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Topic: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-12-28 22:56:44 and read 24148 times.

FRA-CMB-BKK-CMB-FRA on SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)


Intro
In November my girlfriend and I decided to go on a one-week vacation in early December. After a few days of searching we found an attractive package: Six days near Hua Hin, Thailand, four star hotel - and flights on SriLankan Airlines from FRA to BKK via CMB. Unfortunately Amadeus showed an A332 for all four sectors, but I still accepted the package - hoping for an equipment change...  crossfingers 

Pre-reserved seating
Since we booked online via a tour operator we couldn't reserve any seats initially. But after receiving the electronic ticket receipts and the reservation number I grabbed my Skywards card and called SriLankan's office in Frankfurt. A friendly lady immediately accepted my seat selection and 60 A and C were reserved for all sectors (SriLankan doesn't have a "B").



Sunday, 03 December 2006
Frankfurt (FRA) - Colombo (CMB)
SriLankan Airlines UL554
14:20-04:30 (14:28-04:31)
Flying time: 09:15 (hrs)

Airbus A330-243
4R-ALB (msn 306), delivered 11/1999
Economy Seat 60C



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Photo © Ralf Meyermann
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Photo © Mark Tang - HKAEC
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Photo © Sören Klinger




Check-in
Though we had arrived at FRA three hours prior to departure we already found a long queue in front of UL's counters. Just as we tried to go in line, a SriLankan employee told us: "Sorry, this is not the end of the queue." Indeed, the queue was twice as long and we hadn't realized there was a big gap in between so that people heading through the terminal could pass...  irked 
We waited some 45 minutes until we could drop our luggage at one of only three open Economy counters. Within a few minutes we had our boarding passes - without a pre-selection it probably would have been hard to secure a window seat.

Terminal 1A: cables and wires
When we lined up for security several different people asked whether we had plastic bags for liquids and offered them to us, but of course we were equipped appropriately. Though, it was interesting to see how many people still seemed to be clueless about the new rules and therefore had to dump countless items...
The gate area in concourse A is not what one would expect from a major German international airport and Lufthansa hub. I hadn't flown from this concourse at FRA for several years and I was surprised about the bad shape. Cables and wires stick out of the walls and roof panels in many areas, unused X-ray machines are located in the middle of the concourse, the number of seats in the gates is very limited...what a mess.  thumbsdown 

UL's 4R-ALB was being prepared for the 09:15 hours flight to Colombo at gate A56:




Boarding
Boarding started quite early, about 50 minutes prior to departure. Some minutes after the call we lined up but just as it was our turn to pass, they stopped the boarding process for at least 10 minutes. Finally we entered the cabin and were welcomed by friendly FAs in fancy dresses. While men wear a red jacket and dark pants, women wear a green cropped belly top and a long green skirt, with a long patterned cloth ranging from the shoulders across the belly down to the feet (covering the belly). Most of the FAs in the rear section were friendly as well, but one female and one male didn't smile much - the latter one actually looking grim most of the time.

Cabin & Seating
Except for the colors, UL's Economy cabin is very similar to the one on EK's A332s. While it showed minor signs of aging, the cabin appeared absolutely clean. The seats are the same as on EK, though they didn't appear as hard. Seat pitch is 32 inches according to UL, with the famous IFE boxes located under the window seats. Load factor was around 80 percent in Economy.




IFE
Just like EK, UL has installed PTVs in each widebody aircraft, but without AVOD. Again, the system is very similar to the one on EK's A332, but UL's programming is not as clearly structured and offers less choices. Summary:


  • 18 movie and TV channels (mix from around the world, different languages)
  • 22 radio channels
  • 16 interactive games
  • airshow
  • front & down camera channel

I didn't review the movies or radio channels intensively, but the choice wasn't bad. Only standard games are offered - without an inflight trivia. The movement controls didn't work properly any more so sometimes I had to leave the game section by switching off the screen. We later noticed that also certain headsets didn't work properly.

While still on the ground, the front camera view is always a welcome feature:




After hot towels had been distributed and collected again we were pushed back at 14:28…




…and soon taxied towards runway 18.




The early afternoon rush at FRA was over and we could enter the runway almost immediately for a long take off roll, followed by a steep climbout.




