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SriLankan Airlines: Searching For Serendipity  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 25263 times:



The airline industry is full of a larger number of very different airlines. On one side you have airlines like Spirit that will do anything to get into the headlines. The airline clearly subscribes to the policy that even bad publicity is good publicity. Then there are those airlines that spend a lot effort, money, and time on engraving their brand image in the public’s mind; Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic are perfect examples of these. However, not every airline is interested in constantly being in the media spotlight. Some quietly slip under the radar, keeping a low profile, be it by choice or by necessity. It is these airlines that often end up being the industry’s best-kept secret. Many believe SriLankan Airlines is one of these hidden treasures.

SriLankan Airlines has had a rather lively history, tracing its roots back to Air Ceylon, which was established in 1946. Despite their pioneering spirit, the airline was closed in 1978, and resurrected the following year as Air Lanka. The airline prospered over the next two decades with a mixed fleet of 737’s and L1011’s. Who could forget the distinctive red Air Lanka L1011 plying various multi stop routes to Europe and Asia?

Airbuses were ordered in the 90’s in the form of A320’s and A340’s as part of a fleet renewal program. However, the biggest change came in 1998 when a portion of the airline was sold to Emirates in exchange for a ten-year strategic partnership. The Air Lanka brand was quickly dissolved and the airline was restyled and reinvented as SriLankan. Over the next decade, with Emirates pulling the strings, the airline prospered. Despite many obstacles and setbacks, the airline kept its course and carved out a niche strategy of serving Sri Lanka, and the Maldives in particular.

As 2008 rolled around, Emirates cut the chord with SriLankan virtually overnight due to a number of disagreements on the day-to-day running of the airline. A new chapter was now under way for the airline, as the new entity did not have the backing of a large carrier such as Emirates. Despite this SriLankan has made major strides over the last few years with regards to its fleet and route network. Many feel the airline has lost sight of realistic goals and is now being used by the government for its own propaganda.

There has been a surge of trip reports regarding SriLanakan on this board over the last few years. The airline has become the quintessential darling of many well-known trip report writers, Roni being one of them. I was promised a soft product that would knock my socks off, service so elegant that it would make a Singapore girl blush with envy, combined with genuine service that would have me saying “Malaysian who?” After all, this was the very experience Roni has had with this airline on almost all his previous flights.

Roni and I needed to be in Singapore for SQ’s final jumbo flight, so we decided to meet up in Dubai and fly down to the tropical island together. After a bit of searching, SriLankan came up with a great schedule and an even better price. I am very loyal to my frequent flyer programs and this marked a radical departure from my mileage-earning requirement. The plan was set and both Roni and I made arrangements to meet up in Dubai to start our journey into serendipity.

30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 25499 times:





SriLankan Airlines 228
Dubai – Colombo
Airbus A340-300 (4R-ADB)
Seat: 3A
Scheduled Departure Time: 22:45
Actual Departure Time: 22:40
Scheduled Arrival Time: 04:40
Actual Arrival Time: 05:10


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Photo © Sarmad Al-Khozaie - Tranquillity Aviation Photography
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Check In: Shortly after walking off my arriving flight, I proceeded to the transit desk located on the upper level of the shopping mall that is Terminal One at Dubai. Roni had been patiently waiting for me, having just arrived himself on a connecting flight. We both proceeded to the transfer counter where we were greeted by a DNATA handling agent in a blue jacket.



Handing our documents over, he proceeded to type, type, and type some more before picking up the phone.
“Sorry sir, we have to verify the credit card used for purchase.”
This took another ten minutes, after which we were handed our boarding passes for both CMB and SIN. With all the paperwork in hand we proceeded to the “Marhaba Lounge,” a contract lounge used by SriLankan Airlines in Dubai.



Marhaba Lounge : From a distance it was easy to identify the lounge with its rather cliché Arabian themed entrance.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/SriLankan%20to%20SIN/007.jpg

We handed over our boarding passes to the two rather disinterested agents behind the counter, who took down some information and ushered us in with a flick of a wrist.

Once we entered the lounge, I felt like I had been transported to some cheap Aladdin themed movie set in the suburbs of California. The ambience was more akin to the inside of a magic lamp than a lounge at a world-class airport such as Dubai. I half expected a genie to come popping out of the electrical plug if I rubbed the gold trimmed tables. Décor aside, it was little crowded by the windows which proved difficult in in finding a comfortable seat.



We eventually found one near the entrance and headed for the buffet. A quick look revealed some nice snacks on offer, both hot and cold.



However, both Roni and I had alternative plans.

We left the lounge a short while later and headed over to the “Dubai International Business Class Lounge,” something both of us had access to. Thankfully it was not too crowded and meal offering was about as good as at the “Marhaba Lounge.” I grabbed a quick shower and we both vegetated in the lounge till about 21:40 and headed on over to our designated gate this evening, 123.



Boarding: We reached the gate at exactly 21:50 and saw a large crowd sitting in the gate area which meant only one thing, boarding had yet to begin. After handing over our documents to the agent behind the podium, we were let into the holding area with a “please sir.”



Both Roni and I must have been there for three or so minute before one of the ground staff opened the doors and yelled at the top of her lungs,
“Passengers who need extra time to board, passenger traveling with small children, or passengers traveling in business class ONLY! We will call economy boarding after that.”
In traditional sub-continent fashion, everyone in the gate area leapt to their feet and made a mad dash for the door as if it were Armageddon.

As usual, Roni and I had placed ourselves near the entrance and managed to get through, as the mob behind started to push and shove their way through. We smiled at the overwhelmed agent and said “business class.” She smiled back and let us through without wavering her stance with the mob behind.

Roni and I walked down the jetway to door 1L and were greeted warmly by a male senior purser (Mario) and female F/A (Mona) in the traditional “Ayubowan.” We proceeded to our seats, stored our luggage, and sat down. The cabin had a distinct odor to it as we boarded, that can only be described as “fishy.” I am not sure what caused this, but it really hit you with a punch as you walked onboard.



At first glance, it was almost déjà vu for me, like I was transported to the early 2000’s when I used to fly Emirates quite regularly. The seats were almost identical, minus the dreaded middle seat on Emirates. They were soft and the legroom was relatively decent for a quick Dubai-Colombo hop.



Soon Mona appeared in the aisle with a rather faint smile and a tray full of drinks. I picked a nice cool glass of orange juice while Roni went for the champagne.



Hot towels were then passed around by a very friendly flight attendant in a dark blue sari named Kumara. An expressionless Mona followed her down the aisles handing out the menus.



Scratching the deep recesses of my brain back to when I was a teenager on Emirates, I remember they had in flight cameras on the majority of their aircraft. I was ecstatic to see SirLankan had kept this tradition alive. Sure the picture was a bit grainy, and the screen could have used a good cleaning, but it still got the job done.



Eventually boarding finished and the cabin doors were closed. Our Eastern European captain welcomed us onboard and proceeded to inform us that our flying time to Colombo would be around four hours and 15 minutes today.



