BOOKED: Air Seychelles Business & Turkish Airlines Business

This has been an insane week of travel planning for me, and I’ve outlined several of the trips I’ve booked so far. A few days ago I shared the details of the itinerary I booked that included travel in China Southern’s business class, China Eastern’s first class, Singapore’s new A380 business class, and most importantly, Singapore’s new A380 Suites.

Then yesterday I shared the details of the itinerary I booked that included travel in Swiss’ business class, Air India’s business class, Emirates’ new first class, and TAP Portugal’s business class. Then I also shared the details of the trip I booked in Qatar Airways’ Qsuites between New York and Yerevan, Armenia.

Well, the fun doesn’t stop there, so now I wanted to share the details of the next trip I booked.

We’re going to the Seychelles!

I know it sounds like I’m planning a lot right now, and that’s simply because I’d like 2018 to be a slightly more structured year than 2017 was. I’ve already planned several trips months in advance, and for me that adds to the fun of being able to anticipate the trip, etc. The other thing is that if I find award seats that I like way in advance, then I don’t end up refreshing award space every five minutes up until the departure date, which can be stressful (and addictive).

For the past year or so, the Seychelles has been near the top of the list of places Ford and I have wanted to visit. We’re over cities as vacation destinations for now, so spending some time on a gorgeous, more laid back island is more our speed nowadays.

One-way in Turkish business class

On average I probably spend an hour a day just randomly searching award availability. I’m typically not searching with any specific purpose in mind, but rather if I see something good then I start imagining how I could use those flights for an interesting itinerary.

In this case I saw some good Turkish business class award availability for mid-2018. It has been years since I’ve reviewed Turkish, which seems ridiculous, since they fly to more countries than any other airline in the world. As I was looking at award space, I wondered where I could fly them that was both a new destination for me, and that would also allow me to review both their 777 and A330.

That’s how the Seychelles came up. I saw plentiful award availability from Los Angeles to Istanbul to the Seychelles and back, and the best value for booking that seemed to be through Aeroplan. They charge just 75,000 Membership Rewards points for a one-way business class ticket between the US and the Seychelles, and I had speculatively transferred over some points when Amex Membership Rewards was offering a 20% transfer bonus. So paying 62,500 Membership Rewards points for a one-way business class ticket between the US and Seychelles is an insanely good deal.

I’m also happy that I’ll be able to review Turkish when flying with Ford, given that their business class hard product isn’t great. Their 777s are in a 2-3-2 configuration, so it’s nice when you’re traveling with someone in this product, rather than sitting next to a stranger (especially when you take as many pictures as I do, which invariably leads to confused looks).

One-way in Air Seychelles business class

From a value perspective, we would have been best off just booking a ticket in the other direction back to the US as well, since most programs charge only marginally more points for travel from the Seychelles to the US than for travel from the Seychelles to Europe.

However, I couldn’t fly to the Seychelles without reviewing Air Seychelles’ longhaul business class product on their A330. Air Seychelles is an Etihad Airways Partner, so you can redeem Etihad Guest miles for that. The cost for a one-way business class redemption between Paris and the Seychelles is 62,836 miles. Again, it’s not an amazing value, but it seemed worth it to be able to review the Air Seychelles business class experience, and award availability was exceptionally good. I’ll be writing a separate post about how to redeem Etihad Guest miles on Air Seychelles, since I picked up quite a few things.

Air Seychelles has fully flat business class seats (they look similar to what South African Airways has on their A340s), wifi, etc.

Bottom line

I’m looking forward to visiting the Seychelles. I visited Mauritius briefly last year and had an amazing time, so I look forward to seeing how the Seychelles compares. I’m also excited that I was able to check out a couple of new business class products as part of the journey.

If anyone has visited the Seychelles or flown Air Seychelles, I’d love to hear what we should expect!