Left turn and heading east:




Snack
Early in the flight a tasty savoury mix was served - which even comprised dried peas:




Menu cards
After the snack it was time for a closer look at the inventively designed menu card:



The card not only shows menu options, but also features short texts about drinks, herbs or other ingredients, e.g. Arrack (Sri Lankan coconut brew), parsley, mustard and tofu. On the second page there's a short text about the mangos on the cover:

"Authenticity comes naturally to Sri Lankans. More so, when it’s spicing up nature’s bounty. The staple of every fruit vendor is the regular mango transformed, taking on a more appetizing form by slicing it like a flower and sometimes adding a dash of chilli on top. A mouth-watering authentic Sri Lankan recipe."

Interesting and indeed mouth-watering, but it wasn't served on any flight, unfortunately...  Wink


Lunch
Surprisingly there was a choice of three main dishes which is definitely not usual in these days.


Hors d'oevre
Cray Fish in Cocktail Sauce with Italian Leek Salad

Main dishes
Lamb Rogjanosh with Kadai Gobhi and Basmathi Rice

Herbed Chicken Breast in Tomato Coriander Sauce with Creamy Leek Vegetable and Crispy Potato Wedges

Vegetable Biryani with Tempered Yellow Lentils

Dessert
Cherry Marble Cake



I went for lamb but the chicken my girlfriend took would have been a better choice. The lamb was a bit chewy and the cocktail sauce was quite rich, but it was still a decent and filling meal.



Beverage service was excellent with a large selection of beers, aperitifs, spirits, wines and non-alcoholic drinks available - and FAs were very generous. Unlike on many other carriers, you find a real glass on each tray.


Cruising at 37,000 feet...



...and sometimes as fast as 1040 km/h, thanks to a tail wind of 151 km/h.




Dinner
A selection of vegetable and fish sandwiches and drinks was always available throughout the flight in the galley and some two hours prior to arrival a hot dinner (or better: midnight meal) was served. The menu card showed three main dishes again:


Appetizer
Fresh Vegetable Salad with Italian Dressing

Main dishes
Shepherds Pie with Beef Bolognese

Chicken Malai Curry with Curried Mixed Vegetables and Steamed Rice

Cheese & Leek Filled Tortellini with Mornay Sauce and Tomato Ragout

Dessert
Fresh Fruit



I ordered the Tortellini which were excellent - and they were "al dente". I was also surprised by the rich taste of UL's ceylon tea - not the tasteless stuff various carriers serve in these days.




The remaining flight was uneventful - except for the observation that the lack of aft lavatories can cause congestion in the aisles between the two Economy sections, especially towards the end of the flight.

At 04:26 local time we touched down at Colombo Bandaranaike's single runway and due to low traffic we started deboarding only a few minutes later.



Colombo Bandaranaike Airport
After reading different reports on the web my expectations weren't high but I was positively surprised. We left the aircraft via jetways and entered a modern terminal building with eight gates on each side. Both the floors and restrooms were very clean and it took us only a few minutes to reach the transit area. It is equipped with various shops and bars - and an appropriate number of seats. Large glass windows enable views of the apron, but I was discrete with binoculars and camera, considering the political situation in Sri Lanka.

Database pics:

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Photo © GPaolo Colombo




MyAviation.net photo:
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Photo ©





Monday, 04 December 2006
Colombo (CMB) - Bangkok (BKK)
SriLankan Airlines UL422
07:15-12:10 (07:22-12:25)
Flying time: 03:17 (hrs)

Airbus A330-243
4R-ALC (msn 311), delivered 12/1999
Economy Seat 60A



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Boarding
After a security check we entered our gate and I spotted 4R-ALC being prepared for the service to Bangkok and Hong Kong. Boarding started quite early again and I soon noticed that the load factor would be close to 100 percent.

Parked next to us: UL's first A332 4R-ALA.




We left the gate at 07:22 and only an arriving PW-powered Etihad A332 prevented us from entering the runway straight away:




Some houses just behind the airport fence:




The relatively light load for the three hours-flight to BKK enabled a powerful takeoff:






Black screen
This time the movement controls of the handset seemed to work but after only a few minutes my screen didn't react to any input any more and it remained black after trying to start over. Since the moving map was shown on the overhead monitors it didn't bother me much.

Breakfast
As expected a warm breakfast was offered and the menu cards showed three different main dishes once more again.


