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SriLankan Airlines: The Treasure Of Serendib!  
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



I N T R O D U C T I O N
It is a well known fact that Emirates does not forge solid partnerships with any airline. Many that had formed interline agreements or the like have practically ended up in shambles; as a result, some even walked away from Dubai (and to a neighboring Abu Dhabi). Take it or leave it, plain and simple is what this airline believes in.

The truth is, Emirates doesn't need any partner, but at one point in time, they had SriLankan Airlines. In 1998, Emirates acquired a 40% shareholding in the airline then known as Air Lanka, and that included a 10-year management contract. At the time, the Sri Lankan National Carrier, notorious for its old world delays and bureaucratic inefficiencies, was on the breach of collapse and the Sri Lankan government was in a desperate need for help. Emirates ran to the rescue.

But why bother with SriLankan? What do they have? One thing for sure, SriLankan Airlines has access to lucrative Air Service Agreements and slots at crowded airports, when Emirates was only granted traffic rights to Beijing in 2006, and slots at Narita from 2010 onwards. So it was a double-sided benefit that the two airlines closely integrate their operations to provide network-wide and frequent flier program access to all their passengers. So back then I could have traveled to Narita with an EK ticket and to JFK with an UL ticket for example.

From that point forward, things were moving uphill for the airline. The Air Lanka brand and it's infamous TriStar were done-away with immediately, and replaced with a more modern SriLankan Airlines, an all Airbus fleet, and a proactive Emirates-type of management that adopted a more regional focus. The airline eventually became a profitable entity and the top foreign airline to India. It was also strong enough to weather an attack on Colombo's International Airport by the Tamil Tigers when it lost almost half of its fleet.

However, a decade into this partnership, a political volcano had erupted causing Emirates to drop the ball on SriLankan Airlines. After refusing to bump 35 passengers off an overbooked flight to accommodate a presidential delegation, the CEO of SriLankan Airlines (an EK recuit) had his work permit immediately revoked by the government. As a result, Emirates walked away from the management contract altogether, and that was the name of that tune!

Life after Emirates did not seem too bad for SriLankan however. After all, they did gain 10 years of Emirates know-how, and that must have some benefit to it. Furthermore, the airline has ventured on an initiative to capitalize on redeveloping tourism in Sri Lanka now that the markets are recovering after the end of the civil war. With the aggressive Gulf carriers to its left, the top-class Asians to its right, and the never-to-underestimate premium-driven Indians right above them, SriLankan is definitely the perfect example of how an airline can be competitive in its strategically limited geographical location. Well at least they try!

Nevertheless, many strongly believe that the airline will sell back into the corporate corruption, and governmental bureaucracies that once defined its strategy. The truth is, it remains unclear how SriLankan will manage the longer-run of the aftermath. Today the airline is back at a loss during the first financial year after the Emirates leadership, and tomorrow has yet to come. Will the Sri Lankan government neglect this National Carrier in favor of the new Mihin Lanka? Or will traces of the Emirates past keep SriLankan Airlines on its feet standing strong?

And so, this tells the story of one of the world’s most interesting airlines in my eyes…
SriLankan Airlines: The Treasure of Serendib.


WELCOME TO MY 20th TRIP REPORT
This TR will cover the following flights on my trip to Kuala Lumpur with SriLankan Airlines:

  • A) Abu Dhabi – Colombo – Abu Dhabi in Business Class (A320)
  • B) Colombo – Kuala Lumpur – Colombo in Business Class (A343/A332)


B A C K G R O U N D
I was invited by a family friend of mine to spend the ‘Eid Al Fitr’ holidays in Kuala Lumpur with him and his family. Eid Al Fitr (or Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia) is a Muslim celebration marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is obviously very common, if not customary in the UAE, so I am quite aware of the occasion and was interested to experience it from the perspective of a different culture. Why you ask? Because it involved a plane ride to somewhere that requires at least a five hour flight.

Each year, the first day of Eid differs as it depends on the sighting of the moon. In some parts of the world, the holidays are predefined to include all possibilities however, in the UAE an official holiday is announced a week prior at the earliest, and usually only a day or two before. So in choosing my travel dates, I had to leave 16 hours after I arrived from Beijing (as per my most recent Cathay report), and had to pick a random return date, in hopes I could change it later once things materialized.

In terms of flight selection, the usual selection was available, which included Etihad, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, and Qatar Airways (still not ready to try QR!). A more thorough search on www.expertflyer.com revealed an idea that I had overlooked completely; SriLankan Airlines. Out of Abu Dhabi, they offered an excellent connection to and from Kuala Lumpur, with a maximum of two hours transit in Colombo. Out of Dubai an itinerary was available, but the transit time on the return journey would have been almost 20 hours.

Hopping on to the SriLankan Airlines website, which was extremely user-friendly (although it may look a little outdated), I was offered a Business Class fare which was slightly cheaper than Economy Class on all the airlines mentioned above. I even checked on Economy Class fares which resulted in AED 2,000 roundtrip (approximately AED 300 more expensive than a last minute AirAsia X fare by the way). It would have been too stupid not to book these flights! Economy Class was sold out, so SriLankan Business it was! My only concern was that I had to pay a rebooking fee if I wanted to change my dates of travel; but I figured I could pull a few strings at the airport to take care of that.


O U T B O U N D
On the day of travel, I had come to know of the length of my holiday which meant I could stay one extra day in Malaysia. Having a decent relationship with UL’s airport staff, a quick phone call to their airport manager resulted in rather confident results. I was waitlisted on my return flights, but was assured it will be confirmed in a few days time. I was also asked to get in contact with the station manager on the evening of my departure.

Arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8:40pm, I parked my car at the long-term car park, and proceeded towards the terminal for check-in. SriLankan airlines operates from Terminal 1A at AUH. This ‘boutique’ terminal was initially designed as an extension to Terminal 1 during the Gulf Air era when the airline spawned its regional hybrid-LCC Gulf Traveller to operate high-density routes to the Indian Subcontinent. It was easy enough to transfer between between Gulf Air and Gulf Traveller yet easing congestion from T1 by segregating the large crowds that were to be associated with Gulf Traveller to T1A. Today Air India, Air India Express, AirAsia X, and SriLankan Airlines operate from this terminal.


Terminal 1A at Abu Dhabi International Airport




The visit to T1A was only for the sake of the picture above as premium passengers, regardless of what airline they are flying, can check-in from the premium area at T1 (unless otherwise requested by the airline i.e. BA, KL, LH, SQ etc).


