Air Tahiti Nui To Join OneWorld Alliance In 2015?

Via a Tahiti Nui Television article, the French Polynesia Tourism Minister claims that Air Tahiti Nui may be joining the oneworld alliance in 2015. The article is in French, but here’s the relevant section (translated using Google Translate):

In addition, to enhance service, ATN “is poised to enter the One World Alliance” which “would make us go from 6 to 7 code shares currently more than a hundred,” said Jean-Christophe Bouissou, who hopes that this will happen “this year.”

I wouldn’t necessarily take this as fact given that over the years there have been dozens of airlines “in the process” of joining an alliance, and it never panned out.

But this would be a natural fit. Air Tahiti Nui already partners with American AAdvantage, so it’s possible to redeem American miles for travel on Air Tahiti Nui. Interestingly it’s not actually possible to earn AAdvantage miles for travel on Air Tahiti Nui, though.

Air-Tahiti-Nui

Having Air Tahiti Nui join oneworld would have several implications:

  • You could earn AAdvantage miles for travel on Air Tahiti Nui
  • If flying economy as a oneworld elite member, you’d receive perks like lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, etc.
  • It would be possible to redeem miles from all oneworld airlines for travel on Air Tahiti Nui, which would present some amazing values — for example, Japan Airlines has a distance based award chart, and would charge 65,000 miles for roundtrip business class between Los Angeles and Tahiti

Air-Tahiti-Nui-Business-Class

That being said, I can also see Air Tahiti Nui’s hesitation to join an alliance. Joining an alliance costs money, and they have a captive audience for the most part, given the limited competition to/from Tahiti. Why give flyers more rewards when they’re probably not generating much incremental business from them?

Of course I’m really hoping that they do join!`

For help on redeeming miles to Tahiti, see my post on the topic — How To Use Miles On Flights To Tahiti.

What do you think? Do you hope Air Tahiti Nui joins the oneworld alliance?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. That would be lovely, but I would be surprised if it comes to pass this year – just seems aggressive. My review of the remainder of the article is not so pleasing – the references to doubling the number of tourists by 2018 and adding resorts with casinos is not so encouraging.

  2. Actually they are going to get a total of 4 787-9 aircraft. I don’t see that much incentive to join One World, however I bet they will because it seems like that is what most airlines are doing nowadays.

  3. I was hoping Air Tahiti would join oneworld, not Air Tahiti Nui. Cost of Air Tahiti local flights from Society Islands to the Tuamotus or Marquesas are so $$$! That’s where a distance-based mileage program like JAL or BA would help a lot.

  4. Tahiti is a gem. A true gem. Doubling the amount of tourists would ruin it’s charm. Bora Bora is already over developed, it would be a shame to see Moorea go the same route. And casinos… awful, just awful.
    I’ve been 3 times and rather enjoy the fact that it’s very difficult to get there on miles and points. Keeps the riff raff away, lol.
    But seriously, I would rather just read a trip reports on redeeming points and miles to get to the Maldives for the umpteenth time and have a chuckle knowing that French Polynesia is equally gorgeous, much more diverse, not nearly as crowded and polluted, and SO MUCH closer to N. America.
    Keep your Maldives, I’ll pay to go to Tahiti.

  5. Linda, I completely agree! Bora Bora is indeed beautiful but on my next trip to Tahiti I’m hoping to explore the Tuamotus or even venture out to Marquesas.

  6. @ Linda — No disagreement there, though in fairness it’s more comfortable to fly from North America to the Maldives than it is to fly from North America to Tahiti. 😀

  7. The tourist numbers droped of when planes no longer required fuel stops! Hope the 787’s have flat beds! Their finances haven’t been the best over the years though if they get rid of their A340’s it will save them heaps on fuel. The costs of Tahiti are what put most tourists of and that’s not going to change.

  8. This would also add a ONEWORLD carrier to the LAX-CDG-LAX route which AA can codeshare on. So TN has something to offer on the Atlantic front.

