Air Seychelles is a small airline based out of the country of Seychelles that serves several international destinations around the Indian Ocean. As a partner of Etihad Airways, there are four available routes that Etihad Guest miles can be used for award flights on Air Seychelles. For my recent trip from Mauritius to Seychelles, I was able to redeem a small amount of Etihad Guest miles for an Air Seychelles Business Class flight.
Etihad Guest miles can be redeemed on Air Seychelles for flights to/from Abu Dhabi, Mauritius, Johannesburg, and Bombay. For my one-way business class flight from Mauritius to Seychelles the cost was 14,242 miles. Usually, I do not bother spending the extra miles on business class for short-haul flights. However, it was just 4,195 extra miles to go from economy class to business class. Priority boarding and lounge access, I figured, would be worth the extra miles.
To search for award availability, I used expertflyer.com and found two available seats in business class. To book the seats, I had to call an Etihad Guest agent. Surprisingly, it did not take longer than 15 minutes to book the flight. A few years ago booking award flights with Etihad required very long time since the agents were not well trained.
On a side note, I think Etihad is the most underrated loyalty program. Even though redemptions on Etihad Airways are not worth it and a couple partners dropped out of the program (Ukraine and Philippine Airlines), there are some great sweet spot award redemptions on their partner airlines.
Air Seychelles 48 Mauritius (MRU) to Seychelles (SEZ) Cabin: Business Class Seat: 3A Aircraft: A320-200 Flight Time: 2h, 35m
Considering Mauritius airport is not the hub for Air Seychelles, the lounge provided for business class guests was better than expected. However, since it was shared by all other airlines excluding Air Mauritius, it could get very busy at times. Nevertheless, the food was plentiful and chairs comfortable with plenty of power outlets.
Cabin Atmosphere (4/5)
Aside from the pillows, there was not much branding going on inside the cabin so the plane looked pretty generic. The discolored plastic walls and chairs really made the plane feel old. According to planefinder, this airplane was 17 years old and it showed. After flying a brand new A321NEO earlier in the week, this plane seemed ancient.
Business class cabin had four rows in a 2-2 configuration with a good amount of leg room.
Super padded seats and a good amount of legroom were the positive attributes of the business class seats. The shape and style of the seat was very similar to Etihad’s A320 Business Class seat.
On the negative side, the seats looked worn, a bit dirty, and the entertainment system was broken for all passengers in business class. The only thing that showed up when I looked at the LCD screen was the Etihad logo.
Surprisingly, the food was fantastically delicious and probably the best chicken I’ve eaten on a flight. Presentation could have been better but on a short haul flight, the meal was above average.
From what I can tell, all passengers in Mauritius board the planes via bus ride. Business class passengers were boarded on separate bus first, which was appreciated. Half the time when a bus ride is required, airlines have business class board the same bus first then everyone else. Pretty pointless exercise since when the bus gets to the plane, its a crazy mess getting out of a packed bus. Even good airlines like Lufthansa put business and economy passengers on the same bus, packed to the brim like cattle.
As far as flight service, everything was on par with your average airline and the crew was friendly.
In conclusion, while short haul business class on Air Seychelles is nothing fancy, the mileage redemption rates using Etihad Guest miles is a great value. For a flight that normally goes for $600USD, spending 14,241 miles is a no-brainer. The extra legroom, priority boarding, and decent food left me presently surprised on this short haul flight and I look forward to flying with Air Seychelles again.