Common-Use Premium Check-in Area at AUH




Approaching the counter at 9pm, I handed my documents to the agent, placed my suitcase on the belt, and requested to be seated in aisle seats for both sectors. The agent slammed me with a look like she wanted to cast a spell on me when she got off her shift that would curse me for the rest of my life. Given her attitude, I did not trust that she even paid attention to my request, but I was coldly assured of aisle seat availability when I asked again.

A few minutes later my suitcase was tagged, and my boarding passes and lounge card were dumped in front of me. Taking a look at my boarding passes, I was seated in ‘A’ seats on both sectors.

“Excuse me, I asked for aisle seats on both sectors please”
“Yes I gave you aisle seat”
“No you didn’t. ‘A’ seats are window seats”

After a bit of huffing and puffing, and a few loud finger slaps on the keyboard, my boarding passes (to CMB and to KUL) were re-printed and I was good to go.


Boarding Pass to Colombo




Lounge Card




The check-in area on that night was absolutely congested as everyone wanted to travel back home to spend Eid with their families. Queues at check-in, immigration, and security were a nightmare. Luckily I had an e-gate card and was able to skip the immigration lines and be airside by 9:30pm.

Being a UL passenger, I was entitled to use the Al Ghazal Premium lounge, one of three lounges at T1. The lounge offered nothing special so I skipped on that idea in favor of stroll around the bustle until it was time for boarding. A sit at Costa’s for a slice of carrot cake was also an enticing thought.


On My Way to the Satellite




FIDS




The Main Satellite Terminal 1 at AUH








Upper-Level Shops & Duty Free




The Main Duty Free Located on the Lower Level




A Nice Sit-down at Costa for a Slice of Carrot Cake




Followed By a Smoke at the Smoking Lounge




By 10:10pm I left the satellite and headed back to the main building towards T1A. Gates 20 to 22 are T1A gates, all of which are non-contact gates with one common holding area located one level below the main floor.


Walking Towards T1A




Passing through security, I was inside the holding area at 10:15pm.


T1A Common Holding Area




Gate 21 Has Been Assigned for UL Tonight




A Rather Orderly Queue for an Air India Express Flight




The station manager was at the gate, and had informed me that my requested date change has already been confirmed for the return flight, and I would not have to pay any penalty fee. Thank you Mr. Station Manager!! While this was just a favor resulting from an existing airline-airport relationship, this efficiency can best describe how SriLankan Airlines tends to deal with work-related matters in general; at least in Abu Dhabi. In my opinion, they can outdo a countless number of other airlines, which I will not mention here.

Boarding commenced at 10:20pm without any announcement. Because passengers were to be transported to the aircraft by buses, a separate Business Class bus was available, but only after the first two Economy Class passenger buses were loaded first.


Passengers in Queue for Boarding




At 10:45pm, premium passengers were ushered to queue for boarding, and by 10:50pm I was inside the bus. A few minutes later, and after all premiums had hopped on, the bus was on its way to the aircraft.

Arriving at the aircraft, I proceeded up the steps and arrived at Door 1L of the aircraft, where I was greeted by Austin, the purser for tonight’s flight alongside Thilanka, dressed in her green peacock-style sari with her palms clasped together at chin level. “Ayubowan” she said, greeting all passengers as they boarded the aircraft, while Austin directed the passengers to their seats.


“Welcome Mr. Hawi. A pleasure to have you on board”


It was a purely cultured and captivating sight in my opinion. This was perhaps one of the nicest boarding welcomes I have seen. It was even nicer when two females were at the door, replacing the male, as I had experienced on my KUL-CMB flight.



By 10:55pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
53 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 208
Routing: Abu Dhabi - Colombo
Scheduled Departure Time: 23:15
Actual Departure Time 23:35 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 05:10 +1
Actual Arrival Time: 05:30 +1 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A320-232
Registration: 4R-ABJ
Condition: 4.25 years old. Delivered to UL in 2009, previously operated by Air Deccan


The aircraft wasn’t too old, however the seats were rather old-fashioned featuring only a simple recline with no footrest. Furthermore, the entire aircraft was IFE-free. It was ironic enough that the longer sector of my total journey was on the smaller aircraft but nevertheless, the seat itself was adequate. However, I think a journey of this length would have been more enjoyable had I been on one of Royal Jordanian’s more modern narrowbodies for example.


Leg Space




Passengers Boarding






The flight was 100% full in both classes, and a quick personal passenger profiling revealed that about 10 of us were connecting to Kuala Lumpur on the same flight. Others included Sri Lankan families and labor workers heading home for the holidays, and Arab and Caucasian holidaymakers on their way to Sri Lanka. A large chunk of the passengers were Eastern Europeans connecting from other Etihad Airways flights, due to the codeshare agreement between the two airlines (how ironic is that?).


Newspapers, welcome drinks, hot towels, and menus were served by the crew with utmost sincerity and warmth, although they seemed to be in a little bit of a frazzle as they had to squeeze between the boarding passengers.

“How about you sir? Can I offer you some orange or apple juice?”
“Apple juice please”


Welcome Drinks




My Apple Juice




Hot Towels




Menu












Our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He informed us that we were just about ready to depart, but were in the process of offloading the baggage of some missing passengers. He proceeded to inform us of our routing to Colombo, and that our flight time for tonight was 4 hours and 15 minutes. Shortly afterwards, the doors were closed at 11:20pm.

Thilanka then passed around the aisle to take our meal orders.

“How about you sir, what would you like to have?”
“The Chicken Curry please”
“Would you like anything to drink?”
“Just water please”


Meal Orders Taken Before Takeoff




Departure announcements were made in Sinhalese, Tamil, and English, followed by a manual safety demonstration predominantly in English. At 11:25pm, we pushed back for a 15 minute taxi to the runway. Takeoff occurred at 11:40pm and we began our journey to Colombo through the darkness of the skies.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off, and the cabin crew were released to prepare for the service. Austin rolled out a trolley, and individually placed linens, butter, plates, shakers, glasses, and silverware on each table. There are no meal trays in Business Class on SriLankan Airlines. Taking a glance at the meal-wares, you can see that it has Emirates written all over it.

Thilanka followed with the bread basket.

“Mr. Hawi, what can I get you for your starter?”
“I’ll take the vegetarian option please”


Table Seat-up




Aloo Chat Starter




The potatoes were nicely spiced and perfectly cooked so no complains from my end. Thilanka cleared my plate once I was finished and promptly replaced it with my chicken curry and an “Enjoy your meal” with that too.


Chicken Curry




As some of you may have come to know about me, I am a huge fan of spicy food, and that includes a range of Asian varieties. Naturally the crème-de la-crème of that lies within the Indian Subcontinent, and this meal provided this very satisfaction. In pure Sri Lankan fashion, it was fiery hot, and with deep flavors that knocked your taste buds out with unpredictable surprises. I am not sure if this meal was cooked in the proper authentic way, but for me, it was an escape to cloud gastronomy.

