Air Seychelles A330 business class review JNB – DEL

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  • MarkCymru

    I flew Air Seychelles (HM) from Johannesburg to Delhi via Seychelles International (SEZ – Mahé) and Mumbai (BOM). Both HM sectors were in business class on an A330-200. It cost me about £900 / US$1150. Overall, it was pleasant and excellent value

    Check in at JNB for our 13.45 flight was quick and efficient. The lovely check-in agent agreed to block the seat next me to the JNB – SEZ sector. HM use Shongololo, a rather dark and crowded lounge at JNB. When I got there, it was full of Cathay passengers. One, a typical British expat banker, appeared to be talking to a friend in Hong Kong via Skype on his i-Pad. He was shouting and — obviously — not using earphones but relaying her end of the conversation via speaker at top volume to his equally noisy children, who were sitting alongside him. I asked the staff to tell him to be a bit quieter. “I can’t. Why don’t you. What’s the worst that could happen. He could hit you, I suppose,” said the lounge attendant. I did and he didn’t.

    We were boarding from gate A4 which has a snaking queue down to the gate. When I’ve been on a BA flight from there, we were simply told that premium passengers had to wait. The HM agent, though, escorted us through the queue to the gate and we got on fast. Impressive

    As you might expect in a nation of 800,000, several of the business class passengers from the Seychelles knew several of the crew. It created a friendly atmosphere but the rest of us were welcomed nicely too.

    The crew were great — friendly but unobtrusive. I really recommend the signature cocktail: Seychelles rum and tonic (try it before you turn your nose up)

    They had missed my VGML meal so I reluctantly took the vegetarian option from the menu. It was an unremarkable spinach lasagne but the meal service was great. It was fast (30 minutes after take off) and they brought it all at once on a tray instead of dragging it out as so many pretentious airlines seem to do these days.

    The seats are fully flat in a 2-2-2 formation. There’s no direct aisle access and they’re a bit narrow but absolutely fine for a flight of four hours.

    We landed a bit late at about 21.30. SEZ is, basically, four rooms. Transit passengers walk along the outside of the airport and up to two desks. Security included, it took under five minutes and everyone I dealt with smiled at me — how transit should be. On the departure side, the gates and most of the shops are downstairs in an area of about 100 metres by about 25 (I’d guess). There were Condor, Emirates and Etihad flights going at the same time so it was packed. However, there’s a very tropical and quite comfortable VIP lounge upstairs which was busy, but not uncomfortably so. There was a decent spread of food and drink. Unfortunately, the whole airport’s Internet connection was down so none of the wifi networks worked. I spent a comfortable hour there

    Our onward flight to BOM was on the same A330 that had come from JNB. A couple of seats weren’t working so we all shuffled around. I ended up with an empty seat next to me again and was delighted. I can’t tell you much about the flight because I slept for 3hours 30 of the four. The crew again seemed friendly, though, and my sleep was helped by another of those cocktails. The red amenity kit was nothing remarkable but a good souvenir.

    In BOM, I cleared immigration and customs, got my Jet Airways boarding pass and was to the lovely domestic lounge i under 30 minutes. I had breakfast there (a delicious dhosa and some idlis). It was a 777 to Delhi with full-flat seats. Again, I’m afraid, I slept the whole way.

    Overall, it was great value and very pleasant. The other options would have been two sectors, not three, but would have cost much more and involved changing in DXB or AUH. I very much doubt that I would have got through transit in either in under five minutes. Or, I could have had two sectors through NBO, ADD or KGL but the Africa to India sector would have been in an uncomfortable narrow-bodied plane. I think I made the right choice.


    @MarkCymru – like you, I have had many good biz flights with HM both on the older B763’s to CDG and also the newer A332’s through to AUH. I am not a SEZ resident nor a citizen, but have worked there on and off for many years and also know many crew.
    One correction for you though, the population of Seychelles is approx 80,000 and approx 50,00 of those are on the main island, Mahe.

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