(Featured image courtesy of Pvalmont)

Comments

  1. Lucky,

    Check out the Chinese airline “Capital Airlines”. They have an odd A330 route from Vancouver to Hangzhou with a fuel stop in Qingdao. They have a business class cabin with little to no information out there and super cheep $1500 one way fares. Look up JD472

  2. Seychelles is my favorite destination in the whole world. You’ll love every single aspect of the trip. Hit up the smaller islands and definitely visit Valle de Mai with Coco de Mer on Praslin as well as Curieuse Island with tortoises. I stayed in a villa with fresh fruit for breakfast which was out of this world. Beaches are fantastic (especially if there is no one around, like it happened to me in March) and the bats in the evening are fun to watch as well. Unforgettable!

  3. In May I booked Paris-Seychelles-Mumbi and back in Economy for around 200 USD, All flight were delayed, I had 2 stop overa in Seychelles for around 12 hours, We rented a car and drove arouns the main island and spent day on the beach. I felt optimistic on my way back and booked only 45 mins connection from CDG to LHR with air france, as the flight was delayed 30 mins I missed the connectiona and had to pay 130 USD and wait 12 hours at CDG

  4. Hi Ben, the Seychelles is the most stunning archipelago you will ever visit (I rate it higher than the Maldives and Bora Bora, and much higher than Mauritius which is a boring island). The nature is spectacular and the white sand beaches the most magnificent I have ever seen. Make sure to do some island hopping (Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue). And if you can, try to spend a couple of nights on North Island, without any doubt the best resort I have ever stayed at: 11 villas on a jawdroppingly beautiful island (you can read my trip report here: https://wp.me/p4d1XU-GIU). There’s also a great Six Senses, Four Seasons and Banyan Tree resort on the islands. Drop me a note if you need more info. Enjoy your holiday!

  5. Nice. I’m going there in Summer 2018. Qatar business class from JFK through Doha (currently A350-900) and then flying Etihad back (SEZ-AUH-JFK) in the Apartments on the last leg.

  6. @Lucky I like how you’re glad Ford’s coming given how crappy Turkish Business class is. You explain it, but it sounded funny.

  7. As you know, how much you enjoy it really depends on the actual resort. There are similarities and differences to Mauritius – to generalize, I would say it’s my third favourite island(s), bettered only by the Maldives and French Polynesia; and just ahead of Mauritius. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

  8. If you are going a redemption route…. Hilton is the only option of all the US majors…
    I would choose Northholme if you are there for less than 5 days as it is easy to get around, based on it’s location, it is the smallest Hilton resort in the world (so they say), but the resort is truly nice, I thought the service was outstanding with each villa having a spectacular ocean view…. pool is wonderful (as is the spa)… can’t beat the redemption value.

  9. How would you compare Turkish Biz to Saudia biz (only biz class ive been on)?

    planning on visiting istanbul
    Turkish has non stop flight

    any other airlines I should consider?

    thanks

  10. Air Seychelles biz is nothing special, but the islands are beautiful. We stayed on La Digue for 4 nights and at the Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove for 2 nights on Mahe. Please don’t spend all your time on Mahe, it’s similar to the US Caribbean islands. The other islands are what makes Seychelles special

  11. The Seychelles was where I had the most glorious beach vacation of my life. We didn’t have time to do any island hopping, so we just stayed on Mahe at the truly beautiful (and intimate) Maia resort.

    It was such an amazingly beautiful & peaceful experience.

    This year we’re forgoing our usual trip to Fiji and heading off to Sao Tome instead. Hey Lucky…if you really want a challenge, try booking an awards ticket to Sao Tome! We’re using cash and it was still a nightmare getting flights.

  12. What websites do you peruse for random award availability? This sounds like a great trip and in looking at summer awards, United’s website isn’t being very friendly to me.

  13. Hilton Labriz is way better than Hilton Northolme; not even remotely comparable. Plus you have the entire huge Sillhouette Island to just the hotel. Giant mountain in the middle you can hike up and over to a deserted beach on the other side and the main beach is also gorgeous. Beach at Northolme is crap (nonexistent) and the villas are showing their age.

  14. For me the weather makes a difference. When it’s not cloudy the water colors look amazing. But when it is it’s just average.

