Flights to Maldives: book cheap air tickets to Male

The Maldives is open to international tourism

To protect tourism Maldives pursued one of the most liberal opening policies in the world and allowed quarantine-free entry for all vaccinated travelers in June 2020. Foreign visitors are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or other Covid-related documents before traveling. Unvaccinated visitors entering Maldives under specific visa categories may still be required to undergo health testing and mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

All travelers must complete an online Traveller Declaration, submit it within 96 hours before departure, and present the document on arrival to the Maldives.

All nationalities are eligible for a 30-day tourist visa on arrival. However, a pre-paid hotel/accommodation booking and an onward/return ticket to another country are required.

Visa to the Maldives — check the requirements and apply online

Arriving in Maldives

  • If you are flying to Maldives from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportVelana International Airport VIA in Malé or Gan International Airport GAN in Addu City.

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Maldives. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.
  • Once in Maldives, take advantage of frequent intercity flights operated by domestic airlines such as Maldivian Airlines, FlyMe, Manta Air, and Trans Maldivian Airways. Those in-country carriers typically offer lower fares, operate from smaller airports located closer to city centers (you save on ground transportation), and provide flexible schedules – with a wide range of departure times.
  • Public transport in the Maldives (buses, trains, boats, ferries) is even cheaper than domestic airlines, and it’s a great way to experience local life. If you’re looking to explore smaller, more remote destinations, public transport may be your only option. has the most comprehensive database about public transport options in the Maldives. It is a reliable source of information about routes, schedules, prices, and booking options.

    Bus. Train. Boat. Ferry. Local prices. Book domestic transport in the Maldives on
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Maldives can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Flydubai, Go First, IndiGo, Sichuan Airlines, and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. If you have a layover in Maldives and plan to fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries, these budget airlines are an excellent way to save money. However, the “no-frills” carrier may not provide free checked baggage allowance, complimentary food, in-flight entertainment systems, and fast customer support. You may not even get to choose your seats, unless you pay extra.

Airports of Maldives

Best airports to fly into Maldives: Velana International Airport (Malé Airport) in Malé or Gan International Airport in Addu City
Maldives has 18 airports, including 5 international and 13 domestic airports – Velana International Airport VIA in Malé (located on the Hulhulé island, it's the busiest airport in the Maldives and the point of entry for most tourists), Gan International Airport GAN in Addu City (Gan), Hanimaadhoo International Airport HAQ in Haa Dhaalu (Hanimaadhoo), Maafaru International Airport NMF in Noonu (Maafaru), and Villa International Airport Maamigili VAM in Alifu Dhaalu (Maamigili).

Domestic airports — such as Hoarafushi Airport HRF in Haa Alifu Atoll, Kulhudhuffushi Airport HDK in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, or Funadhoo Airport FND in Shaviyani Atoll — are scattered all around the Maldives, and they mostly have small runways that don't allow handling large commercial aircraft and basic terminals with one or two counters.
Things to know before flying to Maldives
Airlines flying to MaldivesAeroflot, AirAsia, Air Astana, Air France, Air India, Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Azur Air, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eurowings, FitsAir, Flydubai, Go First, Gulf Air, Iberia, IndiGo, ITA Airways, Japan Airlines, JetBlue Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Kuwait Airways, LATAM, LOT, Lufthansa, Maldivian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Minoan Air, Neos Air, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudia, SalamAir, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, SWISS, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Vistara, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
Airlines of MaldivesMaldivian, FlyMe, Trans Maldivian Airways, Manta Air
Main airports in MaldivesVelana International Airport (MLE) — Malé, North Malé Atoll
Gan International Airport (GAN) — Addu City, Seenu Atoll
Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ) — Haa Dhaalu, Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Maafaru International Airport (NMF) — Noonu, Noonu Atoll
Maamigili International Airport (VAM) — Alifu Dhaalu, Alifu Dhaau Atoll

Hoarafushi Airport (HRF) — Hoarafushi, Haa Alifu Atoll
Kulhudhuffushi Airport (HDK) — Kulhudhuffushi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Funadhoo Airport (FND) — Funadhoo, Shaviyani Atoll
Ifuru Airport (IFU) — Ifuru, Raa Atoll
Madivaru Airport (LMV) — Madivaru, Lhaviyani Atoll
Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV) — Dharavandhoo, Baa Atoll
Kadhdhoo Airport (KDO) — Laamu, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
Dhaalu Airport (DDD) — Dhaalu, Dhaalu Atoll
Thimarafushi Airport (TMF) — Thimarafushi, Thaa Atoll
Kooddoo Airport (GKK) — Kooddoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM) — Kaadedhdhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
Maavarulu Airport (RUL) — Maavarulu, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
Fuvahmulah Airport (FVM) — Fuvahmulah, Gnaviyani Atoll
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €150 – €400 (from Europe)
✈ $500 – $800 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline promotionsSee ticket sales & promos available for flights departing from March to May

