Flight Test: Air Mauritius

The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age Traveller

3 October 2015

 

THE ROUTE: Mauritius Island to Perth.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME: Air Mauritius uses the Kestrelflyer rewards system. Members can use their accumulated points on Air Mauritius products, such as flights, cabin upgrades and additional baggage.

CLASS: Economy class, seat 26A. It’s an exit-row seat so I have plenty of legroom.

DURATION: Favourable winds result in a fast flying time of just six hours and 10 minutes.

FREQUENCY: Mauritius Island to Perth is flown three times a week for six months of the year (January, April, July, August, October and December) and twice a week the remaining six months of the year.

THE SEAT: The economy seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration, which turns into 2-3-2 towards the very back of the cabin. Seats have a 31-inch (78.7-centimetre) pitch.

BAGGAGE: Economy passengers can check in 23 kilograms and can take a bag up to 7 kilograms on to the aircraft.

ENTERTAINMENT: New releases, loved oldies and international flicks make up the movie selection and the nine-inch (22.9-centimetre) LCD touch screen is simple to use. Because the flight leaves just before 11pm and arrives in Perth in the morning, most passengers choose to eat and then sleep. I get through half a Modern Family episode, eat my dinner and then get some shut-eye.

COMFORT: The exit-row window seat ($80 pre- booked or payable at the airport) is the most comfortable seat in the house. I have the window to lean my head on and plenty of legroom. I get up frequently and not having to pester the person next to me is a relief.

SERVICE: ‘‘Welcome, Ms Leonov,’’ was the greeting I received when stepping onto the aircraft and I heard other passengers welcomed personally. Soon after the seatbelt sign was off, staff cheerfully distributed champagne to VIP guests (frequent flyers and anyone who asked very nicely), shortly afterwards the standard drinks service commenced, and then came dinner. The mood was almost festive for the duration of the flight, perhaps because of the hospitable and friendly nature of Mauritian people.

FOOD: My special request vegetarian main was penne pasta with an eggplant, tomato, onion and capsicum medley. The flavours worked together agreeably, the pasta wasn’t overcooked, and it arrived piping hot. The mustard-flavoured potato and bean salad was an interesting addition, as was the dessert – canned fruit salad chunks served atop a fruit jelly-custard jam-like mixture. It didn’t look that appealing . . . but I finished it (so yes, it tasted OK). I was surprised to be woken for a continental breakfast before landing on this short flight – fruit salad and bakery items.

ONE MORE THING: When sugar cane production had to be radically reduced in Mauritius (due to competitor pricing) the country diversified and added textiles, rum, tea and tourism to the mix. Air Mauritius too has diversified, with the addition of Air Mauritius Holidays, the tour- operating arm of Air Mauritius, launched at the end of 2014.

THE VERDICT: The cabin crew could well be the friendliest I’ve come across. Nothing was too difficult; passenger needs were met quickly and happily; and champagne (frequent flyer bonus) in economy . . . need I say more? See airmauritius.com.

Tested by Tatyana Leonov, who flew courtesy of Air Mauritius.