After enjoying my entrée, my plates were cleared, leaving only the linen behind.

“Can I get you some dessert Mr. Hawi?”
“Yes please”
“Any coffee or tea?”
“No thank you”


Dessert






The cheesecake was a little bit of a let-down as it clearly was a generic pile of sugar whipped up into something that looked nice and colorful.


Cabin After the Meal Service (notice the shape of the IFE screens under the seat covers)




After the meal service, the cabin lights were dimmed, and I fell asleep throughout the rest of the flight as it was rather uneventful. I was awoken by the cabin crew as we were landing in Colombo. By then the seatbelt sign was on, and the crew had already made their final preparations for landing.

At 5:30am local time in Sri Lanka, 4R-ABJ made her first touchdown for the day at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport.

After a short taxi, we docked at a contact gate right next to a company A340-300, which I later discovered was my ride to Kuala Lumpur. As the aircraft powered off, the seatbelt sign was switched off and everyone got up and gathered their belongings.


Preparing to Disembark




I thanked the crew for a great flight and proceeded inside the terminal for my connecting flight to Kula Lumpur.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Boarding Pass to Kuala Lumpur




I was absolutely stunned as I stepped into the main terminal building. The airport was amazing, with not a spot of dirt in sight. There were a number of passengers around, but everyone was calm and collective, either casually sitting around quietly chatting away, or queuing up for boarding in a humble and orderly fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a pile of dump or anything, but this airport is miles ahead of the likes of Abu Dhabi or Amman.


FIDS at CMB




My Connecting Flight From Gate 7




Passengers Already in Queue for Kuala Lumpur & Singapore




Bandaranaike International Airport consists of a main terminal building directly connected to one concourse which houses all the contact gates. Apart from the gates and two non-UL premium lounges, the main concourse area featured very little amenities, and this included some seating areas situated alongside its length, which could be a quite inadequate at times of congestion.


Long Concourse Building at CMB




Limited Seating Outside the Holding Areas






This Terminal is Just So Clean!




The main terminal building features two levels. The lower level, which presumably is where check-in, immigration, and security are located, also has some Duty Free shopping. The upper level airside area features more Duty Free offerings, Tea Shops, Cafeterias, a smoking lounge, Day-Rooms & Showers, and the SriLankan Airlines Premium Lounge; absolutely amazing!


Lower Level of the Main Terminal Building




Upper Level of the Main Terminal Building








A Nice View of the Tarmac is Available from the Smoking Lounge (4R-ABE)




The most interesting experience during my transit was the SriLankan Airlines Premium Lounge. We are all familiar with the Emirates Lounges so in this case, picture an Emirates Lounge (especially one at an outstation), but with a tropical flair added to it. In imaginary terms, it is an Emirates lounge with sandy white beaches, coconut trees, sun-beds, pina colads, and colorful umbrellas in the background (you get my drift!).


Entrance to the Lounge






As I entered the lounge, I was greeted by a smiling agent seated at the reception desk, who requested to take a look at my boarding pass.

“Mr. Hawi, please make yourself comfortable in the lounge, we also have a massage service in the lounge if you are interested”
“Thank you”
“I will let you know when your flight is ready for boarding”


Seating Area






Dining Area




Excellent Food & Beverage Offering














I Settled for a Cup of Tea




I left the lounge at 6:20am and proceeded to Gate 7. The flight was already listed as boarding and there was a long queue for security. I joined the queue which was moving relatively fast, and arrived at the podium where I was greeted by a UL ground staff who performed the traditional “Ayubowan” greeting prior to scanning and tearing off my boarding pass. I was eventually inside the holding area at 6:35am.


My Ride to KUL




My Previous Ride from AUH




Inside The Holding Area of Gate 7






At 6:50am a boarding announcement was made, in which boarding commenced with passengers requiring assistance to board first, followed by Economy Class passengers according to row numbers. Premium passengers were invited to board the aircraft at anytime.


Boarding




Proceeding through the aerobridge, I arrived at door 1L of the aircraft and was greeted by the purser, and also by a female cabin crew.

“Ayubowan”
“Welcome on board sir, please proceed this way”


By 7am I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 312
Routing: Colombo – Kuala Lumpur
Scheduled Departure Time: 07:25
Actual Departure Time 07:25 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:25
Actual Arrival Time: 13:25 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A340-311
Registration: 4R-ADB
Condition: 15.25 years old, delivered to Air Lanka in 1994
Remarks: This flight continues to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur


Another Emirates flashback occurred as I stepped inside the aircraft. The seats on this SriLankan A343 are identical to the Business Class seats on the Emirates A330/A340 aircraft, but with a 2-2-2 layout instead of 2-3-2. The aircraft was in an immaculate condition, and certainly did not feel or look like it was 15 years old.


The Cabin










As I was stowing my carry-on in the overhead compartment, a very sweet and warm cabin crew approaches me for assistance.

“Good morning sir, welcome on board”
“Hi there”
“How are you this morning?”
“I am fine thanks and you?”
“Fine thanks”
“Do you need any help with your luggage?”
“No thanks”
“May I offer you anything to drink before takeoff?”
“I’ll have a glass of orange juice please”
“Certainly please make yourself comfortable and I will bring it to you”


My Orange Juice




While the cradle seat was definitely no where near any new generation type of offering, it was very comfortable and offered great legroom. The seats were definitely wider than what EK has, and I could easily enjoy a long-haul flight in this cabin.


The Seat




Leg Space & IFE Screen




Headset




Blanket




Another cabin crew, Senani, approaches my seat with a big smile offering a towel service.

“Good morning sir”
“Hi there”
“Would you like a hot or cold towel?”
“Cold towel please”


The seatbelt sign was switched on at 7:10am, and as the crew were preparing for takeoff, the purser approached my seat to request if it was alright with me to switch to another seat. I was asked to be seated next to a Buddhist ‘priest’ (several of which were on board and bound for SIN) because one lady was allocated the seat next to his and was not supposed to sit next to him. I had no problem switching seats so I agreed. He was an older man dressed in an orange robe and was originally from a Sri Lankan town called Kandy and on his way to Singapore for holiday. A very nice gentleman, who kept shooting smiling looks of curiosity at my obsessive photo-taking, but all seemingly without judgment. Unfortunately, we had too large a language barrier, for me to explain the concept behind it so instead, I smiled back.

At 7:20am our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also informed us of our routing to Kuala Lumpur and advised us that our flight time for today was 3 hours and 20 minutes. The doors were closed shortly afterwards and we pushed back at 7:25am.


