Trip Report Part 1
MIA-LAX-PPT AA 77W J AF 772 Y.
Last May I was fortunate enough to spend time in French Polynesia for my honeymoon. Of course, I had to document the trip. It will be a three-part trip report. This first report will be covering two 777 flights. First, we flew MIA-LAX on American Airlines 777-300ER in Business. My first time on an AA 77W and trying AA's business product on the 77W
The second was Air France's famous LAX-PPT flight, Air France 76. The flight was on economy though, and given it was an overnight and overwater flight there was not much to report on. In all though, while the flight was fine, Air France has a lot lacking on this route.
Well enough text, and more pictures and descriptions.
We took the quick hop over to MIA for our Sunday afternoon flight to LAX. It was a clear day for flying today. Nothing I like doing more than flying across the USA. Before departure though we headed over to the centurion lounge, which was also close to our gate.
The Centurion Lounge offers great views of some AA gates along with the northern runways.
The lounge at MIA is not very large, but typically offers enough space. The open bar and food is fantastic and is much better than any airline lounge.
There is our airplane. A new 777-300ER for American Airlines.
This would be my 12th time flying MIA-LAX. It certainly is a positive that AA runs its wide body aircraft on the route.
With early boarding we took our seats. We picked the first few rows of Business. I was happy with my choice; it was a very quiet and private part of the cabin.
Here is the seat for the next five hours and 15mins. It was a fantastic space. Tons of space and comfortable, with a big IFE screen and good IFE selection. While I was only on this flight for 5 hours, I could easily see how one could be comfortable for a DFW-HKG flight in business. The 3-4-3 in economy, well I am not so sure about that. I will be trying that out on MIA-LHR this May.
Across looking at my wife's screen. Whiles it is not a JAL business class suite. The seat was great, and the screen was more than good.
Amenity kit was handed out, even for this relatively short domestic flight
And look what it says on the inside.
While I almost always prefer a window seat, the business cabin only has two seats next to each other in the middle row. Typically I would post some pictures of the outside, but of course that would not be possible on this trip. However, you could preview the whole flight on the IFE screen.
Before pushback pre-departures drinks were handed out, along with menus for the dinner flight. While it was a dinner flight, we treated more like a nice lunch given the 5:00pm departure time.
As you can see the options today, we both preordered our Beef Oscar meal prior to the trip.
It was a quick taxi to MIA's runway 26L and then off we went. Given the short flight the 777 shot off into the sky. Shortly after reaching cruising altitude the service began.
Here is my typical drink of choice, Jack & Coke. I enjoyed the US Airways cup. Going retro on the flight.
First the starter and salad. Not the greatest presentation, but I did enjoy the hummus a lot.
Then came the main course, the Beef Oscar. I remember ordering it weeks before. The tin for the sauce again was not the best presentation. The meal though was very good. The steak might have been a bit rare for some, but it tasted great, the crab was even better. I still find it remarkable these meals we can have at 35,000 feet.
Of course no AA meal is complete without an AA Sundae. I know some find it simplistic, but I, being an ice cream lover really enjoy something like this on a flight.
We are well on our way by the time the meal service was done.
While there was no window on this flight to enjoy, I found the IFE options more than suitable for the flight. I enjoyed watching for the first time The Big Short. There were tons of options on this flight to keep anyone entertained.
Around Arizona or so, which is typical for this flight, warm cookies were handed out in the cabin. A simple touch, but a delicious one.
As soon as we knew it we were in LAX to begin our trip. My wife is not the best flyer, however, for the first time ever; she was upset that the flight was coming to an end.
We would then be spending the next two days in L.A. before heading to Tahiti.
The first day we spent going to Universal Hollywood and Magic Castle two must do's in L.A, as long as you can get an invite to the Magic Castle.
If you are ever in Downtown L.A. a stop at the pantry is a must, at least it is for me, just as I have done in my past trip reports.
They really do give you to much food.
Even see airplanes at Universal, at the Water World show
The next day our flight to Tahiti did not depart until 11:55pm. So we took some time to see some LA spots.
We had lunch at Spago in Beverly Hills. My second time there, and the second time Mr. Wolfgang Puck himself was there greeting all his customers.
A quick stop at Griffith Observatory my favorite spot in LA.
Soon enough it was time to head to LAX. There is just something special about major international airports in the evening. All the people going all over the world. The check in area of TBIT really shows that feeling, especially when you are about to hop on one of those airliners. Check-in was quick as we arrived a good 3 hours before departure.