Book cheap flights in the region

Velana International Airport AKA Malé Airport (MLE)

Velana International Airport MLE (better known as Malé) is the main airport of the Maldives — the hub that connects the country with the outside world. It is located in the North Malé Atoll, on the island of Hulhule, a 5-minute ride across the Sinamalé Bridge or 10 minutes by ferry from the capital city. The airport has three terminals (international, domestic, and seaplane) and serves most of the international traffic and numerous domestic flights to other islands of the Maldives archipelago via three main local carriers: Maldivian Airlines, FlyMe, and Trans Maldivian Airways.

The airport itself is quite small, which allows passengers to take just a short walk from the gate through immigration to the baggage carousel and then through the customs to the exit.

Among the airport’s facilities are free carts in the arrival and departure areas, baggage storage service ($5 to store one bag for 24 hours), duty-free shops with a good selection of alcohol, cigarettes, and cosmetics, gift shops, cafes and restaurants, a medical center and a pharmacy, free shower rooms, internet kiosks, and several regular and VIP lounges.

Traveling between islands by seaplane

Seaplane transfer is the fastest way to reach your resort or hotel in the Maldives. In fact, many island resorts can be reached only by seaplane. The flight time varies from 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the distance, and costs around 500 USD (~740 AUD / ~470 EUR ) per person on a round-trip basis (premium resorts can charge up to $1,000 / ~1480 AUD / ~950 EUR).

Traveling in a seaplane is an experience in itself, and it’s all about the aerial views. These breathtaking seaplane flights over shallow lagoons, coral reefs, and uninhabited islands are probably the most picturesque air travel that exists.

Trans Maldivian Airways is the largest and most experienced seaplane operator in Maldives, while Manta Air is the newcomer. Both airlines are flying highly versatile, twin-engine turbine powered DHC-6-300 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 15 passengers. Each passenger may carry 5 kg of hand luggage and 20 kg of checked baggage. All seaplanes take off from Velana International Airport in Male.

Usually, the resort/travel agent/tour operator reserves the seaplane transfer on behalf of the guest. You can also book a seaplane once you arrive at Malé at the seaplane operator’s help desk.

The cheapest time to fly to Maldives

The Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate with two dominating seasons, with temperatures averaging between 25℃ and 32℃. The warmest period is observed between March and mid-May. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper and quieter trip, aim to book your flights for dates from May to November. These months are considered Maldives’ off-peak tourism season – while there is some rain, the storms move quickly and won’t ruin an entire day. The islands receive significantly fewer visitors, and everything, including airline tickets and resort prices, is cheaper.

Flights and accommodation are the most expensive between December and April as many families seek out warmer, tropical weather for their holidays to spend the day at the beach and soaking up the sun. Make sure to book your flights well in advance to avoid inflated last-minute fares.

Use the ferry system instead of flying to save money

Flying locally is incredibly expensive in the Maldives. Flights from Malé to the surrounding islands can easily cost you up to 500 USD (~740 AUD / ~470 EUR ) one-way.

If you want to stay on a budget, skip flying and use a reasonably-priced public ferry instead — expect to pay just 5-10 USD (~4-9 EUR) depending on the route. Ferry transport isn’t frequent — a ferry usually makes only one trip each day in each direction. From Male, there are public ferries to North and South Male Atoll, Rasdhu Atoll, Ari Atoll, and Vaavu atoll. There are no public ferries to or from resorts in the Maldives.

Please note that the timetable can be changed depending on the weather conditions and that ferries do not operate on Fridays (it’s the day off in the Maldives).

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Flights to Maldives from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Maldives. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Maldives, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop.

    Since the most common holiday combination is to twin the Maldives with Sri Lanka (only one hour flight from the Maldives, many daily flights), it's worth checking prices for flights to Sri Lanka first, then booking a cheap short-haul flight from Colombo to Malé with one of the budget airlines operating in the region: AirAsia, Flydubai, Go First, or Vistara.
  • Maldives is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Maldives with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.

