Trip Report: Trans Maldivian Airlines (DHC-6-300 Twin Otter) MLE-WWW

The Details

  • Flight: TMA 210
  • Aircraft: DHC-6-300 Twin Otter
  • Seat: Row 1
  • Route: Male Velana International (MLE) Seaplane Terminal- W Maldives (WWW)
  • Distance: 35 miles
  • Flight Time: 33 minutes
  • Departure: 9:19 AM
  • Arrival: 9:52 AM

The Preflight

Once my significant other and I had collected our bags from the baggage carousel, we made our way outside to the terminal where we were greeted by a representative from the W Maldives. She immediately took hold of our checked bags and walked us towards the W Maldives transfer desk.

Since we were the only passengers going to the W Maldives on our Etihad flight, we were guided to the Trans Maldivian Airways check-in desk. Our passports were scanned and all of our bags were weighed before the boarding passes were printed.

Normally, there would have been a W Maldives bus to take us from the check-in area to the seaplane terminal but I think there was a miscommunication. Instead, we waited about ten minutes before a TMA SUV pulled up to whisk us away.

The drive from the main airport terminal to the seaplane terminal took 10 minutes. We were greeted by the classic W sign in front of the dedicated lounge for W Maldives customers.

The lounge was one large room with a variety of sofas, chairs, and bar stools. It was nicely air conditioned and very comfortable after escaping the humidity outside. We would be the only passengers in the lounge for the next 45 minutes until a Emirates and Qatar Airways flight would arrive.

Next to the entrance was a small food area with pre-packaged snacks and drinks. The lounge staff also offered to make us some coffee or tea.

Drink options included a variety of sodas (Coke products), juice boxes, and water.

There was also milk, cereal, and some fresh fruit.

Prepackaged snack options included chocolate covered almonds, gummy fruits, and a spicy Thai snack mix.

There were also some cookies and muffins.

While checking in with Trans Maldivian Airways, we were also given a travel hygiene kit which included two face masks, hand sanitizer, and some antiseptic wipes.

An hour and a half later, a total of 12 other passengers arrived in the lounge. We were all checked in directly in the lounge by the staff and once that process was completed, we were walked to the seaplane dock.

Our DHC-6-300 Twin Otter today, registration 8Q-TMR, was built all the way back in 1969 and had flown for multiple airlines including Trans Australian Airlines, Air Queensland, Sunstate Airlines, and various private operators. In 2006, she was sold to TMA and had been flying with them since.

Interestingly, 8Q-TMR was involved in a landing accident in October 2020 when she collided with a boat.

All of our bags were loaded in the rear of the aircraft and all passengers boarded via the rear doors.

The Seat

There were a total of 15 seats onboard the DHC-6-300 Twin Otters arranged in a 1-2 configuration across five rows. Pitch and width were incredibly tight due to how small the cabin was.

As the first to board, we managed to snag the first row of the aircraft which offered an incredible unobstructed view of the flight deck.

Each side of the cabin also had a fan which circulated the air in the stuffy cabin.

The Flight

Boarding was done at 9:13AM and the crew member at the rear of the aircraft made his way to the front of the cabin to give a brief safety demonstration. He also informed us that masks were mandatory for the entire duration of the flight. We began our pushback at 9:20AM and a long seven minutes later (the cabin was so hot) we took off bound for the W Maldives.

We passed by quiet a few resorts and atolls on our way.

As we neared the W Maldives and the resort came into view on the port side of the turboprop.

We then made a sharp right turn and landed in the remote seaplane aerodrome.

All passengers deplaned onto a small wooden floating dock where we waited for the boat to bring us to the main island.

The boat came about five minutes later and we quickly got out of the sun.

Once everything was loaded, the boat whisked us away from the dock for the W Maldives where we were greeted by waving staff members.

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