    Definitely take a day trip to Curieuse. That’s where you’ll see the giant turtles. You can get very close to them. The only other place in the world you can see them in the wild is the Galapagos.

    For me I rank Seychelles below the Maldives and Bora Bora, but that’s just me, and regardless you and Ford always have a blast wherever you go.

  15. @ Imperator Arrived to Sao Tome two days ago. Booked tickets for cash from London very easily in April when they had a promo. It seems
    regular thing from Europe with TAP. Only 370 euros return economy (business is essentially the standard European seat with middle free). The flight is 8 hours long from Lisbon with about 40-min stopover in Ghana. And it’s on Airbus 320R. There power & usb plugs, so at least you can bring your own entertainment. Food is awful, especially second meal which they load in Ghana. Inedible! I am now also seeing loads of availability on Miles&More. It’s all worth it though! Now enjoying deserted beaches in Principe (the other island). The flight to Principe is a total throwback. Saab 340 and hand-printed boarding passes! Though to really enjoy Sao Tome you need to rent a car and explore on your own! Sao Tome is like Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives & co before all the resorts were built! The poverty is quite obvious, but people are very friendly except in Agua Ize plantation and nearby beach. Don’t venture into that village. Also don’t confine yourself to the hotel or resort as you won’t get to know the country!

  16. @Lucky I once flew Air Seychelles business class from HKG to AUH. It was an EY coded flight and the soft product from blankets to meals to china and silverware to amenity kit were Etihad branded. All flight attendants were in Etihad uniform. It was flown on an older A330 and the hard product was a bit outdated, even more so compared to older Etihad planes. While it wasn’t terrible by any means, there is nothing to get excited about. Word of caution, especially to Ben, none of the power outlets worked on any seat. Not sure if it was one off or whether this is a common occurrence. A friendly flight attendant saw me fiddling with the outlet and offered to charge my phone up front, which I desperately took her up on. I saw one or 2 others who asked to do the same.

  17. Lucky, I went to the Seychelles last year on a business trip. Awesome location, stayed at Le Meridien but is a bit outdated. I’d seriously consider to go to one of the private islands off the main island.

  18. Prepare yourself for the rock-hard lie flats on Turkish– hard to sleep, but I think you will enjoy the crews service, friendliness and the food.

  19. As someone who has been to nearly every exotic beach island in the world, Seychelles is such an underrated destination….I rank it higher than Maldives for sure and maybe on par (or slightly better) than Bora Bora

    We flew Turkish J to SEZ and it was fine…..nothing memorable, but it was a long layover since the SEZ flight leaves in the middle of the night so Turkish gave us a hotel (but we had to take Turkish visas which was a hassle)

    We visited all 3 Hilton properties there….Labriz was a dream…treated us very well as diamonds, breakfast was a delight and like previously said, its the only hotel on the island so very exclusive….at times, I couldnt believe it was a Hilton. Northolme on Mahe actually surprised me….its a superb hotel that definitely warrants a night or two and their breakfast is divine

    Highlight of the trip was visiting La Digue…..no cars, only bikes allowed….so renting bikes and exploring the tiny island was so much fun and seriously, probably has 2 of the best beaches in the world….

  20. Lucky,

    How did you find a nonstop Mahe–>Paris? going to Seychelles in July and all the flights that are coming up on Etihad website search is a stop through AUH

  21. Spent a week in the Seychelles awhile ago while shaking off jet lag before a 2 week private safari in Kenya, and loved every minute. Consider spending most of your time off Mahe (on Praslin or one of the other islands). La Digue was gorgeous and the islands, its fascinating culture, and of course beaches were amazing.

    I may have an inside connection to a beautiful resort on Praslin that I think you’d both really enjoy. Amazing views, cuisine and host. Please DM me on FB if you like.

  22. Lucky,

    How did you find availability from Mahe–> Paris? I am going to Seychelles in the summer and don’t see any availability for 62,836 miles when I called, the only ones I found were for 125,000+).

    Thanks!

  23. I am booked to fly IST-SEZ in business in July. Looks like currently it’s scheduled to be a 332 leased from Jet with 1-1-1 herringbone in business.

