For some reason, there was no beverage service on the way back. There was no explanation of why not – I suspect it was because they had run out of food or didn’t bother to cater it so late in the day.

We landed in Papeete and the bags were out pretty quick.

Dis = Embarking the Air Tahiti ATR72 in Faa’a International Airport
Disemarking and heading inside at Papeete

My Thoughts on Air Tahiti Domestic Service:

All in all, the Air Tahiti flight was a reasonable flight and it was a bonus that we weren’t charged for the excess baggage fees. The ATR72’s are great for a short flight, but I think I wouldn’t be so keen on them if I was flying them for more than 90 minutes or on one of their longer segments from French Polynesia to Raratonga or the Gambier Archipelago. If you’re traveling Air Tahiti – watch out for the carry on the bag situation and you should be okay!


If you’ve flown on an ATR72, did you find it a comfortable way to travel ?

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