Pamela Wade island-hops aboard VT439.

The plane:

Flown by Air Tahiti (separate from Air Tahiti Nui) it's an ATR 72 which is a twin-engine turboprop seating 70 passengers in a 2x2 configuration. The important feature here is that the wings are above the windows so everyone can have an unimpeded view of those luminous lagoons below.

Class: Just the one, so no seat envy to ruin your tropical vibe.

My seat: It's open seating, so you need to jockey for a good queue position at the departure lounge to ensure a window seat. Sit on the left for breathtaking views of Bora Bora on the way out, and Moorea on the way back.


Price: Around $500 return, depending on the season.

Flight time: Just 45 minutes from pretty good paradise to the real thing.

Fellow passengers: Apparently as many commuting locals as tourists in search of the turquoise cliche.

How full: Chocka, despite there being up to six flights a day on this route.

Entertainment: Just the Reva Tahiti inflight magazine. It's bilingual, so you could brush up on your French. Or, look out of the window and wait for the turquoise.

Food and drink: Only a cup of fruit juice offered free, though you could buy a packaged snack if you're ravenous.

Toilets: Yes - but it's only a 45-minute service. Who's that desperate?

Service: Three cheerful cabin crew in colourful uniforms with not very much to do.

Luggage: They're quite strict about this, on the outward leg anyway. Check-in limit is 23kg and hand luggage (7kg) is weighed too and if it doesn't fit into the test frame, has to be checked in.

Airport experience: At the Papeete end, there's the usual security check with x-ray machines, and hard seats under ceiling fans while you wait for the rush to the head of the queue (see above). At the Bora Bora end, it's a GI-built runway at a motu on the reef with turquoise water, colourful fish, spectacular peaks and boats to everyone's hotels. Fabulous!

Fly again? Of course - it's a quick and easy way to be wafted to your actual tropical paradise.