Airline review: Air Mauritius economy, Mauritius Island to Perth

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-200, the airline has two in its fleet, each with 24 business and 251 economy class seats.

THE ROUTE

Mauritius Island to Perth

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

The cabin crew could well be the friendliest I've come across.

Air Mauritius use the Kestrelflyer rewards system. Members can use their accumulated points on Air Mauritius products, such as complimentary flights, flight upgrades and additional baggage.

CLASS

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

DURATION

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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 a selection of 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 into 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 shuteye.

COMFORT

The exit-row window seat (2000 MUR, about AUD $77, 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 too. As 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. Although it was a red-eye service 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 couldn't help myself and finished it (so yes, it tasted OK). Given the short flying time I was surprised to be woken for a continental breakfast before landing – 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 www.airmauritius.com  .

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

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