SriLankan Airlines to join OneWorld!

OneWorld announced this week that SriLankan Airlines is their newest member elect, and is expected to join OneWorld late next year.

Now, the first major frustration is just how long the process of joining an alliance can take. As I posted about last June, Malaysia Airlines is expected to join OneWorld, though that still hasn’t happened. Here they’re saying it will be 18 months before SriLankan joins OneWorld, and that seems to be the best case scenario.

That being said, this is a huge gain for OneWorld, if/when it happens. I think regional carriers are generally underestimated when it comes to alliances, especially ones that serve markets that otherwise don’t get much service.

I’ve flown SriLankan five times now, and they’re actually one of my favorite carriers. The service is very exotic, and while they might not have the most modern product, there’s something fun about flying with them.

In terms of their route network, this opens up several new destinations. For one, it opens up Colombo. While Sri Lanka isn’t at the top of most peoples’ list of places to visit, some of the lowest premium cabin fares in the world can be found out of Colombo, so this is great for positioning.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka is only an hour flight from the Maldives, and SriLankan Airlines has frequent service.

So this will be a great new option for travel to the Maldives, be it an award ticket, or the ability to credit miles to a OneWorld partner airline. I flew SriLankan last year from Delhi to Colombo to Male to Colombo to Mumbai, and it sucked not earning any miles. I can’t wait to either redeem miles for the same routing next time, or at the very least earn miles for it.

Oh, and there’s one other interesting thing about SriLankan Airlines. They win the award for most awkward lounge massage in the world. They offer complimentary 15-minute massages in their business class lounge in Colombo. However, expect them to literally have you take your clothes off in the lounge and be massaged in “public” while mostly undressed. Fun stuff…

(Tip of the hat to The Wandering Aramean)

Comments

  1. Emirates was the largest external shareholder and had a very active operational role in the business until couple of years ago. This must have done the airline and it’s product quite some good 🙂

  2. They also have a small room in the front right corner (seen from the entrance) of the lounge for the massages.
    If you have left-over currency when leaving Sri Lanka you can also spend it there at decent rates 😉

  3. @ John — Unfortunately they don’t fly to the US. They’re more of a regional airline, though they do have longhaul flights to Europe.

  4. Uh, Lucky, this really is not that exciting…

    As Seth said: “It is less clear what the immediate benefits are to the alliance, with nearly all of the destinations covered.”

    You and your weird routings took you on this airline, on an itinerary that no normal person (read: no non-mileage / travel junkie) ever would have taken.

    Current destinations:

    East Asia
    People’s Republic of China
    Beijing – Beijing Capital International Airport
    Guangzhou – Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
    Hong Kong – Hong Kong International Airport
    Shanghai – Shanghai Pudong International Airport

    Japan
    Tokyo – Narita International Airport

    South Asia
    India
    Bangalore – Bengaluru International Airport
    Chennai – Chennai International Airport
    Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport
    Kochi – Cochin International Airport [6]
    Mumbai – Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
    Thiruvananthapuram – Trivandrum International Airport
    Tiruchirapalli – Tiruchirapalli Airport

    Maldives
    Malé – Malé International Airport

    Pakistan
    Karachi – Jinnah International Airport

    Sri Lanka
    Ampara – Kondavattavan Tank * (charter)
    Bentota – Bentota River Airport *
    Castlereagh – Castlereagh Reservoir * [7]
    Colombo
    Bandaranaike International Airport Hub
    Kelani River-Peliyagoda Waterdrome * (charter)
    Dikwella – Mawella Lagoon *
    Kandy
    Victoria Reservoir * (charter)
    Polgolla – Mahaweli Reservoir * (charter)
    Koggala – SLAF Koggala *
    Hambantota
    Bandagiriya Tank*
    Mattala International Airport Secondary Hub [begins 18 November 2012]
    Nuwara Eliya – Lake Gregory Waterdrome * [8]
    Tissamaharama – Tissa Tank * (charter)
    Trincomalee * [9]

    Southeast Asia
    Malaysia
    Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Lumpur International Airport

