Previous posts from this around-the-world trip:
At a little after eight o’clock in the morning I headed to Gate 28 for the flight to Male (MLE).
When it was time to board, we were bused to the plane. I was pleased to end my eight-hour layover in Abu Dhabi and very anxious to get to the Maldives. The flight would be in business class and take just less than four hours to cover the 1,882 miles between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and MLE.
Etihad A320-200 Short Haul Business Class
For short-haul international flights Etihad has 16 Pearl Business Class seats on its A320-200 aircraft in a 2 – 2 configuration similar to first class on many A320s in US fleets. While the configuration is similar to US domestic A320s everything else is much nicer on Etihad.
I had seat 2A, a window seat on the left side of the plane. The seat is 21 inches wide and has 49 inches of pitch to the seat in front. The seats are very roomy and comfortable. My only minor complaint was that the AVOD boxes allowed only minimal space for placing feet or personal items under the seat in front.
The seat position is controlled electrically.
The seat controls are mounted on the armrest on the left. The seat reclines 160 degrees. The foot rest position adjusts to accommodate tall and short people and to find the most comfortable position for the legs. The headrest and lumbar support are also adjustable. A memory function lets you set and return to a favorite seat position automatically.
Each seat has a video screen that folds up from the armrests between the seats.
The in-flight video offers a large selection of video and audio programming although not quite as extensive as on long-haul flights. The video screen has USB power. AC power outlets are located near the floor on the console where the video screens fold out of.
Service on the flight began with the customary pre-departure beverage. I always get the champagne.
Breakfast was served after takeoff. Etihad meals always have great presentation.
Since I had had dinner and breakfast in the lounge at AUH, breakfast was more than filling. Later in the flight I had coffee and Kahlua.
My seatmate for this flight was an Etihad FA who worked the business-class section on A380s. I had a good conversation about her experience with Etihad on the A380 and my upcoming flight on it in the first-class apartments.
The flight went very quickly. We started the descent about 25 minutes out.
About 10 minutes before landing some of the beautiful atolls in the Maldives chain came into view.
On the approach to MLE we had a good view of Male, the capital of the Maldives.
After landing the aircraft parked at a stand and we walked into the terminal.
Everyone needs a visa to visit the Maldives. You can only get one after arriving in the country. A 30-day tourist visa is free. The only requirement is to have proof of accommodations in the Maldives and a return ticket.
Exiting the customs and immigration area a representative from my hotel, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, was waiting with my name on a sign. After welcoming introductions, he led me the short distance from the airport terminal to the speedboat to take me to the hotel.
At last I was in the Maldives!
The next review reports on the brief but enjoyable stay in a water bungalow at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa.