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Sri Lankan UL 228: 21/DEC/08: KWI-CMB: Y Cabin  
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5075 posts, RR: 55
Posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 23939 times:

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 062
Flight Category: Y-IMR (See Report End)
Date: 21 Dec-08 (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Dur/Delay: 1915/0445+1/07:30 hrs (Delayed 01:40)
Flight: Sri Lankan UL 228, 2572 miles
Routing: KWI-CMB (1 stop: DXB)
Aircraft: 332
Seat: Economy, 50K

I > Background:

I had been in Damman (Saudi Arabia) for work and needed to seriously escape south for some beach time. The cheapest option was a quick getaway to Sri Lanka and my agent arranged for some cheap tickets using KWI-CMB-MAA-KWI … they were dirt cheap and I was excited about the road trip between Damman and KWI. Since I had never flown with Sri Lankan or with Air India Express, they were an added bonus.

Sri Lankan had been covered on a few trip reports on A.Net, and their service was generally well-regarded. However, I believe this is the first TR on the KWI-CMB (via DXB) route, and one of the first to feature pictures of KWI.


II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Sri Lankan Airlines is the national airline of Sri Lanka and operates 320/330/340 to destinations in Asia, Europe, and Mid East from their CMB hub. It had a partnership with EK that expired on April 2008 and many have wondered if the airline would go back to being a mediocre airline … a reputation that it had during its Air Lanka days.

Ticketing for the flight was done through my travel agent in Saudi Arabia. However, Sri Lankan’s own website at www.srilankan.aero is very functional and all the functions such as buying tickets, choosing seats, modifying requests can be done there. Moreover, you can technically view your booking and use online check-in. I was not able to do either. One thing I liked was that it took a simple call to their efficient call center in Colombo to have my exit row seat instantly confirmed. I even got a personal email follow-up. Not bad!

b) At Airport:
Sri Lankan uses check-in zone 4 at KWI – an airport which has improved significantly since my visit in 2001 when it was absolutely disastrous. Check-in opens 3 hours prior to departure and is in a restricted area. You basically hang out in the “mall” until your boarding opens. Now, none of the FIDS actually told me when check-in opened and you just basically go with the crowd. Like other Gulf airports, the crowd of well-wisher just hangs out at the entry to the check-in security … so you have no idea if check-in has started. The security guy was hopeless and since I did not want to take any chances, I just went through and became the first guy at check-in.

Check-in took forever as the under-empowered outsourced ground agents had no clue what they were doing. Moreover, the Sri Lankan representative at KWI was an obnoxious man who was more intent on giving his relatives J upgrades than actually help the outsourced agent. It took 41 minutes to check in! I kid you not. When I went to complain, the guy basically told me that he “doesn’t have time for Y pax as J check-in was going on.” WTF! I was very close to buying an upgrade to rub it on his face … but then again, I am super broke and decided against it.

While KWI has improved, it is still a primitive airport. Even though there are additional shops and the “dingy factor” has significantly decreased, there still is very little to do. It did not help that my flight got progressively delayed due to “delay in incoming aircraft.” I tried to go to the “Star Alliance Lounge” of Egypt Air to be told by a rude Pinoy women to get lost as it was “not a Star Alliance Lounge” despite having the sign. I did not want to argue as I was flying UL and technically did not qualify for lounge access … but why call it a Star lounge? She said I could only use it if flying UA and MS … but not any of the other Star carriers?!

Boarding was announced 45 minutes prior. After an additional security check by an extremely hot Kuwati (they are rare), I waited for 15 minutes before actual boarding commenced. Boarding was surprisingly organized and I was soon onboard and greeted by the purser. Boarding happened quickly and was aided and abated by all crew who were smiling and helping passengers with their luggage. Very cool. Moreover, the captain profusely apologized for the delay. There was even a welcome drink and hot towel. Was I in Y?! I mean, Etihad couldn’t get hot towels and welcome drinks done in J on a flagship flight and here we have UL off to a great start. Y load was 100% from KWI to DXB and again 100% from DXB to CMB. Interestingly, 85% of the pax disembarked at DXB and we got a whole new bunch. It is rare for a tag flight to do this well! Also, DXB is completely in line with the KWI-CMB great circle route.

Airport - External:

(Kuwait Airport)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/583d7191.jpg

Check-in:

(People just hanging around pre-check in Entrance)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/de3999e3.jpg

(Check-in)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/59a09e41.jpg

Airport - Internal:

(“Mall” prior to check-in)


(Internal – much improved, but still really nothing to do – sort of like KWI?)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/3841a171.jpg

(FIDS)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/97ca0f13.jpg

(Star Lounge – apparently)


Scenes of the tarmac:

NONE

Lounge

NONE

Boarding:

(Gate Area)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/08d43de5.jpg

(Boarding Hold Area/Boarding)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/9bc6e2fe.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/04082291.jpg

III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
I had to pinch and remind myself that I was flying in Y. On the 1 hour KWI-DXB run, you get a proper meal. From DXB to CMB, you get another full meal and a very generous drink run. Duty free is done soon thereafter and then lights are dimmed. Prior to arrival, another drink run. Water runs throughout the flight on both sectors.

Ok. I must now comment on the absolutely obnoxious family from Dubai who sat next to me. There was this huge dad (who should have had 2 seats) who seated next to me … his wife … their maid … and 10 kids(!!!) scattered on the entire row and then some. Now, the kids were the MOST obnoxious people I have encountered in a while. Of course, Papa did nothing to stop this. During active taxiing, they decided to run around the aircraft and had to be chased by the crew! At landing, the Papa refused to let go of his 8 year old daughter who ultimately sat on his lap next to me without seat belts! The FA’s were helpless. This guy was huge … and treated the FA’s as his personal slave. I have always had a poor opinion about many Gulf residents, and this was further consolidated by this (and other experiences). Later in the flight, I had an earnest conversation with the FA who had the jump-seat across from me … and her story was sad. The U.A.E. authorities never take complaints by UL seriously … especially against a citizen of U.A.E. Pretty sad.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Sri Lankan’s 332 reminded me how important lighting is. While they are comfortable and relatively decently well maintained, the old-school lighting made the aircraft looked dingy. Perhaps, PlaneHunter can help … but it seemed that this was probably the oldest 332 I had ever been on. The seats were comfortable, and the non-exit row had average legroom. Seat recline was definitely above industry average. Overall, a pretty impressive for Y. One thing … major props to the cabin crew for working overtime to keep the lavs clean.

Aircraft:

(Beautiful 332)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/2922630a.jpg

Views from Aircraft:

(Strange seeing these 2 @ DXB)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/2dcacfef.jpg

General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(Seat)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/8729e0f6.jpg

(Seat Controls)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/7bf2dd70.jpg

(Generous Exit Seat)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/6e6a41b2.jpg

Seat Recline + Angle View:

(Not shabby))


(Obnoxious family I was speaking with – some of the kids)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/8732ff76.jpg

Cabin:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/f125ac2b.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/f77c3e28.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/0a337315.jpg

(Bathroom)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/f2881532.jpg

c) Meal + Beverage:
Now. Keep in mind this was a Y ticket. It got me an excellent Indian style Biriyani with chicken on the 1 hour flight to DXB … they even had a fancy menu and options! On the DXB-CMB segment, there were generous beverage runs including my JW Black and local Sri Lankan booze made of coconut (name anyone?). Again, there were selections … and I chose the rather delicious lamb with rice and Indian soup (dal/dhall?). The desserts were nothing special … but I wasn’t complaining. Also, prior to dinner, there was more alcohol and snacks. Wow. More food than J in many airlines in same stage lengths.

Water and other beverage runs consistently maintained.

(Menu – now this is a Y menu-card of a low-yield VFR route! Better than MANY J carriers … and there are even choices!)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/ff96db19.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/049761f5.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/5a2a39e8.jpg

(Meal: KWI-DXB)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/ddb35644.jpg

(Drink brought to me during taxiing at DXB)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/cc47d713.jpg

(Main)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/569d6520.jpg

(More alcohol)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/520454f6.jpg

d) Inflight Entertainment:

Sri Lankan has old generation personal IFE systems. These were showing their age. The 12 channels did have movies, TV, etc. in a few languages … but its perhaps time for an upgrade? The in-flight magazine was superb also.

(IFE system)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/7e14254c.jpg

(Camera)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/34008540.jpg

(Lots of ads on service to India)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/4fa62cda.jpg

(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/29eb9b4c.jpg

e) Crew:

Ok. I simply must rave on about their crew. More than ever, I am convinced that the best cabin staff comes from South Asia! The crew on board Sri Lankan was just superb … and I will share a few anecdotes that showed that the service came with genuine smiles and really from their heart.

There was the obvious smiling presence throughout the cabin during boarding/ in flight / at disembarkation. I don’t remember a flight were so many water-runs had been done. Moreover, any service request was responded promptly. They were pro-active in keeping the bathrooms clean and joked with the passengers and amongst themselves. Seriously, I have not encountered such a friendly crew since my Air India trip earlier in 2008. Finally, they handled the situation with the Dubai family well … and having a few crew trained as “special children trained” definitely added a touch of class in their service delivery.

Ok, now the anecdotes which propelled this crew from being great to being just fantastic.

1/ On several carriers, during a transit stop, crew disappear on go on with their duties. Not this UL crew. They actively talked to each and every passenger on board asking them about the journey thus far, asking about their health, smiling, joking, teasing a newly wed couple on what they wanted to do on their honeymoon, etc. Just fantastic!

2/ Upon arrival at DXB, I had gone back and asked the galley whether they would soon have a drink service – I was starved of alcohol (Saudi Arabia + Kuwait) and needed a drink fast. One of the crew members volunteered to make me a drink – since boarding started soon thereafter, I said it was OK, but I loved my scotch. There was an ATC delay and we were on taxiway for a while … this woman comes to me with 2 bottles of Mr. Walker, smiles, and says, “I cannot bear to see you suffer until we are off ground”. WOW! Now, that is hospitality. Needless to say, she kept me well “fed” during the flight.

3/ Since I was in an exit row, I managed to talk to another crew member and was telling her about my job and love for airlines. Prior to disembarkation, this crew member comes to me, gives me a UL duty free bag filled with UL playing cards, stationary, pens, etc. She even wrote a note on the post card saying, “Always inspiring to see someone do something they love … keep flying, and do not forget the little airline south of India!”

Seriously, I was blown away. What an impressive an amazing group of flight attendants. On arrival, each and every of the crew I had interacted with wished me good luck and that I see them the next time in CMB. Now, this is what service should be like! Impressive stuff for sure.

IV> Post-Flight:

Baggage took forever at CMB airport. Post arrival facilities are rudimentary and the only ATM was not working … thankfully I managed to convince some random dude waiting to pick her daughter to convert some USDs to LKR’s for me. He probably did not want some white guy off in Sri Lanka by himself. LOL.

(CMB Arrivals)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/b1b39d69.jpg

V> Impressions + Scores:

Truly great airlines are made by the people that work for them. I have always said that poor hardware could easily be compensated by excellent software. Sri Lankan has an excellent group of individuals working for them – led by a fantastic crew that went above and beyond their call of duty. Moreover, an excellent reservation desk ensured positive reinforcement in its human resources. True, ground check-in at KWI was bad … but, this experience is proof-positive that a trip can be “saved” even after a poor start (unlike my LH/Privatair report). Of course, there are things were age is beginning to show, and baggage handling could be improved. But these minor things do not take away from the excellent job that UL crew did ensuring a truly memorable experience. I would fly UL in a heartbeat and recommend them with two over enthusiastic thumbs up based on this experience. If any UL staff is reading this, a big positive letter is already en route.

