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Easier flight combinations for South Pacific islands?

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Easier flight combinations for South Pacific islands?

Hi there!

I'm researching for flights ex SE Asia (else ex AUS/ NZ) in low budget terms, for a trip to south pacific islands, including, preferably PNG, perhaps Fiji etc.

The inter-island connections seem far too complicated and expensive.

I have not decided where exactly to go, but since this will be my fist trip to the area, it seems that itinerary should depend greatly on feasibility and cost, instead of hitting my head to the wall, trying to get to certain places.

My ideal (and flexible) plan would be to visit say 3 islands/ countries in about 3 weeks.

Obviously this time frame won't be enough for an in-depth exploration, but I really like to see diffrent places instead of going around or relaxing in one.

I guess that the islands can offer both natural scenery and a glimpse to local people life in each own distinctive way.

I'm definately not looking to just lie on the beach.

Any ideas, experiences, costs for a wallet- friendly flight combo, would be very very helpfull!

Many thanks guys for your time and expertise,

hoping it will be a long but beautiful way over there


Woodford, Australia
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1. Re: Easier flight combinations for South Pacific islands?

Hi Nikolaosk

There being so many islands, the options are pretty extensive, but as you note its complicated and can get expensive.

Two main factors, first the Pacific is vast - Sydney to Tahiti is only crossing half the Pacific, but it is further than Athens to Mumbai. Second, low population means low demand, few flights, not much competition and high prices on many routes.

But your three countries in three weeks option - including PNG and Fiji - is very feasible. posting on other countries' forums will give you other options, but heres my PNG perspective.

First, getting to the region from Europe you'll find flights to/from Australia cheap and plentiful so that is your logical point of arrival - either Brisbane or Sydney.

Air Pacific (Fiji) and Air Niugini (PNG) also fly direct to Hong Kong, possibly a further option as you can find good return fares from Europe to Hong Kong and there are also reasonably priced one way fares to either of these.

From Brisbane and Sydney there are inexpensive one way flights to Fiji or New Zealand (and I booked a very reasonable one way from Fiji to New Zealand not so long ago).

For the Central Pacific (e.g. Tahiti, Tonga, etc), New Zealand is a good place to get to these but of course further from Europe.

For the Western Pacific (Papua New Guinea, Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia) you can get reasonably priced fares to/from Brisbane.

Micronesia (Guam, FSO Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati) is remote from major ports so harder and more expensive to get to. The exception is Guam which has flights with Continental from Tokyo Japan, Manila in the Phillipines and Cairns in Australia. But nothing to either PNG or Fiji.

Now, your preference PNG, Fiji and one other is easy - Air Nuigini or Virgin Pacific both fly from Brisbane to Port Moresby and have reasonably priced one way fares. Qantas usually costs more and is on Air Niugini aircraft anyway. Airlines PNG also has fares from Brisbane and Cairns to PNG, travelling codeshare on the Virgin flights. There are 1-2 flights daily from Brisbane or Port Moresby, 2 a week with Air Niugini from Sydney to Port Moresby,

Note that Port Moresby is the capital of PNG and not an island beach type destination, although there are some interesting options such as Rabaul or Alotau. There is also Loloata island resort, 20 mins from port Moresby airport, who can do a transfer for you. These exist but with the exception of Loloata involve further flights with Air Niugini or Airlines PNG. hence ticketing with one of them makes sense as you can get a through fare/ticket from Australia.

Similarly you can get cheap one way fares from Fiji to Brisbane or Sydney booking with Air Pacific, Virgin Pacific or Qantas (the latter codeshare on Air Pacific aircraft).

Air Niugini also also flies direct from Port Moresby to Fiji on Friday and Sunday, returning Saturday and Monday. However the taxes etc are high for some reason and this will cost you about USD600 or more for a one way flight.

For your further country, a couple of ways to go. Cheapest, and with least flying, would involve a stopover in the Solomons, which is on the Air Niugini route from Port Moresby to Nadi. Note that for the Solomons-Fijii sector you need to book with Solomon Airlines, but that is fairly inexpensive.

The other alternative is a return trip to one of the other destinations served from Fiji by Air Pacific - Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu or Vanuatu. Their website will show shedules and give you fares.

I saw Circle Pacific fares suggested elsewhere but they are limited in terms of options and not always inexpensive. The oneworld circle Pacific Fare will allow you to travel from Aus to PNG and Aus to Fiji, using Qantas ticketing on Air Niugini and Air Pacific aircraft, but you would be stuck with travelling everywhere via Australia.

Hope this helps. The last thing I would do is lots of research using the various airlines' websites for sector by sector fares, and then take some likely options to a travel agent that specialises in the Pacific. Two advantages - they might come up with better options for you, that websites won't. Also they might find pitfalls that you've missed.

Cheers skip

Edited: 11 April 2010, 08:43
2. Re: Easier flight combinations for South Pacific islands?

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