SriLankan

Colombo Airport Will Be A Mess For The Next 3 Months

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Not only is Sri Lanka a beautiful country, but some of the world’s best premium cabin fares are published out of Colombo, so it’s an airport I pass through quite often in order to take advantage of great fares. While the airport isn’t especially nice, I’ve always found it fairly easy to transit. Because security is at each individual gate, there’s not much variability in wait times, which I appreciate.

Well, the airport only has a single runway, and some major repairs are needed to it, as cracks are starting to appear. So Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport will be closing for eight hours per day, in order for that to be able to happen. Planes won’t be able to take off or land between 8:30AM and 4:30PM, and apparently work will take place for about four hours each day, and then they’ll allow four hours for materials to harden.

The renovation work will be taking place from January 6 through April 6, 2017, meaning during that time the airport will only be open from 4:30PM until 8:30AM.

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Ouch: SriLankan Is Paying 170 Million USD To Cancel A350 Order

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“National” airlines can represent both a huge opportunity and challenge for developing countries.

Under the right conditions, these airlines can turn profits while also helping to contribute to the infrastructure of a country. Take Air Astana, for example, which has turned a profit every year for the past decade, and has contributed very nicely to the development of Kazakhstan.

But then on the other end of the spectrum you have countries that invest hundreds of millions of dollars in their “national” airlines, only to have that airline never turn a profit. Well, unfortunately that seems to be the case with Colombo-based SriLankan Airlines at the moment.

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Ouch: SriLankan Flight Delayed By 15 Hours Due To Drunk Pilot

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Oh man. The SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 flight from Frankfurt to Colombo this past Friday, UL554, was delayed by about 15 hours. It was scheduled to depart at around 3PM and land at around 5AM, though ended up leaving the following morning at 6AM, and arriving at around 7PM.

The reason? One of the pilots showed up to work drunk, though fortunately he was blocked from flying by the cabin crew (kudos to them for speaking out). Per dw.com:

“The pilot arrived at the airport already drunk on Friday but intending to pilot an Airbus A330 to the Sri Lankan capital with 274 people on board.

The flight was delayed more than 15 hours, until a replacement pilot was found the next day. The airline apologized for the incident on its website.”

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Great Deal: $1,500 SriLankan Business Class Fares From Frankfurt To Colombo

Look at that!

Oneworld member SriLankan Airlines is going through a really tough time right now. They recently leased more than half of their new A330-300 fleet to Pakistan at breakeven prices just to reduce their heavy losses. Sadly, this came at a high cost: SriLankan has had to eliminate two of their three European destinations — Frankfurt and Paris — as of November. This means London will be the last remaining SriLankan destination in Europe.

Why does this suck? Well, SriLankan happens to have one of the best business class products in the world on their A330-300s (and probably the most beautiful in my opinion).

These were the aircraft used for their entire European network. It’s really sad to see these go, as I myself had been hoping to try out the product on a flight to Colombo this fall.

While I no longer have the time in my schedule to take this trip before their FRA-CMB and CDG-CMB routes are cut, I figured I’d share this pretty amazing deal available out of Frankfurt at the moment.

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Review: SriLankan Business Class A330-300 Colombo To Male

Look at that!

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to fly SriLankan’s brand new A330-300, which features their new reverse herringbone seats. SriLankan has a total of five of these planes on order.

Since this flight was being operated by an A330, there were two air stairs — one at the forward door and one at the rear door. I boarded through the forward door, after my boarding pass was checked at the bottom of the stairs.

SriLankan 105
Colombo (CMB) ā€“ Male (MLE)
Sunday, April 5
Depart: 12:30AM
Arrive: 1:25AM
Duration: 1hr25min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 3A (Business Class)

Upon boarding through door 1L I was welcomed by the cabin manager and Renuka, the flight attendant working business class. I noticed the business class cabin was still empty, so told Renuka “I’m so excited this is the new business class product. If you don’t mind I’m just going to snap a couple of pictures before the cabin fills up.”

With a smirk Renuka responded “take your time, you’re our only passenger today, Mr. Benjamin. And just so you know, this is the plane’s first commercial flight.”

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Want To Be An Airline CEO? Here’s Your Chance!

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Have you always dreamed of running an airline? Well, here’s your chance… sort of.

SriLankan Airlines has a job posting for Chief Executive Officer on their website. Here’s the description:

This comes after SriLankan Airlines’ former CEO suddenly resigned in March, shortly after a committee was appointed to look into accusations of “shocking corruption” at the airline.

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Review: SriLankan Serendib Lounge Colombo Airport

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I made it to Colombo shortly before 11PM, and had a roughly 90 minute connection before my flight to Male. Since my connection was on a separate ticket, my first priority was finding the transit desk so that I could have my boarding pass issued.

We arrived at the far end of one of the piers, so it was a roughly five minute walk to the “central” part of the terminal. There’s something I find sort of charming about Colombo Airport, even though it’s quite run down.

Once in the central part of the terminal I spotted the transit desk to the left of immigration. They do have a special business class queue, though I was helped by another available agent immediately.

While at the desk I received great news — my flight from Colombo to Male was schedule to be operated by an Airbus A320, which features SriLankan’s regional product. However, they had subbed in a brand new Airbus A330-300. That was awesome news, because as I’ve written about in the past, this is the plane which features SriLankan’s new reverse herringbone business class seat.

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Review: SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Bangkok To Colombo

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As soon as we arrived at the gate the passengers terminating their travels in Bangkok deplaned. A vast majority of passengers seemed to get off, including the one other business class passenger. Interestingly the pilots seated across from me stayed on. I figured they’d be working the flight from Bangkok to Colombo, but instead they seemed to be deadheading all the way to Colombo.

Equally interesting was that there was a crew change in Bangkok. I figured the crews would work Colombo to Bangkok to Hong Kong, have an overnight, and then work Hong Kong to Bangkok to Colombo. But instead there was a crew change, so maybe they work Colombo to Bangkok, have an overnight, then work Bangkok to Hong Kong to Bangkok, have an overnight, and then work Bangkok to Colombo? I’m not sure, but they seem to have even more generous rest policies than US carriers. Or something.

As soon as all the passengers had deplaned cleaning crews got aboard. It’s a bit awkward to be seated while they climb over you to clean seats and vacuum all around you. At the end of the day kudos to SriLankan for keeping their planes clean, I guess.

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Review: SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Hong Kong To Bangkok

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I was quite looking forward to flying SriLankan again. I had flown them a handful of times several years back, so was curious to see how this experience compared, now that they’ve joined oneworld. That being said, I was slightly less excited about having three flights on them back-to-back after a 16 hour flight from New York — I’m not sure what I was thinking. šŸ˜‰

Anyway, the flight from Hong Kong to Colombo is a “direct” flight (meaning it’s marketed as a single flight number), with a stop in Bangkok. The route is operated by an A330-200. SriLankan has several configurations of the A330-200, some of which feature fully flat beds, and others of which don’t. Unfortunately there’s no way to know in advance which configuration you’ll get. The only way to be guaranteed a fully flat bed is to fly their A330-300, which features fully flat reverse herringbone seats in business class.

And even that’s not a guarantee, given how often SriLankan has last minute equipment changes.

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An Amazing (Private) Flight On SriLankan!

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Hello from the Maldives (more on that later!)

Over the weekend I flew from New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, and then from Hong Kong to Bangkok to Colombo to Male on SriLankan. To say that it was a long travel day would be the understatement of the year.

The three flights on SriLankan were especially interesting. Generally I’m a huge fan of the airline, as there’s something exotic and unique about them which makes them more “fun” than most airlines.

But the service on the first two sectors was kind of crappy. The crews were lazy and borderline rude.

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How To Upgrade On SriLankan (For Cash)

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As you guys know I’m presently enroute to the Maldives, and planning my outbound flight was a bit of a last minute ordeal. I had originally asked you guys which option you think I should take on the outbound.

Then I had a schedule conflict come up, which caused me to push back my trip by a day and actually have to choose based on schedule rather than which would make the most interesting story.

So in the end I booked an American AAdvantage 67,500 mile first class award from New York to Colombo.

I booked Cathay Pacific first class from New York to Hong Kong, and then SriLankan business class from Hong Kong to Bangkok to Colombo. For the second segment I could have just flown Cathay Pacific nonstop in their reverse herringbone business class, but I figured the least I could do was take a bit of a detour to try out SriLankan.

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SriLankan’s New Business Class Seat

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SriLankan Airlines joined the oneworld alliance a little under a year ago, which was an exciting development. I’ve flown SriLankan several times before they joined the oneworld alliance, and really enjoyed my flights on them.

While they don’t have the best product in the world, there’s something really exotic about them, which makes them a fun airline to fly.

Anyway, I’m soon headed to the Maldives, and while I have my return flight figured out, I’m still working on my outbound flight. I’m thinking of partly flying SriLankan to get there, given that awards are much cheaper through American AAdvantage when booking to Colombo than Male (since the former is in “Asia 2,” while the latter is in the “Middle East”).

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