As the aircraft began pushback, Mona was standing in the front of the aisle as the safety video began playing showcasing a princess and what appeared to be some sort of a Maharaja. The four CFM engines eventually roared (I mean whimpered) to life.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/SriLankan%20to%20SIN/IMG_2257.jpg

The Terminal 1 line up this evening included the usual Europeans heavies, along with a few Asian and American carriers thrown in for good measure.



Moody Mona approached us as we were taxing to the runway,
“Will you be joining us for dinner?”
“Yes.”
“What would you like?”
“Can I start off with the fish and the chicken for the main course?”
“Yes. What about to drink?”
“Can I get a screwdriver please?”
“How about you sir?”
“I’ll have the salad followed by the lamb.”
“Yes, and to drink?”
“A bloody mary please.”
“Do you want it spicy?”
“Yes please, Sri Lankan spicy if you may.”
With that she sashayed back to the galley and strapped herself in for take off.

We taxied to the runway and began our sluggish (I mean graceful) roll down the runway where the four engine beauty lifted off.


The Flight: We crawled higher and higher into the night sky, heading out towards the Arabian Sea with the Dubai Skyline visible from the left side of the aircraft.



Soon the seatbelt sign was turned off, and I switched from the camera to the IFE. There really is not much to say about the IFE on this bird. The options were limited to a few channels on a loop showing a variety of movies and short features. Some channels did not seem to work while others had a fuzzy picture. However when the picture was clear, the audio was so out of sync that it became impossible to watch. Knowing when to admit defeat in this man vs. machine show down, I just switched over to the inflight map for the rest of the flight.



A quick visit to the lavatory yielded a fully stocked bathroom with toothbrushes and razors. The top shelf contained some cream, along with a bottle of cologne, and perfume.



The service started about 30 minutes out of Dubai, first with hot towels, then followed by our pre ordered drinks. An expressionless Mona placed them down on our armrest along with a little ramekin of salted mixed nuts.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/SriLankan%20to%20SIN/IMG_2276.jpg


While my screwdriver was decent; Roni’s Bloody-Mary was clearly one of the best looking ones he has ever had onboard an aircraft.

A few minutes later moody Mona rolled her cart down the aisle and began handing out trays.



She handed me a tray which contained my appetizer, and proceeded to fill up a glass of water for me. Without even flinching, she proceeded to repeat the exact same steps for Roni, which was a bit odd as he had ordered the vegetarian option.
“Excuse me, but this is the fish right?”
“Yes,” she said with an utterly bewildered look.
“But I ordered the vegetarian.”
“Oh, sorry.”
She immediately collected the fish and placed the vegetarian appetizer on his tray without a second thought. A breadbasket with an array of choices was shown to us and I went for my staple, the garlic bread.

My fish
Roni’s vegetarian appetizer

While the fish was good, I did not get much of a pesto taste from it, and not being a large fan of ratatouille it went mostly untouched. However, the garlic bread was really good, and I would gladly have gone for seconds had they had been offered on our side of the aisle. Kumara offered seconds on the breadbasket to her passengers on the other side of the aisle, yet moody Mona never did this for us.

Soon our plates were collected and Roni’s lamb dish was brought out by Mario with a “please enjoy.”

Roni’s lamb

Mario finally appeared with my chicken dish a good ten minutes after delivering Roni’s dish, with a
“Sorry about the delay sir.”

My chicken

At first glance the presentation of the dish was very nice and thankfully it tasted equally good. The chicken tajin was cooked well, full of flavor and spices. The sautéed vegetables were equally good as were the potatoes. Roni absolutely loved his dish as he said his lamb was succulent, perfectly spiced, and with no tangy aftertaste.

Our empty plates were cleared by Mona who offered us some dessert.
“Will you be having dessert?”
“Yes please.”
“Any tea or coffee?”
“Tea please.”

Mona proceeded to place both items on my tray table then turned to Roni.
“And you sir?”
“I’ll skip on dessert today, thank you.”
“Anything to drink?”
“No thank you.”




While the crème burlee looked nice, the texture was more akin to hard industrial jello rather than a soft creamy filling. I could just envision all of my French friends spitting it out while cursing under their breath. Definitely not a dessert I am ever having again. The Ceylon tea was as expected, nice and strong.



Once the meal was completed Mona cleaned up my tray. Roni decided to get some items from the Duty Free catalogue. He flagged down Mona as she was passing down the aisle, who said she would return with his requested order. However, an hour later, Roni had to enquire once again on his order. However, he was informed by Mona that the two Srilankan logo watches he was after were out of stock.

The cabin lights were dimmed, and both Roni and I put our seats into their full recline position and attempted to get some shuteye. Roni was out like a light, but despite the late hour I was having a hard time falling asleep as my body clock was still set to East Coast US time. I managed to drift in and out of consciousness throughout the rest of the flight. The seat was definitely plush, but it did not come anywhere near the level of comfort offered by many modern flatbed cabins.



The captain came over the PA in a booming voice to announce that we were nearing Colombo and that the cabin crew should prepare for landing. Almost immediately the seatbelt sign was engaged, and the nose began to dip as the aircraft began to glide down into the night sky. The cabin slowly began to come to life as the lights were turned on. The crew made their final checks proceeded to take their seats without much fuss.



User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 25362 times:


Arrival & Transit: Our aircraft touched down onto runway 04 a few minutes past five in the morning. As there was a lot of mist in the air, the windows immediately fogged up which hindered the view outside.



Activity at the airport was relatively minimal at this early hour. Amongst all the SriLankan aircraft, there was a FlyDubai 737, Kuwait Airways A300, and a Royal Jordanian A330 (the infamous Olga and Svetlana flight).

We docked at our gate and the doors were opened. Mario and Mona were at the door wishing everyone off. Mona cracked a tiny smile at the door as we wished her good bye. I guess she was happy to be home. As both Roni and I are familiar with the airport layout, instead of exploring we headed straight towards the SriLankan Airlines business class lounge also known as “Serendib Lounge.”



Serendib Lounge: We were greeted by a friendly female agent in her distinctive light blue sari. We handed our boarding passes to her and she let us through with a smile. After searching for a place to sit, we found a set of sofa’s in the corner by the window and got settled in for transit.



The first thing I did was grab a nice strong cup of Ceylon tea, which was more than welcome at this early hour.



There was quite a bit of food on offer ranging from the traditional Western scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes, to the more local favorites such as chicken curry and kiribath. Remembering my experience last month with the chicken curry in the other lounge, I decided to go for the channa dhal rather than the curry for my kiribath topping this time round. Anticipating some potential spiciness, I picked up a glass of sweet mango juice to accompany it.

A mock up of the new SriLankan Business Class seat

The food was delicious, but I have to say the view was even better. I tried to open up my laptop and connect to the wireless but I was having no luck. Seemed like the wireless was not working today which was a shame, but with a fantastic view outside, I hardly missed it. Both Roni and I spent the rest of our time admiring the scenery outside the window.



