Delta is working on a codesharing and frequent flyer agreement with Air Tahiti Nui.
This is outstanding news for Skymiles members.
Air Tahiti Nui has been a partner with American for a few years and just added Northwest as well.
The gist of those deals is that you can burn American and Northwest miles on Air Tahiti Nui flights but not earn on those flights.
I imagine that if Delta is actually codesharing then there will be the possibility of earning elite qualifying miles on Air Tahiti as well, similar to the Air Tahiti codesharing arrangement with Qantas.
To my mind, though, the real benefit is in burning Skymiles.
From the US Air Tahiti flies from Los Angeles to Tahiti and in July ’05 they’ll begin JFK-Tahiti service as well.
From Tahiti they also serve (among others) Auckland and will begin Sydney service next year. So there will be a new option to get to Australia and New Zealand using Delta miles. And a one-stop from New York to Sydney isn’t bad since currently a stop is required no matter who you fly.
What’s more, Air Tahiti offers outstanding award availability. I recently booked a trip and had no difficulty in finding seats. More than half of the flights I checked saw two first class seats available, and out of curiosity I checked across several months. And since they only offer 6 first class seats in the cabin, finding 2 together most of the time is really something. Business class availability was good too. I didn’t pay much attention to coach.
For all my unhappiness with Delta over time, they’re really adding value to the program bringing on new partners like Alaska (which just went into effect on Monday) and Air Tahiti Nui.