New York to Tahiti (or Laos or Nairobi) Without Spending a Fortune

Going the Dublin route, Norwegian Air had a $467 round trip from Stewart International Airport on a Tuesday in August, landing at 8:20 a.m. on Wednesday. Connecting to Ryanair’s early morning flight to Zadar for $259 round trip would mean spending the night in Dublin, with a similar scheduling problem on the way back, requiring another overnight. Before transfers and hotels, the fare comes to $726, a savings of at least $562. Both low-cost alternatives require overnighting at an additional cost, but may be appealing to those seeking to visit London or Dublin.

The news hasn’t been great for low-cost carriers like Wow Air, which folded in late March, but that hasn’t stopped other start-ups. In Asia, Japan Airlines, for example, has announced its first offshoot, Zipair, which is set to launch in time for the Tokyo Olympics in summer 2020.

Getting to the South Pacific, a relatively remote location, is never going to be cheap. But at least one new airline, French bee, based in Paris, is chipping away at the business. Last year it launched flights to Papeete, Tahiti, from San Francisco.

For mid-August travel, Orbitz offers the lowest fare from Newark to Papeete at $1,600 on United, stopping in San Francisco.

Using French bee would require finding a flight to San Francisco from New York City and making sure the flight schedules linked up comfortably, to allow for customs and immigration clearance on the return before connecting to a domestic flight home. Google Flights came up with a $282 nonstop between Newark and San Francisco on United for the appropriately timed trip, and French bee offers its round trip at $831. The trip would total $1,113, a nearly $500 savings compared to the Orbitz itinerary.

Flights on small airlines carry their own unique risks. For instance, travelers may be stranded on carriers that don’t have backup planes and flights to take up overflow when weather strikes or mechanicals fail. Also, since the flights aren’t linked, the second airline may not honor your ticket if you miss a flight because of a delay by the other, and you can’t check bags through to your final destination. In this case, it’s a $487 gamble.

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