Tahiti and Long Haul Flight Tips

Cruising review Tahiti intercontinentalFlying 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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Tropical Paradise – Little Palm Island

CruisingReview-20120423: We recently visited Little Palm in mid April 2012. The best way to get to Little Palm Island is by Key West Seaplanes (see my review there). If you’re flying in to Miami or Key West, KWS can get you to Little Palm in style. The sights from above the keys are amazing.

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Check-in was a breeze. You are greeted at the dock by one of the hosts, and after a short tour of the island and facilities there you are either taken to your suite (hut) or able to just relax if you are before check-in time.

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Our suite 10 (Gull suite) was situated on the northern part of the small 5 acre resort. All of the huts are nestled within the trees and seem very secluded. Most huts have a nice sized living room, full bath and dressing room/make-up table sink, and a poster bed. The huts are spotless – the service staff is amazing at keeping the rooms in paradise very clean. The huts are very dark however, and are showing their age (I’m estimating about 20 years old at this point). I highly recommend the newer accommodations which seem to be a few suites on a multilevel suite nearer the restaurant/bar building on the property. The suite has one shower inside and one outside shower. There is a refrigerator with complimentary water and soda, but you have to pay additional for mini-bottles and snacks. I always find this odd when you’re paying for a high-end resort, why they can’t include a few snacks in the room. A nice tray of fruit or apps each afternoon would be a nice touch.

We had breakfast room-service one day when it was raining. It was probably the fastest service I’ve ever had, and the food was still hot when it arrived through the pouring rain.

There is one small pool at the resort, a beach and assorted beach toys including paddle-boards, kayaks, a Hobie Cat sailboat and the use of about 4 small outboard motor runabouts, which you can take to some of the surrounding Mangrove islands.

The staff at Little Palm Island is amazing. They all make the stay wonderful, and always a cheerful smile and hello.

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The food at the resort is some of the best in South Florida. The chef varies the menu daily, and expect a variety of fresh fish, shellfish and local delicacies. On Saturday and Sunday, they offer a brunch with a good selection of salad, fruit, pastries, drinks and mini-entries (prepared like tapas) so you can sample multiple hot selections

For evening, eating on the beach, under the glow of a Tiki torch during a beautiful sunset can always capture the true mood of Little Palm, which is romance in tropical paradise.

The entire stay at the resort was wonderful.

My recommendations to the resort are to upgrade the suites/huts with lighter fabrics, furniture and trim. Put in a few outdoor jacuzzi’s and raise the huts a few feet so that you can see the ocean.

This is a world-class resort which is a must-see.

Room Tip: Try to pick a newer room. Most of the suite/huts are about 20 years old and they’re showing the…

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