Review of Korean Air flight Malé Colombo in Economy

Airline Korean Air
Flight KE 474
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 14 Feb 19, 15:40
Arrival at 14 Feb 19, 17:40
KE   #17 out of 136 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 120 reviews
Published on 2nd April 2019
Hi everyone,

Welcome to the 4th report of this new series covering my latest trip to Sri Lanka and Maldives with Qatar Airways and Korean Air.

The whole trip plan looks like this:

01 FEB - WAW-DOH, QR 264 - A330-300 - you can find it here
01 FEB - DOH-CMB, QR 662 - A350-900 - you can find it here
10 FEB - CMB-MLE, KE 473 - A330-300 - you can find it here
14 FEB - MLE-CMB, KE 474 - A330-300 - you are here
16 FEB - CMB-DOH, QR 665 - A340-600
16 FEB - DOH - WAW, QR 261 - B787-800


As I wrote in my previous reports I always dreamed of going to Maldives and this dream has finally come true. Local islands that were open to public in 2005 offer affordable accomodation with access to Maldives main attraction - beach and underwater life combined with a possibility to observe some everyday life of the locals. Our choice was Gulhi - a small island inhabited by 1000 locals and located 30 minutes from Male by speedboat and up to 1 hour by local ferry. Beneath you will find some photos of my stay in Gulhi and Male.

It's hard to talk about tourist attractions in Maldives where the best thing to do is


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or this

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it's quite hard to stay out of water that has almost the temperature of the air and is more than crystal clear

Another thing you do here every day is watching beautiful sunsets

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My beach friends

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Our island Gulhi was a local one which means it is inhabited and you can watch the everyday life of people that are very friendly and talkative. There was a school, a mosque, a couple of guesthouses, 4 small shops and 4 or 5 restaurants

I always heard that food in Maldives is terrible and boring. It is not. And it is not expensive at all. Maldives are full of coconut, tuna and other fresh fish.

On the way back to the airport we had a short stay in Male. "Short" is the key word as we planned to be there 4 hours but 2 were enough. The city is totally cramped with 150.000 people living on a small island with tiny streets full of motorbikes. There is nothing to do there, so a walk around is enough to see the mosque, the presidential palace and some everyday life of this capital of the water world

There are artificial beaches on both ends of the island, the one close to the airport may be really interesting as it provides nice spotting facilities


In order to reach Male airport you need first to get to Male and then you can either take a taxi and pass the bridge (that will cost you a couple of USD) or take a ferry that connects the city with its airport for 1 USD (the journey lasts 10 minutes). We tried both ways as we went to the aiport first by taxi, left the luggage in a storage point and then went to see the city by ferry.

MLE is a very strange airport. On the one hand it looks small and local, on the other it has connection to world's biggest hubs and is daily invaded by dozens of A330s and B777s. The terminal itself is small and you rather won't get lost there.

I would like to try this airline one day but unfortunately this time I'm flying in the opposite direction :(

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Current departures. As you can see on the second photo, there are 4 flights to CMB within two hours.

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KAL check-in desks. Whole procedure is much faster and easier than on the flight to Male, no questions for how long we are going to Sri Lanka and when we are flying back home, just a quick labelling of our bags and printing of boarding passes.

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The airside is quite boring with many shops offering things that you can buy elswhere but here they cost a fortune cause you are in Maldives!

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What I like about this airport is the waiting area located close to the food court and offering a great view on the tarmac

Cockroach Airlines also known as Air India A 320

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Spice Jet Q400

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Sri Lankan A333 arriving from CMB

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My blue Korean bird with Alitalia tail in the background

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Maldivian Dash

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I continue spotting from the gate area downstairs that gives even a better and much closer look.
Alitalia taking off to FCO.

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Air India A320

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Etihad A333 in special livery - it looks really great!

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A very close meeting with this QR A350-900 that has just arrived from Doha

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My date with A350 ends when our boarding starts

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As our A333 is parked a little bit far away we are taken there by bus, yet the ride so close to so many big birds is a very nice one

QR A350

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Sri Lankan

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Our A333

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Saudia 777

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Let's get onboard

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This time our seats are on the right of the cabin at the tail section. The flight seems pretty full with many pax flying to ICN

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Good legroom

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IFE screen showing our current postion - as I used to say during the last few days: in the middle of the Indian Ocean

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Sri Lankan pushing back. It will depart to CMB just 15 minutes ahead of us.