Despite our expected boarding time of 6:40, it was 6:15 and an aircraft had yet to appear at our assigned gate which meant only one thing; a delay. Roni checked with one of the agents at the front desk who confirmed our suspicions. She added that she would inform us once our flight was ready for boarding. At exactly 6:40am, 4R-ABM came rolling down the taxiway after a flight from Abu Dhabi and docked at our intended departure gate.



User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 25393 times:





SriLankan Airlines 302
Colombo – Singapore
Airbus A320-200 (4R-ABM)
Seat: 3K
Scheduled Departure Time: 07:20
Actual Departure Time: 08:01
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:55
Actual Arrival Time: 14:21


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Photo © Yvan Panas
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Photo © Svido Stanislav

Boarding: Around 7:30, both Roni and I decided to leave the lounge and take a leisurely stroll towards our assigned gate. Thankfully there was not much of a line at security and we were both through relatively quickly. As boarding had already commenced, the gate area was rather deserted, so we decided to head towards the jetway where a male staff member was checking boarding passes. As we approached him, he politely stopped us,
“There is a line down the jetway, can you wait for a little bit? I will call you once it has cleared up.”
We obliged and sat down near the window in hopes of getting a closer look at the aircraft outside the window.

Our aircraft
Our neighboring aircraft heading to India

A few minutes later he called out “Business Class passengers, you can now proceed.” We both thanked him and walked down the now deserted jetway towards the aircraft door. We were warmly greeted again with an “Ayubowan” by the friendly male purser (Ismail) and a female F/A (Pushba.)

We were directed to our seats, which were relatively easy to find. Upon first glance, the aircraft looked immaculate. The cabin was very well kept, a big change from the interior of the A340 we had just flown on from Dubai. The business class seats on this aircraft were fitted in grey leather, and each seat had its own PTV equipped with AVOD.



Only after sitting down did I realize that the legroom was rather tight, somewhere around 45 inches? Due to slightly tight pitch, the seat was not equipped with a leg rest either.



Once we settled in, Heera stood in front of us with a tray of drinks,
“Would you like some water, orange juice, or maybe watermelon?”
“Can I have the watermelon please.”
“How about you sir?”
“Water please.”



Once Heera completed handing out the drinks, she reappeared with menus. This was followed by a choice of either a hot or cold towel, all served with a beaming smile.



The doors were closed once boarding had been completed, and we began our pushback with a manual safety demonstration being performed by the crew. Heera stood at the front of the cabin and ever so elegantly performed the seatbelt “click” followed by the oxygen mask instructions. Just as she was about to don her life vest, she let out a sneeze and her pristine image was shattered as she continued to sneeze throughout the rest of the demonstration. If this was Singapore Airlines, she probably would have been sent a warning letter for this, but such a human touch to an otherwise pre-programmed safety demo always adds an essence of life that livens things up.

Once the safety demonstration had been completed, Pushba was out in the cabin taking orders for breakfast.
“Sir, have you decided on what you would like to have for breakfast?”
“Yes, can I have the vegetarian option please?”
“Sure.”
She then turned to Roni.
“How about you sir, what would you like to have for breakfast?”
“I have a question, does the fish come with the steamed rice?”
“Kiribath, yes sir it does.”
“I’ll have that then.”

As we had quite a bit of a taxi to the runway, Pushba was in no rush when taking orders.

The Flight: We lined up with runway 04 and began out takeoff roll which lasted about 45 seconds.



I pulled out a cheap pair of plastic headsets that had been placed in my seat pocket and decided to explore the IFE system. The first big improvement over the older IFE system I experienced on the A340 has to be the fact that it is AVOD. There was quite a bit of choice ranging from movies, sitcoms, and games. The interface is very easy to use, while the picture was crisp and clear. It’s a shame the airline invested so heavily in brand new system only to forget about the headphones. I selected “The Iron Lady” as my movie of choice this morning.



Not long after starting the movie, Pushba was out in aisle with Heera holding a tray right behind. Pushba first set up Roni’s table. Unfortunately as there was not a lot of space between me and the seat in front, Pushba had no way to set up my table. Instead she handed me everything one by one with a smile while I proceeded to replicate Roni’s tray table item by item.

The breakfast set up

Once everyone’s tray table had been set, Heera and Pushba rolled a cart down the aisle.
Roni was served first followed by me,
“Would you like some fruits?”
“Please.”
“How about some yogurt? We have honey and mango?”
“The honey please?”
“Some cornflakes?”
“No thank you.”
“How about something to drink, tea or coffee?”
“Coffee please.”
“Would you like some milk and sugar?”
“No thank you.”
The same questions were asked of me where I selected the mango yogurt and went for some tea with milk and sugar
Ismail proceeded to offer a basket containing various kinds of bread and pastries. I pointed to the croissant which he placed on my plate.
“Anything else?”
“That’s it, thank you.”
He smiled and before I knew, he quietly slipped a second croissant on my plate.
“Would you like some strawberry jam or honey to go along with your meal?”
“Some strawberry jam would be great, thank you.”
Looking at my tray table, I realize that was quite a spread down there.

Roni’s breakfast choices

My breakfast choices

The fruit plate contained a slice each of pineapple, papaya, and watermelon along with a strawberry, a grape, and a lime wedge. The fruits were fresh and ripe which was an excellent start to the meal.



The ‘homemade’ mango yogurt was absolutely amazing! It was rich and creamy and not ice cold which made it very enjoyable to eat. Roni had equally good things to say about his honey yogurt.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/SriLankan%20to%20SIN/IMG_2372.jpg
My mango yogurt

Roni’s honey yogurt

The croissants were a little overdone in the oven, but still relatively soft from the inside. They went perfectly with the butter and strawberry jam provided.



As far as the Ceylon tea goes, all I can say is that it was one of the nicest cups of tea I have ever had onboard an aircraft. I took as many refills as were offered by the friendly crew who made sure our cups and glasses were always topped up.



Our empty fruit plates were collected and our pre ordered main courses were promptly delivered a short while later.

On the left of the dish the corn and green croquette tasted very nice, much like a potatoes croquette. The center of the dish contained upma (vermicelli) along with the Kandala curry on the right. The mildly spicy curry accompanied the upma perfectly and was a real treat.

My vegetarian option

Roni’s fish

Feeling completely satisfied (and rather stuffed), I reclined my seat and finished up watching PM Thatcher take on the world. Roni on the other hand decided to take a nap with the blanket and pillow that had been provided on every seat.



Once the movie was finished, only then did I realize how “snug” the legroom really was. I somehow managed to make it to the aisle without falling on or waking Roni up. The lavatory was clean and stocked with the usual cologne, cream, and mouthwash. I actually prefer having mouthwash in the lavatory, but then I guess I can blame Lufthansa for getting me so accustomed to these trivial little things.



As I returned to my seat, another balancing act followed and I successfully managed to get back into my seat without waking up Roni or worse a knocking him in the face with my elbow. There is nothing like a tight seat pitch to motivate you to hit the gym and start that diet you have been continuously procrastinating.




