Review: Maldivian Airlines DHC8-2, Malé – Koodhoo


Maldivian Airlines runs a small network of international and domestic flights as the flag carrier for the Republic of Maldives. Their international destinations include Bangkok, Thailand, in addition to several destinations in India which include Cochin, Chennai, Mumbai and Trivandrum. Maldivian’s domestic airport will be home to many travellers experiences as Maldivian is often the back bone connecting tourists to the various resorts. Our trip with them would be our third flight on their domestic product as we headed back to the Park Hyatt Maldives for our second visit.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Maldivian Airlines DHC8-2, Malé – Koodhoo

This is our second time experiencing Maldivian Airlines flying down to Koodhoo. For our previous experience on the newer Maldivian DHC8-300 series, please see Maldivian Airlines DHC 8 – 3 Malé – Koodhoo

“Maldivian Airlines offers an as expected service domestically within the Maldives. The service is bookended by a comfortable lounge in Malé, and landing at rural airports on isolated Maldavian atolls”

After a visit to the Maldivian Moonimaa Domestic Lounge, we were prepared by our local Park Hyatt representative. He led us down and we had a quick security screening before heading into the domestic departures holding area. As is usually the case before any flight, the podium and gate area are a hive of activity.

Malé Domestic Terminal Gates 8 & 9
Maldives Podium for Boarding

We boarded again from the apron, into an older non cosmetically marked Maldvian Dash 8-200 series. 

Maldivian Airlines Dash 8 – 200 Series
Simple Red Script on White: Maldivian Livery

On Board Maldivian Airlines:

On board, the configuration is 2-2 with no business class seating on the Dash 8 product. This configuration isn’t unique to Maldivian and is pretty consistent whether you happen to find yourself on the Dash 8 product or the equally quirky ATR-72 product that some times turns up in the domestic short haul market. The Maldivian Airlines Dash 8 – 200 seating was pretty much as expected. The older series had seats decorated in rawhide red leather. Please see our past review of the Maldivian Dash 8 – 300 seating, which is slightly more avant grade.

Rawhide leather seats

It was a quick ride down non stop to Koodohoo. Since we sat in 10A/10B, we didn’t have much of a view since the flight path has most of the atolls on the west side of the flight route down. As a result, I have only a small amount of “flying over the atolls” photographs to share. They are mostly from take off and landing.

Views of the Atolls of the Maldives
Islands in the Middle of Nowhere: Atoll Views
Sand Bars

If you’re looking for the experience of sightseeing over the atolls with great photographs, I have to conclude that you really need to take a sea plane. A sea plane flies at much lower altitudes and a little bit is lost flying at propeller plane altitudes.

Arriving to Koodhoo:

A view vibrations later, and we were on the ground at Koodhoo. It’s pretty isolated here, to say the least. Surprisingly, it’s little more built up compared to the last time we were through this airport. There are fences around the airport and walkways and there seem to be more people around. The deserted arrivals hall hasn’t lost its hospital charm.

Disembarkation: On the Ground at Koodhoo
A Walk to the Terminal
Baggage Claim: The Sterile Hall at GKK Koodhoo Airport

Transferring to the Park Hyatt Maldives:

After our flight, we hopped in the boat for the water transfer over to the Park Hyatt. It’s usually about 30 minutes. However, we had 11 people on the transfer with us on this particular day. This meant that the process was much slower than in the past when it was just the two of us. Logistically, it meant transferring two sets of guests on the golf cart between the airport and the harbour, then going back for all the luggage, then getting all the people onto the boat, then loading up 15+ suitcases on the boat. Then, the boat was unable to go as fast as it usually does because it was so heavy. It probably had over 500 lbs of luggage (about 10 cases loaded at an estimated 50lbs each).

Views of the Harbour while we waited

All in all, the transfer process took us about 90 minutes from Koodhoo airport to hotel. When you experience things a second time, usually its quicker than before. That certainly wasn’t the case today! This isn’t the transfer boat. Instead, we had views of the harbour while we waited for everything to get organized.

Our experience on Maldivian Airlines summarized:

Every time I fly in the Maldives, I always hope for a little great photography and aerial sights out of the flight window. That wasn’t the case today and I think after three domestic flights in the Maldives, I’ve just concluded I’ll have to take a sea plane transfer to a closer resort in order to experience seeing some really great photographs. Our time on Maldivian Airlines was as expected, and there isn’t much in the way of dressing up travel on a Maldivian Dash 8. At the very least, we had a comfortable lounge at the start of the trip, in addition to a reasonably prompt flight down.

If you’ve flown Maldivian Airlines down to the Southern Malé Atolls, what was your journey like?

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