    While travel time to Maldives from North America can average more than 20 hours, it all depend on the departure city. If you're flying from the West Coast, then the easiest layover cities would be Hong Kong or Singapore with flights costing around $1000 return. Routes from the East Coast usually have a stop in the Middle Eeast (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha), or in Europe (London, Istanbul, Zurich) and flights are a bit shorter and cheaper (starting from $800 return).
  • The best airlines to fly to Maldives from the US and Canada are: American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.
  • For long-haul flights, the type of aircraft you choose can make a huge difference to your overall comfort on board – especially if you’re flying economy. The best aircraft have comfier seats with more legroom, WiFi, superior entertainment systems, and a better passenger experience in every cabin in general. When booking a flight to Maldives, look for the airlines that use wide-body planes designed for long-haul flights, such as Airbus A350 (best choice), A380, A320neo, or Boeing 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.

Maldives from US & Canada
plane ticket prices in 2023/24

Real-time economy class airfares to Maldives from the US and Canada. Shown are the top three deals for flights departing in the coming months (March to November).

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Maldives Time vs Maldives Island Time

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure/arrival times on your plane ticket and boarding pass are based on the time zone of the departure/arrival airport – this also applies to the connecting (layover) airports.

Officially, all the Maldives islands follow the same time zone known as Maldives Time (MHT) which is 5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+5h ). However, some resorts on distant islands frequently operate according to their own rules and they observe different time zone, known as Maldives Island Time. It is an unofficial time zone where 1 or 2 hours are added to the Maldives Time, so travelers to take advantage of “an extra hour of daylight each day”. There is usually no need to worry about this time difference, as the resort will let you know if they have altered their clocks to Maldives Island Time.

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Air India, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, and others.

When it comes to Twitter, there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: @MaldivianAero” if contacting the national carrier Maldivian Airlines). The social media team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

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Flights to Maldives with stopover

Direct flights to Maldives are, of course, much less hassle than flights that require one or more connections. However, they tend to be more expensive. In a trade-off between convenience and cost, the best option is often to opt for a flight with one layover.

So if you’re looking at a long-haul trip with at least one connection, rather than simply transiting an airport, why not take this opportunity to plan a longer stopover? A stopover is a prolonged layover — more than 24 hours — and it won’t only break up your long journey but will also become a legitimate part of your vacation. If you’re prone to severe jet lag, a one or two-day stopover would help minimize its adverse effects.

When booking flights, many airlines allow you to include a free stopover en route to your final destination in Maldives. Those flights are usually cheaper than non-stop (direct) flights, and you can often choose your stopover at no additional cost — just by looking for multi-city flights with longer layovers.

Big cities in Asia and Pacific are known for their rich culture and history — making them a great idea for a stopover during a longer journey. Here are a few suggestions for a stopover while en route to Maldives.

Some airlines openly advertise stopovers and offer significant discounts and travel perks for passengers to break up their trips: free luxury hotel stays, complimentary domestic flights, or exclusive rates for activities. Start checking for stopover deals to Maldives with government-owned airlines (as they are looking to attract tourists to give the country economic benefits) — such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. Almost every airline’s website has multi-city search functionality, often hidden inside the one-way/return/multi-city switch.

A well-chosen stopover will not only turn one vacation into many but also save you several hundred dollars in airfare. The available stopovers to Maldives will depend on your initial destination (Europe, North America, Asia, etc) and the airline you are flying with. For most airlines, the best free stopover offer will be at their main hub.

Flights to Maldives from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Maldives — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights from Europe to the Maldives are about 7-11 hours long with prices for the return ticket starting at 600 EUR (depending on your departure city). Among the airlines operating direct flights to the Maldives are Air France, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Edelweiss Air, Eurowings, ITA Airways, Lufthansa, and SWISS. Only some of the largest European hubs have a nonstop connection to the Maldives - Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Zurich. All those flights arrive at Velana International Airport MLE located near Malé on the North Malé Atoll.

    Since the most common holiday combination is to twin Maldives with Sri Lanka (only one hour flight from the Maldives, many daily flights), it's worth checking prices for flights to Sri Lanka first, then book a cheap short-haul flight from Colombo to Malé with one of the budget airlines operating in the region: AirAsia, Flydubai, Go First, or Vistara.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Maldives include British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, and Turkish Airlines.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Maldives from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Use European low-cost airlines such as RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to fly to the hub, then save hundreds of euros by taking a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination.

