SriLankan airlines formerly called Air Lanka is the national airline of Sri Lanka. I haven’t traveled with Srilankan airlines before, and frankly, I haven’t heard much about Srilankan airlinse either.
So how was my experience? I would say not bad. The first impressions weren’t bad at all. It’s difficult to analyze an airline based on just one trip, but the following pros and cons will give you some idea of how Srilankan airlines is faring. While not all of these strong or weak points will be recurring, some of them will.
PROS OF SRILANKAN AIRLINES
- Steel cutlery. I hate having to fight with the meat with plastic cutlery and for me this is a forte of SriLankan airlines, no matter how small a detail this is.
- Flight left and landed on time
- The airconditioning is was just the right amount, unlike any I’ve experienced in any other airline. Usually it’s so hot when the plane is grounded and then when it takes off, it gets freakin cold. Even when you close your individual airconditioning vent, it doesn’t help. Compared to all the airlines I’ve travelled on, great and small, Srilankan airlines airconditioning was the best, at the very least it agreed with my body temperature. And even when the plane was standing idle, the airconditioning was still on with just the right amount. For me this is the forte of SriLankan airlines.
So why is it so hot when the plane is on ground and cold when it goes up? To understand that, you need to have studied Gas Turbines in an engineering college. But worry not. You’ve got me to explain it in layman terms.
The aircraft doesn’t actually have an air-conditioning like the one we’ve in our homes or even in big buildings. What it does to provide proper cooling is circulate the outside air into the air circulation system. And because the air is already cold when the plane is up in the air, you get instant air-conditioning just like that. Actually it’s not that simple. There’s a compressor in each of the gas turbine engines of an aircraft, the ones that you see on the wings. The compressor compresses air for the subsequent turbine in stages. There’s one particular stage in the compressor called the bleed stage from where the air instead of going to the turbine completely is partially bled into the air-conditioning system of the aircraft.
So if that’s how it works, then how come the AC works when the plane is on ground? Good question. In that case, there’s an auxiliary engine usually located on the tail of the plane which runs all the systems of the plane including powering the air-conditioning.
So if it is available, then how come the AC is not working on ground. Good question. I guess only the airline can answer that. My guess is that because it’s a small engine, it does not have the power to properly circulate the air throughout the length and breadth of the plane.
- Food was alright. More or less like PIA. Can’t compare to Thai or Emirates. But more than that, what impressed me the most was the fact that a proper menu was given to the passengers of the economy class to take their pick. Although there were only three main courses to choose from and the starter and the dessert was fixed, still this is something I’ve yet to come across in the economy class of an airline.
CONS OF SRILANKAN AIRLINES
- Worst touchscreen ever on the entertainment console in an airline. This was my most frustrating experience trying get a touchscreen to work, either on an airplane or otherwise. At first I thought maybe there was a specific way to make it work, but after an hour of grappling with it, I realized the fault was with the darn thing and with me. Not only was the touchscreen not responding to touch properly, it wasn’t calibrated either. When you tried pressing the ‘Back’ button, it activated the home button. The Srilankan airlines management really need to get all these consoles checked and repaired.
- Seats not spaced equally apart. Now this was something new for me. The seat I got the first time around, the seat in front of me was literally in my face. At first I though he had reclined his chair, but that wasn’t the case. And there was hardly any room for me to place my 6-foot frame legs properly. Luckily, the seat next to me was part of a family, and the husband had been given a seat a couple of rows behind. He requested me to change seats to be with his family, and since his was an aisle seat as well, I agreed. And to my pleasant surprise, that seat had ample leg space. What’s more, I peered around and realized the rows were not equidistant. Some had more leg space, the others did not. Very very strange.
Tip For Seat Reservation on SriLanka Airlines
Now I didn’t expect this kind of advanced feature would be available on an airline like SriLankan airlines, but there it was. On the SriLankan airlines website you could actually log on and change your seat positioning from the one you were initially given. That is provided there is another one not occupied. When you log on with either your ticket no. or reservation no, there’s an option for confirming your booking. Within that option, there a sub-section where the entire cabin seat map opens up showing your current seat and the rest of the seats, either available or occupied.
