This is not a current airfare deal post. This article describes a strategy for dropping the airline ticket price to visit Tahiti and New Zealand from $2,300 per person to $1,500 per person buying two separate discount price tickets and traveling to both Auckland and Papeete on the same trip from the USA. The basic strategy is fly USA to Auckland when another discount fare sale happens from California, tour New Zealand, then fly from Auckland to Papeete for around $700 USD round trip. The ticket price to Papeete from Auckland is around 50% of the low price for a USA to Papeete PPT round trip ticket.
Only one airfare deal to Papeete PPT has found its way into a Loyalty Traveler airfare deal post in the past year, on April 29, 2015, when Air France offered $999 USD round trip airfare from Los Angeles to Papeete, the main international airport for the French Polynesia island chain in the southern hemisphere of the Pacific Ocean, more familiarly known to Americans as ‘Tahiti’.
Auckland and Papeete on combined trip cuts USA airfare by over 35%
Rather than go to Tahiti for a short five to seven night vacation and pay $1,200 for a deep discount economy class airline ticket on Air Tahiti Nui departing out of California, there have been several recent sales with American Airlines to promote its nonstop LAX to Auckland flight. Ticket prices have repeatedly dropped under $800 for Los Angeles and San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand round trip for April to August and November 2016 travel.
Three weeks ago I lucked out and bought $225 round trip tickets flying Qantas to Auckland via Sydney in the brief few hours of opportunity for that deal.
Loyalty Traveler – AA $778 LAX or $792 SFO New Zealand via LAX Auckland nonstop (April 29, 2016).
Loyalty Traveler – Fare Alert Qantas $225 LAX or SFO to Auckland NZ round trip (April 12, 2016).
Why is Papeete rarely under $1,000 round trip?
The reason there has only been only one airfare deal posted on Loyalty Traveler for Papeete in the past year is simple. There are hardly ever airfare deals to Tahiti from USA airports. ‘Tahiti’ is a luxury fantasy destination. Also, the ideal vacation time of year for tourists to French Polynesia, when weather conditions normally offer least rainfall and lowest humidity of the year, coincides with USA peak season travel months of June, July and August.
French Polynesia is an island chain in the South Pacific, located 16 to 18 degrees south of the equator, similar in latitude to Cairns, Australia. This region of the South Pacific has best weather conditions in the lower humidity and cooler day time averages from June to August. Temperatures still average over 80F every month of the year. November to April are the hottest and wettest months with more humid conditions and more availability of off-season hotel rate discounts. Discount airfare sales to Papeete tend to be for travel in the off-season months of November to April too.
San Francisco SFO to Papeete, French Polynesia PPT
Google Flights fare calendar June-July 2016
June 4 Lowest Fare = $1,485 round trip.
No other departure dates on June-July calendar come within $200 of this $1500 round trip ticket flying Hawaiian Airlines SFO to Honolulu HNL to Papeete PPT.
Hawaiian Airlines will fly you from San Jose SJC that same June 4 date for $1,371 round trip with return June 11.
Hawaiian Airlines San Jose SJC – Honolulu HNL – Papeete PPT
$1,371.36 round trip Saturday June 4 – Saturday June 11
San Francisco to Auckland to Papeete for $1,500 on two tickets.
Over the past month there have been repeated fare sales to new Zealand and Europe. Most recently, just in past 24 hours fares from LAX and SFO dropped under $500 round trip to Australia. That deal is gone.
If you are fortunate enough to have two or more weeks at one time to travel, then buying a discount ticket to New Zealand or flying there on frequent flyer tickets places you in a far better airport location for a discount flight to Papeete. A ticket from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete is commonly sold for about 50% of the normal USA ticket prices to Papeete.
Auckland, New Zealand AKL to Papeete PPT only $727 round trip.
A round trip ticket from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete can be purchased for around $700. A round trip ticket from LAX or SFO to Auckland, New Zealand has been around $600 to $800 during several sales in the past month with several different airlines, including all three alliance leaders American, Delta and United. This means you can potentially score a way to travel to Papeete and New Zealand, or Australia, on a longer trip of two weeks at little more airfare than flying only to French Polynesia for a one week stay.
Air Tahiti Nui / Air New Zealand
Auckland AKL – Papeete PPT (outbound nonstop flight on Air Tahiti; inbound flight on Air New Zealand )
$727.30 round trip Sunday June 12 – Sunday June 19
Low airfare from Auckland to Papeete in $700s looks available for some dates every month May to July in Google Flights searches today, then more widely available at $670 round trip beginning in late August.
New Zealand and French Polynesia for $1,500 USD in airfare and time scheduled to visit two countries seems like a smart travel budget strategy compared to paying $1,350 USD to fly only to Tahiti for a week.