Appetizer/Dessert
Fresh Fruit & Strawberry Yogurt

Main dishes
"Kiributh" Milk Rice with Fish Curry Sri Lankan Style and "Seeni Sambol" (Onion Relish with Fish Flakes)

Spanish Omelette with Broiled Chicken Sausage, Grilled Mushrooms, Tomato and Roesti Potatoes

Vegetable Bhurji, Bakherkani, Palak Til Croquette



I took the spanish omelette which tasted very good - together with the fresh fruit, a croissant and the yogurt a filling and satisfying breakfast.




The remaining time passed quickly and Suvarnabhumi appeared on the left:




After flying towards the sea for a while and a wide left turn we passed a large golf course...




...as well as a major highway, with parts of Bangkok's skyline in the background:




4R-ALC touched down at 12:18 and was stopped quickly:




Impressive architecture and deserted gates at noon:




One of Santa Claus' private MD-11s...  Wink





Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Arrival
The new airport's architecture is not just impressive from the distance but also from a viewpoint in the terminal. Though the halls appear a bit cool and the restroom facilities in the arrival area are definitely not large enough. Even men had to wait in row - and it wasn't really rush hour!
It was quite a distance to walk to the luggage carousel but that shortened the waiting for the suitcases.

Departure: Check-in mess
On the way back six days later we arrived some 2,5 hours prior to departure and were surprised by the masses of people in the check-in hall. Many people were sitting and lying on the floor, making it nearly impossible to move forward without hitting anyone. It was even worse around Emirates' check-in counters and it was quite a task to get in row for UL's check-in. Interestingly, each other queue seemed to move faster than ours and then we even had a "special case" directly ahead – a family with little kids and countless pieces of luggage which seemed to have a special problem with the agent. I was getting a bit impatient since I wanted to explore the observation deck as soon as possible and time flew by for waiting. Finally we received our boarding passes and after dipsy-doodling through the sitting and lying masses we could leave that hall.

Observation deck
It took me only a few seconds to find out that the indoor observation deck is not very useful for registration spotting. Sure, it was dark which made it more difficult to see anything in the distance, but double glass and panels even prevented good views of aircraft parked at the gates directly ahead. The heat up there was another negative aspect and we decided to leave again in order to check spotting opportunities from the gate area.

Air conditioning & artwork
After paying the departure tax at a dedicated counter we proceeded to the central departure hall with shops and restaurants. As expected, views were also very limited there and it wasn't any better in our deserted concourse E which was only accessible after a security check. The air conditioning system in the whole terminal area is a nightmare, thanks to the coolers installed on the ground. There are either very cool or very warm areas, but no section with a constantly comfortable temperature. At least the optical appearance of the hall is pleasing the eye, with Thai artwork located in the middle of the concourse:





Saturday, 09 December 2006
Bangkok (BKK) - Colombo (CMB)
SriLankan Airlines UL423
20:55-22:50 (20:49-22:45)
Flying time: 03:07 (hrs)

Airbus A330-243
4R-ALC (msn 311), delivered 12/1999
Economy Seat 60A



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Flying the same reg twice…
After 4R-ALB and 4R-ALC I had hoped for another different A332, but then 4R-ALC showed up again...and I had serious concerns that 4R-ALC would also operate onwards to Frankfurt. Prior to the trip I had heard of someone who had also traveled on the same routing (BKK-CMB-FRA) in November that the same aircraft had operated on both sectors. I also had in mind that - according to UL's timetable - two other A332 wouldn't be in line for the FRA service on that day. So chances were high I would encounter a "flying the same reg thrice"-scenario...  embarrassed 

Boarding
4R-ALC had arrived on time so boarding was started early as usual. However, there were no boarding calls and at once almost all people in the gate rushed towards the entry. We took our seats in row 60 and it seemed this flight was packed just like the CMB-BKK sector. Legroom is limited by the IFE-box under the window seat:




We left the gate some minutes early and took off 14 minutes later:






Dinner
A hot dinner was served shortly after takeoff:


Hors d’oevre
Smoked Red Snapper with Pasta Salad

Main dishes
Stirfried Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Kale, Sauteed Peppers and Steamed Rice

Baked Tilapia in Ginger & Black Mushroom Sauce with Yellow Bamee Noodles, Sauteed Bok Choy and Baby Carrots

Vegetable Green Curry with Stirfried Pack Choy and Steamed Rice

Dessert
Coconut Pudding with Taro in Raspberry Sauce



I tried the chicken and was really disappointed for the first time. The sauce was not my taste and the peppers were really spicy. The red snapper was dry, the pasta salad tasted strange and the coconut pudding tasted somehow artificial.