Not feeling particularly sleepy myself, I browsed the entertainment options further and settled on some sitcoms. Around 30 minutes before landing, Heera was in the aisle with a tray of drinks,
“Would you like some juice? We have apple and orange.”
Pushba was right behind with a tray of hot and cold towels.”



As I was sipping my apple juice, the engines were throttled back and the nose dipped slightly indicating we had begun our descent into Singapore.


Arrival: 4R-ABM touched down on runway 20R a few minutes past 2:15 in the afternoon and we gently slowed down. Taxiing past Terminal 3, you could tell exactly which airline calls Terminal 3 home as there was nothing but blue and gold tails around with one exception.



We leisurely taxied over to gate B6 and came to full stop. In typical Singaporean efficiency the door was opened in no time. Both Ismail and Pushba were standing by the door wishing passenger’s good bye with their arms clasped together.

The ever impressive Changi Terminal 3 had not changed much since my last visit a few months ago; it was still in immaculate condition. Today immigration had a wait time of 30 seconds and thankfully both Roni and I were curbside less than five minutes after walking off the aircraft. Ah the joys of traveling with only carry-on baggage!


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 25299 times:

Verdict: My experience with SriLankan can probably be summed up in one word, inconsistency. Don’t get me wrong, they were good but nothing spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. It is almost as if I saw two very different versions of SriLankan Airlines on this trip.

The Dubai – Colombo sector was a bit of a letdown not only in terms of hardware, but software. The seats were worn but relatively comfortable nonetheless. The IFE provided on this aircraft was a colossal failure in every respect. However the biggest disappointment lay with the crew who seemed tired, particularly Mona who was also somewhat disinterested in serving. There was no warmth or charm in the service as everything was rather dry and forced. While the catering was one the more positive aspects of the flight, it still had some weak spots, the dessert in particular.

On the other hand the Colombo – Singapore experience could not have been more different. The aircraft was relatively new and very well kept. The catering provided on this flight was absolutely amazing in every respect. The IFE was equipped with a modern AVOD system and best of all, it worked flawlessly. The bigger surprise for me came from the cabin crew who were charming, gracious, and every bit as hospitable as they have been made out to be.

The Serendib Lounge was also much better than expected. I really liked the wide array of food and beverage on offer. The staff were also very friendly and always willing to assist with any special requests. The view outside was quite a treat and I only wish more lounges had them. While I wish the wireless internet had worked that day, a breakdown can happen with any airline lounge.

In hindsight, my own experience with SriLankan Airlines differed somewhat to Roni’s general view on the airline. The CMB-SIN portion was definitely everything the airline has been advertised to be. This flight showed me why SriLankan is often branded as of the hidden treasure in the industry. Nonetheless I cannot ignore the inconsistencies of the first flight from Dubai. Maybe the crew and IFE were having an off day, maybe the aircraft was not up to scratch due to the new retrofit coming, maybe... I can sit here and say “maybe” all day long but the reality is many aspects of SriLankan did not live up to their promise.

If only I could have had Heera serving me in the new Business Class seat on an A340, I might have had a vastly different experience with SriLankan. Maybe I need to fly SriLankan again in order to form a fairer opinion of the airline, but as it stands serendipity is definitely not a word I associate SriLankan.

Score:
Check In: 8 (Slightly slow but competent and friendly DNATA employee)
Lounge: 4 (Too small and crowded with a cheesy Arabian theme)
Boarding: 9 (Dedicated jetway with a warm greeting by Mario)
Seat: 8 (Showing signs of wear and tear but comfortable enough for a four hour flight)
Service: 7 (Efficient but rather reserved and cold by UL standards)
Entertainment: 3 (A virtually inoperative loop system, but at least the camera and map worked)
Food: 8 (Decent overall but some minor room for improvement)
Aircraft: 7 (Relatively decent for a 20 year old aircraft, but could use some cleaning up)

Arrival & Transit: 10 (A very easy airport to navigate through)

CMB Lounge: 8 (A bit small but very friendly staff with a great choice of food and drinks)

Boarding: 10 (Boarded after economy with a very warm greeting at the door)
Seat: 8 (Lacking in legroom and a leg rest, but relatively comfortable for a 4 hour flight)
Service: 10 (Friendly, efficient and always smiling, Sri Lankan hospitality at its finest)
Entertainment: 9 (Partial AVOD with clear and crisp picture let down by the cheap headsets)
Food: 10 (Quality and quantity was excellent, though the croissant was a bit overdone)
Aircraft: 10 (Relatively new aircraft and it showed)
Arrival : 10 (As expected from Changi Terminal 3, efficiency like none other)

139/170 = .817
SriLankan scored a 82%


Some Previous Trip Reports
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The Last Boutique Airline: OpenSkies To Paris
Kingfisher First On The A330: Redefining Luxury
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Qatar Airways: Your Five Star Airline?
Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class
Etihad: A Diamond In The Rough
The Art Of Service: Kingfisher & Jet Airways
Air France: The Best Place On Earth?
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Skyteam Challenge: Air France Business Class
Did AA Persuade A Skyteam Elite To Switch?
Battle For The Best: Song Vs. JetBlue
Malaysia: Asia’s Best Kept Secret?


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2357 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 24961 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I was promised a soft product that would knock my socks off, service so elegant that it would make a Singapore girl blush with envy, combined with genuine service that would have me saying “Malaysian who?”

Are you joking? SriLankan is a great airline- unfortunately only until EK left off. Since then, nothing changed, no progress at all! Same seats, same PTV's without AVOD, same service in Business and Economy Class. SriLankan announced a make-over of their BusinessClass product (see your picture of the mock up)- but will it be enough?! In the meantime passenger will bee suffering from very indifferent interiors:


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Photo © Raymond Ngu



User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1882 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 24308 times:
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Great report, SR 103!

Looks like you had some good flights with Sri Lankan. Interesting to read about an airline you don't hear too much about - sorry to hear the J class product was a bit lacking in the terms of hardware, and service.

I'm impressed with the high level of service provided on the A320 in J Class on Sri Lankan. I always thought those aircraft could not provide the level of food service/multiple courses in the same way as the wide-bodies due to the limited galley space. The food on your SIN flight looked a lot better and more tasty than your DXB flight!

Thanks for sharing,

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinechrisrad From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1054 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 23591 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
Are you joking? SriLankan is a great airline- unfortunately only until EK left off. Since then, nothing changed, no progress at all! Same seats, same PTV's without AVOD, same service in Business and Economy Class. SriLankan announced a make-over of their BusinessClass product (see your picture of the mock up)- but will it be enough?! In the meantime passenger will bee suffering from very indifferent interiors:

Don't know what you are talking about, I just flew Sri Lankan BKK-CMB-FRA all on the new Full Flat Business class, crew were out of this world!!!!! It really put SQ and MH to shame! The new seats are great, one of the best lie flats I have tried. It also had full AVOD PTV's, excellent choice of food. I will be posting a trip report soon.

I agree with Roni, they are one of the hidden treasures in Asia, and with the cheapest fares I could not find any fault with them!



Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2357 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 22852 times:

Quoting chrisrad (Reply 7):
It really put SQ and MH to shame! The new seats are great, one of the best lie flats I have tried. It also had full AVOD PTV's, excellent choice of food. I will be posting a trip report soon.

Nice to hear, looking forward to your TR. I would love to change my opinion- as SriLankan really deserves it (spend several times my vacation there). Unfortunately, I had only encounters with the "old" UL in the past.


User currently offlineAndrensn From New Zealand, joined Jun 2012, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 22213 times:

Amazing trip report brings back some great memories

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
chicken curry and kiribath.

Ah Kiribath and Sri Lankan Curry, Whenever I see my Grandmother or Achchi in Senegalese she always makes me some.

Have you ever done a full trip to Sri Lanka? It's a must do

Thanks so much for the amazing TR It was a great read  


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1310 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 22156 times:

Thank you very much for sharing. It's very interesting to read about UL's Business Class, as at the moment they offer extremely cheap business class fares from Germany to Southeast asia, i.e. SIN or BKK.

I hope you don't mind me to use the opportunity to show you how I was treated by UL at the airport in Dubai and by their customer service in Frankfurt...

I was supposed to travel on the flight from Dubai to Colombo a few months ago (although in Economy Class), however I had book a flight Dubai-Colombo-Chennai. Since I was not able to aquire any Indian Visa at reasonable efforts and costs I preffered to make holiday in Sri Lanka and my plan was to arrive 3-4 hours ahead as I knew my ticket was reroutable to Colombo only for a small fee. This was written in the fare rules, and since it was a published fare (and not a special consolidator or tour operator net fare) I supposed the airport could coordinate that (like everywhere here in Europe or in the US with such fares).

I do understand it's clearly my fault having a ticket where I have no visa to, but then again, the fare rules were allowing rebooking and I was willing to pay to applicable amount and I had plenty of time to get things sorted out and ticket rebooked at the airport.

What came was an odysee. Neither the UL lady in Dubai office, nor their GSA Dnata was able to reissue that ticket. Not even their call Center in Colombo! Dnata is a joke and holds a monopoly in Dubai, dictating incredible prices. I was inquiring about booking a new ticket, they told me something like the double of the price I could get on the UL website. Stating it's way cheaper there, they could give me a discount "last price", but still 1,5 times what was over UL was asking. It was like on a market... I mean usually a travel agent or Dnata is supposed to tell you "the fare is 200 USD, and we charge you a ticketing fee of 50 USD". This is even written on contracts that IATA agents have with the airlines, at least in Europe where I work... But different with Dnata in Dubai... They just give you a completely random and intransparent "final price". There are no competitor travel agencies in Dubai airport, so they know very well that at 7pm in the evening a passenger don't get much choice, and even as a GSA they are not allowed to rebook any ticket not issued by them. Absolutely incredible by european or US standards.

After a 3 hours marathon of calls, dealing with UL offices in Dubai and Colombo and Dnata I told the Dnata Check in supervisor that he shall cancel the segements to avoid the no show and I will apply for a refund (refund fee is cheaper if not no show). He confirmed he did, I asked for a confirmation and he said I shall be happy he made the call. I asked for his name for further reference, he turned around his name badge and walked away. Okay, that is not UL employe, but still they need to represent the airline, as people see them part of UL.

I then bought a new ticket with QR later that night (online, as Dnata was again asking for 1,5 times the price).

Later at home I contacted their local customer relations in Frankfurt explaining how I was treated by their office in Dubai, their call center in Colombo, and their ground agent Dnata which is in charge of representing the airline at ticketing and check in.

It took ages and a reminder to get a reply, "because the responsible person was on holiday" (come on...) and there was no apology made, or not even a thank for the comment. My letter was friendly though... But even more, they were refusing the refund stating I was no show, as a) in the system the segment was not cancelled (thank you Dnata) and that b) in any case cancellations under 24 hours are considered as no show. I was completely unaware of this, and it was neither mentioned in the fare rules nor in their t&c... I confontred them with that and that they shall provide me with where this is written ,especially since in Dubai the UL office lady told me as long as I cancel my segment before check in closure I will not be subject to no show fee.

Again, only a reply came in 2 sentences "there is nothing we can do for you, now please contact your travel agent". basically they told me to leave them alone and get lost...

Honestly, I was just expecting a nice reply, a refund according to the fare rules and a quick solution of all that. And I would have been happy to fly UL again. But this make me nnot want to select Ul for any further travel, especially as it's an airline which flies to destinations with a lot of other alternatives around...

Very sad that their customer service brings me to think that... but maybe I was just unlucky, but what is worth a good onboard product (which I doubt they really have compared to their competitors on Segments from i.e. Europe to South East Asia) if customer service is abysmal?


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 21652 times:

HI SR103

Great trip report, thanks for sharing.
SriLankan seems to have a good product. However, the A330s look a bit tired.
The 320 however seems to be much beter. Brighther and fresher.
I hope the new J-seats will help a bit in the hard-product.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinechrisrad From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1054 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 21518 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 8):
Nice to hear, looking forward to your TR. I would love to change my opinion- as SriLankan really deserves it (spend several times my vacation there). Unfortunately, I had only encounters with the "old" UL in the past.

Here is my promised Trip report

New SriLankan J Class Plus TK, MH, BI, JQ - RTW (by chrisrad Aug 12 2012 in Trip Reports)



Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 21503 times:
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Great report and pictures, really enjoyed, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
it was little crowded by the windows which proved difficult in in finding a comfortable seat.

- Why is it passengers always take the seats by the windows but have no interest with what is going on outside?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The cabin had a distinct odor to it as we boarded, that can only be described as “fishy.” I am not sure what caused this, but it really hit you with a punch as you walked onboard.

- Hmm, sounds rather unpleasant.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Kumara offered seconds on the breadbasket to her passengers on the other side of the aisle, yet moody Mona never did this for us.

- Sounds like a duff FA.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Serendib Lounge: We were greeted by a friendly female agent in her distinctive light blue sari. We handed our boarding passes to her and she let us through with a smile. After searching for a place to sit, we found a set of sofa’s in the corner by the window and got settled in for transit.

- I'm very impressed by the views from the lounge, this is a lounge I want a long layover in!

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1310 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 21498 times:

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 13):
- I'm very impressed by the views from the lounge, this is a lounge I want a long layover in!

By the way, while I was in CMB I could use a lounge called "Lotus" with my Priority Pass. I guess it's catered by UL as well, since they had i.e. UL branded water bottles, but the buffet was a dream. It was so well presented, with decorations made out of fruits and vegetables everywhere, they had shrimp cocktails, cheese platter etc... Loved it and highly recommend it.


User currently offlineojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2919 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 21412 times:

Hi SR 103

A brilliant TR and an interesting perspective of UL. I always thought they were the underdogs and would still think so as I have heard positive things about them, very very few below average reviews.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
There has been a surge of trip reports regarding SriLanakan on this board over the last few years. The airline has become the quintessential darling of many well-known trip report writers, Roni being one of them.