1.0 > RESERVATION: 8.5
2.0 > CHECK-IN: 3.0
0.5 > LOUNGE: N/A
0.5 > BOARDING: 8.0
2.0 > SEAT: 7.0
0.5 > AIRCRAFT OVERALL AMBIENCE: 7.0
1.0 > IFE: 7.0
2.0 > CREW: 10.0
2.0 > FOOD: 7.5
0.5 > BEVERAGES: 8.0
0.5 > A.KITS + OTHER FREEBIES: 6.0
0.5 > DISEMBARKATION: 7.0
1.0 > ON-TIME RECORD: 7.0
WEIGHTED OVERALL IMPRESSION (WOI): 7.07
(Pre-flight WOI of all reviews: 6.47)
* Weighted Overall Impression (WOI) aligns scores with what matters most. Weights are indicated alongside each category.
(Scores are based on comparison with other airlines in THAT class of service – No comparison of Y vs. F for example)

VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan Airlines (62): KWI-(DXB)-CMB: 12/2008
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(Look at the goodies I got … and the playing cards with images of various UL people and operations were truly unique and one of the best I have seen)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/137c4a4e.jpg

(Sri Lankan beach)

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/c32551c3.jpg

(Crazy Sri Lankan towns … LOVE IT!)

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/UL228/1d220e2b.jpg


Live, and let live.
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 23844 times:

Hi Abrelosojos,

great report which brings back so many memories: I flew UL more than two years ago (FRA-CMB-BKK-CMB-FRA) and I'm glad to hear it's still as good (and partly even better) as in 2006.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It took 41 minutes to check in! I kid you not. When I went to complain, the guy basically told me that he “doesn’t have time for Y pax as J check-in was going on.”

Awful...  Embarrassment

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
There was this huge dad (who should have had 2 seats) who seated next to me … his wife … their maid … and 10 kids(!!!) scattered on the entire row and then some. Now, the kids were the MOST obnoxious people I have encountered in a while. Of course, Papa did nothing to stop this. During active taxiing, they decided to run around the aircraft and had to be chased by the crew! At landing, the Papa refused to let go of his 8 year old daughter who ultimately sat on his lap next to me without seat belts! The FA’s were helpless. This guy was huge … and treated the FA’s as his personal slave. I have always had a poor opinion about many Gulf residents, and this was further consolidated by this (and other experiences).

Quite shocking - what a horror family. Wouldn't it be possible for the airline to inform the Sri Lankan authorities about the violation of safety regulations?

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
While they are comfortable and relatively decently well maintained, the old-school lighting made the aircraft looked dingy. Perhaps, PlaneHunter can help … but it seemed that this was probably the oldest 332 I had ever been on. The seats were comfortable, and the non-exit row had average legroom. Seat recline was definitely above industry average. Overall, a pretty impressive for Y. One thing … major props to the cabin crew for working overtime to keep the lavs clean.

All four A332s still in service were manufactured in late 1999 and delivered between 10/99 and 01/00 (two others built in 2000 were destroyed by the Tamil Tigers).

I found their Economy cabin quite comfortable - actually the interior and the IFE on the A332s are almost identical to the interior of EK's A332s.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It got me an excellent Indian style Biriyani with chicken on the 1 hour flight to DXB … they even had a fancy menu and options! On the DXB-CMB segment, there were generous beverage runs including my JW Black and local Sri Lankan booze made of coconut (name anyone?)

I think you got coconut arrack, a kind of whiskey. Btw - the meals look really good. I was also quite satisfied with catering, even though certain items weren't a culinary delight. And yes, the menu cards are awesome. Good to see they still have them, even on shorter flights.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Ok. I simply must rave on about their crew. More than ever, I am convinced that the best cabin staff comes from South Asia! The crew on board Sri Lankan was just superb … and I will share a few anecdotes that showed that the service came with genuine smiles and really from their heart.

