If you are going to American Samoa, one option would be to use Polynesian Airlines. They are the airline that is owned by the government in Samoa and they currently only serve Tutuila from the Fagali Airport.
They use to have long haul flights until Virgin Samoa signed a deal with the government. Polynesian Airlines was in financial trouble so they just focused on the short flights to American Samoa because well, it is a cash cow for them. They can charge $100 each way and do it all day.
Their main competitor is Inter Island Airways that has bigger planes so they use the international airport. A third airline, Samoa Air tried to get a foot in the door but failed to do so.
Polynesian Airlines benefit: Fagali Airport
For me, it is getting in a small plane that flies 25-35 minutes no matter who I use. The main reason that I used Polynesian Airlines was they fly from Fagali Airport. That means I am just 10 minutes from Apia when I go to the airport; not 40-50 minutes like when I go to the international airport.
The other reason is that the airport is aimed toward the US territory so there is less bending around on arrival. A more direct line of sight in a small plane makes the trip a little less adventurous.
However, this is no first class airline by any means. It is a rough trip over the US territory and back. If I could, I would rather take the ferry to American Samoa.This eight seat prop planes just are not my cup of tea.
These little planes are scary
However, being in a small plane full of big Samoans means you need every inch of runway and the planes are really old. Call me a wimp but I didn’t like being in such a small plane with that much age on it. I love Samoans but maintenance is not one their best traits.
I just wish that Inter Island Airways came to Fagali Airport so I didn’t have to go all the way to the International Airport to use them. Fagali is what makes Polynesia Airlines so appealing to travelers to American Samoa.
What is your experience?
Have you used them recently? If you have, what was your experience? I would love to hear about it and what your thought of riding in the small planes to American Samoa? Do you share the same idea as I or do you like the adventure of these planes? Let me know!