Review: Air Seychelles DHC-6, Praslin – Mahé


Air Seychelles is the national flag carrier of the Republic of the Seychelles. While they used to operate long haul routes to Paris and Hong Kong, they’ve chosen to focus on their shorter haul inter island traffic in a bid to return to profitability. Air Seychelles operates a fleet of five De Havilland Twin Otters DH6-400 series turbo prop aircrafts.

This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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: Air Seychelles DHC-6, Praslin Island Airport – Mahé Seychelles International Airport

We ended up flying back to Mahé from Praslin so that we could end up directly at the Mahé Seychelles International airport as opposed to taking the ferry. If we had taken the boat ferry, we would have had to take another shuttle or taxi to the airport.

Air Seychelles used to operate long haul service on Airbus 330-200’s aircraft that fed traffic to its inter island routes. Etihad Airways invested $45 million dollars into Air Seychelles in exchange for 40% of the company with services to Abu Dhabi. This arrangement included several code share arrangements designed to return Air Seychelles to profitability.

Air Seychelles had about inter island 15 flights between Praslin – Mahé per day. This was compared to the fast ferry service that operated at 3 times per day. The evening ferry departure only had us arriving to the airport with a ninety minute connection after a connecting bus, so we opted for the Air Seychelles 15 minute flight on a Twin Otter with a departure schedule at our convenience.

Getting to the Praslin Island Airport:

The Château de Feuilles hotel was nice enough to extend us a late 3 PM check out without any extra charge. We eventually checked out and self drove the rental car to the airport. I needed to stop for gas on the way to the airport in order to return the car with a full tank of gas. Unfortunately, it was not a smooth get away for us. When we rolled into the nationally owned gas stations, they didn’t accept any credit cards as a form of payment. I had about $15 USD left of Seychelles Rupees which was not enough to fill the tank.

I went to scramble to find an ATM. Unfortunately, there were no ATM’s near or in the gas stations so we had to drive into a town area. I ended up having to go into two malls in two separate areas until I found a Barclay’s that worked with my ATM card at a $7 USD fee. We then had a rush back to the gas station to fill the car, then over to the Praslin Island Airport.

Per the return instructions, we parked at the airport and locked the keys in the car. There was no car rental office at the airport and no one to turn the keys over to. The car rental company didn’t seem to fussed with this method and suggested we could have left the car anywhere on the island as long as we had informed them in advance.

Parking at Praslin Island Airport

Checking into Air Seychelles:

As we headed into the Praslin Island International Airport, it was a small outdoor space which eventually led into an air conditioned interior. The airport was pretty deserted, consistent with a small island operation.

Always Nice to Arrive to an Empty Airport
Empty Walkways at Praslin Island Airport

Once inside, we checked into Air Seychelles. We had a baggage X ray exam, and then checked in. Our hold luggage was weighed and there was a visual inspection of the cabin luggage. Air Seychelles doesn’t list any dimensions or descriptions on its websites of what’s allowed on board its domestic services, other than saying a soft sided laptop or a small personal item. The international portion of the website suggested the usual international configurations cabin baggage configurations.

Checking into Air Seychelles at Praslin Island Airport

The check in agent told me I would have to check my rolling suitcase. She weighed it and didn’t charge me an additional fee. Thankfully, it only contained some overnight clothes and weighed less than 7kg.

Services to Mahé
A Paper Boarding Card was Issed

I secured the car away and we went through security into the Praslin Island Airport departures lounge area. It was a nice airy facility but only minimally air conditioned by small bedroom air conditioning units that were on quite softly.

A Quiet Departures Hall in Praslin Island Airport
The Departure Gate at Praslin Island Airport

There was no working Wi-Fi at the airport but there was a JOUEL “Fine Jewellery of the Seychelles” stand, along with two not so interesting souvenir stands.

The plane landed and parked. A boarding announcement was made. At the same time, the safety video was played in the departure hall for all to watch prior to actual flight boarding.

Watching our Twin Otter Arrive to Praslin
Air Seychelles Arriving to the Stand…
…in it’s final parked position
Watching the Emergency Flight Safety Video
Air Seychelles
HM 3181 – Economy Class (single class of service)
PRI – SEZ (Praslin – Mahe)
June 11, 2018
5:50 PM – 6:10 PM
Booked: De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter
Flown: De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter

On Board Air Seychelles Twin Otter:

When boarding time came, we were asked to self guide ourselves out on the apron for the flight. We had assigned ourselves Seat 2B and 2C. I gave MrsWT73 the window seats for this flight.

Viewing the Praslin Island Terminal
Walking towards the Twin Otter
An Air Seychelles DH6-400 Twin Otter Cabin
A Profile of Air Seychelles Cabin
Views into the Cockpit

We had a quick departure from Praslin Island with no waits. Our climb out took us out over the south part of the island. There were some beautiful green seas. I tried to get some photographs of it but the propeller wash affected some of the focusing of my camera.

Departing on Runway 15
Our Last Look at Praslin Island
Passing Over Praslin’s Coral Reefs

Our approach again had nice views over the St Anne National Park. There were some beautiful small islands that we had seen from land as we arrived on final approach.

It’s always neat to see into the cockpit on any flight and lining up for the runway at Seychelles International Airport was no exception.

Lining Up at Seychelles International Airport
Disembarking at Seychelles International Airport

We arrived to the Seychelles International Airport and led ourselves into the arrival hall. Our checked bags were already placed out in a corner for collection. It seemed they had travelled over on a flight ahead of us. It turns out that the bags on our flight were actually listed as the next flight number ahead of ours.

We collected our bags and walked the short walk over to the open air international terminal. The Turkish Airlines A330-200 was already parked and on the stand ready for our Turkish Airlines Business Class Mahé – Istanbul flight later that evening.

My Thoughts on Air Seychelles DH-5 Service:

Air Seychelles was a neat way to transfer between the islands. I appreciated the fact that they didn’t try to gouge a fee out of me for the extra bag. I would probably use the air connection method the next time I travelled to the Seychelles over the sea option as long as the free bag allowance was taken into consideration and I didn’t have to pay any extra fees.

If you’ve regularly traveled between Praslin and Mahé, do you take the plane or do you go for the ferry ?

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