    We recommend checking prices for flights to Maldives from these European airport hubs: London LHR and Manchester MAN in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt FRA and Munich MUC in Germany, Paris CDG and Nice NCE in France, Amsterdam AMS in the Netherlands, Madrid MAD and Barcelona BCN in Spain, Rome FCO and Milano MXP in Italy, Brussels BRU in Belgium, Copenhagen OSL in Denmark, Oslo OSL in Norway, Stockholm ARN in Sweden, Zurich ZRH in Switzerland, Lisbon LIS in Portugal, Vienna VIE in Austria, Warsaw WAW in Poland, Prague PRG in Czech Republic, and Dublin DUB in Ireland.

European airports with the cheapest flights to Maldives

Find the lowest prices for flights to Velana International Airport in Maldives from the major airports in Europe — London, Dublin, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Stockholm, Geneva, Helsinki, Zurich, and others.

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Get 40% – 80% off airfares from Europe to Maldives:

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How to book SuperDeals?

At the Air Traveler Club, our go-to solution for finding cheap airfares to Maldives is Google Flights. Every time we send SuperDeals to our 110,000 members (see some examples), we include links to Google Flights so that each deal can be booked immediately.

Google Flights then showcases various options for booking the deal: you can almost always book directly with the airline (by cutting out the middleman) or – alternatively – with an OTA that offers the same flight at a similar price. Once you have chosen your booking option, you will be redirected to the external website where you can finalize your ticket purchase.

One of Google Flights’ standout features is a color-coded bar that appears underneath the booking options. It provides a visual representation of the price in comparison to the typical fare (for the same route, class, and airline) – indicating whether it is lower, average, or higher.

Booking deals with Google Flights: price history
A visual representation of the flight price. In this example, the SuperDeal saves more than 50% compared to the regular fare.

If the marker falls within the green zone (“price is low”) don’t hesitate to secure this deal as it is significantly – 40% to 80% – cheaper than average and unlikely to drop further.

For more details on how to book deals on Google Flights, check out this video:

YouTube video

If you are not Air Traveler Club subscriber yet, you’re missing out on SuperDeals (we often send deals to Maldives). Signup now to start saving 40–80% on flights. It’s free!

Check different departure airports

Consider neighboring cities when choosing the departure airport – especially look for larger cities with airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines.

For example, if you live in West Europe, check prices for flights departing from Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, or Vienna. In 9 out of 10 cases, the cheapest flight to Maldives will depart from one of these hubs, and it may be €500 less or more than your first choice. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to this hub, but low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for €50 – €100.

Use a similar tactic if you depart from the US or another region. It’s one of the best ways to save hundreds on trips.

Book flights from many departure airports
By entering more than one departure city in the flight search engine (at the top of this page), you can quickly find the airport with the cheapest flights to your destination

Last-minute flights to Maldives. The real cost of convenience.

Last-minute flights are often touted as a great way to save money, but the reality is far from it. Booking last-minute flights to Maldives almost always never works out.

Based on years of research, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. To make the most money, they will sell their cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of these travelers who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Occasionally, airlines can offer last-minute deals to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates tend to sell out quickly.

Planning ahead and booking early is your best chance to secure a great deal on your flight to Maldives.

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Airlines of the Maldives

Fiji’s national flag carrier is Maldivian (formerly Air Pacific), based at Velana International Airport in Malé. It offers international scheduled flights to Maldives from Bangladesh, China, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Most of its long- and medium-haul flights to Maldives have meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment onboard.

Three other airlines of Maldives – FlyMe, Trans Maldivian Airways, and Manta Air – are much smaller carriers that mostly focus on short-haul flights to the nearby islands, often using the fleet of seaplanes. They may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight refreshments, meals, or onboard entertainment. In most cases, their tickets are fixed and non-refundable if there is a no-show or cancellation.

Flights to Maldives from Australia and New Zealand

  • Australia and New Zealand are well-connected with popular Asian destinations, including Maldives. In addition to domestic airlines – Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand – routes from Australia/New Zealand to Asia are operated by large regional carriers such as ANA, Emirates, Etihad, Fiji Airways, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

    Direct flights and flights with one layover to Maldives are available from all major airports in Australia – Sydney SYD, Brisbane BNE, Melbourne MEL, Perth PER, Adelaide ADL, Cairns CNS, Gold Coast OOL, Canberra CBR, and in New Zealand – Auckland AKL, Wellington WLG, Christchurch CHC, Queenstown ZQN, Dunedin DUD.
  • In terms of cost-savings, we recommend flying from Australia and New Zealand to a major Asian hub and then booking a flight to your final destination in Maldives with a regional budget airline. Among the low-cost airlines that fly into Maldives are AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Flydubai, Go First, IndiGo, Sichuan Airlines, and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

    Currently, there are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to Maldives. You’ll need a layover in one of the major hubs in Asia.
    The best way to fly from Australia to the Maldives is via Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia X, Singapore Airlines, or SriLankan Airlines. If booked well in advance, the return flight can be as low as AUD 800 (from Perth), AUD 1000 (from Melbourne), and AUD 1100 (from Sydney).