Menus Distributed During Taxi
















At exactly 7:35am 4R-ADB took off from CMB and began her short hop over the pond to South-East Asia.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew were released for the service. Breakfast orders were taken by the crew, in which I chose the chicken curry, which came with Roti and a Sri Lankan sambal.

The crew were so attentive to all the passengers. Some passengers were a little on the dry side with them, however they maintained their calmness, and continued to smile. The nice thing was that there was no system or procedure in the way things were done, but instead everything randomly flowed in a natural manner that resulted in a superb homely type of service; something quite similar to Malaysia Airlines (but judging from today’s TRs, it seems that MH is losing its touch).


Table Linens were Placed on our Tables




Meal Service Preparations




To start the service, a tea trolley was passed around with coffee and a selection of different Sri Lankan teas on offer, in which I went for a cup of lemon tea with sugar.


Tea Trolley




My Cup of Tea




As soon as I finished my cup of tea, I was offered seconds in which I declined. My cup was cleared away, just in time for a second trolley service, which included the individual meal-ware setups, in addition to the fruit starter plate. As soon as the tables were set up, a selection from the bread basket was offered.


Meal-ware Setups






Table Setup with Fruit Starter












The fruit did not seem too fresh, and the bread was a little too microwaved as it hardened up after it cooled down. My entrée was promptly brought to me after I was through with my starter.


Roti, Chicken Curry, and Sambal




The Roti was slightly on the stale side but the curry and the sambal were mouth watering.

My table was cleared once I was finished, and the service concluded with another round of coffee and tea.

“How was everything?”
“Excellent thank you”
“Would you care for some coffee or tea?”
“No thanks”
“Can I offer you anything else sir?”
“No thank you”


I slept for the remainder of the flight, only to wake up at 1pm Malaysian local time when we had already begun our descent towards KLIA.

The seatbelt sign was already switched on and the crew were making final preparations for landing. A quick round of hot towels was served right before the crew took their seats for landing.

At exactly 1:25pm we touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. After docking at the gate, the aircraft powered out and the seatbelt sign was switched off. I got up to gather my belongings in preparation to disembark.

I thanked the crew for their wonderful efforts and proceeded inside the terminal building where I cleared immigration and customs without a hassle, collected my suitcase, and met my friend at the arrivals hall.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

KUALA LUMPUR
I have featured Kuala Lumpur in a previous Trip Report, so this time around I will post a few pictures relating to the Eid celebrations.


Eid Bazaar at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman










My Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)


Ryanair!!! I know what you’re thinking!



On Eid Day: I am A Malaysian Jedi!




CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I N B O U N D
The last day after a nice holiday always brings mixed emotions. You are depressed at the thought of going back to work and the usual routine chores, yet the plane ride that awaits is your last chance for another round of excitement. Today it was no different for me.

My friend took me to the airport that day after bidding farewell to his family and thanking them for hosting me at their lovely home. Arriving KLIA at 12:25pm, we proceeded directly to the arrivals hall, just in time to meet a certain a.netter who was scheduled to arrive on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.

Also known as Airpearl, this aviation-nut had just arrived from his great Emirates A380 adventure, and I was quite excited to hear all about it. We managed to exchange our usual aviation chatter for about an hour, before I had to bid my farewells to him and to my friend, and continue my much anticipated SriLankan Airlines journey. … Thanks for that chats Airpearl!


International Passengers to Proceed Through Doors 5 & 6 at KLIA




FIDS




Arriving at the SriLankan check-in counters at 1:45pm, I found the counters adequately segregated and organized by barricades. Even a SriLankan Airlines pop-up was placed to indicate the start of the queue; something similar to Emirates, although EK’s set-up can attract attention from thousands of miles away (nothing beats the way Emirates sets up their check-in counters in my opinion).


SriLankan Airlines Check-in Desks at KLIA






The friendly agent checked me in without a hassle, and by 2pm I was handed back my passport and ticket, and received my boarding passes to Colombo and also to Abu Dhabi, in addition to my lounge card.


Boarding Pass to Colombo




Lounge Card




After walking around for a while and inspecting the goings-on (or lack thereof) at the airport, I proceeded through immigration and security, and took the train to reach airside by 3:10pm. I had the option to make use of the Plaza Premium Lounge, but I skipped on that in favor of the usual stroll around the terminal. At the KLIA satellite, there are a few areas where you can get a good view of the tarmac and hence, some reasonably decent celebrity sightings.


Malaysia Airlines A333 (9M-MKF)




Malaysia Airlines B744 (9M-MPO)




The Sighting of the Day: Saudi Arabian Airlines B744 (HZ-AIY)






Qatar Airways A333 (A7-AEC)




And Finally, Arriving from CMB via SIN




After my spotting, I continued to walk around the terminal for a little longer.


Satellite Happenings at KLIA










Looking at the FIDS for an update, I notice that there has been a gate change for my flight and it was now to operate from C4 instead of C15. I have been to KLIA several times now, and one thing I seem to always notice, is the significant amount of ‘New Gate’ remarks on the FIDS; why is that?


Arriving at Gate C4 at 3:55pm




Gate Information




After security, the very friendly ground staff tore off my boarding pass and I was inside the holding area at 4:05pm. Boarding was immediately called for by then.


Boarding




Through the Aerobridge




I found myself going through the aerobridge leading to Door 2L rather than the one designated for Business Class. At Door 2L, I was greeted by two beautiful SriLankan crew in their eye-catching peacock sari. Looking to my right, “Ayubowan” as she welcomes me on board with her palms clasped together. Looking to my left, she smiles as I hand her my boarding pass.


“Welcome on board sir. Your seat is 2H in Business Class, please turn left and go straight ahead”
“Thank you”
“Have good flight!”


By 4:15pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 318
Routing: Kuala Lumpur - Colombo
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:50
Actual Departure Time 16:55 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 17:45
Actual Arrival Time: 17:30 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A330-243
Registration: 4R-ALD
Condition: 10 years old, delivered to SriLankan Airlines in 2000
Remarks: This flight arrived from Colombo via Singapore


The cabin looked exactly the same as the A340 that I was on during my outbound flight, with one less row of seats. There is a total of 18 Business Class seats on UL’s A343’s while only 12 on their A332’s.


The Cabin








The Seat Offering the Same Comfort as on the A343






As I settled into my seat, a cabin crew that goes by the name Shehanna, casually appeared from the galley and walked towards my seat, with a tray of towels

“Welcome on board sir, how are you today?”
“I am fine thanks and you?”
“Very well thank you. Can I offer a hot or cold towel?”
“Cold towel please”
“Is this cold enough for you?”
“Definitely, thank you”


Welcome Drinks Followed and I Chose Mango Juice




Leg Space




Headset




Blanket




Boarding Business Class Passengers




The seatbelt sign was switched on at 4:25pm, and the menus were distributed afterwards. It was the same menu as on the outbound flight to there is no requirement to reproduce it here.


