The winter chill is giving me some big time resort and tropical weather longing.
Reminiscing about our Maldives trip, I realised we’ve gone on 6 seaplane flights. Going on a seaplane is easily one of the highlights of travelling to the Maldives. Some people hate it (if you are claustrophobic you might fall under this group) and some love it.
I of course am on the “love it” group but after a couple of seaplane transfer rides, I still enjoyed the ride but the novelty and giddyness have worn off so I’m now able to present to you:
* Edited- these are things to know when flying in a sea plane in the Maldives*
1.) There is only ONE Seaplane company / airline.
There used to be 2 ( Trans Maldivian Airways and Maldivian Air Taxi, but in 2013 both were acquired by a company called Blackstone, and now operate under the official name of Trans Maldivian Airways.
Your resort of choice will usually book the seaplane transfers for you.
2.) After you check in, you will hop on a bus
Once you are checked in and are given your boarding pass, you will be herded to go on a mini-bus with other passengers. You have to take note which gate you need to get off ( A, B or C) which will be advised to you by the check-in agent.
3.) Departure and arrival times are mere approximates
On our 6 seaplane transfers, none ever departed or landed on time. And I’m not whining or complaining. I’m just telling it exactly how it was.
There is no point getting agitated. Because for some reason I cannot fully explain, they all manage to work it out. There seems to be very good communication between Trans Maldivian and all the resorts, because no matter how we would arrive hours later than the expected ETA at a resort and we would greet the resort in a barrage of apologies, the resort staff carried on like it’s nothing, and it IS nothing. All of them know that no seaplane ever arrived on time and that it is normal.
If you find yourself getting annoyed at the delays, I suggest you just chill. There is no point. You will eventually get to your resort 🙂
And to be honest, I didn’t mind the delays because…
4.) The boarding ‘gates’ are like a resort in itself
And this is the boarding area for general resorts. Some resorts have their private lounge, and those are even more conducive to an environment that will give you an “i-don’t-mind-any-flight-delays-at-all” attitude. (Read my review on NIYAMA Resort’s Male Airport Lounge)
Regardless if you are waiting on the general boarding area or a resort’s private lounge, I can tell you that they will really make you welcome any flight delays with zen.
5.) The pilots wear board shorts
Which I think was pretty cool given how humid it is in the Maldives. And if you think this isn’t cool enough….
6.) They fly the plane barefoot too
7.) It is extremely noisy inside the sea plane
Most especially during take off and landing. It’s like having the engine of a dozen Harley-Davidsons rev up ride beside you. They provide earplugs for this. The earplugs are not so much for pressure but the noise.
8.) There will be ‘stop-overs’
Take note that the destinations of the seaplanes are all resorts (all resorts are their own island). So if a resort happens to be on the way / route going to another resort, chances are the seaplane company will round up all the guests on those 2-3 resorts and will drop off guests accordingly. If you are on the last resort, this means you get to take off and land several times. Which was exciting for me, and not so much for other people.
9.) Pack light, and pack sturdy.
You are allowed 20 Kg baggage allowance plus an extra 5kg of hand carry. Oh take note btw that the ‘hand carry’ items will be stowed at the back of the plane as well.
There’s a bit of chance that your bags will get wet. The photo above, we had just landed and were waiting on the pontoon for the resort boat to pick us up. The waters were choppy and the bags were getting sploshed a little here and there with the space in between the wooden slats.
Our bags fared well as they were a hard case, but I feel bad for the folks who owned the soft case bags to the left.
Read my Victorinox luggage review which I took with me for this Maldives trip.
10.) There is a mini-sized In Flight Magazine and a mini Safety Instruction card as well
Readers Digest -sized 🙂
11.) Finally, no matter how cramped, hot or noisy it is inside a sea plane….
The view will be undeniably beautiful
Have you been on a seaplane? Did you like the experience?
If not, would you go on one?