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It’s the dawn of a new era for French Polynesia’s hometown international airline, Air Tahiti Nui. The carrier currently serves four destinations from its hub in Papeete (PPT) with its small fleet of Airbus A340-300s, but those widebodies are a bit past their prime — fortunately, for customers and the airline alike, they’re about to be replaced with Boeing’s latest and greatest long-haul jet.
Air Tahiti Nui just took delivery of its very first 787-9 Dreamliner at Boeing’s South Carolina facility on Tuesday, flying the brand-new bird first to Oklahoma City (OKC) and on to Los Angeles (LAX), where it’ll spend a few days before beginning the last leg of its journey to PPT.
The carrier has a total of four Dreamliners on the way, with all expected to enter the fleet by the end of 2019. The 787-9 will launch first on the airline’s flight from PPT to Auckland on Nov. 7. It will begin flying to Los Angeles the next day, on Nov. 8, after its return leg from AKL.
The Dreamliner is scheduled to begin operating some flights from LAX to Paris (CDG) in March 2019, and from PPT to Tokyo (NRT) in June 2019, though some frequencies may continued to be flown by the A340 until all of the airline’s 787s enter the fleet.
The plane represents a huge step up in business class, with 2-2-2 lie-flat seating throughout. This is also the first Air Tahiti Nui aircraft to offer a true premium economy product, and coach passengers can expect a more comfortable ride as well.
You can book flights between LAX and PPT on this new aircraft using multiple award currencies, including American AAdvantage (40,000 miles each way for economy; 80,000 for business) and Flying Blue (from 25,500 miles each way for economy; 73,500 for business).
I had a chance to explore the 787-9 on the ground in Charleston (CHS) and on the delivery flight to LA — stay tuned for a full tour coming on Wednesday, along with an explanation for our quick pit stop, and the very first Dreamliner visit to Oklahoma City.
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