Drink & Meal Orders Taken




“What can I get for you to eat sir?”
“I will have the vegetarian meal please”
“And what would you like to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”
“Would you like it spicy?”
“Very spicy please, Sri Lankan spicy”
“I can definitely do that for you”


Another cabin crew, known as Amali distributed the landing cards.

“Sir are you going to stay in Colombo?”
“I am transiting to Abu Dhabi”
“Your flight will depart Colombo at 7:00pm, and no need for this card then”
“Thank you”


At 4:55pm our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing to Colombo and informed us that our flight time today was exactly three hours. Pushback occurred around the same time, and was immediately followed by the safety demonstration.

We took off at 5:05pm and began our 3 hour journey to Colombo. When the seatbelt sign was switched off, the cabin crew got up to prepare for the service.


Bloody Mary with Bowl of Nuts




The Bloody Mary was exactly as requested, extremely spicy. Shehanna later returned and asked “is it spicy enough for you?” to make sure. I was barely able to respond because my mouth was on fire, and that may have answered her question. Nevertheless, it was great drink!


Crew Preparing for Meal Service




As the crew were preparing for the service, I powered on the IFE for a quick exploration. It was definitely the older generation type that was definitely non-AVOD. As with Emirates’ TV & Radio IFE on their A332/A343’s, Business Class passengers can choose from a selection of available movies, and the crew will attach a movie player to your seat for you to view on your screen. Nothing really interested me that was on offer, so I resorted to the best option of keeping the route map on.


IFE




Table linens were placed on our tables, and Shehanna then rolled out a trolley for our table set-ups.


Table Set-ups




“Which starter would you like to have sir? Onion salad or Chicken?”
“You can have both if you like! You should try them”
“Sure. Thank You”


Table Set-up With Two Starters








The salad which consisted of onion, cucumber, and yoghurt was great, and so was the chicken, so no complaints from my end. Once finished, my plates were cleared and promptly replaced with my entrée.


Excellent Paneer Dish!




Amali & Shehanna Followed with the Dessert Trolley




“Some dessert for you sir?”
“Yes please”
“Also some fruit?”
“No thank you”
“No fruit? Are you sure?”
“Yes, Thanks”


My Dessert






Again, the dessert wasn’t anything special however, the rest of the meal was great.


Service Concluded with a Cup of Coffee with Milk




Cabin After the Meal Service




Route Map & Flight Info






After my table was cleared I got up for a quick tour of the Economy Class cabin, which revealed an identical replica of the EK A332/A343 offering but with blue colored seats.


Economy Class on SriLankan Airlines






At 5:05pm local time in Sri Lanka, the seatbelt sign was switched on, and our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards Bandaranaike International Airport. We were expected to land at 5:30pm.


Approaching Colombo




The crew made their final preparations for landing, and the cabin was sprayed with a disinfectant spray. Finally, Sanjeewa, the purser on today’s flight approached my seat for a quick chat.

“So Mr. Hawi, I hope that you have enjoyed the flight with us today?”
“Yes it was great, thank you”
“Thank you for flying with us today, and I hope to see you on board again soon”

He shook my hand, and proceeded to similarly converse with the other passengers.


We touched down at 5:30pm, and after a quick taxi, we docked at the gate. Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, everyone got up to gather their belongings and prepare to disembark.


Arrival




I thanked the crew for the excellent service and proceeded inside the terminal at Colombo for my quick transit to Abu Dhabi.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

My Boarding Pass to Abu Dhabi




FIDS




I did not have much time to visit the lounge, so I went to smoking room for a quick cigarette before heading back to the gate.


Same A343 That Took Me to Kuala Lumpur




Returning back to Gate 6, the queue for security was rather short and I was processed and eventually inside the holding area by 6:15pm.


Inside The Holding Area




Boarding was announced at 6:30pm and everyone got up and walked towards the aerobridge.

Arriving at Door 1L of the aircraft, I was greeted by the purser of the flight accompanied by his female colleague.

“Ayubowan”
“Welcome on board sir”


By 6:35pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 207
Routing: Colombo – Abu Dhabi
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:00
Actual Departure Time 19:05 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:15
Actual Arrival Time: 21:53 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A320-232
Registration: 4R-ABJ
Condition: 4.25 years old. Delivered to UL in 2009, previously operated by Air Deccan


Seat & Cabin








Tighter Legroom on the Bulkhead Seat




As soon as I settled into my seat, Shamila appeared from the galley with a tray of hot towels. This was followed by welcome drinks, served by Ashadhee.

“Welcome on board sir, can I offer you something to drink?”
“Mango juice please”


Mango Juice




Menus Were Then Distributed












The seatbelt sign was switched on at 6:45pm, and our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. After advising us of our routing to Abu Dhabi, he informed is that our flight time this evening was to be 4 hours and 15 minutes.


This Was Followed by an Announcement by the Crew




The doors were closed at 7pm, which was followed by a manual safety demonstration by the crew, and pushback occurred at 7:05pm.

After our short taxi to the runway, we finally took off at 7:15pm and began our journey to Abu Dhabi through the night. As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew got up to prepare for the service.

Drink and meal orders were taken, in which I selected the chicken option.


And Yet Another Bloody Mary!




Our tables were set up with linens and the usual meal-wares from a trolley, and this included the starter plate which was the same onion salad as on my earlier flight from Kuala Lumpur.


Table Set-up




Starter






Cold Bread from the Bread Basket




Followed by an Excellent and Very Spicy Chicken Entrée




My plates were cleared as soon I was through, and the service concluded with dessert and a coffee/tea service from a trolley. The dessert wasn’t so bad this time around.


My Cup of Tea & Cake






After the meal service, I slept for the remainder of the flight as I was feeling very sleepy. I woke up at 9:30pm UAE local time, when the seatbelt sign was switched on and we had begun our initial descent towards Abu Dhabi International Airport.

A quick juice service was conducted, and was followed by hot towels, before the crew made their final preparations for landing.

4R-ABJ touched down at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 9:53pm, bringing this journey to an end.

After a quick taxi to a remote stand where the aircraft docked and powered out. The seatbelt sign was switched off and everyone got up to gather their belongings and prepare to disembark.

I thanked the crew for their great efforts and proceeded down the steps and into the bus. Eventually, after clearing immigration and customs, I was in my car and on my way back home.


C O N C L U S I O N
I was extremely impressed with SriLankan Airlines, to the point that I had flown the same route with them on my way to Hong Kong more recently.