    Singapore
    Singapore Changi Airport

    Thailand
    Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport

    Southwest Asia
    Bahrain
    Bahrain International Airport

    Kuwait
    Kuwait International Airport
    Oman
    Muscat – Muscat International Airport

    Qatar
    Doha – Doha International Airport

    Saudi Arabia
    Dammam – King Fahd International Airport
    Jeddah – King Abdulaziz International Airport
    Riyadh – King Khalid International Airport

    United Arab Emirates
    Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi International Airport
    Dubai – Dubai International Airport

    Europe
    France
    Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport

    Germany
    Frankfurt am Main – Frankfurt Airport

    Italy
    Milan – Malpensa Airport [ends 28 October 2012]
    Rome – Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport

    Russia
    Moscow – Domodedovo International Airport

    United Kingdom
    London – London Heathrow Airport

  5. Hey Lucky –

    Realize my last post came across a little too harsh. I guess any new airline is better than no new airline in to an alliance… And OW needs to to everything they can to try and catch up with *A! 😉

    When will you be able to credit (a Sri Lankan flight) to a OW airline? Only after they are an official member, or do you think crediting to another airline may happen sooner?

    Found this beauty for just under $3K in Economy! 🙂 (Hope the formating is clear)

    SFO-HKG
    Cathay Pacific 879 Dep: 1:35PM Arr: 6:45PM
    Layover in HKG Wed, Sep 19

    HKG-KUL
    Cathay Pacific 791 Dep: 1:30AM Arr: 5:10AM
    KUL-CMB
    Sri Lankan Airlines 319 Dep: 9:00AM Arr: 10:00AM
    Layover in CMB

    CMB-MLE
    Sri Lankan Airlines 115 Dep: 1:45PM Arr: 2:40PM
    MLE-CMB
    Sri Lankan Airlines 110 Dep: 10:10PM Arr: 12:05AM
    Layover in CMB Wed, Oct 3
    CMB-KUL
    Sri Lankan Airlines 318 Dep: 1:15AM Arr: 7:30AM Layover in KUL
    KUL-HKG
    Cathay Pacific 720 Dep: 9:25AM Arr: 1:10PM
    Layover in HKG
    HKG-SFO
    Cathay Pacific 870 Dep: 2:05PM Arr: 11:35AM

  6. @ Lark — Often there are reciprocal mileage agreements before an airline formally joins an alliance, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that. I wouldn’t count on it, though, and I expect it won’t be for another year or so, if at all.

  7. @Lark “You and your weird routings took you on this airline, on an itinerary that no normal person (read: no non-mileage / travel junkie) ever would have taken.”

    Then you post an 8 segment economy itinerary, with 2 instances of flights originating in the wee hours of the morning, one of which is followed by a 4 hour wait for the next flight. Another is an afternoon departure with an 8 hour waitover for the connecting flight, which arrives after midnight local time. And the HKG-SFO segments taking 14 hours, and 12.5 hours, of economy class agony.

    All of this in economy, all of this in places where no “normal person” would qualify for lounge access.

    Pardon me, but as exotic as these destinations may be, this sounds like a trip from hell while in transit, and recovering therefrom.

    Unless this intinerary was meant as sarcasm…Pot calling the kettle black…. 🙂

  8. Yes, I was trying to highlight the challenges of using Sri Lankan air to actually get to the Maldives…

    One thing that did not come through in my post that some of the stopovers were longer than one day (stopover in HKG or KUL I think).

    So, no, unless I could use my AA miles and book that whole thing in F or C, I wouldn’t dream of it. Even in F or C it would be a long trip…

    I am sure (I sure hope anyway) there is a less convoluted routing from SFO to the Maldives… Otherwise I guess I am not destined to visit…

  9. “I am sure (I sure hope anyway) there is a less convoluted routing from SFO to the Maldives… Otherwise I guess I am not destined to visit…”

    Sigh…. Me too, me too. I’m just not up for that sort of travel torture any more. lucky says he does it for business, so he gets excused. But GLeff does it for fun, just for a long weekend, and calls it “aspirational”.

    I’d start with the first two letters of that, and go off in another direction, focusing on fatigue. But of course, they both are going FC, with lounges everywhere, and highly relaxing hotels on stopovers. And in some cases World Class FAs….

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