Review: Trans Maldivian Airways DHC-6-300 Twin Otter Economy (MLE-WST)

After 32 hours of travel there was one last flight between us and our destination. For an aviation geek like myself, this may have been the one I was the most excited about, a ride on a DHC-6 Twin Otter float plane.


As part of our reservation with the Westin, they organized our seaplane transfer to and from the resort. Though, that came with a cost. The transfers were $500 per person round trip, which is on the steep side for a 30 minute propeller flight. Though, admittedly, they have a captive audience as there is no other way to reach the resort.


Since we were staying at The Westin, we had access to their lounge at the seaplane terminal which was much nicer than the standard, open air waiting area at the dock.


Our lounge attendant came and got us 15 minutes before our scheduled departure time. She took us downstairs and handed us off to the Trans Maldivian ground staff. Our flight was running a little late and so we spent 15 minutes in the boarding area before our flight was called. Trans Maldivian Airways serves a vast majority of the resorts in the Maldives and therefore it is common to make multiple stops. Our particular aircraft was stopping at three resorts, and we were fortunate that we were the first stop.

Trans Maldivian Airways Waiting Room

Once boarding for our flight was called, we walked out onto the dock and over to our waiting DHC-6-300 Twin Otter (Registration: 8Q-TAM). Boarding was completed by 11:45am at which point the flight attendant/deckhand performed a manual safety demonstration and passed out earplugs given the noise of the engines.

a woman walking on a dock with a plane in the water
people standing near a plane
a plane with propeller and water in the background
a hand holding a small white and red package

Trans Maldivian Airways

TMW 26

IAH-DOH (Male Velana International – Westin Miriandhoo)

Seat: 5C (Economy)

DHC-6-300 (8Q-TAM)

Scheduled: 11:30a-12:00p

Actual: 11:45a-12:20p


When it came time to depart, the crew untied us from the dock and we taxied out towards the sheltered bay. We took off from what seemed to be a random point in the bay and by 11:50am we were airborne and climbing out over the bay surrounding Male.

a view of a city from the air
a view of a body of water from a helicopter


With such a short flight, and the fact that we were on an old Twin Otter, the only entertainment was looking out the window. Since this was my first time in a seaplane, I was loving every second and we had some fantastic views as we flew northwest towards the Westin.

an island in the ocean
an airplane propeller above the ocean
an aerial view of islands in the ocean
an island in the ocean


Thirty minutes after takeoff, we splashed down in front of the Westin and taxied over to the seaplane dock. The hotel staff was there to greet us and unloaded our luggage while we went off to explore paradise, only 32 hours after leaving Dallas.

a propeller on a boat
a propeller of a plane in the water
a seaplane on a dock


As someone who loves flying in just about anything, this was one of my favorite flights of the trip. However, for someone who isn’t as crazy as me, these Twin Otters are loud and cramped and the fun would have worn off if we had spent any longer onboard. Since the travel times differ based on the distance to the resort and the number of stops along the way, be prepared to spend anywhere between 1.5-2 hours on board if your resort is further away.

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