Air Tahiti Nui Business Class Bottom Line
Air Tahiti Nui provides a unique experience crossing the Atlantic. The airline’s warm crews, solid food and Tahitian pride make this flight a real treat.
The Good: Warm crews that exude passion for their job and pride for Tahiti. A well stocked amenity kit and solid food offerings round it up.
The Bad: Award availability can be spotty. 2x2x2 business class is not my favorite configuration. The seats can feel narrow when in lie flat mode.
The Noteworthy: I can’t say enough nice things about this crew. They were warm, attentive, proactive and diligent. The service was the real highlight of the flight.
Gate at CDG
Boarding for this Air Tahiti Nui flight was done by bus. Our aircraft had been parked at a remote stand across from the terminal, so we could see the aircraft, but alas had to board by bus. Business class boarding began promptly at (*****). Once on the bus, we had to wait for it to fill up, as there was no bus for business class passengers. As soon as we made it to the aircraft we were ushered to the stairway. The agents/security were very strict about photography on the tarmac. However, when we got onboard, the friendly crew welcomed every passenger with a smile. For business class passengers, the crew was handing out flowers. I don’t know if they did this for the whole aircraft, but it’s the little things that make flights special!
Airline: Air Tahiti Nui
Cabin: Business Class
Flight Number: TN007
Route: Paris CDG-Los Angeles LAX
On Time: Yes
Seat and Cabin
Air Tahiti Nui’s business class is organized in a 2x2x2 configuration across 5 rows, providing 30 seats. I was seated on the bulkhead row, seat 1A. Waiting at each seat were a plush pillow, a blanket, an amenity kit and a headset. Each seat has a large IFE screen. Most seats have a very small footwell, so I recommend getting any of the bulkhead seats because they have larger footwells.
Seat controls are located in the middle armrest, and are pretty straightforward. The IFE remote, which doubles as a screen for the moving map, is also located there.
The amenity kit was well stocked with all the essentials, as well as fairly large samples of an Air Tahiti Nui branded skin care products. These were more than fine for a daytime flight. The amenity kits had the Air Tahiti Nui name and logo printed on them.
The noise cancelling headphones were specific for business class. Considering they were not branded, they were pretty good at cancelling out noise and solid sound quality.
Departure and Take Off
As passengers began to settle in, the flight attendants began offering passengers pre-departure beverages. The options were water, orange juice and rosé champagne. I ordered the OJ, and my seatmate ordered the rosé. At this point, the captain came on the PA to welcome us onboard, and estimated that we would have an on-time departure leading to an early arrival. The flight was clocked at 10:35 minutes in the air.
We took off from a rainy CDG airport and headed west to LAX. We got some great views of Paris-Le Bourget Airport, home of the Paris Airshow later in the year, as we took off.
Air Tahiti Nui offers a multi course meal in business class. They also offer an extensive drinks menu, which seems to double as an advertising brochure for the drink makers. The menu and drinks list read as follows:
To start off the service, flight attendants came by with warm towels presented in a shell. The shell had the Air Tahiti Nui logo and was laced with mother of pearl. I don’t know if these were original, but they were the most original way to present a towler I had ever seen. Soon after, the flight attendant came by and set up linens for the meal. The linens were also branded with the Air Tahiti Nui logo.
The meal service began with drinks, I ordered water and champagne, as well as packaged nuts. Immediately after, a cart pulled by with the amuse-bouche. It consisted of foie gras and a shrimp taco of sorts. The foie gras was good, and I usually don’t like foie gras. The shrimp was tasteless, however.
The appetizer was larger than what you would expect in most other airlines. It consisted of two slices of duck breast. There was also a large shrimp. They were accompanied by parmesan cheese and a citrus salad. There was a side salad, too. The appetizer was very flavorful, with the duck breast pairing well with the cheese, and the shrimp well seasoned. The salad was small, but it did its job.