I found some crew members a bit reserved, but I in general they were nice.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 23809 times:

Hello Abrelosojos,

Your trip reports always amaze me. Especially this one with UL and the other one with AI. Thank you for sharing.



Friends forever
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5922 posts, RR: 40
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 23674 times:

once again a great report!

It amazing how much do you travel!

regards
Avianca



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26853 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 23610 times:

Nice report. I have flown with Air Lanka and then again when it was Sri Lankan. Always had good flights and loved the crew. The uniforms are lovely with the Peacock Feather design. Also the food was good. Lamb curry IIRC. Y class is decent and comfortable. Would not hesitate to fly them again. The last time I flew them though we took off and burst a tire resulting in the end having to come back to CMB after being in the air for 2 hours they decided to return. Still they got us down safely and onto another A/C after a few hours.

KWI airport looks horrible . Also hate it when you get a family who don't know how to bring their Children up. More the norm these days sadly.

Glad to see UL are still good.

Thanks for the report .

Philip


User currently offlineOjas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2961 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 23585 times:

Excellent TR!

I myself have got many reviews about the UL FA's and you have just validated that. I believe they do a really good job.

Shocking to hear UAE does not entertain complaints of their residents. Well I should have known that, it happens the same way in Qatar.

Looking forward for your other trips.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineGlobetraveller From Germany, joined Apr 2008, 379 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 23585 times:

Another great TR Abrelosojos!

Quoting Avianca (Reply 3):
It amazing how much do you travel!

I could not agree more! You must be spending more time in the air than on the ground at this rate!

Thanks for all your efforts!

Globetraveller


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1710 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 23523 times:

Great report Alex!

Another great report from you popped up, just as i was about to get bored. What a great timing, and it isn't the first time Big grin

Very strange that you wasn't allowed to enter the MS lounge, i though STAR Gold members were always allowed to enter *A lounges, even if they didn't fly with *A.
Though i don't really think that MS should be in *A anyway.

The cabin of the UL A332 looked very nice and clean, they seats are in fact the same as on EK, as earlier mentioned by PH. The crew seemed great, and it was good to hear about how trained they are. I assume that it would have been more of a hell if you had the same seatmates, but flew on another airline.

The food looked great, and it was nice to see that there are airlines to day that still offer printed menus to their Y pax.
The amount of food served on the first leg looked very good, what does EK and EY serve on 1 hour flights? The main meal looked nice too. On both meals, both the starters and desserts looked proper, instead of a plain salad for starter and a piece of spongecake for dessert.

For some reason it always seems like you have great experiences when flying in Y. But when you fly J you always seem to complain about everything. In that case, shouldn't you might consider to only fly in Economy class, then?

Thanks for posting, and i really enjoyed reading it.

Regards
Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 23388 times:

Great report! UL looks like a really nice airline. KWI, however, does not sound pleasant. 40 minutes to check-in?!?! Unbelievable.

User currently offlineCO7e7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 2848 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 23361 times:

Another A+ report.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
CREW: 10.0

That's really impressive. Reading about all the crappy ground service that you had to deal with (check-in, security, lounge...etc), having excellent service on board makes you forgive/forget the mess on the ground.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The U.A.E. authorities never take complaints by UL seriously ... especially against a citizen of U.A.E. Pretty sad.

That's really sad. Can anything be done to fix this? or is it a hopeless matter?

Thanks for the great report. I truly enjoy reading everything you write.

CO7e7


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5075 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 23356 times:



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Wouldn't it be possible for the airline to inform the Sri Lankan authorities about the violation of safety regulations?

= Sri Lanka is a small country. I would not think their authorities had much bargaining power when dealing with the citizens of the U.A.E. which provides opportunities for many Lankans. It is actually quite sad how much GCC residents get away with. You should read some of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty's reports on the regions human rights violations. Anyways, that is for another forum I guess ...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
I found their Economy cabin quite comfortable - actually the interior and the IFE on the A332s are almost identical to the interior of EK's A332s.