Oh so are we challenging his opinion :P. But do remember opinions are like posteriors, everyone has one.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Once we entered the lounge, I felt like I had been transported to some cheap Aladdin themed movie set in the suburbs of California.

Doesn't look that bad to me.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The cabin had a distinct odor to it as we boarded, that can only be described as “fishy.” I am not sure what caused this, but it really hit you with a punch as you walked onboard.

Well at least you got a different "fragrance" of Srilankan.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
They were soft and the legroom was relatively decent for a quick Dubai-Colombo hop.

You call a 4hr 15min flight a hop?? :O

Thanks for sharing!



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 20728 times:
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Hi Anoosh

Nice TR. Appreciate the effort taken into writing it.

I think it is a little difficult to say they're inconsistent given only 2 flights were taken and judged. I've taken 5 flights with UL in total, they really rocked from my own experience and point of view. One flight I was invited to sit inside cockpit landing into CMB (UL228 DXB-CMB A330-200)

I think you're still quite satisfied with UL, hence a high score of 82?  

UL is an awesome airline, given the low J class fare they sell out of Middle East, nothing can really go wrong.

For the A320 flight with new product, I think the seat pitch looks disappointing, I don't even believe it is 45 pitch....

P.S. I did notice some photo angles and style is from Roni in the TR  

Sam


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 19824 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
Great report, SR 103!

Thank you Matthew, I appreciate that.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
I'm impressed with the high level of service provided on the A320 in J Class on Sri Lankan.

It definitely was quite something, very sophisticated and elaborate for a narrowbody.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
I always thought those aircraft could not provide the level of food service/multiple courses in the same way as the wide-bodies due to the limited galley space.

While I give tremendous credit to UL for creating this service on a narrowbody, there are quite a few other airlines out there that provide equally good service on narrowbodies.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
The food on your SIN flight looked a lot better and more tasty than your DXB flight!

It was!

Quoting chrisrad (Reply 7):
I agree with Roni, they are one of the hidden treasures in Asia, and with the cheapest fares I could not find any fault with them!

Glad to hear it. Your trip report (which was great by the way) definitely showed that UL is capable of being a fantastic airline. Shame my experience differed a bit.

Quoting Andrensn (Reply 9):
Amazing trip report brings back some great memories

Thank you, glad you liked it.

Quoting Andrensn (Reply 9):
Ah Kiribath and Sri Lankan Curry, Whenever I see my Grandmother or Achchi in Senegalese she always makes me some.

Your quite lucky, I only get to have it when I am in Sri Lanka which is not that often.

Quoting Andrensn (Reply 9):
Have you ever done a full trip to Sri Lanka? It's a must do

I have, but even then it was too short. I definitely have to go back and explore some more!  
Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
Thank you very much for sharing. It's very interesting to read about UL's Business Class,

Thanks.

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
But this make me nnot want to select UL for any further travel, especially as it's an airline which flies to destinations with a lot of other alternatives around...

You know, I feel the same way.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
Great trip report, thanks for sharing.

Thank you Marc, glad you liked it.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
SriLankan seems to have a good product. However, the A330s look a bit tired.

They do need some work, but to be honest I have seen worse on other more reputable airlines.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
The 320 however seems to be much better. Brighther and fresher.

That I agree with you. It provided an updated and fresher look for sure.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
I hope the new J-seats will help a bit in the hard-product.

If Chrisrad's report is any indication, it seems to have helped the onboard experience quite a bit.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 13):
Great report and pictures, really enjoyed, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Thanks Marc, always nice to hear from an amazing trip report writer such as yourself.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 13):
- Why is it passengers always take the seats by the windows but have no interest with what is going on outside?

I have never understood that. I spent over 8 hours in an aisle seat today (all windows were taken) while the passenger on the window read a newspaper during take-off and landing (blocking my view on top of it all) and kept the blinds shut for 95% of the flight. I don't think I will ever be able to understand.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 13):
- Sounds like a duff FA.

Unfortunately Mona definitely was.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 13):
- I'm very impressed by the views from the lounge, this is a lounge I want a long layover in!

It is quite the lounge. You should fly UL just to get that lounge!

Quoting reifel (Reply 14):
By the way, while I was in CMB I could use a lounge called "Lotus" with my Priority Pass.

I used almost the exact same lounge when I flew RJ out of CMB earlier this year. You can find th pictures in the trip report ( Royal Jordanian: The Lost Art of Flying )

Quoting ojas (Reply 15):
A brilliant TR and an interesting perspective of UL.

Thanks Ojas, always nice to hear from a fellow trip report writer.

Quoting ojas (Reply 15):
Oh so are we challenging his opinion :P. But do remember opinions are like posteriors, everyone has one.

I am not challenging Roni's opinion by any means. Roni and I actually agree on a quite a lot of things.

Quoting ojas (Reply 15):
4hr 15min flight a hop?? :O

My average hop tends to be close to 8 hours with a few 13 hours flights thrown in for good measure so yes, 4hr 15mins is a short hop for me.  
Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):
Nice TR. Appreciate the effort taken into writing it.

Thanks Sam, always appreciate the comments.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):
I think it is a little difficult to say they're inconsistent given only 2 flights were taken and judged.

That may be, but there are many, many airlines out there that have shown consistency even after 2 flights lets alone 3 or 4. In the last few months I have had the pleasure of trying out 4 new airlines and I can say they have all been memorable (for good reasons) from the first flight.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):
I've taken 5 flights with UL in total, they really rocked from my own experience and point of view. One flight I was invited to sit inside cockpit landing into CMB (UL228 DXB-CMB A330-200)

That’s really nice to hear, but you and I seem to have wildly different expectations when flying. I don't need to be invited into the cockpit to have an amazing flight as I prefer to blend in with the rest of the passengers and receive "normal" service that is genuine and heartfelt. I do not want to be singled out because I am a trip report writer or holding a large camera. This way I can tell how an airline treats its regular passengers on a daily basis rather than being treated in some artificial manner.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):
I think you're still quite satisfied with UL, hence a high score of 82?

I was still very satisfied with UL as 82% is quite a high mark and is far from the lowest score I have given in my previous reports. However when writing a trip report, I cannot just focus on the positive aspects and skip over the negative experiences just because the score is good. You have to be fair and lay everything out in the report, the good, the bad and the ugly. When reading trip reports, I like to know why the airline missed the target and how things can be improved.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):
UL is an awesome airline, given the low J class fare they sell out of Middle East, nothing can really go wrong.

While SriLankan has some fantastic fares, they are not the only ones. If those other "quality" airlines offering cheap fares are criticized, there is no reason SriLankan should be exempt.

[Edited 2012-08-24 08:29:48]

User currently onlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3032 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 19660 times:

Nice report SR 103...looks like you had a nice pair of flights.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
While my screwdriver was decent; Roni’s Bloody-Mary was clearly one of the best looking ones he has ever had onboard an aircraft.

Whislt a bloody Mary is probably my most hated drink, that does look very nicely set up!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
A mock up of the new SriLankan Business Class seat

Looks good. Will their fares increase to pay for it?



