Seaplane transfers in the Maldives, how they work.
16 Dec 2018
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When heading to the Maldives, you'll arrive at Male International Airport, which perhaps surprisingly isn't on the capital island of Male itself, but instead on neighboring Hulhumale. Then, depending on the location of your chosen resort, you’ll be transported by speedboat, domestic flight or seaplane. To find out more about the arrivals process, read this article.
Walking out into the Arrivals Hall at Male Airport you will be met by a representative from your travel company or resort and taken to the seaplane check-in desk, where you'll be given boarding passes and advised about the time of boarding. These times are approximate as it all depends on the weather, and the arrival of other passengers. Next you'll be taken by minibus or car to your designated departure lounge at the Trans Maldivian Aviation jetty. This journey only takes a couple of minutes.
With a seaplane you’ll need to be prepared for a little hanging around as passengers are collected from a cluster of incoming international flights, but it is definitely worth the wait. Whilst waiting for other guests to arrive you can relax with light refreshments, and once your departure time arrives you will be walked out onto the jetty and into your allocated 15-seater plane (twin engine Otter).
My Top Tip: Each passenger is allowed 20kg of baggage and 5kg of hand luggage to carry on.
Your focus will be outside the window, as you soar over picture-perfect islands of all shapes and sizes. You'll be flying low enough to ensure an incredible clear aerial view of the luxury over-water villas, powdery sandbanks, and, as you climb higher, you'll see the reefs, lagoons and atoll formations down below.
As you approach your island resort the seaplane will begin the descent, which can be quite steep and quick. You'll either land in the open sea and then float to the jetty, or if the sea is too shallow and coral could be a problem, you'll instead dock next to a small square jetty floating in the lagoon, before continuing to the island by boat.
Did you know that the pilots fly these planes without any shoes! Apparently, they feel at their best when they are barefoot.
Our Top Tips
Keep your camera and a bottle of water in your hand when boarding as you may have to leave you hand luggage at the back of the cabin.
Go to the chemist in Arrivals and get some travel sickness tablets, they are cheap and can help if the flight isn't perfectly smooth.
Chill out and relax even if you have to wait a while for your transfer, it is worth the wait once you get to your island.