  9. As someone who travels to Tahiti from the US frequently for work (I know, I know, poor me), I have to say that this does not surprise me at all. French Polynesia is desperate to improve tourism numbers, and Air Tahiti Nui (government-owned, unlike the local airline Air Tahiti, which is private) is viewed as a key tool for encouraging tourism — whether management wants to or not. (All the state-owned enterprises in French Polynesia do the bidding of their boards, which consist only of political appointees a la Thai Airways.) Joining OneWorld might inflict expenses on Air Tahiti Nui but could enhance Air Tahiti Nui’s brand awareness and encourage more visitors, even if on award flights. (OneWorld is less complicated, as no other alliance member flies to Tahiti.) The French Polynesia economy needs it. The flush days of economic activity and subsidies (hush money) from Paris to support nuclear testing on Mururoa and Fangataufa are now over. While Bora Bora has been overdeveloped, many hotels are closed due to a lack of guests. Amanresorts has never reopened the Hotel Bora Bora. Orient Express (now Belmond) closed the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort. Club Med closed its Bora Bora property (although it’s used party as a dormitory for hotel workers, including those of the Four Seasons). Speaking of which, the last time I stayed at the Four Seasons, there were about 25 guests — at a resort with 107 rooms. The same is true on Tahiti itself, where many of the biggest hotels (including the Hilton and the Sofitel) have simply shuttered. Why has this happened? I’d say there are two principal causes. First, Tahiti is very expensive when compared to its Pacific peers, as the Pacific Franc is tied to the Euro. Although the Euro’s recent decline has made Tahiti more competitive, the long-term trend has been that places like Fiji are more affordable. French labor laws also drive up the price of everything even more. Second, the weather doesn’t cooperate with the expectations of Americans and the metropolitan French (which comprise the majority of French Polynesia’s tourists), who want to go somewhere tropical during the northern hemisphere winter. French Polynesia (at least Tahiti and the Society Islands like Bora Bora) are very hot, humid, stormy, and buggy November to March, yet spectacular in June and July.

  10. @Jack

    Thank you for explaining this so well. Clear, focused, substantiated and well written. A+

  11. The present arrangement with AA suits me fine. If booked way in advance, there has never much problem to get BC award tickets from LAX to PPT.

    Joining the alliance would probably mean a better boarding experience. Boarding a bus, that there fill up to the full capacity, probably to save for an addtl bus, through the ‘charter’ part of LAX Tom Bradley terminal at LAX, is not the best experience, especially when you are holding a BC ticket.
    AA would probably give them a gate at their terminal – I hope!
    The AA lounge would also be better than the present lounge that ATN uses at LAX.

  12. “Japan Airlines has a distance based award chart, and would charge 65,000 miles for roundtrip business class between Los Angeles and Tahiti”: Japan Airlines frequent fliers would probably get a hold on many of the BC tickets that ATN offers as awards. : (

    The plan to add flights from Beijing is a little scary, as the experience in the Maldives is definitely not the same as it was pre mainland Chinese tourist groups.In fact, it is far from it and the Maldives is no longer on our radar.

  13. To earn AAdvantage miles, I just book the Air Tahiti Nui LAX – PPT ticket as their Qantas codeshare…

  14. “Interestingly it’s not actually possible to earn AAdvantage miles for travel on Air Tahiti Nui, though.”

    FALSE. I flew Air Tahiti Nui over NYE a few months ago and received AA miles. You just need to book the AA codeshare flights.

  15. Here’s the relevant AA.com link – http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/codesharePartners/airtahitinui.jsp

    American Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui, the international airline of Tahiti, received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation on a bilateral codeshare agreement. The new codeshare agreement allows American to place its code on Air Tahiti Nui flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Papeete Faa’a International Airport (PPT) and allows Air Tahiti Nui to place its code on American flights from Los Angeles to more than 15 cities throughout the United States including New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and Washington, D.C.

    http://hub.aa.com/en/nr/pressrelease/american-airlines-launches-codeshare-agreement-with-air-tahiti-nui

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