From the Maldives to Malaysia: A Boat, Domestic Flight, and Malaysia Airlines Business Class

In this post I’ll take the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives’ boat to the Kooddoo airport, Maldivian Airlines from there to Male, and then Malaysia Airlines business class Male – Kuala Lumpur.

And I get the best part was the inflight satay.

Previous trip report installments

When it was finally time to leave , I made my way … not to the jetty but to the bar, for one final complimentary Sundowner cocktail.

We then bid the resort adieu.

Fortunately the speed boat ride to the Kooddoo airport was much smoother this time, and so it also went more quickly. We made it to the airport in half an hour, where a golf car was waiting to take us from the boat to the terminal.

The terminal building itself is the same nondescript white shack we saw on the way in, one side for arrivals (with baggage claim) and one for departures) with security screening and a single desk for check-ins.

The Park Hyatt representative took passports and luggage and returned with boarding passes and baggage tags. He was also anxious that we go through security even though departure time was quite a while off. Apparently he is supposed to see us pass through screening before he leaves, and he apparently had places to go.

There’s nothing beyond the cursory security screening other than a bathroom, and chairs to wait in.

Our inbound aircraft arrived, passengers offloaded, and then shortly they were ready for us.

The same prop plane, fine for an hour’s flight but in some ways not how you want to end your time in the Maldives.

Inflight service consisted of juice or water, and a towel.

Soon enough we had arrived in Male, where we would collect our bags and walk outside the baggage hall to find a Park Hyatt representative waiting there to escort us again from the domestic terminal, the short walk over to the international one

We had arrived a little over 3 hours before our flight, so checkin wasn’t open yet. We went through security (our flight itineraries weren’t checked to enter the airport this time, but all bags are screened). And then waited by some seats at the side of the terminal until checkin opened.

There was already a queue forming for both economy and business class, though, even before the 2.5 hour mark.

Check-in was swift, and with boarding passes we headed through to passport control and another security screening.

I’ve reviewed the lounge in the Male airport here and gave it mention here. The only thing that had changed is that I couldn’t get an internet connection to function on a PC (mac devices were no problem).

When it was time to board we headed downstairs to our gate area. There’s not much down there, but reminiscent of childhood there’s a Swenson’s.

They had to finish boarding an Emirates flight out of our gate before it was our turn, so we’d be running a little late.

We walked out on the tarmac to our Malaysia Airlines 737 that would be taking us to Kuala Lumpur.

What struck me — and I should know this is the case, and I do, but it was still a stark contrast — is just how different the Malaysia Airlines hard product is for these intra-Asia hops than Singapore Airlines offers on a similar route.

Granted, Malaysia is operating a 737. And Singapore’s short haul planes aren’t angled flat seats (though they’re still more comfortable). But while it was a somewhat attractive cabin, it felt a lot more like a domestic US flight than a four-plus hour one in Asia.

Oh well, at least the seats for this overnight flight had foot rests!

Here’s the menu for the flight (click to enlarge)

Here’s what I do have to say about the food, and offer my props for. Based on this one flight (and a single data point is hardly conclusive) Malaysia Airlines may serve better satay than Singapore does. This was the best satay I’ve ever had on a plane.

The chicken massaman… fine.

After eating I had planned to watch a movie on my laptop but I just passed out. I left the resort after 6pm, the flight departed around 11pm, and it was after midnight by the time I had eaten. I was tired. So I zoned in and out of sleep for a couple of hours, and soon enough we were approaching Kuala Lumpur.

Quick pit stop (rate your airport restroom!) on the way out.

Immigration was very quick, no line at 6:30am. Now I just had to wait for my bags. And wait. And wait.

After a little more than 50 minutes, a couple of bags started coming out next to our baggage claim carousel. Then nothing happened. And we waited some more. Until finally they got it going.

Then it was off to the Grand Hyatt for an early check-in.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What is it with Swensens in Asia? I remember them in very good real estate as a kid, but now I have to go to Cambodia or Thailand to find one?

  2. Is a trip review of a prop plane to the Maldives really that much more important than United’s revamp of their 2015 frequent flier program? Why no post on that?

  3. @jfhscott: Swensens went bankrupt in the US and was bought by a Canadian firm. The strongest/largest franchisee in their system is in Singapore.

  4. @jfhscott: should you find yourself in San Francisco, the first Swensen’s is still in operation in the Russian Hill neighborhood. Not sure if there’s anymore left in the US.

  5. I am a Nigerian I came to male Maldives for tourists and am planning ahead to go to Malaysia for tourists. Do I need a Malaysia visa to travel . And I can I go about it. Please I need reply

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