I decided to write a review on this flight as it represented a number of firsts for me. My first visit to Mauritius, and thereby my first flight with Air Mauritius. My first flight aboard an A350-900. My first international visit after the pandemic.

Arriving at OR Tambo Airport, even after having done so many times before, I was still met with a little confusion as to where I was supposed to be. Part of this was due to the fact that, for a few years, it seemed that every time I went to the airport, something had changed. Sometimes it was something structural, sometimes it was access to the parking, and sometimes it was the location of the arrivals and departures terminals and whether they were for domestic or international flights.

The other part of the confusion was due to the constantly changing reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. New checkpoints, restricted access to check-in desks, and pop-up COVID testing stations all made me feel a little unfamiliar with my local airport.

Thankfully, as of writing this review, many of these restrictions have eased, which means my next trip to the airport will most likely be less full of pandemic-related red tape – but will probably still require a re-orientation to the newest ‘post-pandemic’ layout!

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

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Air Mauritius trip report

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

Having found departures and the check-in desks for Air Mauritius, it was quickly apparent that this would be a fairly full flight. A long string of travelers was evidence that we were all tired of staying home, and were ready to see the world (or at least a tropical island fairly close to home).

Check-in

The check-in process was smooth and mostly no different from any other flight I had taken before. There was one exception, however. Upon checking in I was asked to produce proof of my hotel booking in Mauritius. This was definitely new to me. I was used to border control asking for contact details and proof of accommodation when arriving at the destination airport, but never before had I been asked to prove where I would be staying before departing an airport.

From what I have learned since then, this was most likely to prove that the hotel was one that could officially provide quarantine should it be necessary.

With that out of the way, I handed my bag in and received my ticket. It’s worth mentioning that Air Mauritius allows economy passengers from South Africa to check in two bags up to 20kgs each. This seemed fairly generous as my baggage for a one-week stay was one bag of 16kgs!

From here it was (thankfully) an uneventful security check and then some time in the Duty-Free shopping area before the flight. From one of the cafes, I had a great view of the plane I would soon be boarding: one of Air Mauritius’ fairly new A350-900s.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

This particular A350-900 XWB was named Le Morne Brabant, after a significant peninsula on the coast of Mauritius. For some background information, Le Morne Brabant is a large basalt formation that towers above the coastline. It was once a hideout for runaway slaves. Sadly, it is also the site where hundreds of those slaves jumped to their deaths in an attempt to avoid being enslaved again.

They had seen police and other authorities approaching the hideout and, refusing to go back into slavery, they hurled themselves off the cliff instead. Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this is that the authorities were coming to inform the runaways that slavery had officially been abolished and that they were now free to live as they pleased.

After that rather sad side note, let’s get back to the flight review!

Boarding

Once boarding started, it took me less than five minutes to get to my seat in row 32.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

The interior was noticeably spacious and still had that fresh, ‘new plane’ feel to it.

The seat backs had small and large pockets, and there was a rather generous 11.6-inch full HD screen, which I believe is equivalent to that on Virgin Atlantic’s A350s and not many others.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

The seats were comfortable, and the headrests were easily adjustable with winged flaps on the side to provide more support. There was also a handy footrest that folded up neatly against the seat in front when not in use. The legroom was fairly decent at 31 inches pitch, although early in the flight, I did think my wife was left with an inferior seat. She was across the aisle from me, and her legroom looked noticeably smaller!

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

I proceeded to use the very scientific method of measuring with my own hand, thumb, and little finger extended in opposite directions as far as they could reach. “This is interesting,” I thought, noting how it would be useful to add this information to the review so that future flyers could make sure to choose a seat in the center row for more space… Turns out she had just reclined her seat while I was taking notes, and the seat bottom had merely slid forward for the adjustment!

But, if you ever find yourself flying on this plane in economy, and would like the extra space, make sure to book seats near the exits. You will lose a little seat width due to the placement of the tray table, and you won’t have a seat in front of you to stow your bag or jacket under, but you can stretch out to your heart’s (or legs’) content.

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

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Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

Onboard IFE

Navigating in-flight entertainment on the Air Mauritius flight was smooth and responsive. The initial language options were English, Chinese and French. After selecting the language option, the system opens up options for Movies, Television, Music, and Games, as well as some informational options, including My Flight for tracking the flight’s progress.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

The movie selection was a great mix new and old, classics and lesser-known films. The catalog also included a large selection of Bollywood films and French content. In Mauritius, the generally accepted “official” languages are English and French, but the common language among the locals is a French-based Mauritian Creole. Many of the island’s inhabitants are of Indian descent.

Headphones were supplied for the IFE, as was a COVID kit comprising 2 masks and a little bottle of sanitizing spray.

Food and drink

About an hour and a half into the flight, the cabin crew served the in-flight meal. The meal was served with a choice of beverage, and the cutlery was stainless steel stamped with the Air Mauritius branding. I chose the Cape-Malay style chicken curry, which was served with vegetables, rice, a couscous salad, a bread roll, and a soft cheese wedge. The dessert was a sticky brown pudding.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

I’m a fan of airline food as I like the range of items on the tray. I also generally get extra food, as my wife is less of a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal as the chicken was tender and tasty, and the vegetables were cooked but not overdone. The sticky pudding was a satisfying way to round off the meal.

Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

With the meal happily consumed and about two and a half hours left on the flight, it was time to dig into the IFE and doze off here and there.

Arrival

The flight was scheduled for 4 hours, and arrived approximately 15 minutes early. Leaving Johannesburg at 13:35 on a cold and drizzly day, it was fantastic to arrive in Mauritius at 19:20 local time and feel the warm, tropical air. It was approaching winter time for the island as it was in South Africa, but the Mauritian winter temperatures were comparable to early summer temperatures back home.

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

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Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport was clean, well laid out, and the staff were friendly. The queues at customs moved quickly and were well attended. At the time, it was required that each passenger had proof of vaccination, and printed out the “All in One” digital travel form to be presented to designated health officials upon arrival. This form contained identification information for each traveller as well flight details and accommodation and transport info.

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

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Air Mauritius Airbus A350 trip report flight review

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

Vaccination status and the usual list of questions regarding symptoms and possible contact with COVID patients, were also present. Once this was handed in, we received a small card to be handed in at the next checkpoint before collecting our baggage. This was a relatively quick process with no fuss.

With baggage in hand, we made our way to the information stand of the company through which we had booked our holiday. Here we were greeted by friendly staff who provided us with a bottle of water and escorted us to the taxi outside, which would take us on to our hotel.

Screenshot 2022-09-26 at 13.55.13

Photo: Matthew Dalton | Simple Flying

The verdict

The experience onboard the Air Mauritius A350 was certainly pleasant and quite comfortable. Should I have the opportunity to travel to Mauritius again, I would be more than happy to use the airline.

In all of our interactions with Air Mauritius crew, customs officials, drivers, and the local inhabitants of the island; one thing was consistently apparent: friendliness and welcoming smiles come as standard!

Source: simpleflying.com

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