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The Great Triple from the Gulf

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Oman Air 737 MAX 8, Indigo and QR A320

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Taxiing to the runway

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Take off with great view of Hulhumale artificial island bulit as a suburban area for crowded Male

Soon after some resort islands appear… bye bye beautiful Maldives

For the next hour we will see just clouds and ocean

Service starts almost immidiately after the seat belt sign is off. This time we are served a cold lunch with full range of beverages. I ask for Korean beer and tea and to my astonishment I receive hot water and a tea bag

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The "main dish" consists of a croissant and smoked salmon sandwich - they are both tasty

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Fresh fruit

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Jeju water always makes me laugh as "jeju" in my language means something like "oh my gosh" :) Beer is very light and refreshing.

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Crew on this flight seems a little bit warmer than on the previous one, yet the same high standards of organization and discipline are maintained during the entire flight.

Our flight path

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Descending to CMB - finally some decent land benath!

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Welcome back to Sri Lanka.

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We park next to Sri Lankan A330

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This time during deboarding I ask for a possibility to take a picture of business class and here it is

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Last shots of our bird and Saudia 777 that must have arrived in the meantime from MLE

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Should you ever arrive to Colombo, before collecting your luggage, don't forget to buy a new fridge or vacuum cleaner! They also have washing mashines and everything you may need at home.

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It took a little bit for the bags to arrive but as they finally got there I didn't have to take this yellow one

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Many thanks for reading. It will be continued soon.
See more


Korean Air

Cabin crew8.0

Malé - MLE


Colombo - CMB



Korean is again an airline of high standards of crew and service, clean and well maintained aircraft and perfectly organized boarding. Male airport is far too small and local for its traffic and CMB was once more a trip to aviation's history.

Information on the route Malé (MLE) Colombo (CMB)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Malé (MLE) → Colombo (CMB).


The airline with the best average rating is Turkish Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 33 minutes.

  More information


  • Comment 495911 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5037 Comments

    Hey Loukas! Beautiful report as always. The Maldives looks like a real paradise. That water is amazing! Malé does look really cramped. It's crazy how many people fit on such a small island! Very nice aerials on departure! A very good service by KE on this short 1.5 hour 5th freedom flight.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 495916 by
    Shisdu SILVER 670 Comments

    Me and my mother when we saw your "beach friends":

    What a wonderful place! And you had the beach practically for yourself! Absolutely lovely.

    I would like to try this airline one day but unfortunately this time I'm flying in the opposite direction :(

    Manuel Ariola, U reading this??? We need a hand here. :D

    shops offering things that you can buy elswhere but here they cost a fortune cause you are in Maldives!

    That explains many things. I think that the shops at Santiago airport are from the Maldives!

    Cockroach Airlines also known as Air India A 320

    Serious competitor for Andes Líneas Aereas' MC-80s??

    Etihad A333 in special livery

    Awesome! It could be their official livery!!

    Our A333

    Love that shot of the winglet and the tail! Interesting angle.

    to my astonishment I receive hot water and a tea bag

    And what were you expecting?! You should have taken some leaves from your visit to the plantations, you see?

    don't forget to buy a new fridge or vacuum cleaner!

    Customs officer: Please, open your bag, sir. Hm. A fridge, a washing machine... GASP! You can't carry this nail clipper in the cabin! What kind of wacko are you?!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lukasz!!

  • Comment 496087 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 401 Comments

    I've always loved the fact that Male is a local airport and yet it is not... confusing right? It personally wouldn't be my choice as holiday destination as I simply can not enjoy a full day laying on a beach, but I must admit that the scenery was stunning.

    Should you ever arrive to Colombo, before collecting your luggage, don't forget to buy a new fridge or vacuum cleaner! They also have washing mashines and everything you may need at home.

    At least tell me that they offer a delivery service to home? I can't imagine how odd it would be for you as passenger to walk through the terminal with a washing machine. 😂

    Thanks for sharing this lovely report. Would love to try KE.

    • Comment 496946 by
      loukas SILVER AUTHOR 314 Comments

      Thanks for your comment! I always thought I'm not this type of tourist too but believe me - 4 days in small island with no cars, traffic, noises and just blue ocean around work as a perfect stress reducer, especially after an intense week in Sri Lanka :)

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