TV operational
The video screen worked again almost one week after it broke down and I could also enter the once critical game section. Though, I watched the map most of the time. 40,000 feet over the bay of Bengal:






Noise cancelled…
The flight was mostly smooth and uneventful, with many passengers sleeping. Though, I noticed a young German sitting only two rows behind in the middle section who was loudly talking - seemingly persistently throughout the flight. He spoke English, and his addressee – a man probably from India or Sri Lanka – didn't seem to be very active during that conversation (or better: monologue). At least I could cancel that constant noise by switching on my MP3 player...  Wink

We touched down at Bandaranaike Airport on time at 22:40 and could disembark only a few minutes later.



Late-night surprise
First of all I tried to find out the gate number for the Frankfurt flight - and surprisingly it was different from the arrival gate. We went over to the other side of the concourse and an aircraft was already being prepared. I spotted a large "A" above the cockpit windows and concluded it would be A332 4R-ALA. However, as we walked to the transit area I could spot a large part of the wing and I suddenly noticed TWO tiny engines under the wing - the aircraft was an A343, or more precise, 4R-ADA, UL's first ever A340-300 and also a -311 version which was still missing in my flight log (only had -313X models before).
So apparently UL had decided on short notice to upgrade the flight - which was almost full, btw.



Sunday, 10 December 2006
Colombo (CMB) - Frankfurt (FRA)
SriLankan Airlines UL553
00:05-06:30 (00:06-06.25)
Flying time: 10:31 (hrs)

Airbus A340-311
4R-ADA (msn 032), delivered 09/1994
Economy Seat 60C



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Photo © Alexander Sohre




Boarding
The gate was packed and some young guys - equipped with seemingly totally oversized cabin luggage - lined up directly at the entry to the jetway. After being called, some C-class passengers, disabled passengers with wheelchairs and families with kids almost couldn't pass. And the guys who blocked the way simply wondered why they still weren't allowed to board...listening to boarding calls would be helpful sometimes.  Yeah sure

Meanwhile I had discretely taken a picture of 4R-ADA’s nose:




Cabin, seating & IFE
The A343's interior isn't different from the A332's, same seats, same pitch, same IFE. However, the IFE controls seemed to be in better condition – I guess 4R-ADA's cabin was upgraded quite some time after the A332s' deliveries. Front camera view:




A343 takeoff…
We left the gate at 00:06 and ten minutes later the crew already started to accelerate the aircraft while still turning in. 4R-ADA rolled, and rolled, and rolled...and rolled...and rolled...finally raised its nose...and slowly lifted off. Just as the aircraft had become airborne, the last row of runway light disappeared on the screen...then it flew a long left turn, at a really slow rate of climb, barely gaining speed. Taking off in a heavily loaded A343 is always a pleasure...  Smile

Dinner
Half an hour later it was dinner time yet again:


Main dishes
Beef Bourguinonne with Stirfried Vegetables and Parsley Potatoes

Panfried Chicken with Shitake Mushroom Sauce and Pesto Marinated Tagliatelle

Vegetable Lasagne on Tomato Coulis

Dessert
Apple Almond Gateau



I ordered the chicken which was an excellent choice. Everything tasted good, no reason to complain. Drink: ice-cold Carlsberg.




After the meal service FAs closed the window shades and I killed time with the IFE system. Several hours later we flew along the Iraqi border once more again, cruising altitude 38,000 feet:




Breakfast
Two hours prior to arrival the lights were switched on and the cabin crew distributed hot towels and served a hot breakfast.


Appetizer/Desert
Fresh fruit and yogurt

Main dishes
Savoury Scrambled Eggs on Toast, Sauteed Mushrooms with Onion, Grilled Herbed Tomato and Hash Brown Potatoes

Spanish omelette with broiled chicken sausage, grilled mushrooms, tomato and Roesti potatoes

Vegetable Bhurji, Bakherkani, Palak Til Croquette



I chose the scrambled eggs and enjoyed yet another tasty and filling meal:




Cabin shot...




