The Maldives is a vast, ethereal archipelago with remote resorts littered across its landscape. While you can reach these resorts and islands through yachts and ships, taking a seaplane can add zing to your travel. What better way to reach your resort than to fly on a seaplane that would bring you soaring above the most breathtaking views that the Maldives has to offer? Read further to learn more about what you can expect on a seaplane ride in the Maldives.
Seaplane Ride – costs and durations
Apart from a seaplane, some of the close-by resorts of North and South Male Atoll also offer speed boat transfers. However, most resorts come with an included seaplane excursion for transport with a starting cost of USD120 (approx. Rs. 9,000) per person. The duration of a seaplane flight may range from 10-15 mins to the closest resort, to a little over an hour to the farthest one, which is the Beach House Manafaru, located in the Northern Haa Alifu. It is efficient, fun, and unquestionably worth it- you’ll get a snapshot of Maldives from the skies before you experience it first-hand!
What is the pre-flight procedure?
If your seaplane flight is included in your resort’s excursion, it is highly likely that they would arrange for an escort to guide you at the airport when you land, to bring you to the dedicated area for seaplane take-offs. This area is quite enchanting, with a view of the deck where the flights take off. There is currently one major seaplane operator, Trans Maldivian Airways, which is functional.
Check-in and luggage allowance
The Seaplane Terminal is a separate building and takes approximately 5-10 minutes to reach the airport by shuttle. You can check in with the seaplane operator who would also weigh your luggage. You are allowed to carry 20 kg of luggage along with 5kg of the in-flight bag. The fee for excess baggage is quite high, so it is advisable to travel light.
The schedule Trans Maldivian Airways offers varies from day to day based on the number of people and the need of the hour. There is a single gate area where you may be asked to wait for further instructions. And who has to worry about delays, when you can unwind on a nice recliner by the lovely deck, soaking in the majestic view?
Boarding the plane
You board the flight from the deck soon after, with the guidance of the escort. Being a small flight, you’ll find the seating a bit cramped-up with 5 rows of seats arranged in a 1-2 configuration. The seats may seem small, but the short ride with astonishing views doesn’t really seek more comfort than is absolutely necessary. There is a small chance the bags may be splashed during take-off or landing as they are placed in a wooden compartment in contact with water. It may thus be feasible to carry hardbound luggage bags rather than softer ones.
Enjoy the ride
Once seated, you would wait for a couple of minutes while the crew secures the luggage. The cockpit is open to viewers, with casual pilots wearing shorts, flip-flops, and welcoming smiles. It may initially seem too warm inside the plane, but it becomes much better when the engine starts and the fans go off. The taxi during take-off from the dock is surely unusual as the plane hops softly as it moves on the water, more of a speed boat-like maneuver than of an aeroplane. Once the plane takes off, hold your breath (not literally) and wait for the plane to steady up in the air, as the majestic island of Maldives turns into a vast landscape underneath your feet. It only takes a couple of minutes of full-throttle for the engine to get into a steady pace in the sky, a few thousand feet above the ground. Your attention soon diverts to the window, which offers crisp views of the various islands of the archipelago adorned with resorts. The views are engaging and exciting, a promise of an exceptional experience that is yet to come.
There may be stopovers expected as the flight aims to cover a number of resorts on the way to the final destination. You can find a small in-flight magazine as well as some safety instructions inside the aircraft.
Get ready for the landing
Soon, the aircraft will begin its landing, and it will be a smooth, steep descent into the watery runway leading up to the designated deck of your hotel. Once the aircraft halts, the flight attendants help you off, along with your luggage, and guide you to the lobby entrance of the resort. In just a matter of minutes, the plane prepares for its next take-off! It may even be fun to stay and note the efficacy with which they carry out the procedure so quickly!
The seaplane ride is definitely worth its hype – unless you are one with a phobia of small spaces. You will hardly notice the noise and the rattle, focusing instead on the lovely view and your excitement to photograph as much as possible from the skies.