Air Pacific Drops Vancouver
Things are soon to get harder for Canadian travelers visiting the South Pacific. Since 2000, Air Pacific has operated a direct service from Vancouver to Nadi, Fiji, with a stopover in Honolulu. In June 2007 this service will be replaced by a code-share with Harmony Airways. Beginning in June, Air Pacific's Fiji-bound passengers will have to fly Harmony Airways from Canada to Honolulu where they'll change planes. This is only slightly better than Air New Zealand's South Pacific services which require Canadians to take a pay-extra-or-go-hungry Air Canada flight to Los Angeles to connect with Air NZ. At least Harmony Airways feeds their passengers.
Surprisingly, there are no nonstop flights between Canada and the South Pacific islands, New Zealand, or Australia. All Canadian passengers must pass rigorous U.S. immigration, customs, and security controls at Los Angeles or Honolulu even if they're not stopping in the United States. The only way for Canadians and Europeans to avoid these draconian controls is to fly via Asia. Air Tahiti Nui has often talked about launching a nonstop service from Vancouver to Papeete but as yet nothing has been announced.UPDATE: A reader of this blog just sent me the news that Air New Zealand may fly to Vancouver. Nonstop flights from Vancouver to Auckland will begin operating on November 2, 2007. In Europe, the demand for a route to New Zealand that doesn't touch the United States is so great that Air NZ has begun flying Auckland-Hong Kong-London for the first time. Finally, the arrangement between Harmony Airways and Air Pacific has fallen through and all Air Pacific passengers originating in Canada are now routed through Los Angeles.