Their hardware may be a tad outdated, but I believe that their best asset is their cabin crew. They were excellent in all four of my sectors and treated each passenger exactly the same. This I find to be very rare amongst a lot of airlines and SriLankan Airlines seems to have mastered it. For the incredibly cheap fares that they offer, coupled with the superb inflight service, it is bargain that you just cannot pass on. I would highly recommend this airline, and in fact, I even find their service to outdo Malaysia Airlines (the airline I found to be most similar to UL). SriLankan Airlines is definitely on my top 5 favorite airlines list!


Goodies




This concludes my Trip Report. Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have enjoyed it. Your comments are always welcome and greatly appreciated!

Regards,
Roni


E Q U I P M E N T
Camera:
Canon 50D

Lenses:
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye
- Canon 17-85mm


PREVIOUS WORK
Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK (by Ronerone Dec 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
OpenSkies From British Airways: A New Era's End? (by Ronerone Oct 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class (by Ronerone Sep 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)


F L I C K R
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jy-rwh79/collections/72157623136811426/


F A C E B O O K
R. Wadei Hawi
Please mention who you are when (and if) you want to add me as a friend


YOU TUBE
Username: ronerone
I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!


THE END



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,

fabulous report with stunning pictures, as usual! Very nice to see a UL review after a while.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The cheesecake was a little bit of a let-down as it clearly was a generic pile of sugar whipped up into something that looked nice and colorful.

But that porcelain bowl looks just lovely, doesn't it?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I was absolutely stunned as I stepped into the main terminal building. The airport was amazing, with not a spot of dirt in sight.

Yes, I wasn't less surprised when I arrived there for the first time in 2006.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The aircraft was in an immaculate condition, and certainly did not feel or look like it was 15 years old.

Good to see the aircraft are still well maintained.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 7):
Their hardware may be a tad outdated, but I believe that their best asset is their cabin crew. They were excellent in all four of my sectors and treated each passenger exactly the same.

The product was great in general, but I found MH's cabin crew more impressive.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2430 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,

First of all, kull 'aam wa-'ántum bi-kháyr

It is great to read something from you again. I am pleasantly surprised to find another trip report of yours involving an exotic airine.

Really, you have shot great photos! I really enjoyed it.

I am just wondering how you manage to get the names of the cabin crew. By asking or peeking on their name tag?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
After refusing to bump 35 passengers off an overbooked flight to accommodate a presidential delegation, the CEO of SriLankan Airlines (an EK recuit) had his work permit immediately revoked by the government. As a result, Emirates walked away from the management contract altogether, and that was the name of that tune!

That was actually the right thing to do for EK. Don't let someone intimidate you that way!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I was seated in 'A' seats on both sectors.

I would have gladly accepted it.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 3):
My Orange Juice

Nicely presented! Well done!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 4):
My Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)

Actually, there are another recepies from Indonesia as well!   


Quoting Ronerone (Reply 5):
Arriving KLIA at 12:25pm, we proceeded directly to the arrivals hall, just in time to meet a certain a.netter who was scheduled to arrive on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.

Also known as Airpearl, this aviation-nut had just arrived from his great Emirates A380 adventure, and I was quite excited to hear all about it. We managed to exchange our usual aviation chatter for about an hour, before I had to bid my farewells to him and to my friend, and continue my much anticipated SriLankan Airlines journey. ... Thanks for that chats Airpearl!

It's always a joy to meet fellow A.netters. I have met some of them recently during my last Christmas holiday!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 4):
On Eid Day: I am A Malaysian Jedi!

Cantiklah! 

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 6):
"A Bloody Mary please"

That's how I know you. Hehe...

Your trip is truly inspiring, Roni! I can hardly wait for my next trip with QR next summer! Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo

[Edited 2010-01-09 13:08:53 by akhmad]


Friends forever
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26508 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey Roni ,
Fab report. You know Sri Lankan has not changed a bit since I flew them years ago. The seats are the same and same uniforms etc.. but I still love it. Lovely food would be my ideal meals.

Hope that they can have a bright future. I had good flights with them also.

Chat soon

Philip

P.S. The Jedi pic is too funny.  Big grin



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hello Roni, an excellent write up, with some great pictures as always. And as usual, you always manage to post your reports in perfect timing... Like today  Wink

The J products on UL's A320 and A330/340 looked a bit outdated, especially the A320. And I found it very strange that they decided to cover the PTV's, why? Will UL might consider investing in new products?

The food looked absolutely exquisite! Though, it seemed like you've cut down on the Bloody Mary's?  Wink

One thing that bothered me was the look of those crew uniforms, I mean why do they have that belly exposing shirt, it doesn't look nice to me...

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 4):
My Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)

That stew looks massive! How many people did it feed?  Wink

Thanks for sharing
//Jonas Casablancas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineFlightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1154 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Mr. Hawi another stellar report from you. Always a pleasure to read everyone of them. It's bizarre just last night I checked your link on Flickr, and the CX photos were the last to show up. Would have ruined the surprise had I to see these, so I'm glad you had these nicely hidden!! Again the TRs are as you suggested the food below, the crème-de la-crème of TRs.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
My Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)

Had this in Sydney and it was amazing. (My cousin's husband is Malaysian)

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
As some of you may have come to know about me, I am a huge fan of spicy food, and that includes a range of Asian varieties. Naturally the crème-de la-crème of that lies within the Indian Subcontinent, and this meal provided this very satisfaction. In pure Sri Lankan fashion, it was fiery hot, and with deep flavors that knocked your taste buds out with unpredictable surprises. I am not sure if this meal was cooked in the proper authentic way, but for me, it was an escape to cloud gastronomy.

Needless to say though gastronomic, it probably resulted in gas later!! I could never eat a Sri Lankan meal and not suffer some discomfort later!

That menu card looks like something from a Chinese restaurant or take away place!


I like the slippers/sandals...Not having to walk in heels must contribute to their wonderful service.


User currently offlineC8fromONT From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Love it - as always!! I always enjoy your TR's  Smile

User currently offlineOjas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2920 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,

A wonderful TR! and cutting short on the usual superlative praises I'll get to the comments directly.

Sri Lankan airlines have gathered good reviews from all the people I met through A.net or other mediums. Their Cabin crew as you mention are worth every word of our praise.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
(still not ready to try QR!).

I'm waiting.....

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
more thorough search on www.expertflyer.com revealed an idea that I had overlooked completely; SriLankan Airlines

Just in case if it missed your search 9W offers good connections between DXB and KUL via MAA. Transit between both the flights both ways is approximately 2-2.5 hours. The fares too are around 1950 AED. Now I know MAA isn't the best place to transit, but in search of good bargains you might want to keep this option handy.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
“Excuse me, I asked for aisle seats on both sectors please”
“Yes I gave you aisle seat”
“No you didn’t. ‘A’ seats are window seats”

I requested the same at three assorted occasions; once in BAH (1999) and twice in AUH (2006, 2007) and the answer I got was " Yalla Gum" or "Imshi".

