Saturday, 18 March 2017

Saturday/Sunday, March 11-12, 2017 – Journey to French Polynesia (YYJ-YVR-LAX-PPT)

The first time April went to French Polynesia she was 11 years old. April's family was supposed to spend three weeks doing a house exchange in Tahiti. Three weeks turned into five weeks and no one in April's family wanted to leave. They even looked at real estate in Tahiti.

When planning for our honeymoon in 2008, we debated a number of different places for our honeymoon. April told Bill again of one of her favourite vacations ever, which was the Tahiti trip. We finally decided to have our honeymoon in French Polynesia. We spent three glorious sun-filled weeks there in August of 2008. We visited the islands of Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Maupiti. We have dreamed of returning to paradise ever since.

We wanted to take one last big trip before the arrival of our first child. Perhaps this is ambitious for a "babymoon," but we think it is the perfect sequel to our honeymoon.


We left Victoria (YYJ) at 11:30 AM on Air Canada…well, we should have. The plane was delayed until almost 12:30 PM. We had to clear security in Victoria, but since we were flying Air Canada though to LAX, we had to clear US customs in YVR. Bill’s passport wouldn’t scan, again, which is the same problem we had last year in Europe. He has a NEXUS card and was able to go through the NEXUS line, but because April doesn’t have one, she had to go through the regular line. It seemed a little odd since we were travelling as a family, but we did as the agents instructed us.


Between the late arrival time and the delay in customs, we ended up with less time in YVR than we had expected. We quickly bolted our Burger King lunch before boarding our second flight.

The flight to LAX from YVR is about 2.5 hours. April found this uncomfortable, even more so being pregnant. However, Bill was able to get us seats in the emergency aisle that were right by a washroom, so we were as comfortable as we could be. Both of us watched the Harry Potter related movie Magical Beats and Where to Find Them, but were unable to finish the movie before the plane arrived.

YVR to LAX: Emergency Aisle

In LAX, we picked up our bags as we were not able to check them through all the way to Tahiti since we were changing airlines (Air Canada/Star Alliance to Air France/Skyteam). We weren’t able to check into our next flight for about four hours, so we were stuck with our two medium sized suitcases and our carry-on bags while we idled away the time.

We ate dinner at a cheesy Plant Hollywood location because everything else seemed even less appealing. While we waited for our chicken Caesar salads to arrive, we read the trivia facts about so-called celebrities.

Departures at Bradley International - LAX

Idling away the time...
After we checked in our bags with Air France, we had to go through CBT security. These agents were by far the worst. Even after April asked not to be scanned in the machine because she was pregnant, the agent refused to do a pat-down. However, as April was already walking through the machine another agent told Bill that she could request a pat down instead of going through the machine. Gee thanks for that useful information too late.

We sat around at the Air France gate for hours waiting to board our flight. We had a snack while we waited.

Waiting for people to let us onto the plane

Our flight from LAX to Tahiti (PPT) was at 11:30 PM. We boarded the flight and had seats at the very back, conveniently located near to the washroom. The plane was a Boeing 777 and we noticed that even when the seats in front of us were up, there was absolutely no leg room. This is in contrast to the Air Canada 777s that Bill has taken where the seat pitch and leg room was definitely more comfortable. It’s not often that we compliment Air Canada, but it scores better than Air France in this regard.

Finally boarded
The flight was about 8 hours and 40 minutes. We tried to sleep, but it was very uncomfortable. April felt sick to the stomach and kept on having to go to the bathroom, and Bill had a horrible cough from a cold that he was trying to get over. We felt like we were never going to make it to Tahiti, but of course we did…it just felt like the longest flight ever.

We landed at dawn at Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti. It was already extremely humid when we stepped off the plane (it’s technically their Autumn right now, which is known for higher temperatures and more humidity than when we visited last time). We had to go through customs and were not well instructed on how to fill out the immigration card. As French Polynesia is part of the EU, April didn’t need to fill out the immigration card as she holds a EU passport, whereas Bill who only holds a Canadian passport needed to fill one out. Due to this error we were delayed and were the last ones to get out of customs and retrieve our bags.

We were happy that our bags made it, but instantly frustrated when we had great difficulty getting any local money out of the one ATM at the Faa’a International Airport. We couldn’t obtain local currency ahead of time as it is not available where live (or many places, for that matter), and we needed cash to pay for the cab to the hotel. Eventually, we were able to obtain a small amount of cash and a taxi to take us to the hotel.

No comments:

Post a Comment