Air Seychelles Pearl Business Class

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Background

Air Seychelles flies between Mahe – the largest island of the Seychelles – and Johannesburg three times a week, departing Mahe at 08h00 and arriving in Johannesburg at 11h10 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. From 14 December until 11 January 2014, Air Seychelles will operate an extra flight on Saturdays. 2012 saw Etihad Airways acquire a 40% stake in Air Seychelles. A five-year management contract for Etihad was included as part of the agreement, with a focus on implementing strategic measures to encourage the long-term commercial growth of Air Seychelles.

Check In

We arrived at Mahe International at 06h00 for our 08h00 flight. The queue was short and about 10 minutes later we were checked in, courtesy of a very friendly and helpful check-in attendant. The queue at security was also tiny and that process took all of five minutes. Further to that, I wasn’t required to take my laptop out of its case, which is always a bit of a pain.

Lounge

The Air Seychelles Salon Vallee de Mai premium lounge is located on the upper level of international departures. On this particular morning it had a fairly limited food offering, with a couple of pastries, fruit, water, juice, tea and coffee. The Wi-Fi though was speedy, with the lounge also offering PCs, comfortable seating, international newspapers and magazines, and showers. Pearl Class passengers and gold members of the airline’s frequent flyer programme may access the lounge at no charge. All other passengers must purchase access.

Boarding

Business Class passengers boarded from a separate gate, but this took place around 15 minutes late at 07h45. As a result we only took off at approximately 08h20. Upon boarding, we were offered water, orange juice and champagne, along with the breakfast menu.

Seat

This A330-200 had 18 lie-flat seats in Business Class in a 2-2-2 configuration. Each seat had loads of legroom, massage functions and a sturdy dining tray that doubled up effectively as a work desk, coping easily with the weight of my laptop. It also converted into a comfortable bed, although I opted to work, as it was a day flight. I was seated in 3H, the aisle seat in the back-right pair of seats. If you fancy a window seat, then 1, 2 and 3A, and 1, 2 and 3K are your seats. Otherwise, aisle access is your lot, with a question of whether or not you prefer the middle section or not. Personally, I would avoid 1C, D, G and H, as these are the closest seats to the galley and bathroom.

Flight

The flight was extremely comfortable with excellent service. For breakfast we were offered three options: a cheese omelette with chicken chipolatas, hash browns, spinach and cheese-stuffed mushrooms, and grilled cherry tomato with herbs; a vegetable frittata with chicken sausage, potato croquettes, creamy spinach and grilled tomato; and French toast with caramel and banana served with a vanilla sauce and almond flakes. My sweet tooth opted for the last option and it was soft but tasty, although my waistline took a hammering! Beverages, standard, with good coffee and plenty of water offered. In terms of inflight entertainment, not an extensive offering, although the content was on demand. The screens were located in the armrest and the selection consisted of about 10 recent film releases, although nothing that caught my eye, about 15 ‘classics’ and four ‘international’ films, along with TV programmes, music and games – all on demand.

Arrival

We touched down at O.R. Tambo International at approximately 11h10, bang on time, so our pilot made up for the time lost in Mahe. It took a fair amount of time to taxi to the terminal, but the process was handled efficiently. Fortunately, the queue at immigration was short, as was the wait for our bags.

Verdict

A really solid and impressive Business Class offering, with excellent service.

Dylan Rogers

Contact
Web:
www.airseychelles.com

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