What You Need to Know About Flights in Tonga
There’s no denying that flying is the fastest, easiest and most comfortable way to travel the Kingdom of Tonga. Domestic flights connect the five main island groups of Tonga through the nation’s one and only domestic carrier, Lulutai Airlines. While flying in Tonga allows you to get to some of Tonga’s most stunning array of islands, it does come with a few restrictions and quirks worth knowing about. We’ll go through it all in this guide to flights in Tonga.
Tips for Flying in Tonga
- Be aware of the limited baggage allowance – 10/15kg (22/33lbs)!
- Baggage excess charges don’t start applying until you’re at least 1kg (2lbs) over the limit
- Book your flight as early as possible to get cheaper rates
- Look out for special offers on the Lulutai Airlines website, particularly in the low season
- Flights are commonly cancelled/rescheduled in Tonga due to bad weather, low visibility, the royal family using the planes, pigs on the runway, etc. You will be rebooked onto the next available flight free of charge
- With the above point in mind, never take a domestic flight to connect with your international flight out of Tonga!
For more tips, see 10 Tips for Flying in Tonga.
Domestic Flights in Tonga
Domestic flights are available in Tonga to connect all of the major island groups. Lulutai Airlines, formerly Real Tonga Airlines, has operated all domestic flights in Tonga since 2020.
When travelling by plane in Tonga, it’s important to note the baggage allowance for domestic flights, which is much more limited than international flights.
The baggage allowance for flights from Tongatapu to Vava’u and Ha’apai is 15kg (33lbs). For flights between Tongatapu and ‘Eua, it’s 10kg (22lbs) and between Vava’u and Niuatoputapu and Niuafo’ou, it’s also 10kg.
Passengers can go over the limit to at least 1kg (2lbs) more. Any more, and you’re likely to receive an excess baggage charge. However, some check-in staff are relaxed about excess baggage, waiving the fee, but we can’t guarantee that experience every time.
Where Can You Fly to in Tonga
Travellers can fly to the five different island groups of Tonga across six different domestic airports. Flights from Tongatapu operate daily (except Sunday), while less frequent flights also operate from Vava’u.
Flight Routes in Tonga
Here’s a quick overview of the flight routes in Tonga, their duration and how many flights there is a day. Note that no flights operate on a Sunday.
- Tongatapu – Vava’u – 45 minutes-1 hour – 3-4 flights daily
- Tongatapu – Ha’apai – 50 minutes – 2-3 flights daily
- Tongatapu – ‘Eua – 10 minutes – 2-3 flights daily
- Vava’u – Niuatoputapu – 1h10mins – 2 flights a week
- Vava’u – Niuafo’ou – 1h30mins – 1 flight a month
For more information on flight destinations within Tonga, see Where Can You Fly to in Tonga?
Airports in Tonga
There are six airports used for domestic flights by Lulutai Airlines in Tonga. They have varying facilities and runways: two coral airstrips, one grass airstrip and one runway with a main road crossing through the middle. Here are the name of the airports in Tonga and where they are located:
- Fua’amotu International Airport (Tongatapu)
- Lupepau’u International Airport (Vava’u)
- Salote Pilolevu Airport (Lifuka Island, Ha’apai)
- Kaufana Airport (‘Eua)
- Mata’aho Airport (Niuatoputapu)
- Kuini Lavinia Airport (Niuafo’ou)
Learn more about the facilities of each airport, as well as which airlines service them in What Are the Airports in Tonga?
What are the Costs of Flights in Tonga?
Like most places in the world, air travel is the most expensive means of getting between islands. Take a look at the list below to see typical prices for domestic flights in Tonga.
Lulutai Airlines Fare Types
There are three types of fares available with Lulutai Airlines: Flexi FARE, K Fare and Fare Class.
Flexi FARE is the most expensive type of airfare allowing passengers to reschedule a flight up to 24 hours before departure free of charge.
K Fare is a cheaper type of airfare where rescheduling a flight incurs a fee of around TOP$30 when made 48 hours before departure.
Fare Class is the cheapest type of airfares, usually only available when there is a sale, where rescheduling a flight costs around TOP$50 when made no later than 72 hours before departure.
Typical Airfares for Domestic Flights in Tonga
The following prices are one-way fares for standard tickets only:
- Tongatapu to Vava’u – Around TOP$340/adult, TOP$230/child, TOP$33/infant
- Tongatapu to Ha’apai – Around TOP$240/adult, TOP$160/child, TOP$23/infant
- Tongatapu to ‘Eua – Around TOP$100/adult, TOP$52/child, TOP$9/infant
- Ha’apai to Vava’u (via Tongatapu) – Around TOP$580/adult, TOP$400/child
Flights to Niuatoputapu are on “flexi” tickets only at the following prices:
- Tongatapu to Niuatoputapu (via Vava’u) – Around TOP$685/adult, TOP$473/child, TOP$67/infant
- Vava’u to Niuatoputapu – Around TOP$385/adult
- Tongatapu to Niuafo’ou (via Vava’u) – Around TOP$733/adult
How to Book Flights in Tonga
Flights with Lulutai Airlines can be booked directly on their website or over the phone. Travel agents can also book flights on your behalf.
How to Save Money on Flights in Tonga
There are a number of ways to see cheaper airfares for domestic flights in Tonga. First, booking as early as possible usually sees cheaper fares than booking closer to the departure date. Second, Lulutai Airlines often do airfare sales, particularly in the off-season and around November and Christmas, with example fares being to Vava’u at TOP$200, to Ha’apai for TOP$150 and to ‘Eua for TOP$50 (tax-exempt). It’s always worth checking out the “Special Offers” tab on the Lulutai Airlines website.
For more money-saving tips and other costs associated with flight travel in Tonga, see How Much Does it Cost to Fly in Tonga?
More About Flights in Tonga
- 10 Ways to Get to Tongatapu (& Around Tongatapu)
- 5 Ways to Get to Ha’apai (& Around Ha’apai)
- 10 Ways to Get to Vava’u (& Around Vava’u)
- 5 Ways to Get to ‘Eua (& Get Around ‘Eua)
- 5 Ways to Get to The Niuas (& Get Around The Niuas)
That’s it for the guide to flights in Tonga. For itineraries to inspire you on where to visit, take a look at the following compilations: The Best Tonga Itineraries for 2 Weeks, The Best Tonga Itineraries for 1 Week, The Best Tonga Itineraries for 5 Days and The Best Tonga Itineraries for a Weekend.