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Luckily I had an e-gate card and was able to skip the immigration lines and be airside by 9:30pm.

It's a blessing, my dad has one of those and when my mom travels with him she just gets mad at the fact he is across in 2 mins and it takes 10--15 mins for her.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
all of which are non-contact gates with one common holding area located one level below the main floor.

With EY taken care of at terminal 3, is the old AUH terminal a better place or is it still the same chaos? Do they have plans to make a decent terminal at AUH for non EY carriers?

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
I think a journey of this length would have been more enjoyable had I been on one of Royal Jordanian’s more modern narrowbodies for example.



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
I am a huge fan of spicy food,

Aah! Lovelyyyy!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2):
I was absolutely stunned as I stepped into the main terminal building. The airport was amazing, with not a spot of dirt in sight.

Yes, even in extreme times of civil unrest, CMB manages to keep its airport clean.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2):
Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a pile of dump or anything, but this airport is miles ahead of the likes of Abu Dhabi or Amman.

very true.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 4):
y Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)

Nice...

Thanks for sharing.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineGardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1520 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hello. Yet another truly excellent report again. Great pictures and great detail.
CMB sure looks impressive for a relatively small airport.

The last day after a nice holiday always brings mixed emotions. You are depressed at the thought of going back to work and the usual routine chores, yet the plane ride that awaits is your last chance for another round of excitement. Today it was no different for me
Yes I totally agree - the lowest point of the trip yet one last piece of "excitement" is in the flight. That is why I always try and get a complicated exotic routing on the outbound, but on the inbound I try and get the most direct routing so I can try and "sleep off" any depression  Smile

The Airbus 320 fleet are not equipped with PTVs but it looked like your aircraft had them installed initially looking at the outline in the seat?

Those salt and pepper cruets sure look "souvenirable" !

Quoting LH4116
One thing that bothered me was the look of those crew uniforms, I mean why do they have that belly exposing shirt, it doesn't look nice to me...
That's the national dress for the women of Sri Lanka ( a saree) so nothing much they can do about it! I think it looks ok but sometimes looks less flattering on the more "portly" cabin crew members.
I know UL are planning a new uniform for the crew, but the saree is going to be retained. The green coloured-saree looks really outdated after some 30 years so hopefully they come up with something interesting and fresh (as long as they don't hire the same people as Air NZ are doing at the moment - heh heh - that's another story)


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26508 posts, RR: 58
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Gardermoen (Reply 16):
That's the national dress for the women of Sri Lanka ( a saree) so nothing much they can do about it! I think it looks ok but sometimes looks less flattering on the more "portly" cabin crew members.
I know UL are planning a new uniform for the crew, but the saree is going to be retained. The green coloured-saree looks really outdated after some 30 years so hopefully they come up with something interesting and fresh

Its one of my favourite uniforms and always was I will miss it when it goes. The Peacock Feathers are iconic IMHO.



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlineLuftfahrer From Germany, joined Mar 2009, 1000 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Another very impressive report! Congrats! I had never thought SriLankan Airlines was such a great carrier...
I noticed that even the font they use (for example at the lounge entrance in CMB) looks very similar to the one EK has in use, which is yet another sign of the two carriers' former cooperation.
Out of curiosity, do you have any plans for another trip report featuring a European carrier?



Et là tu montes encore plus haut et ça persiste, alors on vole
User currently offlineCaleb1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 350 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello Roni,
As always, thank you once again for submitting another stellar TR! I have added it to my favorites so that I have easy access for future re-reading.
I would also like you to know that, because of your TRs, I was inspired to take a short holiday. Around Christmas, I flew roundtrip LAX-LHR on BA and a seperate roundtrip LHR-DXB on EK as well as a quick road trip to Abu Dhabi. BA was good, but EK was absolutely brilliant! US carriers just don't stand a chance. I can't wait to travel to that part of the world in the future on either EK, QR, Etihad or now, UL.
In any event, please keep submitting your EXCELLENT TRs. Your reports have more effect on your readers than you might think.


User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 900 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow...I always love reading your trip reports! Most of us will never get a chance to fly UL so it is such a treat to get such a good overview of their product!

So what do you think the future holds for them now that they aren't linked to EK?

Quoting Gardermoen (Reply 16):
(as long as they don't hire the same people as Air NZ are doing at the moment - heh heh - that's another story)

OMG I saw a picture of the new AirNZ uniform...and the article had a quote about how it looks like something a drag queen would wear!


User currently offlineAirpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey Roni,

Serendipity indeed! A jewel of a report from the master himself. Some absolutely fantastic pictures of an airline I always thought was way under-rated. Plus the cabins - looking almost identical to the time I flew them quite a few years back - seem to have withstood the test of time. Nice to see you enjoyed the UL service, which I agree is closest to MH at its best: I recall it feeling "homely", just like you're among friends. It is also great to have met up with you man, even if it's for an hour. We seem to have swapped bases during the Eid holidays hahaha

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Qatar Airways (still not ready to try QR!)

I may have missed something earlier, but may I ask why?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Newspapers, welcome drinks, hot towels, and menus were served by the crew with utmost sincerity and warmth, although they seemed to be in a little bit of a frazzle as they had to squeeze between the boarding passengers.

That's a key weakness about service in the premium classes aboard narrow-bodies. Often times, the entire process, especially on a full flight, can seem a bit overwhelming - as the crew go through the motions of ticking off the pre-take off check list amidst the backlog of queuing Y passengers.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
As some of you may have come to know about me, I am a huge fan of spicy food, and that includes a range of Asian varieties.

Yes indeed, and the food on UL looks very good!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The most interesting experience during my transit was the SriLankan Airlines Premium Lounge.

Interesting. I didn't realize that UL has such a plush place in CMB. Looks nice and quite empty too.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
To start the service, a tea trolley was passed around with coffee and a selection of different Sri Lankan teas on offer, in which I went for a cup of lemon tea with sugar.

Ah the trolley service, how lovely and quaint. I'd go out of my way to fly an airline with a full trolley service in their premium classes.  

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I had the option to make use of the Plaza Premium Lounge, but I skipped on that in favor of the usual stroll around the terminal.

Wise choice.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
one thing I seem to always notice, is the significant amount of ‘New Gate’ remarks on the FIDS; why is that?

The musical gates make up for the lack of actual activity  

Thanks much for this report my friend. Hope to see more from you in the coming weeks and months.

Cheers,
airpearl

[Edited 2010-01-09 19:10:09 by airpearl]

User currently offlineTravelsUK From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

What a great TR, I really enjoyed it but most importantly it does go some way in showing what a fantastic country Sri Lanka is, everyone should come here and experince it's warmth and hospitality!

