Update for 2020
There are several changes to flights for 2020.
- Air New Zealand now has one flight a day from Auckland. Half of these depart Auckland at 3:50pm allowing connections from anywhere in NZ. The other half leave at 8:50am - but return in time to connect with anywhere in NZ.
- Samoa Airways has 7 flights a week from Auckland (these are timed to fit with same day connections to most NZ cities)
- Virgin flies direct from Sydney and Brisbane 3 times a week. The Friday night flight from Sydney can connect with the Friday 10 day Savaii Escape.
- Samoa Airways is also offering 4 flights a week form Australia (from Sydney and Brisbane).
- Fiji Airways is expanding its services to Samoa and upgrading to 737s on the routes. Fiji flights are sometimes available as Qantas code shares.
- Virgin has 3 flights a week (from Sydney and Brisbane).
The most variable part of the cost of the holiday is typically the flight. Airlines are very focused on selling direct via the web with big discounts for early, fixed bookings. Air New Zealand in particular, periodically has 1-3 day Islands on Sale" specials. Our general advice is book these when you see them. We have created more fixed- start-date tours to make this easier.
Note that at time of writing none of the discount flight searchers (e.g. Webjet) covered all the above airlines, so some manual searching or a good agent is needed.
Arriving From NZ
For people living outside Auckland, Air NZ is the most convenient with good connections via Auckland. However Samoa Airways can be both cheaper and at more convenient times (albeit with 2 separate tickets).
The Air New Zealand afternoon flights to Samoa have connections from most parts of the country. The flights arrive in Samoa about 8:30pm. The Air NZ morning flights (Usually Tue, Thu, Sat and some Sundays) are often on Dreamliners and very convenient for Aucklanders, but too early for a same day connection from the rest of NZ.
Air NZ afternoon flights from Apia (Tue, Thu, Sat) are nearly perfect for everyone as they get back to Auckland in time for connecting flights to almost anywhere in NZ.
Fiji Airways is a good choice for people wanting to visit multiple Pacific Islands and sometimes a backup for last minute bookings when there are no discount fares on the other airlines. They have recently committed to 787-800 jets on the Apia leg - so we may see some sharper pricing.
Arriving from Sydney or Brisbane
Virgin and Samoa Airways offer 7 direct flights a week from Australia. These are overnight flights arriving before 6am. The flights are only about 5 hours, with a 3 hour time difference and the first day becomes a bit of a write-off.
Samoa Airways flights to Australia are very conveniently timed at 6pm, arriving before 8:30pm. Virgin flights require a 3 or 4am start and are not such a good end to a holiday.
Air NZ offers many connections from Australia via Auckland to Samoa. These take a bit longer and sometimes are a bit more expensive, but they can be at much more civilised times.
Fiji Airways sometimes has flights that work and as they can be booked on a Qantas codeshare, are appealing to Qantas frequent fliers.