In my case, I had been given a seat right at the back – 44- and that also in the middle of two seats. It couldn’t have been worse, since I prefer either the aisle or the window seat. And pretty much all the other seats were already occupied, except for one – an aisle one ‘8C’. I immediately changed it to that one.
You better do the same before the actual date of travelling if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
FINAL WORD ON SRILANKAN AIRLINES
Although I’m not exactly sure how SriLankan airlines has positioned itself, but it’s the not most luxurious airlines around by any stretch of the imagination. Having said that, SriLankan airlines is managing to do quite well. There are a few hiccups here and there, and under the present state it can’t compete with the industry giants like Emirates and Singapore Airlines but overall SriLankan airlines is managing to keep things under control.
[easyreview title=”Srilankan Airlines” icon=”star2″ cat1title=”Check-in experience” cat1detail=”Went smoothly.” cat1rating=”9″ cat2title=”Seat Comfort” cat2detail=”The 1st seat spacing pathetic.2nd one alright.” cat2rating=”5.0″ cat3title=”FOOD” cat3detail=” Alright.” cat3rating=”6.5″ cat4title=”Punctuality” cat4detail=”On time.” cat4rating=”8.5″ cat5title=”In-flight amenities” cat5detail=”No Wifi, entertainment console sucked.” cat5rating=”3.0″ cat6title=”In-flight service” cat6detail=”Actually quite good.” cat6rating=”7.5″ cat7title=”Baggage handling” cat7detail=”Baggage arrived prompto” cat7rating=”9.0″ summary=”Not bad at all. Could improve markedly in certain areas.”]
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The travel experience we had with Sri Lanakan airlines had always been a nightmare. UL 218, 10.40 pm flight from Doha to Colombo on December 11th was cancelled due to technical problem, but there was no standard operating procedure to handle the stranded passengers. This caused me,my 4 year old daughter and my sister in law tremendous damage to our valuable time, health and mental wellbeing as a result of sri lankan airlines simply mishandling the incident by violating international law.
Passengers were waiting in terminal until early next morning (almost 4 hours) to hear the official announcement saying the flight was cancelled. Until then, there was no decision to run a back up plan.
Following questions from frustrated customers to take proper protocol , they finally decided to transfer us to a distant terminal to place us in alternate flights. During this prolonged process into the afternoon of next day I, my 4 year daughter and sister in law had to suffer through many things: loss of sleep, body ailments, hygene issues, and tremendous frustration (my daughter had to rest on floor sometimes).
Even after asking to prioritize my family with a child, we were only taken back and forth (wrong terminal 1st attempt) for alternate flight. there was no proper protocol nor communication about the procedure and simply no care for family with children.
We landed in sri lanka on December 13 via Qatar Airways. Due to the overbooking of flight, two of our baggages
were misplaced. We had to buy clothes with our own money and spend more time from our holiday to retrieve lost baggage, claim money for transportation for collecting baggage, endless calls, emails to settle compensation (no viable compensation until now) , and endless calls and emails to rearrange my in flight duty free items I had purchased (one item is still not rearranged and my return flight is tomorrow, December 31). Basically as of now, I have no guarantee of receiving my items, nor receiving seamless travel experience with my outbound flight. As a oneworld airline member, they should be more committed to customers, not just using the label for marketing.
I must say that’s one hell of a harrowing experience. I’ve heard horror stories of our own national carrier but didn’t know Sri Lankan airlines had the guts to fall deeper into the recesses of the customer service pit.
Although my own experience with #srilankan airlines fared much better than this, I can well imagine the torturous time you must have spent going through this experience.
The best Sri Lankan airlines can do now is to find this post and compensate you properly for the wretched experience. And if they can’t even find this damning testimony of their services on this travel blog, God help them.