As the editor of a luxury travel and lifestyle magazine you would imagine I travel a lot. For sure I do, and it goes without saying I became an expert of finding the best routes and connections.
My hometown being Doha, I take most of the time our national carrier out of the country. Luckily there is a great connection to the Seychelles, where I fly to at least two or three times a year. A beautiful country with nature to remain in awe, a perfect climate, and an ocean and marine life the locals care about.
Arriving at the small and convenient airport of Mahé one gets the amazing opportunity to hop on a scenic inter-island flight to Praslin with Air Seychelles. Praslin is the second largest island (38.5 km2) of the Seychelles known for palm-fringed beaches, like Anse Georgette and Anse Lazio, both bordered by large granite boulders. The main beach, Anse Volbert-Côte D’Or, faces the offshore islet Chauve Souris.
Take advantage of more than 170 scheduled Air Seychelles flights per week between Mahé and Praslin between 5:30 am and 10:10 pm. The flight to Praslin takes only fifteen minutes, during which you will be able to experience a bird’s-eye view of Seychelles beauty, before you reach Praslin, the home of the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Air Seychelles also operates charter flights within the Seychelles; to Bird Island*, Denis Island and D’Arros Island, an island and neighboring atoll which were designated a nature reserve in 2014.
Air Seychelles operates as well international flights, among many others to Mauritius, Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. In March, I combined my resort visits in the Seychelles with a trip to Mauritius.
After arriving in the morning at Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) in Mahé, my intention was to collect my luggage and check-in again on Air Seychelles to Mauritius. At passport control the officer asked me where will I stay and upon telling him I am on transfer to Mauritius, he called a friendly Air Seychelles staff member, who told me that my luggage will be taken care of and offered to lead me directly to the transit area.
The flight being at 11:35 am I just had enough time to buy a little gift at one of the airport’s stores, some refreshing, tasty coconut water, and off I went to my next flight. Boarding is easy at Mahé, as the airport is so conveniently small that one can walk to the airplane. In times like this, a rare, but really easy and quick way to board!
On board Air Seychelles HM 49 there was a lot of passengers, obviously coming from all kind of directions. Seated in the back of the aircraft, which I normally don’t prefer, I find myself served by a smiling cabin crew who offers me a nice glass of red wine. The two hours and thirty five minutes flight went by very fast, immigration waiting time in Mauritius felt like almost half of the time at arrival.
On the way back from Mauritius to Seychelles, Air Seychelles is departing conveniently at 4:30 pm, the check-in was as easy and quick as it could be. This time seated in a closer to the front row, I also experienced a larger plane, which had four seats in the middle. The food was a bit different this time, I asked for a blanket, as it can get a bit chilly for me at times when airplanes are on the ground, and they need to cool it down for the first fifteen or twenty minutes after take-off. So don’t hesitate to ask, even if you are in a tropical country!
Back in Mahé’s Seychelles International Airport, the driver of the hotel awaits me after a short and smooth passport control at the immigration counter (it helps when you are seated in the front rows!), and I can say, that flying with Air Seychelles was a pleasant and punctual journey between the two islands and countries.
The Air Seychelles Plus Programme has been fully integrated into Etihad Guest, the loyalty programme of Etihad Airways since June 2012, should you be a member.
In 2019, Air Seychelles will replace its regional fleet of two Airbus A320 with next-generation narrow-bodied aircrafts. We welcome the winds of change !!!
* Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago, 100 km from Mahé. The 0.94 km2 coral island is known for its birdlife, including sooty terns, fairy terns and common noddies, and for hawksbill and green turtles. It is now a private resort with 26 bungalows. It also contains a small weather station and a small landing strip Bird Island Airport which connects the island with Mahé.
Bird Island used to be known as “Île aux Vaches” due to the numerous dugongs (sea cows) that lived in nearby waters. Between 1896 and 1906, 17,000 tons of guano were removed from the island and exported to Mauritius as fertilizer. The island has been a coconut plantation, and for growing cash crops such as papaya and cotton.
Since 1967 it has been privately owned, and conservation measures have taken place such as protection of birdlife and hawksbill turtle nesting sites, the eradication of feral rats and rabbits and the translocation of a population of Seychelles sunbird.
Bird Island is named in honour of its spectacular colony of around 700,000 pairs of sooty tern that nest on the island. The birds arrive from late March, laying eggs in May and remaining until October before leaving the island. Another phenomenon especially in October to December, arises from the geographical location of Bird Island on the northern edge of the Seychelles Bank. This means it is the first landfall for migratory Eurasian birds and Seychelles Bird Records Committee has recorded here many species new to the country. (Source Wikipedia)