...and an aisle shot: that's how the female flight attendants' dress looks like:




Remote...
The remaining flight was uneventful and we touched down at runway 25R at 06:17 in the morning. I soon realized we wouldn't taxi for the terminal - instead we taxied to a very remote position near the fuel depot where QF, SA and other aircraft are parked during the day. Since I hadn't expected a remote position at FRA in the early morning I had packed my jacket into the suitcase, so I had the pleasure to walk to the bus at zero degrees...at least I had the chance to take a picture:




Arrival chaos
After the bus had dropped us off at Terminal 1 countless people "stormed" the escalator, so we decided to wait for a while. As we finally arrived at the top end of the escalator, a crowd of people blocked the way out and we almost fell down together with other people, who loudly complained about the chaos. There was simply not enough space for all these passengers from several longhaul flights who were stuck due to the slow process at the immigration counters. Finally we arrived at the luggage carousel, where we had to wait quite long again until our suitcases arrived. Only once did I wait longer – that was in 1997 when United misplaced my luggage at ORD...  irked 



Conclusion
Flying SriLankan was a satisfying experience, though I discovered certain deficiencies and room for improvement. FAs are professional, service-orientated and mostly friendly. Meal portions are appropriate, the food's quality is mostly good, but there can be exceptions. The choice of three main dishes is outstanding, FAs are quite generous with beverages. Though, UL's catering doesn't match EK's, both in terms of quality and presentation.

The non-AVOD IFE system is outdated by today's standards and needs a refurbishment (e.g. controls on A332s), though UL still offers more options than many other longhaul carriers. Front & and down cameras are always available which is very useful. Cabins are usually clean, seat comfort can be rated average, pitch (32 inch) is not different from other carriers.

Colombo Bandaranaike Airport is a convenient, functional airport for changing planes, but I wouldn't want to spend more than three or four hours in transit. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi needs to be improved, but I guess that is a matter of time. Several sections of Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport are totally outdated and should be refurbished and re-designed as soon as possible.


As usual, comments, opinions and questions welcome!

Best Regards,
PlaneHunter

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: ZKSUJ
Posted 2006-12-28 23:44:01 and read 24063 times.

Great pics and report. Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear the flights went well.

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: QFFan
Posted 2006-12-28 23:57:10 and read 24035 times.

Great report,

Would like to fly with Sri lankan one day after seeing your report

Jase

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2006-12-29 00:27:09 and read 23977 times.

Great report & photo's, many thanks.

The meal sizes look pretty generous.

Thanks for the tip about the viewing area at BKK, I'd heard about it, but you give a little more onfo, not somewhere to spend a week spotting!

Loved the under the wing pic @ FRA, just super  Smile

Rgds

Mark

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: 767747
Posted 2006-12-29 03:21:14 and read 23804 times.

Great report and pictures!

767747

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2006-12-29 04:02:28 and read 23749 times.

Great report... but damn this slow internet connection as the photos are not loading properly. I hope the connection to be restored soon as it was pretty much diminished after the quake in Taiwan a few days back.

UL sounds pretty much like your excellent Asian carrier.

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Karan69
Posted 2006-12-29 08:13:13 and read 23531 times.

Good report mate and fantastic pics it is always nice to read about such carriers

Glad to know that you got to fly the A340-311.

Karan

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: LX001
Posted 2006-12-29 09:28:15 and read 23482 times.

Hey! Great report and super pic´s!!! Thank you for sharing!
You wrote that the entertainment system is outdated. Well, i don't think so. Look Lufthansa, Iberia or some (or all?!) US Carriers...that's outdated  Wink
Bruno

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Hunterboy
Posted 2006-12-29 11:01:57 and read 23419 times.

Really interesting. I went thru Suvarnabhumi a couple of times recently and had a generally OK experience, although there is still a lot of work to do. The staff who work there have some concerns. They have to travel a lot further compared to Don Muang and say also it gets too hot with the big glass wiindows and ineffective aircon
Cheers

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+p
Username: Lufthansa747
Posted 2006-12-29 16:30:10 and read 23232 times.

Excellent report and pics.

Looking at UL's BKK online fares - only 23000 THB return to FRA. And I thought the EK fare of 32000 was a good deal.  banghead 

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-12-29 18:40:06 and read 23112 times.

