French Bee Tickets Are Now On Sale Between San Francisco & Paris/Tahiti

In mid-December I wrote about how French low cost carrier French Blue was planning on launching flights between Paris Orly and Tahiti, and they intended to operate the flight via San Francisco. When the flights first went on sale, the airline didn’t have pick-up rights in San Francisco (since Paris to Tahiti is technically a domestic flight, and they didn’t have the right to sell travel between the US and France), but rather just used San Francisco as a refueling stop.

There are a couple of interesting updates on this route.

French Blue has rebranded as French Bee

In January French Blue made the decision to rebrand as French Bee. This was apparently due to objections from JetBlue, as they claimed the French Blue name could cause confusion. Frankly I’m surprised that they rebranded because of this, because you’d think that just the similarity of having “Blue” in the name wouldn’t be enough to force something like this. Beyond that, the airlines don’t compete in any markets, which makes it even more surprising.

But anyone, French Blue (now French Bee) complied, and in late January they changed their name.

French Bee now has traffic rights to/from San Francisco

French Bee plans on operating this new flight 2x weekly as of May 11, 2018, using an Airbus A350, with the following schedule:

BF710 Paris Orly to San Francisco departing 7:15PM arriving 9:25PM
BF710 San Francisco to Papeete departing 11:55PM arriving 5:15AM (+1 day)

BF711 Papeete to San Francisco departing 7:30AM arriving 6:30PM
BF711 San Francisco to Paris Orly departing 8:45PM arriving 4:20PM (+1 day)

When the flight first went on sale, French Bee only had the right to sell tickets all the way between Paris and Tahiti, meaning that they couldn’t sell tickets to people wanting to travel between either French airport and San Francisco.

French Bee now has DOT approval to sell tickets to/from San Francisco, which is great news for consumers, as it opens up two new routes where you can get ultra low fares.

The catch is that as of the time of this post, French Bee’s website only seems to be selling tickets from Tahiti to San Francisco or Paris to San Francisco, and isn’t yet selling tickets that are originating in San Francisco. This permission was just granted, so my guess is that within the coming hours (or days) the flight will be bookable for those looking to travel roundtrip from San Francisco, and they’re just getting the technology updated. The airline doesn’t yet have an English language site, so maybe they’re working on getting that up as well.

In terms of the fares, right now I see 334.50EUR roundtrip fares from Tahiti to San Francisco, and 347.77EUR roundtrip fares from Paris to San Francisco. Hopefully we see similar fares for travel originating in San Francisco.

Even though Tahiti isn’t that far from the US west coast, historically fares have been really high (right now the cheapest fare I see all year from San Francisco to Tahiti is $1,200+ roundtrip), so hopefully French Blue can help drive them down. Then again, it’s not like there are unlimited lodging options in Tahiti, so this still won’t be the ideal place for a budget getaway.

Does anyone plan on flying French Bee from San Francisco to Tahiti or Paris?

Comments

  1. Nice to see options to drive competition. Not sure I myself could do 8 hours redeye in coach, however the return is possible.
    Thought I read United was jumping in as well?

  2. It’s interesting that they are flying through SFO instead of LAX. The Great Circle route between ORY and PPT goes almost straight through LAX.

  3. If they rebranded because of the similar name to Jetblue, then shouldn’t Airblue (of Pakistan) rebrand as well 😉

  4. French bee What a dumb name
    The French word for bee is “ abeille”
    What confusion between jet blue and French blue ??!

    Nel blu dipinto di blu

  5. Hey lucky – did you by any chance hear about the channel 4 uk tv documentary just aired now on Singapore airlines New first class? Was a great watch if not a bit repetitive

  6. What a mind bogglingly stupid name! Mind you that was the nation that brought you Joon. Must be something in the Perrier.

  7. @Lucky not sure if you noticed but united recently launched their Sydney-Houston flight,which is currently 4th longest in the world. Surprising their is enough demand(even with connections at IAH) for such a long flight especially for economy.

  8. Jet Blue’ David Neelman has established Azul in Brazil. It has now also bought a stake in ORY-based Aigle Azur (which also means Blue). Aigle Azur is about to start Its first long-haul flight ORY-VCP in Brazil connecting two of their hubs starting in June/2019

  9. Jet Blue’ David Neelman has established Azul in Brazil. It has now also bought a stake in ORY-based Aigle Azur (which also means Blue). Aigle Azur is about to start Its first long-haul flight ORY-VCP in Brazil connecting two of their hubs starting in June/2018 with 2 ex-Air Berlin A332s.

  10. Premium is just a premium economy seat (without lounge access),
    Price is not cheap for may-june-july > Premium return ORY-PPT for €2256 / $2772

  11. JetBlue aggressively defends against any airline that plans on servicing airports in the US using “Blue” in their name. They did the same a few years against a proposed British (IIRC) startup that was going to go with “FlyBlue”. They wound up changing to “FlyWho”, which led to a number of TARDIS jokes, then (as far as I know) gave up entirely.

    They’re fine with “blue” (and probably wouldn’d have a legal case anyway) with smaller airlines that’ll never come anywhere near the US, or (like Azul) have the word “blue” in another language.

    “French Bee” has to be the stupidest airline name ever. It’s worse that “Wizz Air” and right up there with “U-Land”. But at least it looks like it could bring some real competition to Tahiti, and isn’t a rooftop bar.

  12. I guess they liked Busy Bee

    From:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busy_Bee

    Busy Bee was an airline which operated in Norway between 1966 and 1992. Entirely based around wet lease, in conducted a mix of regional services for larger airlines and the military, as well as corporate, ad hoc and inclusive tour charters.

  13. I am waiting to book SFO TO PPT return in June/July. Please let us know how to do this since the website does not show this and I Fear the seats will all be booked up from Paris. The price ( and SFO departure ) is so good

  14. As someone on abudget whose girlfriend lives in Tahiti, I will gladly buy a SF ticket from Atlanta and take my chances. They are notorious for over selling so that could be an issue for short trips but I go for months at a time and don’t need lodging so I am EXCITED. Oh and anything beats flying through LAX.

  15. By the way, LAX-PPT is now on sale for August-September 2018 at $880 return (Air Tahiti Nui). 15 days maximum stay.

  16. What interests me is if that ‘tech stop’ involves herding all transit passengers through security and customs or if they just pass through a ? We try to give US transit a wide berth for the incredible amount of time spent waiting in queues and if this can be avoided it would be a reason to use this Airline from Tahiti to Europe.

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