Sri Lanka Airways Business ClassSarajevo Airways Business Class
5 grown-ups and 2 kids over 2... seven places. The Business Class was a must because it was a really big event, and to be frank, most of these parties traveled too well to be used for anything more than a Málaga!
The results all turned up a group rate of £24k, which was awaited, but still high even in the I category stock. Ex-EU was not an optimal choice with children in tow, although BA services are seasonally and were not available at that point. Very quickly he found a Sri Lankan promotion rate of just under GBP 111k for all of us.
Great offer, and as a group of British Airways Executive Club travelers we could profit from animal points and miles as Sri Lanka is part of the on-eworld-Allianz. My ticket was on Sri Lanka's own website and everything was paid within a few mins. We reached 30 departures LHR T3 by road with 2.5 hour stay.
We had the ugly Rushhour arrivals and the joys of entering T3 via the tunnels, so we had a lot of free leisure as well. Since I had pre-selected all places for both sections on-line (no cost), checking in at the Business Class desk was straightforward and was done by an Sri Lanka agen.
On our way to the BA First Class Lounge in the T3 (with a fistful of Gold Cards among us it was our best option) we were welcomed by an extreme scarce BA-Lounge dragon. Children were eating and playing cheerfully in the children's room on the Playstation. We showed 30 early, but there was a little stroll, with the children (and their troublesome trunks) we started in good season.
Bording was well done and Business Class was phoned first, and since we had children, we had the benefit of being the first to join. The Sri Lankan crews, impeccably clothed (I asked if they were Sri Lankan crews), welcomed us cordially and brought us to our places by the traditional clothed women's crews who help us today.
On board this Airbus A330-300 (about 2 years old) the seating is a Cirrus adaption [inverted herringbone] of four people, and we had basically series 1........ There was an electric motor and some places in line 2. The crews volunteered to help the children during the flights (a skieservice), which was fantastic!
All of us could relish the Sri Lankan hospitableness. When you flew American Airlines or Cathay Pacific, this is the same chair, and I like it a lot. Though similar to some Qatar Airways seating, it just felt like a longer carbon print because the IFE display is not a solid display directly in front of you.
There were two shutters in all the squares, none of which had a hidden look. This is far better than British Airways and even Emirates in respect of design and seating. Much as I like the Emirates A380 with bars, I love the way it walks around its seating (in my opinion, Emirates are really eight crossways, despite the offset four in the configuration).
The preboarding champagne came up, Piper Heidseck Brut, and that was totally fine, and a predilection for the batteric acids that were serving at the British Airways Club World. The children were also provided with treats, and so they stayed very laid-back and joyful with their iPhone. The menus were distributed and we left on schedule (with a 50-minute train ride in CMB that was a relief) and a flying span of almost eleven acres.
Dinner was very Sri Lankan, so hot. All of us are enjoying a Curry, so it wasn't a problem, except the children wouldn't really be eating it. Anyway, we knew this and had a good meal for the children in theounge. Both children were hidden in their beds with cushions, covers, rabbit and pinguin.
Most of the time you were asleep. So I decided on a smoke started asparagus, a side dish and a Sri Lankan henurry with coconut flour, danish and a jar of Shiraz. After a few of them I put the duvet down and used my quilt as a sleeping mat ( this chair is made of cowhide and I am always warm).
Put on my own pajamas (not distributed) and sleep for seven long hrs until my morning meal. Films, television and some oriental features were of course in great demand, as well as a wet and rear view cam. I, like all of us, was awakened by a pretty strong bump from the caboose.
To be received by the fixed proclamation of "Sir, it is your turn for breakfasts " I was looking up. It'?s almost as if you had to have your own supper! If I had used the onboard conversation and my earphones, I would have seen the labels in the box "Let me sleep", and if you don't put them on the side of the chair, they will wake you up.
There was a choice of freshly chopped fruit, birch granola, cereal, hot Croissants and cupcakes as well as high grade filtering coffees (no expresso or cappuccino machine ) and of course Ceylontee. Everything was looking very clean and damp; since we were only an hours away from Male, we all hope that this was not the topic there, because it was just the end of the Maldives rain time.
The exit was well managed, the Business Class came from Tür 21, the Economy remained behind. Now, with only 50 min to our next trip, recall that I was a little scared as we had children and the next plane to Male was only in seven more on! So we went up the bridge and the gateway across the street welcomed us with "UL115 to Male Boarding".
Mama number two said, "Well, that's much better than British Airways" and really she's not mistaken, that's it, in almost every way. Since we didn't use the lounges, I can't make a statement about the Sri Lanka hubs regarding this inbound. Following a brief safety inspection, Business Class was led into a seperate area of the departures area and when we had children, we were asked to get in within a few moments.
Well, one consolation was that ExpertFlyer showed a clear indication of the delay of the man's plane and always seemed to disappear after arriving at Heathrow. My assumption is that this is tactical, as many people are transmitted at times, which makes it more of a feededer than a point where they stand à la EasyJet.
However, it was not an easyJet; we were welcomed by the same impeccably maintained crew on another A330-300 with the same Business Class configuration as on our long distance itinerary. There'?s no A320 babies on this one-hour shuttles! With some A330-200s in Sri Lanka's A330-200s that are not equipped with the new flatbed airline cabin passenger airline cabin systems, although for a one-hour journey their older cabin is more than likely to be in good shape and certainly better than the "block the middle" business class cabin available from airlines in Europe, Sri Lanka has a number of A330-200s in its family.
30, on schedule, and the whole team was surprised when they offered ready-made jars with Piper Heidseck, freshly squeezed bottled beer and fresh oranges. You opened the Argentinean and I and my boyfriend used him up for most of the brief trip. They wrapped a complete warm menu set (of course a curry) for an entire session and that was great.
There was a little murmuring response from 1F "oh, it's laughable, it's so much better than British Airways"! Meanwhile we arrived punctually at Male Velana International, after we had slid over some breathtaking atoles on our way there, we were all very enthusiastic. Within fifteen mins we were at the luggage conveyor, bit the nails for me, when I thought with seven of us could drive at least one pocket into our own vacation!
Our luggage came through quickly and we left without much effort to be brought by our partner and Trans Maldivian Airways by airplane to our guesthouse. Indeed this is a long way, but since the major sectors take so long, none of us ever sustained the feared East Jetleg, as we all spent quite a while asleep without having to awaken during the trip to reach a huge Central East Node!
My expectation of this trip from Sri Lanka was low. The next times I go eastward, I would still be looking for non-stop routes, but I will certainly consider them again.