Maldives Airport Hotel Transfer Seaplane Ride – Review

The only way to get to the resort (unless you want a multi hour choppy speedboat ride) is to fly. You’ve got to take a Trans Maldivian airplane ride. Here’s what to expect you take your transfer with a seaplane in the Maldives!

Our $46,000 vacation to the Maldives for only $1,818

Mention the Maldives and images of pristine turquoise blue waters come to mind. Overwater bungalows with direct jump-in access to the water and romantic sunsets are commonplace in this island paradise.

While it’s on almost everyone’s wish list, getting there can be a challenge. Flights are often ridiculously expensive and once you DO get to the islands, a barrage of expensive hotels with overpriced meals await. Never mind the flight distance involved, those expensive factors are enough to turn some people off and have them looking for cheaper destinations.

a palm tree on a beach

Lonely Palm Tree

Getting to paradise and back doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We booked a ridiculous, normally unattainable luxury vacation valued at almost $46,000 for a grand total of $1,818… for two people!

Considering that’s usually the price of a regular coach class ticket to the Maldives, that’s one heck of a steal.

In the series of posts to follow, we’re going to walk you through all the experiences that we enjoyed on this trip. While most people would consider this once-in-a-lifetime, with just a little legwork and dedication you can have a luxury getaway to make Instagram followers drool with envy.

All the flights are prearranged before you arrive by your hotel, and no amount of airline miles can help you out. You’re going to have to pay the rate that the hotel charges you, end of story. These flights can vary in price between $200 for the close resorts or $700 for the ones that are far away.

The flight to the St Regis costs $695 (including taxes and fees) and it makes me wonder how much they’re really charging the hotel as it seems like a very flat number to charge…


Boarding from the lounge was easy. The main doors opened that overlooked the “parking lot/runway†and we walked down to the dock. No worries about your luggage, someone was there to help you with that.

a man standing next to a luggage

When we got into the plane I was surprised to see that the pilots were either barefoot or in sandals. I mean I suppose that makes sense, this is an island nation afterall!

a person sitting in a plane

Maldives Seaplane Cockpit

Takeoff was a short 15 second experience as the engines roared and before you knew it we were airborne.

a propeller plane on the water

Maldives Seaplane Take Off

We had an amazing view of Male City as we took off. Seeing it from the air, you can get a real idea for just how crowded this island city is.

a city on the water

Male City

Cargo ships filled with goods to the island (and I would imagine for all the resorts as well) were floating in and out of the port all day long. Since you never really got to a high altitude, the views of all the small neighboring islands were spectacular. You could almost see into people’s houses!

an aerial view of a small island with buildings and a beach

Leg room was not a thing on this flight, so if you’re looking to have any comfort at all, make sure to get a bulkhead row and stretch yourself into the aisle.

a magazine in a pocket

Legroom – what leg room?

a person's legs in a seat

What legroom?

Best… Views… Ever

Check out some of the views from the flight!

an island in the ocean an aerial view of islands in the ocean a city and water from the air

an island surrounded by water

Maldives Seaplane Take Off

an aerial view of a small island an island in the ocean

Landing at the Hotel

Landing was smooth and uneventful but it was a windy day in the south atoll as you can tell by the waves.

a group of buildings on stilts in the ocean

St Regis Choppy Waters

We skirted right up next to the Iridium Spa at the resort and parked at the loading dock. Our island adventure was about to begin.

a group of people standing on a dock next to a plane

Parked Seaplane

You don’t really have any choice other than taking these small planes to your resort destination, and the hotels can effectively charge whatever they want to to get you there. The cost for the St Regis flight was $695 per person, one of the highest amounts of any of the resorts in the country. Depending on the distance you’re flying, there may also be other local airports that you can travel to on land (using non seaplanes) to help reduce the cost of your flight. Contact your hotel before you go for all the details.

Don’t let the seaplane ride discourage you though. Sure, it’s $695, but you’re probably only going to do this once or twice in your life, so bite the bullet. It’ll be the start to a vacation that you’ll never forget.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. I did this when I stayed at the Conrad (Rangali Island). I think the transit cost was about $450. I too have a picture of the pilots in their bare feet. The flight to the Conrad made about 4 stops along the way, but that was fine with me as it was one of the best flying experiences I’ve ever had. The only “issue” is that the flights did not seem to run in the rain…even the lightest of showers. So, my flight was delayed about 2 hours, which really was only an issue b/c I was ready for bed after flying all night. Not sure what would have happened if this had been my outbound flight. I can’t imagine what it’s like during convective systems (I was there on the edge of rainy season and experienced about 2 passing downpours per day).

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    • We ALMOST chose the Conrad – and half considered it because of the cost… I didn’t know that about the rain, good to know!

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  2. Hi guys. Ive been ten times to the Conrad on points. Obviously a fan! A tad obsessed some…. including my wife…would say, however I may have had my last stay for a while. Time to move on.

    Im a pilot also, its really not true the weather affects seaplane ops there as much as suggested. Ive seen them fly in really torrential conditions. The delay the reader experienced is fairly typical and was probably because they have very complicated operations especially in peak season, and currently a huge pilot shortage there at TMA. They may have blamed it on the weather, but that might have an exaggeration or perhaps not true.

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