Update for 2018
There has been a huge increase in scheduled flights for 2018 with the introduction of competition from Samoa Airways. With 3-4 flights a day scheduled from Auckland the fares should be cheaper throughout 2018.
The most variable part of the cost of the holiday is typically the flight. Airlines are very focussed 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.
Arriving From NZ
Air New Zealand, Samoa Airways and Virgin have over 20 flights a week from Auckland. Fiji Airways also has several flights a week from Christchurch and Auckland via Fiji.
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, Sunday) are nearly perfect for everyone as they get back to Auckland in time for connecting flights to almost anywhere in NZ.
Virgin's flights leave Auckland about 4pm and return about 1:30am (normally 6 days a week). They are often good value for Aucklanders and those from other centres willing to use two airlines for the trip.
Samoa Airways have 6 flights a week departing Auckland at 11:10am. The return flight lands in Auckland at 10:15am in time to connect to 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 5-7 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.
Air NZ and Virgin offer 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.