There are very few flights to Bora Bora and Tahiti each day. International flights from the United States depart from either Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). To fly to Bora Bora, you must first fly to the main Island of Tahiti. (Please see our article titled, "Where is Tahiti", for further information on where Tahiti is located).
If you are starting your journey in Canada or another country, under the current Entry Requirements, you will need to stay in the United States for at least 30 days prior to your departure for Tahiti.
Update: With Tahiti’s reopening, airlines have begun scheduling more flights each week, especially for dates after July 1, 2021.
Air Tahiti Nui
Air Tahiti Nui (offering codeshare flights with American Airlines) is the main airline to Tahiti with nearly daily service from Los Angeles. Some of Air Tahiti Nui’s flights depart Los Angeles in the evening, usually between 9:30pm and midnight Pacific Time. These are overnight flights that arrive in Papeete (the capital of Tahiti) early the next morning. These flights provide the opportunity for an easy connection to Bora Bora or another beautiful Tahitian island. There are flights departing from Papeete to the outer islands throughout the day (See Air Tahiti section below).
Some of the daily flights from Los Angeles on Air Tahiti Nui depart in the afternoon around 4:30pm PT and arrive into Papeete later that same night. These flights that arrive in Tahiti in the evening, arrive too late for you to be able to connect to any other island that same day. As a result, the afternoon flights from Los Angeles will require you to spend your arrival night on the main island of Tahiti before going on to another island.
Air France (codeshare flights are available through Delta) offers limited services between Los Angeles and Tahiti. They have 3 flights a week on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. All of the Air France return flights from Tahiti depart in the morning around 8:00am local time. This early departure time will require you to spend the night on the main Island of Tahiti prior to your day of departure. It is not possible to get from another island, like Bora Bora or Moorea, back to the main Island of Tahiti early enough in the morning be able to check in for an Air France departure (even from Moorea on the ferry).
Return flights are offered on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive back in Los Angeles at approximately 7:00pm Pacific Time.
United Airlines offers limited service from San Francisco to Tahiti . They have 3 flights a week departing on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Currently, all of United’s flights depart SFO at approximately 1:30pm and arrive in Papeete (PPT) at approximately 7:00pm local time. Although these flights arrive earlier than the Air Tahiti Nui daytime flights, it is still too late to connect on to any other island the same day. You will need to spend your first night on the main Island of Tahiti when you arrive, before travelling on to another island the next day.
United's return flights from Tahiti also depart 3 days a week on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at approximately 10:00pm local time. These flights fly overnight and arrive back in SFO the next morning at about 8:30am PT.
French Bee is a low cost carrier offering a few flights a week from San Francisco to Tahiti. They do offer some very low base fares, however we find that they charge for a lot of things, like seats, meals, blankets, etc. We prefer the major airlines for a better overall experience and a more reliable schedule. An exception to this rule would be if you flew Business Class on French Bee, which offers a nice comparative value to Premium Economy on other airlines.
Inter-Island Flights to Bora Bora and Beyond
Inter-island flights between all of the islands of French Polynesia are available on Tahiti's domestic carrier, Air Tahiti. Air Tahiti is a completely separate airline from Air Tahiti Nui. In Tahitian, the word “nui” means “big”, so Air Tahiti Nui is the one with “big” planes that serves international routes.
Air Tahiti operates flights throughout the daylight hours connecting the main Island of Tahiti to Bora Bora and the outer islands. But, you should plan and book these well in advance. When flying into Tahiti from California, you will land at the International Terminal of PPT. Air Tahiti flights depart from the Domestic Terminal at PPT.
In addition, there is also a high speed ferry connecting Tahiti and Moorea. The ferry is usually more convenient and less expensive than the short flights to Moorea. If you are only visiting Moorea, the ferry is the way to go. If you are continuing from Moorea on to Bora Bora or elsewhere, Air Tahiti offers some air passes to combine flights to multiple islands.
When travelling between the Society islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea/Tahaa and Huahine), you do not have to allow for a full day of travel. It is usually about 2.5 to 3.5 hours total travel time from one resort to the next. If you are considering the Atoll islands of Rangiroa or Tikehau, the inter-island flight schedule can get tricky. There are fewer daily flights to the atolls, so your options may be limited.
A Note About Domestic Flights
Most airlines currently recommend that you check-in at least three hours prior to an international flight. Therefore, if you have connecting flights within the United States, you should be certain that your domestic flight arrives in LAX at least three hours before your international flight departure.
For the return portion of your trip, your U.S. connecting flight should depart at least three hours after your international flight is scheduled to arrive back in LAX to give you time to clear customs and immigration and change terminals.
At Venture Tahiti, all of our Vacation and Honeymoon Packages include international flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti and all required inter-island travel. This can easily be adjusted if you prefer to depart from San Francisco.
We have found most of our clients prefer to make their own domestic flight arrangements within the United States to select the best combination of timing and price, or to use frequent flyer miles or credit card points. As a result, our wholesale contracts are with the international carriers, we generally do not make arrangements for domestic connections within North America.
We are often asked about the cost of food in Bora Bora and Tahiti. Food tends to be a bit expensive in French Polynesia. It is on par with dining out in New York, Los Angeles or Honolulu. If you are trying to stick to a preferred travel budget, regardless of how much you plan to spend, the cost of dining in French Polynesia should be considered in your travel and vacation planning.
Which islands to visit and how many islands you should visit depends a lot on how long you plan to stay in French Polynesia.We typically advise clients to spend at least 3 nights on each island in their itinerary (except possibly the Island of Tahiti). Spending less than 3 nights tends to make travelers feel too rushed. After all, you are going there to at least try to relax.
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is absolutely incredible. There are no words to describe the beauty of Tahiti and the staff there was wonderful. I cannot thank Venture Tahiti enough for helping us book the most incredible experience of our lives!! We plan on bringing our children there very soon!
The spa is beautiful, we had a great couples massage! ...the excursions are amazing & the best snorkeling channel around! Its worth every penny you spend and an experience of a life time! The sunsets are the best you will ever see! We used VENTURE TAHITI in Boca Raton, Florida to book our trip and it went off without a hitch. They did an excellent job and I highly recommend them!