= No doubt ... comfortable Y.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
I think you got coconut arrack, a kind of whiskey

= That is exactly right. Thanks for reminding me.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 3):
It amazing how much do you travel!

= Jaja. If not now, when right  Smile? On the down-side, I am still driving a beat up car as I have no money for a new one.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
The last time I flew them though we took off and burst a tire resulting in the end having to come back to CMB after being in the air for 2 hours they decided to return. Still they got us down safely and onto another A/C after a few hours.

= Not bad.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 5):

I myself have got many reviews about the UL FA's and you have just validated that. I believe they do a really good job.

= For sure.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 5):
Shocking to hear UAE does not entertain complaints of their residents. Well I should have known that, it happens the same way in Qatar.

= And others in the GCC region.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 6):
I could not agree more! You must be spending more time in the air than on the ground at this rate!

= I am going to calculate my split  Smile.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
Another great report from you popped up, just as i was about to get bored. What a great timing, and it isn't the first time Big grin

= Gracias Jonas.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):


Very strange that you wasn't allowed to enter the MS lounge, i though STAR Gold members were always allowed to enter *A lounges, even if they didn't fly with *A.
Though i don't really think that MS should be in *A anyway.

= Actually, as I say below, I think technically one could use the *G lounge only on a Star flight. My dislike was her approach and her refusal to honor *G even if flying MS/UAL and holding non-MS/UAL card. I might have been unclear on what I wrote.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I did not want to argue as I was flying UL and technically did not qualify for lounge access … but why call it a Star lounge? She said I could only use it if flying UA and MS … but not any of the other Star carriers?!



Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
For some reason it always seems like you have great experiences when flying in Y. But when you fly J you always seem to complain about everything. In that case, shouldn't you might consider to only fly in Economy class, then?

= Jaja. Perhaps when you pay a 4x+ price premium, you expect more. But in honesty, my TK report was super positive and so was AC in 2008. Also, a lot of my work travels are decent in J ... but I don't do TR's while on work travel. Finally, you're right ... some of the best flights I have had of late is in Y. You might be giving me a good idea ... why give away my hard earned money when I am getting crap back?!

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8504 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 23268 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures thanks!

Interesting route and if I recall, a first for A.NET.

Very impressive that a hot meal is served on the KWI-DXB sector.

All meals looked pretty decent and of the right size.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It took 41 minutes to check in! I kid you not

- Just terrible, never taken this long to check in, ever!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
There was even a welcome drink and hot towel. Was I in Y?!

- Just superb!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
On the DXB-CMB segment, there were generous beverage runs including my JW Black

- JW Black in Y!! - Very impressive!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I was starved of alcohol (Saudi Arabia + Kuwait) and needed a drink fast. One of the crew members volunteered to make me a drink – since boarding started soon thereafter, I said it was OK, but I loved my scotch. There was an ATC delay and we were on taxiway for a while … this woman comes to me with 2 bottles of Mr. Walker, smiles, and says, “I cannot bear to see you suffer until we are off ground”. WOW! Now, that is hospitality

- This just blows me away, especially as you are just a Y passenger.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Since I was in an exit row, I managed to talk to another crew member and was telling her about my job and love for airlines. Prior to disembarkation, this crew member comes to me, gives me a UL duty free bag filled with UL playing cards, stationary, pens, etc. She even wrote a note on the post card saying, “Always inspiring to see someone do something they love … keep flying, and do not forget the little airline south of India!”

- How nice!

Great report, you've given me some rally great vibes about UL.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 22889 times:

I flew UL in 2004 in Y on SIN-CMB and return, on their A330-200s (return was via KUL). They were also outstanding then.