Thanks a lot for all your feedback!

Quoting LX001 (Reply 7):
You wrote that the entertainment system is outdated. Well, i don't think so. Look Lufthansa, Iberia or some (or all?!) US Carriers...that's outdated

Yes, compared to conservative carriers like IB or LH with their ancient "group TV", the IFE on UL is excellent. And UL also beats various other carriers with PTVs. But it would be nice to see a remake or an upgrade.

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 9):
Looking at UL's BKK online fares - only 23000 THB return to FRA. And I thought the EK fare of 32000 was a good deal.

UL's fares are amazing - in November they sold FRA-BKK-FRA for less than 500 Euro. Currently they offer FRA-CMB-FRA and FRA-DEL-FRA for 448 Euro.


PH

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Lufthansa747
Posted 2006-12-29 20:47:55 and read 23025 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):

UL's fares are amazing - in November they sold FRA-BKK-FRA for less than 500 Euro. Currently they offer FRA-CMB-FRA and FRA-DEL-FRA for 448 Euro.

Great fares indeed! 170 EUR+tax one way BKK-CMB-FRA too - might come in handy when I finish studies in BKK. Without your report I'd have never thought of checking UL - and the product looks very decent to boot!

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: FLIEGER67
Posted 2006-12-29 21:37:38 and read 22983 times.

Hi PH,
a real interesting read, thanx for posting.
I´ve never checked UL myself, but maybe!
My opinion from my last FRA and MUC travels, FRA has a lot to do for a high standard European connecting airport.
MUC is closer there.
Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+p
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-12-30 14:32:13 and read 22775 times.

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 11):
Without your report I'd have never thought of checking UL - and the product looks very decent to boot!

Nice to hear!

Btw - what I also find interesting is that despite UL's (and to some extent EK's) low fares you can collect miles without restrictions. The limit for moving up from basic Skywards Blue to Silver is 25,000 miles (or 20 sectors) in one year. So after my EK Australia round trip (some 1000 Euro) I only needed the FRA-CMB sector to reach "Silver". It's now valid for 14 months. Major advantages:

- 25% tier bonus for every mile flown
- Priority check-in at Business counters (even when flying Eco)
- Excess baggage allowance: an extra 12kgs
- Lounge access in Dubai and Colombo
- Priority baggage delivery

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
My opinion from my last FRA and MUC travels, FRA has a lot to do for a high standard European connecting airport.
MUC is closer there.

Indeed, MUC 's T2 is simply excellent. And even T1 is still much better than FRA's T1.


PH

[Edited 2006-12-30 14:35:21]

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Vivekman2006
Posted 2006-12-31 13:52:44 and read 22533 times.

Really neat report!

UL often comes up with surprises like that; they are a pretty decent airline.

Here is a link to my trip report on UL on the BOM-CMB-BKK-CMB-BOM sector.

BOM-CMB-BKK-CMB-BOM On SriLankan Airlines

We had a free day-long stopover (including accomodation, meals & transfers) at a beach resort at Colombo thrown in by the airline  Smile

- Vivek

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+p
Username: BigTom
Posted 2006-12-31 16:22:54 and read 22470 times.

Having flown UL many times I have to say that they are a great airline, though pretty unsung. And on most of their East-West routes they throw in a great stopover package to boot. Take it as Sri Lanka is a wonderful place full of friendly people.  thumbsup   thumbsup 
Cheers

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Airbus3801
Posted 2007-01-01 00:53:08 and read 22396 times.

Thank you for the very detailed and unique report. Your photos were excellent and it is nice to read a report about an airline that you don't see much in this section.

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2007-01-02 17:01:16 and read 22180 times.

Thanks for all new comments!

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 14):
Here is a link to my trip report on UL on the BOM-CMB-BKK-CMB-BOM sector.

Yes, I actually checked your report some days before my trip - so I already had positive expectations about UL.


PH

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Semsem
Posted 2007-01-03 23:50:15 and read 21908 times.

It must be a bit cold at times for the hostesses with parts uncovered. It seems a bit dangerous at the moment to land in Colombo. I remember 2 years ago the Tamils attacked the airport. Seems like a nice airline.

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Pe@rson
Posted 2007-01-04 10:25:54 and read 21800 times.

Nice report.

