Whether it’s a quick business trip to a city less than two hours away or boarding a long-haul transcontinental journey, a good or a bad flying experience can set the tone for rest of your trip. Here’s my experience of flying both Business as well as Economy class with the Srilankan Airlines from Delhi to Colombo and back.
I would rather fly on a budget than spend money on a more comfortable but an expensive flight
I don’t waste my money on expensive flights and hotels
Flights are just meant to transfer you from one place to another. Why waste my money on them? But when I fly on work, I insist to fly only on a full-service carrier.
These are some of the usual responses I get when I ask people about their preference for flights. Low-cost airlines have definitely changed the game and democratised the flying experience, which was a privilege of few before the no-frill airlines entered the scene – 70s in the US, 90s in the Europe and 2000s in Asia. However, with the competition sky high in the aviation industry, there is not much difference in the fares of the budget and full-service carriers. And, I always say that paying a bit extra for an added comfort is not an expense but a wise investment. Also, my experience with an airline doesn’t begin at bag drop – it begins online when I book my flight. A comfortable journey in the air directly impacts your next day. So, I always choose comfort over saving a few bucks.
I recently flew with Srilankan Airlines. Here is what I experienced.
Honestly, I had heard very little about the airline before I started planning my trip to Sri Lanka. Additionally, being an Asian Carrier, I wasn’t expecting much from the airlines. I thought Srilankan Airlines would be either worse or at par with other Asian Airlines (except Singapore Airlines, which is in a different league altogether). I was mentally prepared for having bad food, congested seats, and late departure.
I was super delighted with their service and it set a beautiful precursor to my unforgetable trip to the island nation.
Despite having a long queue of customers and serving at an odd hour i.e. 2:30 am, the ground staff was very warm, courteous and checked in with a big smile. The check-in was quick and flawless. Luckily, I was flying Business Class so the process was even smoother. There was a separate entry for business class.
Business Class Experience
As I boarded the plane, a hostess with 100 watts CFL bulb smile wearing the country’s national costume, the osariya based on the pattern of a peacock welcomed me with both her hands held together close to the heart and softly saying “Ayubowan”(the word used in Sri Lanka to greet someone).
I kept my luggage in the spacious overhead cabin and comfortably settled in the reclining seats that could fit a person double my size. The welcome continued with the amazing drink choices and warm towel. And that was just the beginning of the amazing service to follow, their food and beverage collection was impressive.
I ordered a vegetarian meal prepared with lip-smacking Sri Lankan curry flavours. There was also a provision to pre-order meals in case you have dietary restrictions.
At the back of the seat, there was a state of the art AVANT in-flight entertainment system with the latest blockbusters from Hollywood and Bollywood, and a collection of classics and favourites. I felt I was sitting in my living room with a 15.4-inch screen with over 50 TV channels, 120 movies, an extensive library of audio CD’s and radio channels, and many games for all age groups.
There was also a USB outlet to charge your phone or iPad. Headphones were noise canceling so you really get transported into your entertainment zone. I usually fill up my movie quota during my flights but it was an odd hour of flying and I hadn’t slept for a second in the last 48 hours, so I decided to give my eyes a bit of rest and be in the dream world by listening to the soothing instrumental music playing on the noise cancelling headphones provided by the Sri Lankan Airlines.
3) Business Class Lounge
Along with the Business Class travel, comes the added benefit of Lounge Access at Colombo. I was a bit late reaching the airport, therefore, I couldn’t spend as much time at the Lounge as I wanted. Located on the first floor of the departure hall at BIA, overlooking the Aircraft Parking Bay, “Serendib” is an exclusively branded SriLankan Airlines Lounge for its most valued premier customers. There was a good variety of food like pasta, breads, curry etc. to choose from. Also, a big bonus was the complimentary 15 min massage sessions. All the stress of airport walking and carrying around bags vanishes with the most rewarding foot massages and Ayurvedic balms. Unfortunately, I had to miss this one too.
Economy Class Experience
While returning from Colombo, the flight was completely booked and I couldn’t get a business class, so I flew in Economy. The experience was good. Although, I did feel a bit cramped in the seats, which is common for flying economy with any airlines. I was flying early morning, so I gave my dinner and in-flight entertainment a miss.
The landing and cabin service was fantastic. The icing on the cake was the magical sunrise with cloudscape from my window seat at 37,000ft above ground level. The majestic rays illuminated the horizon in yellow-orange light and the fluffy clouds danced in choreographed steps.
Having flown in some of the best airlines, I have experienced more luxuries, better gadgets and amenities. However, when it comes to hospitality, Sri Lankan Airlines can match any top carrier with its warm hospitality. Whether I was flying business or economy, the staff made sure my journey was comfortable.
Have you flown with Srilankan Airlines? How was your experience? I would love to know your thoughts.
PS: In my next articles I am going to share my experience of visiting the Pearl of the Indian ocean and how every nationality that has visited and traded over the years has left its mark – the Dutch, Portuguese, English, Arabs, Malays, Moors, and Indians.
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I went to Sri Lanka on invitation on Srilankan Airlines with Outbound Konnections. Views expressed above are mine and based on my personal experiences. All the photos posted are either clicked by me or provided by the airlines.