Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York JFK To Hong Kong
Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport
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SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Bangkok To Colombo
SriLankan Serendib Lounge Colombo Airport
SriLankan Business Class A330-300 Colombo To Male
Beach Palace Hotel / Ui Inn Maldives
Domestic Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport
Maldivian Dash 8 Male To Kooddoo And Park Hyatt Boat Transfer
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Pool Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Water Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Breakfast & Diamond Cocktails
Park Hyatt Maldives Resort Overview
Park Hyatt Boat Transfer And Maldivian Dash 8 Kooddoo to Male
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
Cathay Pacific Business Class A330-300 Male To Hong Kong
Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong To Newark
My Cathay Pacific flight from Male to Hong Kong was departing at 10PM, which I had informed the hotel of for the purposes of the transfer to Male Airport.
Maldivian Airways, which operates the flights between Kooddoo (the closest airport to the resort) and Male only confirms schedules a day in advance, so the evening before my departure I was informed that I would be on a 6:20PM flight out of Kooddoo, which would get me to Male at 8PM.
While I lucked out with a nonstop flight on the outbound, on the return I was stuck with a flight connecting in Kaadedhdhoo. The flight from Kooddoo to Kaadedhdhoo (try saying that five times fast!) was only about 35 miles, and then from there it would be a roughly 250 mile flight to Male.
I was booked on a 6:15PM boat from the Park Hyatt, which would get me to Kooddoo Airport in time for my 6:20PM flight. The reason that “works” is because the Park Hyatt has created its own timezone to maximize daylight, so it’s actually an hour ahead of Kooddoo Airport, even though it’s just a couple of dozen miles away. So leaving the resort at 6:15PM is like leaving at 5:15PM Kooddoo time.
This seemed to be rush hour for departures, since there were two boats leaving at the same time. The second boat seemed to be exclusively filled with mainland Chinese guests, while on my boat it was me, a couple from somewhere on the west coast of the US, and a super-muscular family from New Jersey (like almost frighteningly so… the son couldn’t have been more than 12, and he could probably beat me up with one hand).
Once onboard the boat we had to put on life vests. This time around there was no offer of towels or drinks (which is perfectly reasonable, since we were just leaving the resort).
As we departed, the lovely staff — including the GM — stood on the jetty to wave goodbye to us. I knew I’d quickly miss them, despite being ready to get back to civilization.
The ride to Kooddoo took about 25 minutes, and was much rougher than on the way out. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride, though, as the sun began to set while enroute.
We arrived at the port in Kooddoo at around 5:40PM, where another one of the Park Hyatt boats was docked.
We were all loaded onto a golf cart and driven to the airport, which took less than five minutes. Shortly thereafter the golf cart made another trip to collect our luggage.
The terminal at Kooddoo Airport is extremely basic.
We were told to have a seat in the “landside” section (if you can call it that), as the plane wasn’t yet there, and “security” wasn’t yet set up.
I needed to use the restroom, and was informed that the toilet was around the back of the airport to the right. The restroom was absolutely disgusting, with no towels or toilet paper.
The door to the bathroom did boast nice views of the (empty) tarmac, though.
At 6PM the plane still wasn’t there, so the guests from New Jersey wanted more info, since they were concerned they would miss their connection (they were actually booked on the same Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong as I was). The ground staff didn’t seem to speak English, much less know when the plane would arrive.
Sure enough the plane landed a couple of minutes later, at which point we were invited to clear security, which was more a formality than anything, given that no one looked at the bag scanner, and I wasn’t searched despite setting off the metal detector.
At that point we found ourselves in a small boarding area.
At 6:15PM we were given the go ahead to board.
Kooddoo (GKK) – Male (MLE)
Saturday, April 11
Aircraft: Dash 8-300
Seat: 12B (Economy Class)
It was just a very short walk across the tarmac to the waiting plane. While I had a Dash 8-200 on the flight out, this sector was being operated by the bigger 50 seat Dash 8-300.
The cabin had a very similar design, except for the fact that the first row had two rear facing seats. While the resort guests seemed to be assigned the front seats on the flight out, this time around we were in the back. And in this case I was in the very last row.
On the plus side, that was sort of a blessing as an aviation geek, since I could admire the ExpressJet beverage cart.
The cabin was about half full when we boarded (I’m guessing those passengers were coming from Male, as this is a “triangular” flight), so by the time we left the cabin was maybe 75% full.
The seat next to me stayed empty, and at around 6:20PM the engines were started, and the pilot made a quick announcement, which I couldn’t understand.
We quickly taxied to the runway, during which time the travel prayer played over the PA, and the flight attendant did his safety demo. We began our takeoff roll while the flight attendant was finishing up his safety demo, and were airborne before 6:25PM.
Less than 10 minutes later the landing gear dropped, as we prepared for our descent into Kaadedhdhoo.
We touched down there at 6:35PM, and then had a total of five minute taxi to our arrival position, as we had to once again back-taxi on the runway.
At this point the sunset was finishing up, and the views were gorgeous.
Quite a few passengers were getting off in Kaadedhdhoo, so they immediately stood up. However, the cabin door didn’t open for about 10 minutes.
I figured it would just be a quick stop, though it ended up taking about 25 minutes. The cabin during the connection was sooooo hot, it was painful. The air was just standing, and it must have been over 100 degrees in the cabin. On top of that, the cabin just freaking reeked of sweaty ass. Reeked.
Eventually a new set of passengers joined us. This time every seat on the plane was taken. A French guy sat down next to me. Unfortunately he didn’t really help with the smell in the cabin.
At 7:15PM the door closed, at which point “flight steward” (that’s what he referred to himself as) Mohammed once again played the travel prayer and performed the safety demo.
At 7:20PM we made it to runway, at which point full thrust was applied while the parking breaks were still set, given that the runway is only 4,000 feet long. Once they were released we accelerated like crazy, though still used up almost the entire runway.
The flight was smooth and uneventful. The service consisted of cold towels and then a choice between water and three types of juice (mango, mixed fruit, or apple).
We touched down at Male Airport at 8:20PM, and then had a five minute taxi to our arrival stand. It was another five minutes before the door finally opened at 8:30PM.
You can’t interline bags on Maldivian, so you have to wait for your checked luggage to arrive. Given that we landed half an hour late, I only had 90 minutes until my Cathay Pacific flight. I wasn’t worried, though it was certainly getting tight.
It took a while for bags to arrive. Some bags from our flight came almost instantly, while it was a good 20 minutes before my bag arrived, even though the plane was parked maybe 50 feet away. For a second I was worried my bag had been lost.
And with that behind me, I was ready for a good night of sleep on Cathay Pacific!
Park Hyatt transfer & Maldivian bottom line
Ultimately the transfer to/from the Park Hyatt isn’t a total deal breaker, though it is a significant inconvenience. On the way out I spent a night at a crappy hotel near Male Airport, while on the return I ended up spending over two hours on a boiling hot Dash 8, not including transfer times on both ends.
Like I said, it’s not a deal breaker, but between the transfer cost ($510) and the inconvenience/unpleasantness of it all, it is something to factor in before booking a ticket to the Maldives.