I flew LHR-MLE-CMB-KUL-SIN-CMB-LHR with UL (340s and 330s) a few years ago. I was overall impressed with them.

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+p
Username: Nimish
Posted 2007-01-04 14:12:19 and read 21743 times.

Great report, speaks very well of UL.

One of UL's main focus seems to being the intl. carrier for India (similar to EK's large number of services to India)! (This is in part due to a semi-open-skies kind of arrangement between Srilanka-India - allowing 68 services/week to metros and unlimited services to 18 secondary cities in India)

Hence most of your meal choices had Indian vegetarian options, and also the common-rated fare to DEL or CMB (surely a 3 hour (X2 for return) flight DEL-CMB costs UL quite a bit!).

UL has recently started flying into Goa, so folks looking for a little sun and sand, can consider UL from Europe-CMB-GOI.

UL offers some of the cheapest fares from India to points in South-east asia. I've heard that at times UL has the cheapest fares DEL-BKK despite the longer routing and providing a free layover in CMB!


DEL-CMB-BKK 2969 miles, vs. DEL-BKK 1832 miles!

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2007-01-05 19:00:23 and read 21570 times.

Thanks again for all new comments!

Quoting Semsem (Reply 18):
It must be a bit cold at times for the hostesses with parts uncovered.

True, it was really cool in the cabin sometimes.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 18):
It seems a bit dangerous at the moment to land in Colombo. I remember 2 years ago the Tamils attacked the airport.

I have heard airport security was improved enormously after the attack - which took place in July 2001 btw.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 20):
UL offers some of the cheapest fares from India to points in South-east asia. I've heard that at times UL has the cheapest fares DEL-BKK despite the longer routing and providing a free layover in CMB!

So it would be interesting to know which are high yield routes.


PH

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: DALelite
Posted 2007-01-05 22:58:27 and read 21493 times.

You obviously didn't go hungry on UL. I am impressed by what they served you, when i compare on what you get on DL transatlantic flights.

Good trip report.

cheers: DALelite

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+p
Username: FRACO7X
Posted 2007-01-05 23:36:30 and read 21479 times.

Thanks for the feedback!

Even though you did not receive a good service on ground at FRA.nWe do know that check in is a mass at the moment due to the limitedncounters available in hall B (Check in counters B West are closed fornfire protection works). Another problem is that we are not able to opennour check in counters in time.

As we realized that there arenlong ques we know have, whenever possible five Economy class countersnopen, instead of three as on your flight.

Concourse A is also not our favorite one at FRA. We had to move for our departure into hall A, as two gates are closed in hall B for A380 construction works.
Againnthe current bad shape of hall a (but to tell you the truth of the wholenairport) is due to the ongoing fire protection works). The x raynmachine in the middle of the corridor are only in use when flights tonthe US a planed in hall a.

Unfortunately i can not remember whynwe had to stop boarding for ten minutes. I will have to check with myncolleague, maybe she or he can remember it.

Please do apologize the long waiting time at the baggage claim. I will have to take it up with our ground handler.

[Edited 2007-01-05 23:49:38]

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Sabena332
Posted 2007-01-07 18:00:33 and read 21303 times.

Damn dude, I am jealous of you! How often have you been on holidays last year? USA, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Thailand... your passport must be full of stamps and your frequent flyer accounts full of miles!  Wink

As already mentioned by others, the food looks good and the portions are pretty big, this is something you can't expect on every airline nowadays.

Thanks a lot for the report, I enjoyed reading and watching!

Patrick

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Raffik
Posted 2007-01-07 22:52:31 and read 21232 times.

Wonderful trip report. Looks like Sri Lankan are a good airline. I miss seeing thier A330s coming into BEY.

I heard they're expanding so let's see what the future holds Embarrassment)

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: BigTom
Posted 2007-01-09 17:09:04 and read 21128 times.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 18):
It must be a bit cold at times for the hostesses with parts uncovered. It seems a bit dangerous at the moment to land in Colombo. I remember 2 years ago the Tamils attacked the airport. Seems like a nice airline.

From what I heard a little cold is good for health!  mischievous 
As far as security goes, CMB is pretty secure at the moment with security checks starting out from the road to the airport itself. Security has been tightened tremendously since the attack, which was in 2001 actually. Seriously I wouldn't worry too much about attacks at the airport nowadays.
Cheers

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Leskova
Posted 2007-01-14 16:51:00 and read 20883 times.

