LAX-SYD J (Y NOU-SYD) on SB (Aircalin) one way from $3.2k

MELso

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TL;DR: LAX-PPT-NOU in J on TN and SB on the 787 and A330neo with NOU-SYD in Y on QF for $3.2k one way.

So I've managed to get myself an award flight from SYD-SFO on Boxing Day for a cruise leaving Fort Lauderdale on 27 December. The issue with award travel is that it's one way, so I am left wondering how to get back (particularly given that no award space seems to be opening up and the flights back are night flights).

So hunting around for a return flight on 19 Jan, I found an intriguing option (and have booked it). Aircalin offers business class most of the way across the Pacific flying LAX-PPT-NOU with an economy seat on their QF code share from NOU-SYD from under $3.2k ($3.8k if you want business right the way through).

The flight is not bookable directly through SB, who only offers LAX-PPT-NOU through their site for $2.8k (although this could be good if you want to book NOU-SYD or NOU-BNE directly through QF) but does show up on Skyscanner and Kayak.

PROS:
- flat bed across (most of) the Pacific
- on a 787 and A330Neo
- champagne and decent food
- lounge access in LAX and PPT

CONS:
- adds 6.5 hours of travel time compared to flying direct
- 2-2-2 on the Air Tahiti Nui flight
- not so good if you want to fly into MEL, BNE or other places (check FJ if that's the case)
- economy from NOU-SYD (J adds about $600)
- can only book points to FlyingBlue
 
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QF have had cheap SYD-NOU J flights for most of the year, might be cheaper to book the final leg separately.
 
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QF have had cheap SYD-NOU J flights for most of the year, might be cheaper to book the final leg separately.
Or reward seats - but probably difficult that time of year. Also, if not intending to stay in NOU, all on one PNR is preferable.

Curious what the return price is? Must suss it out.
 
Or reward seats - but probably difficult that time of year. Also, if not intending to stay in NOU, all on one PNR is preferable.

Curious what the return price is? Must suss it out.
Yeah, while I don't think NOU will be a bustling hive of activity, it's safer to have everything on one PNR with baggage checked through, rather than potentially have to collect and recheck baggage (given the transfer is 90 minutes).

And I did a bit more sussing myself. Looks like the codeshare on Air Tahiti Nui to LAX starts in November on Fridays (plenty of availability from LAX to NOU for $2.8k).

The flight from NOU to LAX is also $2.8K ($5K return, plus a flight to/from SYD or BNE), but goes at about 9.30AM, meaning you'd have to stay in Noumea overnight, so not quite such a deal going over unless you want to add a break in New Caledonia.

EDIT - BNE is also doable if you don't mind a layover, as there's an SB flight leaving at 4.25PM (so a 5.5 hour layover).
 
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