If you told me a few years ago that I’d get to visit the Maldives twice — and not on a honeymoon but SOLO, I’d probably call you crazy. But… the stars and the heaven have blessed me with ROUND 2 of my bucket list experience, SCUBA DIVING IN MALDIVES, and now I can truly bestow some Maldives trip knowledge to all of you. 😉
This also isn’t the first time I’ve flown to the Maldives with AirAsia as I have always trusted them for the cheapest and quickest flight to my destination. Now I can go on and say that you can totally scrimp on the flight to get the lowest possible fare, but I’ve had a couple of learnings from last year’s trip. How do I cut long lines, ensure safety in handling of my dive equipment, get the best cost for check-in luggage, and NOT starve during my flight?!
This time, I went all out to try AirAsia X’s Premium Flex and Quiet Zone offering and also ordered myself some Santan hot meals. Here are some tips I have for solo travelers flying to the Maldives from the Philippines, and reasons why the upgrades are worth the peso.
Airline of choice: AIRASIA (www.airasia.com)
Flight Price Range: PHP 16,000 – 50,000 ($307 – $960)
VISA NEEDED? For Philippine Passports, VISA is given upon arrival in the Maldives. Yay!
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MALDIVES? The Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India.
There are no direct flights from Philippines / Manila to Maldives / Male. I flew a 4-hour flight via AirAsia Filipino to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and had a layover in KL before flying again for 4 hours to Male, Maldives the next day with AirAsia X. (Although there have been rumors of direct flights happening as of late – READ HERE!)
Tip #1: Secure the Quiet Zone + Premium Flex
The flight from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Male (Maldives) is approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes, and the last thing any tired solo adventurer would want is children crying and screaming all-throughout those precious 4 hours.
Don’t get me wrong… generally, children are lovely and I usually have a lot of patience for them. The Quiet Zone was simply a treat for someone coming from a tiring 15-hour layover.
I feel like all the signs of “Quiet Zone” also served as a reminder to the adults seated in the area. It was peaceful and was possibly one of my best flight experiences yet.
Tip #2: Pre-book your AirAsia Santan in-flight meals
It’s a 4-hour flight to Malaysia and another 4-hour trip to Maldives from Kuala Lumpur so make sure you book a meal.
You save more when you pre-book versus getting it on the plane. For example, a hotmeal + drink (water or coffee) will cost you PHP 180 when pre-booked versus getting it on the plane at PHP 200, and PHP 150 for ala carte.
I got the Chicken Rice which was roast chicken and special secret chili, ginger and garlic sauce! (You can get it as a combo meal with soda and a dessert.) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of AirAsia’s in-flight meals! Usually, you can’t expect so much with airplane food, but the Santan meal I had was not only delicious but also filling.
Tip #3: Pre-book your luggage and tag your very important gear as “Sports Equipment”
They really weren’t kidding when they said that scuba diving was going to be an expensive hobby. The most important investments are the ones that you entrust your life to — your dive equipment! Having said that, I’d only prefer the most premium handling of my dive gear when traveling. Last time, I just squeezed them all in one big luggage to make sure they fit the allowance. Imagine the trouble I’d have if any of those items broke….
Tagging your gear as SPORTS EQUIPMENT isn’t particularly cheaper but it ensures special handling. Like VVIP for your luggage. To ensure the lowest possible cost on luggage check-ins, PRE-BOOK is the magical word.
AirAsia allowed me a total of 65kg baggage allowance for both my check baggage (25kg) and sports equipment (40kg) allowance! You can check in items up to 40kg each.
Like the in-flight meals, it’s also better to pre-book all your luggage allowance! It’s about 3x more expensive to add on allowance. For example, you’d pay for PHP 349 only for 20 kg when pre-booked versus PHP 800 for 15kg at the airport counter! You’d also cut down on a lot of hassle having to move items around and “re-allocate” just to fit your allowance.
AirAsia is pretty transparent with their fees (fees/fares differ depending on where you’re heading: AIRASIA FEES & FARES (SEAT SELECTION, BAGGAGE and other fees)
AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service has made my airport adventure and layover a little more bearable. All I had to take care of was my laptop so I can focus on more important things… like catching up on work emails on vacation. HAHA.
Tip #4: Check-in via kiosk or app!
Breeze through the long lines via the kiosks available or the AirAsia app. Premium Flex does have its own priority lane, so imagine how much easier it is when you’ve done mobile check-in.
You can also come in at the very least an hour before departure. Personally, I don’t recommend coming in too close (*flashes back getting left behind by the plane in 2012*)… but you get what I mean.
My total cost:
Flight Cost (Premium Flex, Quiet Zone, and 65kg baggage allowance) – PHP 30,000.00 All-In
As of May 9 – They’re on promo now! You can get flights as low as PHP 16,000 All-In 😊👍🏽
Philippine Travel Tax – 1,620.00
Have other in-flight experiences and upgrade reviews, and tips to making your travels better? Share them with me!