And yes I am biased as I have the pleasure of living & working here in Sri Lanka!

Ayobowen!

[Edited 2010-01-09 20:32:30]

User currently offlineSOBHI51 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jun 2003, 3241 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Again it is always a pleasure to read your trip reports. Also the pictures are great.
Thank you



I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Reply 24, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

What an absolutely gem of a report ... more because it is on UL which I keep on mentioning is a gem of a carrier. My reporting on the crew mirrors yours - read: Sri Lankan UL 228: 21/DEC/08: KWI-CMB: Y Cabin (by Abrelosojos Jan 11 2009 in Trip Reports)

I love UL  Smile ... and am glad you had a good time on them too. As I have said a zillion times, I'd rather take great crew and good food over any fancy lie-flat bed.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
“Excuse me, I asked for aisle seats on both sectors please”
“Yes I gave you aisle seat”
“No you didn’t. ‘A’ seats are window seats”

= Get her fired  Wink.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The crew were so attentive to all the passengers. Some passengers were a little on the dry side with them, however they maintained their calmness, and continued to smile. The nice thing was that there was no system or procedure in the way things were done, but instead everything randomly flowed in a natural manner that resulted in a superb homely type of service; something quite similar to Malaysia Airlines (but judging from today’s TRs, it seems that MH is losing its touch).



Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
For the incredibly cheap fares that they offer, coupled with the superb inflight service, it is bargain that you just cannot pass on. I would highly recommend this airline, and in fact, I even find their service to outdo Malaysia Airlines (the airline I found to be most similar to UL). SriLankan Airlines is definitely on my top 5 favorite airlines list!

= Malaysia used to be good. They were my favorite airline for most of the 2000's (weird saying that) ... most of it was due to their crew. Unfortunately, they have fallen faster than a hot potato.

Sri Lankan crew are MILES ahead of Malaysia. They are just fantastic ... the natural flow of them is just brilliant ... but then again, I feel South Asian crews are in general the best in the world ... along with ANA  Smile.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 15):
Now I know MAA isn't the best place to transit, but in search of good bargains you might want to keep this option handy.

= Oh God. I usually like Indian airports and Indian airlines ... if I avoid one thing, it is MAA.

Saludos,
A.

PS: I will send you a PM soon ... am in AUH next month. A drink must happen!
PS2: One of my close friend is working in an airline consulting firm that does lots of airport work. I should put you in touch with him.



Live, and let live.
25 Econojetter : Very very enjoyable report on an airline that unfortunately doesn't get much attention. Thank you. Nice and quaint. I suppose the relatively small siz
26 LYChemsa : I feel sorry for these poor hostesses who can't cover their wastes. They must be freezing.
27 StarAlliance38 : Great TR! SriLankan looks like a great airline. The table settings really impressed me the most! Did you ask if you could keep some of the china? Grea
28 Airbuseric : Hi Roni! Well done once again with this wonderful report! Thanks for that. We don't read about UL that much, so this is a perfect update! Oh, that was
29 BA319-131 : Hi Roni, Good to see you have been off flying again, we always get an excellent TR as a result of your extensive travels. - Why not? - I'm booked on t
30 NZ107 : Hey Roni, Excellent report, as usual! I'm beginning to wonder why I even write this at the beginning of your TRs because it too is becoming cliche'd!
31 Bedo : Hi Roni!! Great report as always! The UL's old fashion planes seems to be very comfortable. The food looks great too. I would like to know why, becaus
32 Debonair : Hi, excellent trip-report as always. Unfortunately, your trip-report seems to be an exception (at least for me)- maybe to the fact that you flew Busi
33 Rogerbcn : Hola Roni! Excellent TR. The fish eye works magic sometimes, you have really great pictures. UAH Terminal is really neat, I like that beehive ceiling,
34 Post contains images SQ772 : Roni, Thanks for the extremely detailed report on a carrier that has not been getting much attention over here on A.net. Certainly, UL looks like one
35 Lukeyboy95 : Hi Roni. Thought I'd add to the pile of comment for this TR. Superbly written and captured... They look like a really solid airline... may this contin
36 Abrelosojos : = Personally, I find this comment extremely colonialist. Do keep in mind how airlines are doing closer to home ... = I love the Saris and the Sri Lan
37 Post contains images Ryanair!!! : Gosh, I remember the uproar with Emirates decided to replace the name "Air Lanka"! Is this a token swipe at that ever shrinking national carrier to m
38 Directorguy : Roni....Happy New Year! Glad to know you had a great trip. My, UL's one intersting airline! And I have to say, they're not bad at all. Malaysia is a w
39 Lukeyboy95 : I think you've misinterpreted this entirely . I'm not talking about the intervention by the raj here so I don't think you should take it so personall
40 Post contains images Ronerone : Dear All, Thank you for your great comments and your support! Hi PlaneHunter: Thank You sir! .. This time around, i flew 4R-ABJ twice, but i was not a
41 UK_Dispatcher : Being in a position to compare UL 4 years ago versus now, I can tell you that his comment is not far off the mark. They are a very different company
42 SOBHI51 : Knew i missed something.
43 MIAspotter : As-Salāmu 'Alaykum. Once again, a wonderful read from an exotic airline, who knows if one day I'll be able to sample the UL service. Also glad you en
44 Abrelosojos : = Probably true. But, not a case for extrapolation . BTW, I am in AUH ... did you get my email? Saludos, A.
45 Ryanair!!! : Say it again.... Say it again and again.....
46 Okapi : Hello Rony! Fantastic TR, really, just like all the ones you publish! UL is definitely a great carrier and I'm happy they offer great value for money
47 Post contains images SR 103 : I can only echo the comments written by everyone above, another master piece from you! I think its time for you to bite the bullet and get on one of t
48 The777Man : Excellent report with great pictures! UL looks very good. I'm still a bit confiused why you are not "ready to try QR yet " ? QR is one of my favorite
49 Ronerone : Dear All, Thank you for all your comments! Hi MIAspotter: Wa alaykom al salam! Glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully you can sample UL one day Totally agree!
50 Flightsimboy : Now this is one I would like to see from you. For this even QR can wait!!
51 Vivekman2006 : Another excellent trip report, Roni! You have mastered the art of writing trip reports and supporting them by clicking some beautiful photos. Ever con
52 CanadianDC10 : I absolutely LOVE your trip reports! Your descriptions and dialogue is the best. I have read every one of them.
53 Ronerone : Hi Flightsimboy: Hopefully it will happen soon! Too bad it couldn't be tonight though. The 9W 330 was deployed to AUH, replacing tonight's usual 738.
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