  24. @Lucky – My wife and I completed a thirteen month voyage on all island nations in the Indian ocean on our yacht. Seychelles is on our top three list, especially the less inhabited islands where we befriended locals and lived in huts with them and experienced their lives. Beautiful and serene. Have a lot of fun!

  25. How about taking Eurowings new business class from Paris to USA via Dusseldorf or Joon business class from Paris to Brazil and then to USA via LATAM?

  26. Lucky, i also had an amazig time in the seychelles island, shortly after Turkish started service. We are now organizing our next trip with qatar.

    Just a hint: As an av geek do not miss the air seychelles small airplane (unique scenic and kind of unforgettable) ride beteween Mahe and Praslin. You can book that as a separate ticket price ranges around 50-80-100 usd. Best time utilization may be just going righ away to the domestic terminal on your arrival.

    Take Praslin and La digue as the stay on islands. If you can catch something in the “lemuria” resort in Praslin than you can consider yourself super lucky in this life.

    Also consider denis private island for a few days.

    On la digue contact robert agnes for some amazing local trips. (No comission but we loved him) if i can help with anything just drop an e-mail.

    Have a faboulous one. 🙂

  27. Turkish Airlines has a pretty nonfunctional website. It is difficult to find information especially if it is related to their freq flyer program. Their old website was much better.

  28. @Lucky I just realized 10 Chinese airlines (including HK and Taiwan) service LAX and maybe only 9 US airlines do. President Trump is going to cripple China trade in 2018 and keep America great

  29. I flew Air Seychelles from Hong Kong to Dubai on an EK code share, about 4 years back . Compared to EK, it was awful. My mistake ,I did not notice the code share information when booking and thought I was on EK.

  30. No experience with Air Seychelles, but TK’s J lives up to its reputation. The seats are fine – similar to the QR 777 non-Q Suite product. Where they shine is the service and good quality. The crews are all Turkish, and extremely welcoming and friendly. The food is tremendous, especially the fish (which I often avoid on planes, but specifically order on TK)

  31. For the return from CDG: how about a KLM 787 to the US (SFO, IAD, MSP)? And what about CSA Czech Airlines from PRG to SEL?

  32. @malc, @lucky

    Just to reassure Ford: TK’s 777 Business product is actually very nice, if – and only if – travelling with someone you know. It allows chating over the very nice dinner and it is a nice long and wide flat bed for sleeping.

    Just beware of the 332/333 fleet. While the design of C-class is similar, the seat pitch is much less and so is the seat width. So I actually prefer the 777 (despite the 2-3-2 layout) over the 332/333 (with a 2-2-2 layout). And also: not all 332 are flat beds.

  33. Seychelles is such a beautiful place and we had such a nice time staying at Raffles Seychelles on the island of Praslin, and the hotel is amazing, it has great views and privacy, and each villa has their individual pool and braii areas and you have your own butler. The hotel has great staff and the vibe is amazing as well, as they tailor everything to your needs. It is defiantly worth considering if you haven’t made up your mind of where to stay, as Mahé isn’t the best island to enjoy the beach and the sea in Seychelles.
    We flew to Praslin once we landed in Mahé, and it is a short hop, and we also went to La Digue from there by boat which was nice. La Digue is also such a gorgeous little island with amazing beaches and rocks , and where you also get to ride a bike to everywhere.

  34. Happy New Year – 2018!

    Your coming trip to the Seychelles should be worthwhile; I am looking forward to your reviews of Air Seychelles as well as (interestingly), your thoughts on China Southern’s business class. I have found Cathay Dragon First different from Cathay Pacific so wonder what your impression will be. While the amount of my flights are modest, I always enter the aircraft with low expectations..

    I enjoy following your many flights and travels such as your thoughts on EL AL, Hawaiian, Qatari, LATM and Sichuan Airlines over the past year. Your reviews on Fogo island a while back were fun to read.

    Best Wishes for a safe and enjoyable Year of the Dog, 2018. Am looking forward to your thoughts on Armenia and the Seychelles themselves

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