Those who get to travel by seaplane, you're in for a treat, as we discover when we arrive in the Maldives on a hot summer day. Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Those who get to travel by seaplane, you're in for a treat, as we discover when we arrive in the Maldives on a hot summer day. Photograph:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

WATCH: Barefoot pilots and scenic views on Maldives’s famous seaplane

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Oct 15, 2021

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Seaplane journeys are bucket list activities for most travellers, especially if they visit tropical destinations like the Maldives.

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) is known to have the largest seaplane fleet in the world and is one of the most common ways for travellers to get around from one destination to another when they are in the Maldives.

Those who get to travel by seaplane, you're in for a treat, as we discover when we arrive in the Maldives on a hot summer day.

Serving over 80 resorts in the South Asian country, TMA transports guests via Velana International Airport in Malé to their island holiday destination.

Some visitors also travel via a car, boat, or domestic flight to their resort, depending on where the resort is located.

Flight times on seaplanes vary and can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour.

When we arrive at the airport, all sweaty and lethargic from our long journey, we are whisked to the TMA counters for check-in. The process is effortless. The staff take our luggage (make sure it's no more than 20 kilograms or you pay a penalty for each extra kilogram) and drive us to the VIP lounge while we wait for our flight.

We freshen up and quench our thirst with some Maldivian beverages. The flight to our first destination, Fushifaru, is around 40 minutes.

As the barefoot pilot greets us, his team calmly packs our suitcases into the tiny plane.

We step on the de Havilland Twin Otter, ready to soak in the experience. The seaplanes fly from sunrise to sunset, promising scenic views from start to finish.

As we are travelling on the late flight, we get to watch the sunset.

The plane carries around 15 passengers, and if you sit towards the front, you get to see the pilot in action.

Masks are mandatory on the flight.

Seaplanes offer travellers a picturesque view of Maldives atolls, reefs and lagoons - a perfect way to see the destination before you put your feet up at your luxury villa. Sunrises and sunsets are magical from up here, too.

Most of the passengers take out their phones and eagerly snap the postcard-perfect views below them.

I do too, but most of the time, I'm left speechless at its unadulterated beauty.

Landings are also special as it glides through the calm, sometimes choppy, waters.

Private charters are available for travellers who want to have the 'luxury private jet' experience.

Or hop on photo flights for those who want to curate appealing content for their social media accounts. Seaplane costs vary from resort to resort.

Clinton Moodley was hosted by Maldives Tourism Board.

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