For my main course, I ordered the lobster with mashed potatoes. I had never seen lobster served in business class, and seldom in first, so I wanted to give it a chance. I was surprised by the portion and flavor of the meal. The sauce was perfectly paired with the lobster, however the lobster itself was a bit chewy and overcooked. It was, overall, better than most main courses you get in transatlantic business class. The mashed potatoes felt less flaky than most airline mashed potatoes, which was good.
For dessert, I had the chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet. I don’t often see sorbets offered in business class, usually reserved as a palate cleanser in some first class cabins. The sorbet was pretty good. The chocolate cake was soft, moist and rich. It was the perfect finish top the meal. By this point I was so full I barely picked at the panna cotta.
All three desserts
Mid Flight Snacks
After I slept for about 5 hours, I was offered a choice of drinks by the flight attendant who saw me awake. I ordered a coffee and any sort of snacks that had. They came by with my coffee and a selection of chips and cookies. I chose a French biscuit, which went well with the coffee. The coffee itself was not great, but I needed the caffeine. The FA also offered me a small chocolate to go with the coffee.
Pre Arrival Meal
My experience with most pre-arrival meals is that airlines serve them in a single tray. And there is usually not that much variety. On Air Tahiti Nui, each course for the meal is served individually, and there are two hot options. The tables were set similarly to the main meal, however the hot towels were not presented in the stunning shell as before.
The appetizer consisted of “exotic chicken salad” which I describe more as a cold chicken breast with fruit. The chicken was flavorless, so I just picked at it.
For my main course, I ordered the risotto. Its flavor was good, however the rice was undercooked. There was also one single sundried tomato.
The fruit plate and yoghurt dessert had been presented with the tray. I didn’t eat either because I don’t like yoghurt and wasn’t in the mood for fruit. The fruit did look fresh. To finish, the FA’s came by offering candy.
IFE & Wifi
Air Tahiti Nui offers a unique system on their IFE screens. You can connect your device via a specific Air Tahiti Nui app. With the app, you can control the screen, select movies to a playlist before you board, and a plethora of other abilities I was unable to use because I did not know of the feature. Overall, their selection of movies was not on par with most other carriers. I had already seen all the movies I liked that they had. They also had very few TV shows I was interested in. I did enjoy their selection of Tahitian videos, promoting the islands. For most of the flight, the screen was turned to the moving map.
Air Tahiti Nui offers wifi on board. It is super expensive though. I did not try it out because of the price.
I am not a big fan of the B/E Diamond Seats that Air Tahiti Nui has on their 787s. If you can, try to snag a seat in the first row, as they have larger footwells. Otherwise, the footwells are very narrow and uncomfortable if you are tall or have large feet. I was able to sleep for a few hours on the flight, mainly because I was exhausted due to jet lag.
Notes on Service, Other
The service on this flight was excellent. It felt like genuine Tahitian hospitality. As soon as I was awake after sleeping, I was offered coffee, at every individual interaction I was referred to by name, everytime someone interacted with a FA, they smiled and were polite. The interactions between the crew were fun, cordial and sincere. On more than one occasion, I saw the purser joke around with the crew and passengers, making them all smile. There was only a minimal language barrier.
Landing and Arrival
Too soon we were preparing to land at LAX. The captain came on the PA and announced we would be arriving about 40 minutes early and that a gate would be available. As soon as the seat belt sign was turned on, the FAs came by and thanked each row for flying Air Tahiti Nui. Our approach to LAX was smooth, and in no time we were on the ground.
Air Tahiti Nui is a unique airline. Their Fifth Freedom Route between CDG and LAX had been on my bucket list for a long time. I was not disappointed. The crew was friendly and embodied Tahitian pride and hospitality. Food was really good, but not the most amazing I have had. The seats are okay, and make sense since most people who come to Tahiti are coming as a family or as couples. I strongly recommend Air Tahiti Nui and can’t wait to someday fly them to their home island.
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