Polynesian Blue Lands in Samoa

In late October, a new airline called Polynesian Blue began flying from Australia and New Zealand to Apia. Australia-based Virgin Blue, part of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin group, and the Government of Samoa each own 49 percent of the new carrier. Interestingly, the remaining two percent have fallen into the hands of the Grey family, owners of the famous Aggie Grey's Hotel in Apia.

It's rather fitting that the Greys should be holding what could be a controlling interest in PolyBlue as they've just opened a 140-room resort directly below the flight path at Faleolo International Airport on Upolu. Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort and Spa offers almost everything you'd expect of a top end hotel, including a swim-up pool bar, pizza restaurant, and well-managed watersports operation. People who've been there recently rave about the Day Spa, which overlooks a fringing lagoon where 35 Tahitian-style overwater bungalows will soon rise.

Those of us who shudder at the thought of packaged consumer tourism can take solace in the fact that the hordes arriving from Auckland and Sydney on Polynesian Blue will be cooped up at Aggie's for most of their time and not spread evenly around the islands, where they could be a real nuisance. And incidentally, if you've decided to fly Polynesian Blue to save a little money, remember to bring along your own food, drinks, and reading material as movies and meals cost extra on Sir Richard's no-frills flights. Be aware too that Samoan expats have been known to eat almost everything in the plane's galley on the way to Samoa, leaving very little for the return flight to Australia or New Zealand.

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