The Guide to Flights in Tonga©
The Guide to Flights in Tonga

Domestic Flights in Tonga: A Guide to Interisland Flights


The Complete Guide to Flights in Tonga

There’s no denying that flying is the fastest, easiest and most comfortable (and not to mention, fun in one Twin-Otters) 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 the flight schedules, booking process and check-in process in this guide to flights in Tonga.

5 Quick Tips for Taking Scheduled Flights in Tonga

  1. There are two different baggage allowances depending on your fare type – 23 kg (50.7 lbs) and 15 kg (33 lbs)
  2. Booked your flight a few months ago? Contact Lulutai Airlines closer to the date to ensure the flight is still scheduled
  3. Flights are commonly cancelled/rescheduled in Tonga due to bad weather. You will be rebooked onto the next available flight free of charge but will not receive a refund
  4. With the above point in mind, never take a domestic flight to connect with your international flight out of Tonga
  5. Look out for special offers on the Lulutai Airlines website, particularly in the low season!

For more handy tips, take a look at the full list in our guide, Flights in Tonga: 10 Things You Need to Know.

The Guide to Flights in Tonga(c)

Lulutai Airlines Flight Schedule: Where Can You Fly to 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.

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 are per day. Note that no flights operate on a Sunday.

  • TongatapuVava’u – 1 hour – 3-4 flights daily
  • Tongatapu – Ha’apai – 50 minutes – 2 flights daily
  • Tongatapu – ‘Eua – 10 minutes – 1-2 flights daily
  • Vava’u – Niuatoputapu – 1 hr 10 mins – 1 flight a week
  • Vava’u – Niuafo’ou – 1 hr 30 mins – 1 flight a week/1 flight a fortnight.

For more information on flight destinations within Tonga, see Where Can You Fly to in Tonga? As for airfares, check out How Much Does it Cost to Fly in Tonga?

The Guide to Flights in Tonga©

Booking Domestic Flights in Tonga

One of the nuances of taking a flight in Tonga is the booking process. At the time of writing, Lulutai Airlines‘ website is not exactly intuitive with most bookings taking multiple days to be confirmed online (it’s usually quicker and easier to call). The website also doesn’t display “23 kg bag fares” which most tourists require. However, this can be amended later in the booking process, but note that there will be around a 8-15% fare increase.

When making a booking through the Lulutai Airlines’ website, note that your booking needs to be manually processed before you will receive an email to confirm your booking. Therefore, it may take up to 4-5 business days to receive your tickets, especially if your booking has been made on a Sunday (Tonga time) when the Lulutai Airlines office is closed as per Tongan law.

Needless to say, patience is definitely needed when making flight bookings in Tonga. Bear in mind that Tonga is a developing nation that doesn’t have easy access to international payment gateways.

On a final note about booking, be sure to contact Lulutai Airlines closer to your travel dates to confirm that your flight is still scheduled. We have a lot more essential tips like this in our guide, Flights in Tonga: 10 Things You Need to Know.

The Guide to Flights in Tonga©

Tonga Domestic Flight Formalities

How do domestic flights work in Tonga? The main hub for domestic flights in Tonga is Fua’amotu International Airport on Tongatapu. The domestic terminal is located approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) drive from the international terminal with taxis connecting them both. Lupepau’u International Airport in Vava’u also has domestic connections to Tongatapu and The Niuas. The domestic and international terminals are located within the same building.

The Check-in Process

For domestic flights in Tonga, you are required to check in an hour prior to the scheduled departure. During check-in, not only will your check-in baggage be weighed but you will also be weighed, which is to determine your seat number to balance the plane – typically done when taking smaller aircraft. Note that you will usually be weighed with your carry-on bag.

You will also receive a ticket which is hand-written with your name and seat number. Show this to the attendant before crossing the tarmac to your flight.

If you or anyone you are booking for has special needs, make sure that you contact Lulutai Airlines to make special arrangements – see more advice in Accessibility in Tonga: Travellers with Disabilities, Wheelchair Access & More.

The Guide to Flights in Tonga©

Baggage Allowance for Flights in Tonga

The baggage allowance with Lulutai Airlines works a little differently from other airlines.

Check-in Baggage Allowance

The easy rule to keep in mind is that each check-in bag should weigh no more than 23 kg (50.7 lbs) or 15 kg (33 lbs) – depending on the type of fare purchased – with dimensions not exceeding 158 cm (62 in) in linear measurement (width+height+length). Any check-in baggage over the weight allowance can be up to a maximum of 30 kg (66 lbs) but excess baggage fees will still apply.

Your check-in baggage is usually weighed and must be within the weight and dimensions of the baggage allowance. However, if you have multiple bags in your party to check in, note that baggage allowance/weight can be shared across multiple bags as long as each bag does not weigh more than 30 kg (66 lbs) the sum of the greatest outside linear dimensions (length+width+height) does not exceed 270 cm (106 in). In other words, you don’t have to physically transfer items to make all the bags weigh 23 kg. If, for instance, you are a couple with a 23-kg bag ticket each and have one bag in your group that weighs 26 kg, a 26-kg bag and a 20-kg bag is usually fine.

Carry-on Baggage Allowance

Lulutai Airlines takes a more relaxed approach to carry-on bags. Although the carry-on luggage allowance for Lulutai Airlines is 5 kg (11 lbs), they are lenient if your bag is the standard 7 kg (15 lbs) that most international airline allowances are. Carry-on baggage, like handbags, small backpacks, etc. are not usually weighed unless they look like they need it. You can usually carry multiple small items without an issue.

Oversize Baggage

Oversize baggage and sporting or music equipment are permitted subject to space. If there is no room for oversized baggage, it may be transported on the next available flight.

Oversized baggage is any baggage that exceeds the baggage allowance (see “Baggage Allowance for Flights in Tonga” above). Note, however, that the maximum weight accepted per piece is 30 kg (66 lbs).

Passengers can go over the limit to at least 1 kg (2 lbs) 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.

For oversized baggage fees, head on over to How Much Does it Cost to Fly in Tonga?

More About Domestic Flights in Tonga

That’s it for the guide to domestic flights in Tonga. For more about interisland travel in The Kingdom, take a look at the following:

Finally, 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 WeekThe Best Tonga Itineraries for 5 Days and The Best Tonga Itineraries for a Weekend.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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