Arrival by plane
Nearly all international flights arrive at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (more commonly known as Male or MLE) with just a few flights (with Maldivian or Mega Maldives) arriving into Gan in the far south of the country. The descent towards the runway is beautiful, offering the first glance of that magical blue water. Due to the airport being built on a small island and the lack of anything more than a few metres above sea level, it almost feels as if you are landing on water - there is always a slight feeling of relief when you see the tarmac just before touching down!
Disembarking from the aircraft, you descend the stairs towards the terminal, before going through immigration (try to get off the plane quickly to be at the front of the queue). After baggage reclaim, your bags will be scanned as it is illegal to import a number of items into the country, including alcohol (technically this includes perfume but we've never heard of anyone having a problem).
Transfer to resort
Transferring from Male airport to your hotel, you will be met by your hotel representative after customs and transported using one of three modes of transport. For the resorts closest to the airport, a speed boat will whisk you away in 15-45 minutes. If the property you are staying in is a little further away, you may take a connecting sea-plane flight. Hotels too far away for a sea plane require another flight (usually by Dash 8) with Maldivian, followed by a short boat ride to the hotel. In general, if you require a further flight, you will be invited to wait in an airport lounge.
One detail we find difficult is that each hotel manages the transfers - you cannot book the transfer fights yourself as an independent traveller. As such, you may have a long wait at Male airport, although hotels try to avoid this. If your fight arrives late, you may consider staying overnight near the airport to save on the cost of that night's accommodation (try Traders on Male or Hotel Loona on Hulhulmale).