Prices of flights to Maldives from Australia and New Zealand

Real-time economy class fares to Maldives from major airports in Australasia — from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide in Australia, and from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch in New Zealand.

Prices in Australian Dollar.

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Fly half-price (or less!) from Australia and New Zealand to Maldives:

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Fly early in the morning

Early morning flights (6 am or earlier) are usually cheaper than other day schedules. Airlines often offer discounts on their first flight of the morning (up to 15-20%) simply because of lower demand – most people are not willing to go to the airport so early.

Moreover, there tend to be fewer delays if you fly early in the morning. Due to increasing air traffic, delays get worse throughout the day – starting around 8-10 am and reaching a peak at 4-6 pm. If you are flying to Maldives with a connecting flight, arriving on time at your layover airport may be critical to catching your next flight!

By heading to the airport before rush hour, you can at least halve the time spent in city traffic. Airports are less crowded in the early morning, and with fewer travelers at the airport, there will be no long lines at the check-in and security.

Best way to upgrade to Business Class for cheap

A growing number of airlines are auctioning upgrades to their business class seats. Once you book your economy ticket to Maldives, you can offer to pay a bit more in an attempt to get a premium seat. 2-3 days before your flight, an airline will send you an email with a link to their website where you can place a “blind” bid. Alternatively, you can go to the website directly and check if your seat qualifies for an upgrade by providing the Booking Reference number.

There’s usually a minimum bid amount. If you win the auction, you’ll be informed via email, and your seat will be upgraded.

Cheaper business class flight online bidding for upgrades
Virgin Australia auctions off upgrades to Business Class as a way to sell otherwise unused seats at the front of the plane

How to choose the right bid amount? Just check the airline website for the regular cost of a business class seat to Maldives, then subtract what you paid for the economy fare. Place your bid for around 10% to 30% of that price. The alternative strategy is to bid slightly above the competition. If, for example, the minimum bid is $500, try to bid $550-$600, as most people will offer the baseline amount required.

The more available business class seats the airline has on your flight, the lower bid can be successfully used. Check the airline’s daily schedule for flights to Maldives – if there is more than one flight on your chosen route (more available seats), you can safely bid close to the minimum required amount.

Among the airlines that allow bidding for seat upgrades are: Air Canada (AC Bid), Air New Zealand (OneUp), Cathay Pacific (Upgrade Bid), Etihad Airways (Bid To Upgrade), Fiji Airways (Bula Bid), Garuda Indonesia (BidUpgrade), Hawaiian Airlines (Bid Up), LATAM (Cabin Upgrade), Lufthansa (Bid Upgrade), Royal Jordanian (Go Crown), Qantas (Bid Now), SAS (SAS Upgrade), Singapore Airlines (mySQupgrade), SriLankan Airlines, and Virgin Australia (UpgradeMe).

“Book Flights Now, Pay Later” — is it worth it?

Booking a flight and paying for it later has recently become a popular trend in the travel industry, with many airlines offering delayed payment plans. They will allow you to make flight reservation to Maldives now and then pay the bill in installments. But should you take advantage?

Book Now Pay Later (BNPL) plans are essentially short-term personal loans. By partnering with financial companies such as Affirm, Afterpay, PayPal Credit, Fly Now Pay Later, and Uplift, airlines can offer their loan services on the checkout page. When you book the flight with the BNPL option, the company pays the airline, and you repay the loan in installments over a set period (usually up to 24 months), with a set interest rate.

BNPL providers have varying terms and fees. Some may offer interest-free loans but have fees for late payments and require forced autoplay on your bank account, while others may have high annual percentage rates (up to 30-40% APR). There may also be transaction fees, down payment requirements, and many companies even run a credit check on the traveler.

Fly now pay later - delayed payments for flight reservations
Fly Now Pay Later works with numerous popular travel brands to provide delayed payment options

Among the airlines that offer a “fly now, pay later” option are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic.

