Sri Lankan Airlines has recently joined Oneworld, and I took the first Colombo-Hong Kong (via Bangkok) flight after it had become a member of the alliance. The airline serves this route twice weekly.
I arrived at the airport at 0530 for my 0715 flight. There were two premium lanes but they seemed to have longer queues then economy ones. I waited about 10 minutes for my turn, but otherwise check-in was non-eventful. I was given a fast track card for immigration, stating that I should find counter number one. The problem was the counters were not numbered, so I had to guess that it was the one for crew members and diplomats.
I was given an invitation card for the Serendib Lounge, which was a short walk from immigration. The facility, decorated with traditional wood plagues and pictures of safari animals, was nothing to write home about and it felt a bit dated. But it had all the necessities: a wide range of hot food including South Asian and Western items, a decent coffee machine, and a bar with white and red wines, and a bottle of Jacquart Brut Mosaïque Champagne in ice bucket, for guests to help themselves. Wifi was reasonably fast and the service was attentive, intuitive and friendly. At around 0650, one of the attendants came over to fetch me for boarding, as promised.
It took about five minutes for me to walk to the gate, where I had to go through security check again (shoes off type) before getting my boarding pass scanned. Shortly after I was seated, I was offered a choice of juices (I had the mixed one with apple, orange and mango, which was refreshing). The plane pushed back on time and we took off shortly after 0720.
On this route, the fully lie-flat is featured in business. It is an adequate product, and at 185cm and with a medium build, I found the bed quite roomy. There is a retractable divider between two neighbouring seats for privacy. But there are some drawbacks as well. Although there is a wide range of stowage spaces for all the essentials such as the wallet, water bottle and gadgets, they are all located at the front so every time you need to store or retrieve something you have to get up from your seat. I was also not a fan of the stick-like remote control with bottoms and a trackpoint for navigation on the 15-inch TV screen – I found it not user-friendly. The in-flight entertainment selection was also limited, with just 12 movies.
Another flaw with the seat is, between sitting upright and lying down, it rises up before lowering to the desired position, which results in your knees clashing with the tray table if it’s being used at the time.
BEST SEAT TO CHOOSE
I have tried both a side aisle seat and a middle seat and prefer the latter. As all of the middle seats have direct aisle access, they avoid the typical issue of having the neighbour walking in front of or climbing over you to get out. The business cabin is located between the business and economy galleys so front and back rows tend to a bit noisy.
The seatbelt sign was off by 0730 and my table was set for breakfast at 0745. We were offered toast, plain loaves and croissants – which were nice and warm – alongside strawberry marmalade and honey. For main I chose the traditional Sri Lankan breakfast consisting of rice cooked in coconut milk, paired with fish curry and seeni sambal – onion simmered in tamarind, sugar and spices. It was hearty and packed just the right punch.
I finished breakfast in about half and hour, and continued watching Enough Said. About two hours later, we touched down at Suvarnabhumi, as scheduled at noon Bangkok time.
Hong Kong-bound passengers were allowed to stay onboard while cleaning crew refreshed the cabin and flight attendants changed shifts. The plane pushed back again at 1310 and we were airborne within 10 minutes. Twenty minutes later it was time for lunch.
After a Thai-style glass noodle salad with tofu, red peppers and lettuce (in sweet chili dressing), I opted for stir-fried chicken with sweet chili paste, accompanied by asparagus and rice. It was hearty and wholesome. I had some fruit after and skipped dessert for more inflight entertainment over another glass of The Whistling Thorn shiraz.
We touched down in Hong Kong about half an hour later, at 1540 local time, and reached the gate within minutes. I passed immigration and collected my bag within half an hour.
The lounge and cabin products were not impressive, but the service was pleasant and warm.
- Plane type A330-200
- Configuration 2-2
- Seat width 20.5in/52cm
- Seat pitch 78in/198cm
- Seat recline 180 degrees
- Price Internet price for a mid-week return business ticket in the middle of July was LKR105,651 (US$810), including tax
- Contact www.srilankan.com