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There’s one part of Maldives travel that I don’t often see discussed online: the seaplane transfers.
For me, this is a quintessential Maldivian experience and one that I always enjoy – even when jet lagged after arriving from the states!
I have been getting a lot of questions recently on Instagram about what it’s like to fly with Trans Maldivian Airways. I decided to write an in-depth article on the experience so that you know what to expect.
Maldives tourism had its first tentative beginnings in the 1970s and 80s. Travellers were limited to the islands closest to Male, the country’s only international airport.
Trans Maldivian Airways began in 1989 to give tourists access to the country’s further-flung islands, marking a huge turning point in Maldivian history. The airline actually began as a helicopter fleet and was originally named Hummingbird Island Helicopters.
Then, in 1991 racecar driver Lars Erik Nielsen travelled from Male to Kuredu. He decided that a more practical transfer option was necessary. In 1993, he launched Maldivian Air Taxi, which offered passengers seaplane transfers between islands. This opened up new islands for tourism and made The Maldives a more accessible travel destination.
At the turn of the millennium, Hummingbird Island Helicopters and Maldivian Air Taxi merged. They formed Trans Maldivian Airways and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since 2014, Trans Maldivian Airways has been the largest seaplane operator in the world. They safely ferry over 1 million passengers per year between islands. Even when luxury Maldives resorts purchase their own aircrafts, they are still operated by Trans Maldivian. In short, the airline is an iconic part of any Maldives experience.
A seaplane journey is nothing like a commercial flight. For one thing, the pilots wear flip flops!
It’s natural to be nervous the first time you step on board one of these tiny planes, but relax – Trans Maldivian Airways has a stellar safety record. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s all part of the adventure.
Depending on the resort you are staying in and how rough the waves are, you may be dropped off or picked up on a pontoon instead. The resort will transfer you the rest of the way by boat, which should only take a few minutes.
A seaplane transfer with Trans Maldivian Airways can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes. It all depends on the proximity of your chosen island to Male and the destinations of your fellow passengers.
Trans Maldivian Airways serves over 80 properties, so you may stop off a few times before reaching yours. I always quite enjoy being one of the last passengers on board. It means I get to see different resorts as we fly over and add them to my Maldives bucket list!
The best part of flying with Trans Maldivian Airways is soaking in the beautiful views as you soar over the Maldives’ many pristine islands. It truly is a special experience and one that I always treasure on every trip I take to The Maldives.
When you stay at a luxury resort in The Maldives, the property will usually organise your seaplane transfers with Trans Maldivian Airways for you. You won’t have to worry about a thing.
However, some resorts do require you to organise your own transfer and purchase a ticket separately. Fortunately, with my luxury wellness group tour of The Maldives, your seaplane transfers to the incredible Pullman resort are already included in the price (along with lots of other goodies.)
For more on Maldives travel, make sure to take a look at my guide to the best properties for a girls’ trip and this list of things you need to know before you go.
And don’t forget about my Maldives luxury wellness content creation trip coming in December 2021. Places are going FAST so grab yours soon!
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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