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User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 19499 times:
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Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Quoting N178UA (Reply 16):I've taken 5 flights with UL in total, they really rocked from my own experience and point of view. One flight I was invited to sit inside cockpit landing into CMB (UL228 DXB-CMB A330-200)
That’s really nice to hear, but you and I seem to have wildly different expectations when flying. I don't need to be invited into the cockpit to have an amazing flight as I prefer to blend in with the rest of the passengers and receive "normal" service that is genuine and heartfelt. I do not want to be singled out because I am a trip report writer or holding a large camera. This way I can tell how an airline treats its regular passengers on a daily basis rather than being treated in some artificial manner.

Yes, I do agree with you and I seem to have different expectations to you as everyone else would. However, I do want to make a point here, I have flew 1,010 flights at the moment, and I cannot even remember I have had a single bad flight from these numbers. I am always happy to be on a flight, let it be whether in Coach, First or fortunate enough in the Cockpit. Why I feel so happy and exited? I think it comes from my postive energy and attitue. (I don't mean to say you don't have that) I never liked an airline just because they gave me some access or privilege, although the access does make me to enjoy it further.

Anyway, the important thing here is to enjoy your flight, whichever way or form that comes!  


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6639 posts, RR: 78
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 19262 times:

Hi SR103 (and Roni!),

wonderful report with excellent pictures, well done! UL's J Class product looks fine, even the version with the old seats seems to be nice.

I was deeply disappointed by UL on a recent DXB-CMB-BKK journey in Y Class. The A332, 4R-ALB, was in bad condition. And seat pitch on both the A332 and the A343 (4R-ADA) was horrible. I had already flown on both planes in 2006 and they were much more comfortable back then.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“Sorry sir, we have to verify the credit card used for purchase.”
This took another ten minutes, after which we were handed our boarding passes for both CMB and SIN.

Sounds familiar. Unfortunately, it didn't work at first and we had to wait much longer. And the staff members were also wondering about visas for Thailand...well, I had to explain them that we didn't need those.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 18996 times:

Hey Anoosh, great to see you back on the forum. Nice report!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
On one side you have airlines like Spirit that will do anything to get into the headlines. The airline clearly subscribes to the policy that even bad publicity is good publicity.

Well I suppose that also applies to a certain Irish low cost airline. But it's true, any publicity is better than no publicity, even the bad publicity. As paradoxical as it may sound...

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I am very loyal to my frequent flyer programs and this marked a radical departure from my mileage-earning requirement.

Hmm, SriLankan isn't a member of OneWorld yet, or were you still able to credit your miles to any partnering OW programme, e.g CX Asia Miles/MPC?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The cabin had a distinct odor to it as we boarded, that can only be described as “fishy.” I am not sure what caused this, but it really hit you with a punch as you walked onboard.

My that's bad. Do they usually fly around smelly fishermen in these planes? Also was the cabin sprayed before departure, or did the stench stick around throughout the flight?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Knowing when to admit defeat in this man vs. machine show down, I just switched over to the inflight map for the rest of the flight.

Well for such a short flight, I'm sure IFE wasn't very necessary in the first place.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Roni’s Bloody-Mary was clearly one of the best looking ones he has ever had onboard an aircraft.

That's indeed a good looking bloody mary, with the crust and all! Do they let everyone who orders the drink keep the Tabasco bottle?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
and a Royal Jordanian A330 (the infamous Olga and Svetlana flight).

And why is that flight so famous for?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
we headed straight towards the SriLankan Airlines business class lounge also known as “Serendib Lounge.”

Must say that the lounge looks pretty much like an exact replica of the Emirates Lounges. With the beige leather, checked fabric pillows, and "island" in the food section.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I pulled out a cheap pair of plastic headsets that had been placed in my seat pocket and decided to explore the IFE system.

So how come you didn't bring your Bose® QuietComfort® 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling® Headphones on the flight?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
but then I guess I can blame Lufthansa for getting me so accustomed to these trivial little things.

Well many americans have made complaints about the common use mouthwash, with their typical fear of germs. Smaller miniature bottles would've been better suited me thinks.

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinekaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2868 posts, RR: 18
Reply 22, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 18745 times:

Hi Anoosh

Man i spent sometime in hiatus and i seemed to have missed a lot of TRs from you and Roni

How have you been my friend hope life is treating you well

It was great reading this one guess now i have 5 more of yours to read as the last one i read was the Kingfisher flight to HKG

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Who could forget the distinctive red Air Lanka L1011 plying various multi stop routes to Europe and Asia?

Oh tell me about that used to see them so excitedly at BOM as you could spot them from a fair distance owing to its colourscheme

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Roni was out like a light, but despite the late hour I was having a hard time falling asleep as my body clock was still set to East Coast US time.

I think more than the body clock it was to do with the caffeine doze you got from that lovely looking cup of tea

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The food was delicious, but I have to say the view was even better.

Now thats a view to die for i wish more lounges had such views of the tarmac and activity especially with clear and clean glass making spotting a joy

DXB/BKK are yoll listening

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
Once the movie was finished, only then did I realize how “snug” the legroom really was. I somehow managed to make it to the aisle without falling on or waking Roni up

Despite that it seems pretty decent as from what we have seen of Roni in his TRs he is a tall lad , so to get around him must be a task

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 4):
The Dubai – Colombo sector was a bit of a letdown not only in terms of hardware, but software.

You can blame Moody Mona for that hhehe ... i like that name

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 4):
The Serendib Lounge was also much better than expected. I really liked the wide array of food and beverage on offer.

An airline like UL has such a nice lounge and yet you have a 9W who does not have its own lounges at any of its major Indian cities

Karan


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 23, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 18074 times:

Quoting N178UA (Reply 19):
However, I do want to make a point here, I have flew 1,010 flights at the moment, and I cannot even remember I have had a single bad flight from these numbers.

That's really nice to hear, you are very lucky! How were those recent Etihad flights you took to CDG?

Quoting N178UA (Reply 19):
Anyway, the important thing here is to enjoy your flight, whichever way or form that comes!

I could not agree with you more!  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
wonderful report with excellent pictures, well done! UL's J Class product looks fine, even the version with the old seats seems to be nice.

You are absolutely right, UL's J class product is perfectly fine and can only improve with the new hardware that has been installed.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
I was deeply disappointed by UL on a recent DXB-CMB-BKK journey in Y Class. The A332, 4R-ALB, was in bad condition. And seat pitch on both the A332 and the A343 (4R-ADA) was horrible. I had already flown on both planes in 2006 and they were much more comfortable back then.

Hopefully UL will start to pay attention to this and is not the start of a downward spiral for the airline.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Sounds familiar. Unfortunately, it didn't work at first and we had to wait much longer. And the staff members were also wondering about visas for Thailand...well, I had to explain them that we didn't need those.

I am not a fan of the DNATA agents at the transfer desks in DXB. I have had many dealings with them as of late and every single time it is far from hassle free.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Hey Anoosh, great to see you back on the forum. Nice report!

