Good morning from Paris! I just flew Air Tahiti Nui business class from Los Angeles to Paris, which is one of the more tropical ways to cross the Atlantic. As you guys know I’m trying to review as many business class products as possible, or else I wouldn’t intentionally book an angled business class product for a transatlantic flight.
In this post I’ll be sharing my initial impressions about the experience, and then of course I’ll have a much more detailed trip report in the near future.
Air Tahiti Nui’s A340-300 business class cabin consists of a total of 32 angled seats, spread across six rows in a 2-2-2 configuration (the first row just has two seats in the center section).
While this is an angled product (which is sub-par in 2016), this is actually their new business class product, which was just introduced a few years ago. Air Tahiti Nui has five A340-300 aircraft, though only four of them feature this configuration — one still features old recliner seats, and it’s a crapshoot as to which plane you get.
I loved how bright and tropical the cabin felt, though angled seats just aren’t ideal for sleeping. Then again, a transatlantic flight departing at 11:30AM (and getting to Paris at 7:30AM) isn’t ideal for sleeping either).
As far as the service goes, the crew was friendly, though forgettably so. The hospitality wasn’t to the level of what I’ve experienced on Fiji Airways, for example. Instead the crew was friendly and went through the motions, though nothing more, really. The only thing about the service that felt tropical/Tahitian were the uniforms. And only some of the flight attendants seemed to be wearing those, while others were wearing what looked like track suits.
The food on the flight wasn’t memorable either, unfortunately.
The meal begin with an amuse bouche and some pretzels (the last time I got that “Snack Du Jour” packaging was on Amtrak). I had a glass of rose to accompany it.
Then the starter consisted of shrimp and duck. There was also a small side salad.
For the main course I wanted to order the red snapper with shrimp, though they were out of it. So I got stuck with the short rib, which wasn’t especially good.
The cheese and dessert were the highlight of the meal. First there was a cheese course, which was nicely plated.
Then there was an incredible dessert tray with tiramisu, mango sherbet, an apricot tart, and fresh fruit. Nom nom nom.
So overall the meal was edible and decent, though completely forgettable.
Perhaps that sums up the experience on the whole, actually. The crew was friendly enough and the food was decent enough, though there was nothing to the service beyond that.
When I recently flew Fiji Airways I found it to be a fun experience that made me feel like I was in Fiji the second I stepped on the plane, while that was lacking here.
As far as the entertainment and amenities go…
There was an amenity kit, which was fairly basic. However, they also brought out further amenities after takeoff. On top of that, there was a pillow and blanket, which were quite good.
The entertainment selection was odd. While there were a decent number of programs, they weren’t what you’d find on other airlines. For example, there wasn’t a single sitcom, and the movie selection was limited. At the same, there were dozens of documentaries, most of which seemed to be in French.
If you’re traveling to Tahiti then Air Tahiti Nui is the best way to get there. While angled seats aren’t ideal, they have the best schedule to Tahiti, so I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them there.
At the same time, for transatlantic flights there are tons of options with flat beds nowadays, so unless I were getting some sort of incredible deal or it were the only option on miles, I don’t think I’d fly them from Los Angeles to Paris again.
Perhaps my impression will change in a couple of years when they start replacing their A340 fleet with 787s, hopefully with fully flat beds in business class.
If you’ve flown Air Tahiti Nui, what was your experience like?