But interestingly, the cabins, menus, IFE - in fact nothing I can see in the photos have changed at all in the 4-5 years since then, which means while the service (such as 3 choices of main meal, hot towel, outstanding customer service) hasn't changed, the IFE is out of date - in 2004 that was pretty fantastic too, as you might imagine!

Whilst they are no longer partners, until recently UL was managed (and I think part-owned) by Emirates, and whilst I saw some similarities in some aspects of their product, overall I thought UL was much better (perhaps except IFE) than their 'parent'.

PS: Outstanding report as always. Despite rarely replying to your posts, I am another 'closet' fan and always go straight to your trip reports when one comes online! Like you, I aim to fly as many airlines on as many exotic routings as possible and love to get perspective on all the airlines you have flown that I am yet to try (not to mention that my budget restricts me to Y class onel  Sad )


User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 531 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 22768 times:

Lovely Trip report. Reminded me of my BOM-CMB-BKK trip on UL back in 2006.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Lots of ads on service to India)

LOL. 100 flights to India - that was the peak of UL's foray into India. They have cut down quite a few services since then.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Sri Lankan has old generation personal IFE systems. These were showing their age. The 12 channels did have movies, TV, etc. in a few languages … but its perhaps time for an upgrade? The in-flight magazine was superb also.

Yep. Although it was acceptable 3-4 years ago, I think they should seriously consider an upgrade to AVOD based systems.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Ok, now the anecdotes which propelled this crew from being great to being just fantastic.

Totally agree with you.

We were staying in the same hotel as the UL crew in BKK, and on our second evening at the hotel, I bumped into the same set of FAs that had operated our flight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they not just recognised me, but greeted me and wished me best for the remainder of the trip.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
She even wrote a note on the post card saying, “Always inspiring to see someone do something they love … keep flying, and do not forget the little airline south of India!”

WOW - that is awesome. Kudos to the crew.

- Vivek


User currently offlineAirpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 22750 times:

Hi Abrelosojos, thanks for this wonderful SriLankan report. UL is definitely among the most under-represented airlines in this forum; and is also so frequently over-looked by travelers. Really glad you wrote this report which I hope goes some way towards redressing the balance.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Sri Lankan has an excellent group of individuals working for them %u2013 led by a fantastic crew that went above and beyond their call of duty

Totally agree with you on this. I've flown a few times on UL (right back from their Tristar days), and I have to say every flight has been wonderfully pleasant. The service is a genuine delight every time.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
They actively talked to each and every passenger on board asking them about the journey thus far, asking about their health, smiling, joking, teasing a newly wed couple on what they wanted to do on their honeymoon, etc. Just fantastic!

What am amazing thing to see in Y class!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Menu – now this is a Y menu-card of a low-yield VFR route! Better than MANY J carriers … and there are even choices!)

Yes, again, compared with the "as-long-as-we-sell-them-the cheap-tickets-they-can't-complain-too-much-if-they're-getting-crap" attitude of so many airlines in Y these days, this is truly impressive.

Thanks again for the report.


User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 22707 times:

Hey Mr. A!

What an interesting report! ... So glad to see something on UL.
I really wanted to fly them between HKG and BKK recently, but their timings did not match what i wanted.

The current times are quite interesting (and maybe critical) for UL, as they are no longer behind the EK shield, due to some conflicts that border-lined politics.

However, from your report it seems that not only are they ok, but exceeding expectations too! I have always heard excellent things about their cabin crew and inflight service. I hope to try them one day!


Thanks a lot for sharing this.  Smile

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineGte439u From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 21897 times:

I love UL. I flew BOM-CMB-BOM in 2007, and there was a hot meal with 3 choices on each leg. The crew was amazingly friendly, and the A320 is immaculate.

Great report as always.


User currently offlineMilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 21433 times:

Interesting report, thanks for writing. As always, a great read. You always travel such interesting sectors (well, I am sure you travel plenty of boring ones too, but just tell us about the interesting ones).