Is BNPL financing worth it? If paid off on time, interest-free delayed payment on your flight ticket to Maldives can be a great way to free up your cash flow. However, there may be safer alternatives available – such as taking advantage of an introductory 0% interest offer on a credit card or using flight price “freezing” services like Hopper.

Hidden-city ticketing hack

Hidden-city ticketing is a less-known money-saving tactic where you buy a plane ticket with a layover, with the intention to get off at the layover rather than the final destination. For example, a flight from New York to Tokyo might be $600, but a similar flight from New York to Singapore with a layover in Tokyo might be only $350. Choosing the latter and ending the trip in Tokyo would save you $250.

It seems counterintuitive that a fare from A to C via B could possibly be cheaper than a simple fare on a shorter route from A to B. However, airlines use dynamic, computer-driven price models calculated with little human intervention, and such deals happen quite often.

How to find hidden-city tickets? The easiest way is to use the Skiplagged website, which was designed for unearthing hidden-city deals — give them a try for your flight to Maldives.

Next tips

Flights to Maldives from Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and other major hubs in Asia

  • The Maldives islands are well connected with the rest of Asia region. There are multiple daily direct flights to Malé from Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Bangkok, Colombo, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Muscat, Singapore, and Tashkent.
  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Maldives look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Maldives will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting the Maldives and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet, and VietJet Air. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.

Flights from major Asian airports to Maldives

Asia is home to some of the busiest and most connected airports in the world. All major Asian airports have convenient and frequent flights to Maldives — including Changi (Singapore), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong (China), Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Indira Gandhi (New Delhi, India), KLIA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Soekarno–Hatta (Jakarta, Indonesia), Ninoy Aquino (Manila, Philippines), Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok, Thailand), Taoyuan (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.


Flight hacking

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Take advantage of loyalty programs

Choose an airline that suits you the best, then stick to it. By becoming a ‘regular’, you will be able to use its loyalty program and earn “miles” (or points) – not only for flying but also for everyday expenses (if your card is affiliated with an airline).

Points earned this way often add up over time and are extremely helpful in flying at reduced fares. Airlines offer not only ticket discounts for their frequent flyers, but also special travel perks such as cabin class upgrades, increased checked baggage allowance, or access to their airport lounges so you can relax during long layovers.

If you often fly with Emirates, opt for Skywards, with Qantas – for Qantas Frequent Flyer, with Singapore Airlines – for KrisFlyer, etc.

Proof of onward travel – a simple hack

Travelers who go on long trips often don’t have a set itinerary and fly on one-way tickets. The problem? For many APAC countries, proof of onward travel is a legal requirement. If you arrive at the airport without an onward ticket (from the Maldives to another country), you’ll either be forced to buy one online or forbidden from boarding the plane altogether.

The cheapest solution? Renting an onward ticket! Use the websites such as OneWayFly or OnwardTicket to get a flight reservation for a limited amount of time (usually 2 to 14 days). They work by actually booking you on a real flight out of the Maldives and giving you a confirmable flight reservation with a PNR (Passenger Name Record) under your name. After the time limit, your spot on the flight is automatically canceled. Such “temporary tickets” tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Confirmed flight ticket reservation
Proof of onward travel: confirmed flight ticket reservation (source: OnwardTicket)

“Hot seats” on long-haul flights

Those days seat selection is considered an optional, extra paid service – seats with extra legroom (front and exit rows) are usually priced higher. However, if you’re about to take a long-haul flight to Maldives, those “hot seats” are worth considering – expect to pay $50-$100, which is much less than upgrading to Premium Economy.

If you want to choose your seats, do this early (ideally during the booking) for a more extensive selection of available options.

Booking hot seats (preffered seats with extra legroom) on plane
Choosing a hot seat during the flight booking process is usually worth it. For a reasonable price, you will get more room to stretch your legs, as well as a wider seat pitch.

Lost luggage prevention: Essential tips

Every year, airlines handle millions of bags and a small percentage never make it to their final destinations. Avoid lost luggage nightmares on your trip to Maldives by removing old tags from previous flights on your suitcases – they can confuse baggage handlers and conveyor belt scanners. It’s also a good idea to label your luggage with your name, address, and phone number (both inside and outside the case) and attach a GPS-tracker device like Apple AirTag or Samsung SmartTag.

For peace of mind, consider purchasing travel insurance to cover the full value of your luggage, as airline liability usually doesn’t reflect the actual value of the baggage content.