Normally, I don’t cover new airline routes because the topic is a bit outside of this blog’s niche. But this one is different. Yesterday it was reported on OMAAT that a low-cost carrier French Bee (yes, it’s based in France, and yes, the name is ridiculous), will be starting flights from Papeete to San Francisco on May 11th. Technically, you can go from Papeete all the way to Paris if that’s what you want to do. Make sure to follow our Facebook page where I shared the news first.
There are two issues at hand:
1) The website is in French only, at least for now. This is an easy problem to overcome, as I will explain later.
2) Update on 3/22/2018: you can now book flights originating from San Francisco!
You can only book flights from Tahiti to San Francisco, not the other way around. I called their office in France and the agent said they don’t know when (or if) SFO-PPT will be added to the system. If you want to fly non-stop from Paris to San Francisco one-way, this is another interesting possibility. The rate below includes taxes:
I don’t speak French, but it’s easy to figure out what they are talking about. You can buy a one-way ticket without checked luggage for 169 euros, or pay extra to have it included (plus few other perks, like comfort kit). Actually, this is more of a Fr-english or something?
One-way flights from Papeete to San Francisco are also dirt cheap, as little as $250 per person if you depart in May or June. This is way better than using miles, by a long shot. While airfare prices to Europe have come down significantly, this has not been the case with Tahiti route. Until now. French Bee does not fly to SFO every day, so you will have to check their website for current schedule.
Don’t speak French? No problem. I checked Kayak.com and the flights are bookable via several websites.
Don’t worry, French Blue is indeed French Bee. Apparently, they had to change the name due to objections from JetBlue, which is very odd. Hmm, is Jet Blue planning to fly to Tahiti, too?
Anyway, the important thing is that the flights are bookable via Kiwi.com as well as E-Dreams.net For some reason, the latter includes free checked luggage (Kiwi.com does not), so you may want to look there first and see if the route pops up. Here is the price for four people for one-way flight from Papeete to San Francisco on June 11th:
At the moment, French Bee flights don’t come up in Ultimate Rewards or other bank portals, so using flexible points won’t be an option.
What is it like to fly French Bee? I have no idea. Expect something along the lines of Spirit Air and you won’t be disappointed. And really, for $250 per person for an 8-hour flight, it’s hard to complain. By comparison, the other airlines charge $800 or more. Plus, having an opportunity to spend one night in San Francisco (my favorite city in US) on the way home is pretty darn cool.
What about flights from San Francisco to Tahiti?
You have several mileage options and I recommend you read my post on this very topic. Your two best choices will be using AAdvantage miles on Air Tahiti Nui (40k miles one-way, plus $5) and Air France (30k miles, plus $68 tax). You will have to call AAdvantage because the flights are not bookable online. I checked Air France website, and there is some low-level award availability (for 4 passengers) during this summer:
When you do a search, make sure to select this option:
Be aware, Air France website is buggy and occasionally shows phantom availability. It’s best to call them and verify your desired award flights before transferring flexible points. Speaking of, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You points transfer to Air France instantly. Ask the agent if you can tack on a Delta flight from your home city at no additional cost.
French Bee airline may add SFO-PPT flights to their reservation system at some point in the future. That said, the tickets from Papeete to SFO are so cheap right now, I personally would be tempted to just burn the miles. If you’ve always wanted to visit Tahiti, this may be your ticket, literally and figuratively.
As long as you stick to Moorea island, the lodging costs shouldn’t be terrible. When I last checked, the prices were on par with Hawaii. That may change soon due to influx of new flights. Remember, United is also starting flights from San Francisco to Tahiti in the fall. I’m no airline expert, but something tells me that French Bee may not be buzzing in a year or two. At least not on this route.
Readers, who is tempted by these prices?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.