I was in KWI a few months back, and I rate it as the most boring place I've been (out of 40 odd countries). Pleasant enough with all the shopping malls etc, very friendly people --- but geez, not much to do there. Although, I was lucky enough to be there during a nasty dust storm which was very interesting. Not sure if you had the chance, but Air Jazeera (LCC out of KWI) is a great little airline.

Interesting also to read about UL. I flew them for the first time about 9 months ago MLE-CMB (J). Can't say I was particularly impressed, but I know better than to judge an airline on such a short sector. Especially given the crew had just flown LHR-MLE so were probably knackered for this sector.

Still waiting for that EK report  Smile I wanna see you cause another cafuffle like you did with that AF report many moons ago Big grin


User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3213 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 21244 times:

Great report, and it's really good to hear about the top-notch service in Y on UL. I was wondering if things would go downhill after the split with EK, but from this report, it seems like the situation is still pretty good!


Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5075 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 20295 times:

First off, thanks for the kind words. It is an encouragement to write more reports.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11):
Very impressive that a hot meal is served on the KWI-DXB sector.

All meals looked pretty decent and of the right size.



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11):
- JW Black in Y!! - Very impressive!

= Yup. I mean the alcohol selection available was really impressive. Perhaps more after having been through KWI and Saudi.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11):

Great report, you've given me some rally great vibes about UL.

= Very good way of putting it. Great vibes man. Great vibes.

Quoting Aussie_ (Reply 12):

PS: Outstanding report as always. Despite rarely replying to your posts, I am another 'closet' fan and always go straight to your trip reports when one comes online! Like you, I aim to fly as many airlines on as many exotic routings as possible and love to get perspective on all the airlines you have flown that I am yet to try (not to mention that my budget restricts me to Y class onel Sad )

= The key is to travel ... Y/J/F is really all relative.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 13):
Totally agree with you.

We were staying in the same hotel as the UL crew in BKK, and on our second evening at the hotel, I bumped into the same set of FAs that had operated our flight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they not just recognised me, but greeted me and wished me best for the remainder of the trip

= Very UL crew-like. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work ... especially given the tough operating environment they work in.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 14):
UL is definitely among the most under-represented airlines in this forum; and is also so frequently over-looked by travelers. Really glad you wrote this report which I hope goes some way towards redressing the balance.

= Yup. What is even more impressive is that you usually only hear good things about them.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 15):

The current times are quite interesting (and maybe critical) for UL, as they are no longer behind the EK shield, due to some conflicts that border-lined politics.



Quoting Aussie_ (Reply 12):

Whilst they are no longer partners, until recently UL was managed (and I think part-owned) by Emirates, and whilst I saw some similarities in some aspects of their product, overall I thought UL was much better (perhaps except IFE) than their 'parent'.

= UL is FAR FAR superior to EK. It will be interesting though if political management ruins this great airline.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 17):
I was in KWI a few months back, and I rate it as the most boring place I've been (out of 40 odd countries). Pleasant enough with all the shopping malls etc, very friendly people --- but geez, not much to do there. Although, I was lucky enough to be there during a nasty dust storm which was very interesting. Not sure if you had the chance, but Air Jazeera (LCC out of KWI) is a great little airline.

= I always try to analyze which I like less - Kuwait or Saudi. I have tried J9 ... and might have to do a trip report ...

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 17):
You always travel such interesting sectors (well, I am sure you travel plenty of boring ones too, but just tell us about the interesting ones).

= Ya ... including my "shuttle" flight back and forth from CCS to JFK and CCS to FRA  Smile.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 17):
Still waiting for that EK report Smile I wanna see you cause another cafuffle like you did with that AF report many moons ago Big grin

= Jaja. It will be done ... in the pipeline. I have been very busy with work  Sad.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 18):
I was wondering if things would go downhill after the split with EK, but from this report, it seems like the situation is still pretty good!

= They are holding their own as of now ... however, as we say ... tomorrow is another day.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
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