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MAX to Male: SIA’s latest Business Class joins the Maldives route

Flat-bed Business Class seats make it to the Male route, with all of SIA's Maldives services upgrading to the Boeing 737-8 MAX from mid-March.

In what will be music to the ears of those booked to fly on one of Singapore Airlines’ flights to or from the Maldives in the coming months, the carrier has confirmed it is upgrading all these services from ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s to the new Boeing 737-8 MAX from mid-March.

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That means no more recliner seat to worry about in Business Class, with a new flat-bed option on offer, while those in Economy can enjoy seat-back in-flight entertainment and everyone on board can stay connected through the Wi-Fi system.

The schedule

Singapore Airlines currently serves the Maldives with 10 weekly flights in each direction, all of which are operated by the Boeing 737-800.

From 22nd March 2022 the Boeing 737-8 MAX takes over on these 10 weekly flights, lifting to double daily operation later the same week, from 27th March 2022.

When it starts, this will be SIA’s longest Boeing 737-8 MAX route launched since the type entered service to and from Phuket on 23rd November last year.

SIA’s Boeing 737-8 MAX will operate all flights on the airline’s Male route from 22nd March 2022. (Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

Here’s the full schedule, once the route is served twice per day.

Singapore Male
Flight Schedule
(27 Mar – 29 Oct 2022)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ432
737-8 MAX
SIN
10:05
MLE

11:55
SQ438
737-8 MAX
   
SIN
20:45
MLE

22:10

Male Singapore
Flight Schedule
(27 Mar – 29 Oct 2022)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ431
737-8 MAX
MLE
12:55
SIN

20:40
SQ437
737-8 MAX
MLE
23:25
SIN

07:05*

* Next day

The seat map in Business Class, which doesn’t load all that well (on my laptop at least), also confirms you’re on a MAX, with the unusual 2-2, 1-1, 2-2 cabin layout.

Boeing 737-8 MAX

The big advantage of the MAX being used on all SIA Male flights is the latest cabin products, which are a big improvement on those found on the refurbished ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s.

SIA Boeing 737-800 Business Class. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
SIA Boeing 737-8 MAX Business Class. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

That also applies in Economy Class, where the rather basic seat on the 737-800 with no in-built IFE system is replaced with a long-haul-standard Collins Aerospace seat.

SIA Boeing 737-800 Economy Class. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
SIA Boeing 737-8 MAX Economy Class. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Here are our dedicated articles covering both of the new cabins, to help you know what to expect on board when flying to and from the Maldives from mid-March onwards.

With flights to and from the Maldives taking almost five hours, including some overnight services, Business Class passengers could well make use of the flat-bed function in the new Thompson Vantage seats.

Flat-bed comfort on the Boeing 737-8 MAX. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Even on daytime flights, those heading to the Maldives who have made long connecting journeys from locations like the USA and Europe will no doubt also appreciate the bed mode!

If you’re booked in Business Class, try to score seat 12B or 12J for a solo experience.

Redemption rates

Here are the redemption rates you’ll pay when flying on an SIA flight between Singapore and the Maldives.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
🇲🇻 Maldives to/from Singapore
  Saver
(one way)
Advantage
(one way)
Economy 18,500
37,000
Business 39,000
65,000

Remember these rates apply regardless of the aircraft type used.

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It’s certainly a different proposition to part with 39,000 miles one-way for a Boeing 737-800 Business Class seat than it is for a flat-bed Boeing 737-8 MAX one, in our opinion, so this news should change the equation for those redeeming.

Maldives taxes have increased

Unfortunately there was some bad news recently for those redeeming KrisFlyer miles for a Maldives trip, with a new departure tax now levied, which hikes the cash component of a Business Class redemption by almost S$100.

A round-trip saver award in Business Class still costs 78,000 miles, but will now set you back around S$220 in taxes and charges too, instead of S$120 previously.

Travelling to the Maldives

Heading to the Maldives (on a VTL trip from Singapore, for example) is a relatively straightforward process. Travellers can take any flight to the country, since there are no designated VTL services in the Singapore – Male direction.

The Maldives. (Photo: Anantara)

Here are the basic requirements for a quarantine-free trip:

  • Complete a “Traveller Health Declaration” within 48 hours of departure through the IMUGA site.
  • Have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at most 96 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Passengers who have transited for more than 24 hours must repeat the test (no test for passengers under 1 year of age, by date of birth on departure). Cheapest tests in Singapore are listed here.
  • Have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that you were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria or SK Bioscience Co Ltd. from Korea), Covishield, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm or Sputnik V at least 14 days before arrival, or have a positive COVID-19 PCR test taken at most 60 days before arrival, and a recovery certificate.
  • Unvaccinated children aged under 18 can travel with their fully vaccinated parents.
  • Tourists must have a hotel reservation confirmation for the entire stay in a registered tourist facility. More details can be found here.

Male-Singapore VTL flights

The Maldives joined Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on 16th December 2021.

As we mentioned above, travellers can take any flight to the Maldives, since there are no designated VTL services in the outbound direction, but if you’re travelling from the Maldives to Singapore and seeking a quarantine-free arrival, you’ll have to choose a designated VTL flight, and comply with Singapore’s VTL requirements.

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This isn’t necessary if you’re simply in transit at Changi, but if you’re planning a layover in Singapore, or you’re a resident returning home, here’s the list of designated VTL flights you’ll have to book between now and the end of October 2022 to use the scheme.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ437
737-8 MAX
MLE
23:25
SIN

07:05*

* Next day

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Unfortunately the VTL flights are all overnight services on the way to Singapore, but at least that should now be a slightly more comfortable experience on the MAX.

All other flights operating on this route are not designated VTL services and will require you to follow Singapore’s prevailing border measures on arrival, including seven days self-isolation at home or in suitable accommodation, at the time of writing.



 


 

Summary

There’s no more fear of a recliner seat in Business Class or an entertainment-free experience in Economy when flying to or from Male with Singapore Airlines from 22nd March 2022 onwards, with all services switched across to the Boeing 737-8 MAX.

SIA Boeing 737-8 MAX Economy Class IFE screen. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

From late March there’s also a daily VTL option to Singapore, while all flights in the Changi to Male direction will allow you to reach the island paradise quarantine-free as part of the country’s relatively straightforward tourist arrivals process.

If you have a booking already, be sure to check your seat selection and amend it accordingly, especially in Business Class where you may see a solo ‘mini-suite’ option available if you’re lucky.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)