Great report - from what I read, I'd say that UL is an airline to consider when flying east...  Smile ... if only they didn't have those annoying IFE boxes...

As for FRA... I'm amazed again and again how moronic some people here are when they come off the escalators; I can barely count how many times I simply resorted to pushing people forward because I would otherwise have had to stay on the moving escalator - extremely dangerous and extremely preventable... too bad most people seem to switch off their brains when they're either in planes, in airports or on escalators...  Sad

So... where are you flying next? Big grin

Regards,
Frank

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: MHG
Posted 2007-01-15 23:17:24 and read 20720 times.

I am now seriously considering to fly on UL this coming may FRA-KUL/SIN !
(350,-EUR all incl. for a one-way FRA-KUL/SIN is a good argument anyway plus i´m already a SKYWARDS member)

Since my original plan to go solely with LCC´s to SE Asia seems to be not viable i have to look for alternatives.
Due to Jetstar pulling out of the indian market leaving only AI Express to fly to SIN (but being NOT bookable at the moment...)
Going back to Germany will be from HKG via LGW with Hong Kong Oasis and Easyjet to CGN then...

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: FRACO7X
Posted 2007-01-17 16:37:58 and read 20571 times.

http://www.srilankan.aero/OnlineOffers/fares.shtml

At the moment there is a special offer for all flights to/from CDG and FRA for 99€ (excluding tax, no fuel surcharge applicable on those fares!!)

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: AirxLiban
Posted 2007-01-17 21:03:14 and read 20486 times.

PH - Excellent report! Thanks very much for posting it. It seems that UL is a good choice for travel between Europe and Asia. Narrowly missed out on a chance to fly them myself in December.

It seems like you got two full meals on the FRA-CMB portion - quite nice! Were the F/As international or Sri Lankan, and were the lavs well kept?

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2007-01-20 11:05:01 and read 20222 times.

Thanks a lot for all new replies!

Quoting FRACO7X (Reply 23):

Interesting comments, thanks!

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 24):
your passport must be full of stamps and your frequent flyer accounts full of miles!

Too many different accounts...  Wink

Quoting Leskova (Reply 27):
So... where are you flying next?

I'm still checking fares...

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 30):
Were the F/As international or Sri Lankan, and were the lavs well kept?

Mostly SriLankan. The lavs were generally kept well, with a few exceptions.


PH

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: CamAir
Posted 2007-01-24 14:34:12 and read 19937 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 31):
The lavs were generally kept well, with a few exceptions.

nowadays, this is a speciality  Wink - my recent tip on AA witnessed a filthy plane with shit allover  vomit 

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Dc-9-10
Posted 2007-01-25 03:08:10 and read 19819 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I tried the chicken and was really disappointed for the first time. The sauce was not my taste and the peppers were really spicy. The red snapper was dry, the pasta salad tasted strange and the coconut pudding tasted somehow artificial.

I think this might be a common occurrence with BKK catering. When I flew NW last summer from BKK to NRT the breakfast on that segment was the worst of all the flights I took during my trip (I flew Northwest, Singapore, and Bangkok Airways). (Has anyone else experienced horrid food flying any economy class out of BKK?)

Dc-9-10

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: BigTom
Posted 2007-01-25 16:10:54 and read 19723 times.

Quoting Dc-9-10 (Reply 33):
(Has anyone else experienced horrid food flying any economy class out of BKK?)

When KE used to fly BKK-BOM I had some plasticized offerings a couple of times. But on the other hand CX on the same route were always good.

Cheers

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: ZRHnerd
Posted 2007-01-25 23:31:24 and read 19612 times.

Great report, loved every bit of it! Those F/A dresses sure look fancy  yummy 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Taking off in a heavily loaded A343 is always a pleasure...

I couldnt agree more Big grin

Topic: RE: FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343 (+pics)
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2007-01-26 10:20:28 and read 19483 times.

Quoting Dc-9-10 (Reply 33):
think this might be a common occurrence with BKK catering.

On the contrary, catering out of BKK is ALWAYS good and it should be because the ingredients are so cheap and fresh. The other station that has excellent catering in HKG and SIN. Perhaps these were isolated incidents?


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