Flying into Tahiti, typically Air Tahiti departs LAX at around 4:30 PM and arrives in Tahiti around 10 PM. You stay the first night at the Intercontinental, with a beautiful view of Moorea. The traveler to Tahiti only has a few choices for airlines. While my experiences with Air Tahiti Nui in the past have been very good, this experience was marginal. That coupled with the economy fare at $2000 round-trip, made me question looking at alternatives. On our departure they were more than an hour late. We finally departed sometime after 1:30 am, and got in over an hour late to LAX, which made us miss our next set of flights. Then ended up taking a bus for the last part of our journey home. It was a very long and tiring journey home. I spoke to other travelers who decided to take Air France. Unfortunately they only offer travel to Tahiti a few days per week. But if you’re flexible, that is a much better option.
While our Air Tahiti flight was full, the economy ticket fare holder has the option of upgrading to business class for just over $1000 per leg. This is a great option considering that business class is normally $5000 each way. I always ask for upgrades, since business class is so much more roomy.
It is an eight hour flight minimum. Long haul flight tips include:
– walk, work out, or exercise before the flight as much as possible.
– use compression socks during the flight.
– try to eat only healthy portions of food and do not drink alcohol. The cabin altitude is around 8000 feet. That means the alcohol will have the equivalent effect if you are drinking on top of the mountain. Since the bloodstream does not have as much alcohol effects are very pronounced and much faster. While there are studies that disprove this, I have been around enough drinkers at higher altitude to say that it is true. Try to drink water. If you do drink alcohol, be prepared for headaches after you land.
– try to get up and stretch at least once an hour.
– Airline seats are notoriously uncomfortable for long periods. Aside from a neck pillow, I highly recommend putting a pillow or a small blanket behind your lower back.
– for overnight flights, take a Benadryl, which will help you breathe and sleep easier. Alcohol will not make you sleepy easier, and will actually dehydrate you.
– want to feel refreshed ? Brush your teeth at least once every four hours or after a meal. You’ll be surprised how wonderful and clean your mouth feels.
– do you experience headaches while or after a long flight? Try using disposable foam ear plugs, or the popular Bose noise canceling headsets. The drone of the engines will produce headaches on long flights. I used to get headaches on three hour or longer flights. But when I started using foam earplugs the headaches went away. The harmonics of jet engines are such that foam earplugs, or noise canceling headsets, will eliminate headaches.
– drink hot green tea. Bring your own tea and request hot water from the flight attendant. Hot green tea is used in almost all high-altitude mountain climbing acclimation.
Travel Insurance – Don’t buy it: I was recently denied a claim from AIG Travel Guard for a travel delay, caused by an aircraft maintenance issue. I even provided a letter from the carrier. The delay caused us to miss a $2,000 night resort stay (non-refundable). AIG paid out $100 (policy limit) even though the website (Insuremytrip.com) said on their website that a travel delay was 100 percent covered. AIG denied paying for alternative transportation. Don’t believe the websites selling this type of insurance that it’s 100 percent covered. It’s not. Most of the reviews you see on these trip insurance sales sites are from travelers who don’t file a claim, only that they just that they have purchased insurance and they were relieved to have insurance. That’s a pointless review. The only travel insurance which is worth having is the least expensive. Here’s the technique: when they ask you how much the trip cost is, enter $100. It turns out that you will get quoted the sale medical evacuation insurance whether your trip is $100 or $100,000. Skip all other travel insurance, unless you are happy with getting $100 as a claim settlement. I usually purchase a annual medial evacuation insurance policy, that covers all trips, for about $150-200. That is the only insurance I recommend. If you have a better insurance group, let us know in the comments section. Unfortunately, you won’t know what’s covered, until you have a trip problem, and file a claim, which will get denied by the insurer. That’s how they make their money. When I complained about the claimed coverage on the website, the agent at Insuremytrip.com told me that I could have contacted an agent on the phone, and specifically requested a policy, which includes any delays from aircraft maintenance issues. Well, now how does that make any sense ? How is the customer supposed to know in advance what claim will be denied, and how to tailor coverage to a future event ? That logic is beyond me. Maybe if your a physic you can better predict travel insurance needs.
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