I was a little worried about the flight given a fairly large labor strike going on in Tahiti. Thankfully, it did not affect this flight at all. It would later on in my trip though.
While waiting at security a man was walking briskly with a dog following him. For a second my wife and I thought we were seeing someone get stopped, when in the end it was training for a drug or bombing sniffing dog.
After clearing security we headed to the AA Admirals club to spend some time. I had a drink and a few snacks. There are some nice views in the admirals club as well. LAX is a great airport at night, bustling with action.
About 90-mins before departure time we headed off to TBIT. While my wife rested in the boarding area I took a stroll around. LAX has become a very familiar airport for me over the past eight years, and I enjoy it more every time. I love the diversity of carriers and people along with its busy nighttime action.
While I would have preferred to fly Air Tahiti Nui, especially to get on an A340, we picked Air France, as it was just a better deal. Here is Air Tahiti Nui A340 getting ready to head to PPT as well. They would takeoff about 45-mins before us and arrive earlier in the morning.
There is my ride to Tahiti from LAX, one of the more remote routes in the world. While it was an economy flight I was excited to get going on such an exotic route.
The TBIT feels like a mall more than an airport sometimes.
Soon enough after a fairly confusing boarding process we began to get on the airplane. There was a group of kids heading back home from some martial arts competition. While I was worried how all these kids would be on an overnight flight, it was surprisingly not an issue at all. It was past 12:00am and we were all getting tired. At the time I was not sure whether I had a connecting flight to make in PPT or a connecting ferry due to the on-going Air Tahiti strike at the time.
Once we took our seats the plane really showed its age. The seats at first seemed very uncomfortable, but I guess you get used to it. There were no individual air ducts either. Thankfully I was able to book an aisle towards the back of the plane with two seats making the trip a bit more comfortable.
I found this by my side when I sat down. It was not from my seat.
The older IFE system:
Besides for the older airplane my biggest complaint on this flight would be the service. While it was not bad, the crew kept the lights on for a good 45-60mins on this red eye flight. For a service that consisted of this being thrown at you.
I just did not get it, I rather them save the energy for a better breakfast service.
My IFE often froze and had audio trouble with loud noises coming out of the headphones. I spent the next 5 hours falling in and out of sleep while watching movies on my I-pad. The extremely late takeoff time was appreciated, as it makes sleeping on the flight so much easier.
Here is what I mean by remote route, nothing but water.
About two hours before landing, two hours! All the cabin lights were turned on and breakfast was served. While I appreciated the coffee and pick me up a bit more time to sleep would have been nice. The two breakfast options for econ were a more traditional eggs ands hash brown or apple pancakes. The traditional option was much better. The most important thing was the coffee of course.
A little bit of sunlight peaks out over the Pacific.
The port of Tahiti just before 6am.
Not the best picture, but PPT is right on the coast with water at both sides of the runway. It was really something to know we just landed in such a remote part of the world.
A view of our airplane after another successful Pacific crossing.
The same A340 we saw earlier in LAX
At this point I was still not sure if I was going to take a 5-minute flight or 30-minute ferry to Moorea our first stop. After a fairly quick immigration and customs process we found ourselves in a line for a shuttle bus to the port of Tahiti. While I was looking forward to a 5-minute island hopping flight I was still going to get some Air Tahiti flights in my log for our trip to Bora Bora in a few days. (Part 2)
By the time we were outside of the airport the sun was up. One of the first things you notice is all the green on the island.
While a flight to Moorea would have been enjoyable the ferry ride was great as well. While pulling out of the port we saw our Air France 777 take off already on its way back to LAX.
The island of Moorea. Even being from Miami, and traveling to many other parts of the world I have never seen such a green place, truly tropical.
As we were supposed to fly into Moorea we were not sure if our already scheduled transit would be picking us up at the Ferry Terminal as the airport had no commercial flights. We ended up taking a taxi ride to our hotel, the Hilton Resort on Moorea. Around 8:30am we arrived, grabbed something to eat, changed and then laid by the pool. The cool water of the pool was very refreshing after an overnight flight.
The Hilton Resort in Moorea is small, but in an awesome location with a great beach and open water views.
And this would be the view from our hotel "room" for the next few nights.
That night we saw a tourist traditional fire show. We also ate at another restaurant at the resort, which served French Crepes. One of the best parts was the sharks that hung around for leftovers.
It was an amazing stay. So good, that we hoped our next stop at Bora Bora would be as nice, and it sure was. Part 2 of my report can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1357135&p=19394953#p19394953
Part two focuses only on Air Tahiti and our stay in Bora Bora.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)