Thanks Jonas, always nice to hear from you.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Hmm, SriLankan isn't a member of OneWorld yet, or were you still able to credit your miles to any partnering OW programme, e.g CX Asia Miles/MPC?

I tend to stick to one FFP from each of the large three alliances. As you can see from the list below, there was no way I could earn any miles on UL.
Star = UA
oneworld = AA
Skyteam = AF/KL

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
My that's bad. Do they usually fly around smelly fishermen in these planes? Also was the cabin sprayed before departure, or did the stench stick around throughout the flight?

Thankfully the smell dissipated once they started heating up the dinner.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
That's indeed a good looking bloody mary, with the crust and all! Do they let everyone who orders the drink keep the Tabasco bottle?

Having Moody Mona as our F/A, you could probably get away with stealing whatever you wanted. Though I have a feeling they would probably like the bottle back once you are done.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
And why is that flight so famous for?

I think you may have missed reading about Olga and Svetlana: Royal Jordanian: The Lost Art Of Flying

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
So how come you didn't bring your Bose® QuietComfort® 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling® Headphones on the flight?

I forgot them at home believe it or not!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Well many americans have made complaints about the common use mouthwash, with their typical fear of germs. Smaller miniature bottles would've been better suited me thinks.

I agree, small individual bottles are always appreciated. I just walked off another LH long haul yesterday and I was so thankful for those bottles in the lavatory. I always find mouthwash makes me feel cleaner than just brushing my teeth with potable water from an aircraft tank.

Quoting karan69 (Reply 22):
Man i spent sometime in hiatus and i seemed to have missed a lot of TRs from you and Roni

Hey Karan, it definately has been a long time!

Quoting karan69 (Reply 22):
How have you been my friend hope life is treating you well

Life is going well, no complaints. How about you?

Quoting karan69 (Reply 22):
It was great reading this one guess now i have 5 more of yours to read as the last one i read was the Kingfisher flight to HKG

Wow, that definitely was a long time ago. I have four more trip reports pending after this SriLankan one so you'll have quite a bit of reading coming up.

Quoting karan69 (Reply 22):
Now thats a view to die for i wish more lounges had such views of the tarmac and activity especially with clear and clean glass making spotting a joy

DXB/BKK are yoll listening

I almost feel like I live in lounges these days with the travel patterns that I have and I agree that this SriLankan lounge in CMB is definitely one of a kind. I find the DXB lounges to be some of the poorest around.

Quoting karan69 (Reply 22):
An airline like UL has such a nice lounge and yet you have a 9W who does not have its own lounges at any of its major Indian cities

You and I need to have a little chat about 9W.  


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1151 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 17490 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello SR 103,

Nice to see a report on UL but after all the recent oohs and aahs regarding the service, this one seems to take a bit of a set back. However, each report is to portray the true service on board and you deciced to write about what you experienced onboard.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I half expected a genie to come popping out of the electrical plug if I rubbed the gold trimmed tables.

Hilarious!!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
“Passengers who need extra time to board, passenger traveling with small children, or passengers traveling in business class ONLY! We will call economy boarding after that.”
In traditional sub-continent fashion, everyone in the gate area leapt to their feet and made a mad dash for the door as if it were Armageddon.

You do see this here too sometimes and I am not just referring to Etihad's sub-continent passenger filled flights lol.


Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The cabin had a distinct odor to it as we boarded, that can only be described as “fishy.” I am not sure what caused this, but it really hit you with a punch as you walked onboard.
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Can I start off with the fish and the chicken for the main course?”
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Do they usually fly around smelly fishermen in these planes?
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 23):
Thankfully the smell dissipated once they started heating up the dinner.

I was actually starting to think it was the dinner being heated up, but now you confirm it was not. Smelling fishermen, really!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Sure the picture was a bit grainy, and the screen could have used a good cleaning, but it still got the job done.

I do remember those screens. Though that does seem from a long time ago. Probably when I flew KU in 1996/97 and then later on EK.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
We crawled higher and higher into the night sky, heading out towards the Arabian Sea with the Dubai Skyline visible from the left side of the aircraft.

Crawled is indeed the right word. Though thankfully due to that crawl you were able to get those gorgeous views.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Kumara offered seconds on the breadbasket to her passengers on the other side of the aisle, yet moody Mona never did this for us.

A bit of a forgetful FA

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Both Roni and I spent the rest of our time admiring the scenery outside the window.

What a magnificent view.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
kiribath

Is that something like an idlly (Indian steam rice cake) or is that actually rice all lumped together or cut in squares. Could not really make it out.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
Just as she was about to don her life vest, she let out a sneeze and her pristine image was shattered as she continued to sneeze throughout the rest of the demonstration. If this was Singapore Airlines, she probably would have been sent a warning letter for this, but such a human touch to an otherwise pre-programmed safety demo always adds an essence of life that livens things up.

Nothing having a human touch like that only confirms the belief that SQ FAs are indeed robotic lol

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
The Flight: We lined up with runway 04 and began out takeoff roll which lasted about 45 seconds.

That seems quite a long take off roll especially for an A320

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
I selected “The Iron Lady” as my movie of choice this morning.

Such an amazing movie!! Meryl Streep so deserved that Oscar!!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
As far as the Ceylon tea goes, all I can say is that it was one of the nicest cups of tea I have ever had onboard an aircraft. I took as many refills as were offered by the friendly crew who made sure our cups and glasses were always topped up.

I guess no better place to enjoy Ceylon tea!!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
Our empty fruit plates were collected and our pre ordered main courses were promptly delivered a short while later.

On the left of the dish the corn and green croquette tasted very nice, much like a potatoes croquette. The center of the dish contained upma (vermicelli) along with the Kandala curry on the right. The mildly spicy curry accompanied the upma perfectly and was a real treat.

You still got this in addition to that very generous breakfast of fruits and bread!! Definitely well fed breakfast!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
The ever impressive Changi Terminal 3 had not changed much since my last visit a few months ago; it was still in immaculate condition. Today immigration had a wait time of 30 seconds and thankfully both Roni and I were curbside less than five minutes after walking off the aircraft. Ah the joys of traveling with only carry-on baggage!

That is impressive.


25 lukeyboy95 : Hi Anoosh... I finally got round to reading the report. Excellently written and presented. Particularly like the full page UL branded pages - I wonder
26 SR 103 : That is the way I always try to do it. I find it the fairest way. I fly quite a bit to India myself, so I know exactly what you are talking about. Yo
27 Post contains images stipica : Hi SR103 ! somehow I missed your report and I am so glad that appeared again ... SriLankan is very popular lately on a.net ... for me interesting comp
28 Post contains images akhmad : My friend Anosh, Thank you so much for sharing your quest of Serendib together with Roni. I have been fascinated by SriLankan since AMS never had beco
29 Post contains images SR 103 : Thanks Stipica, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Happy to hear it met your approval. The design is not bad, but it is beco
30 NZ107 : Thanks for another great read, Anosh. I really hope UL can iron out these inconsistencies before they become a OW member. They are nearly forced to up
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