Srilankan Airlines Business ClassSri Lankan Airlines Business Class
The SriLankan Airlines Group is a medium-sized air company operating an entire Airbus portfolio comprising 13 A330 widebody and 10 A320/A321 small jets. The Sri Lankan flag ship company has a very harsh and tumultuous past and is currently in a difficult situation financially, although its managers are trying to make the company back to profitability (more below).
Hopefully the issues of the SriLankan Airline will soon be a thing of the past as the airline has a great in-flight offering and a great team. Remember that this assessment only applies to the latest Business Class aircraft from Sri Lanka, which is available for all A330-300 aircraft, while the older A330-200 aircraft have a less stunning model (albeit still with flat-bed seats).
1350 Euros for a Business Class sightseeing tour from Frankfurt to Male and book the tickets directly on the website of SriLankan Airlines. It is a great (and difficult to beat) offer to travel from Europe to the Maldives in an excellent low loader, and the offer is still available at the moment of going to press - with departures from a nearby Germany base on select days.
However, it includes two stops, one in the Middle East (SriLankan Airlines operates codeshare with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways after cancelling most of its cancellations in Europe) and one in Sri Lanka itself. Meanwhile, the route was via Doha, with Frankfurt-Doha and Doha-Frankfurt being served by a new A350 aircraft from Qatar Airways (the other services were of course provided by SriLankan Airlines itself).
Remember that when you land in the Maldives and if you are not in the North or South Male Atoll, you must take another plane - either a floatplane or a national plane - to get to your destination. The next I will be willing to charge more for a more immediate route (at least if there are no reward places available that can be reserved with miles).
There was no free space for me to go to Male's Business Class Lounge because my floatplane came too late; I was taken to the aircraft immediately after check-in (where the boards already took place). But I have already been to the Male Business Class lounges several times, and it is a good place to relax for a while and await your plane's flight, as Male Airport's only global passenger base is very small and often very overcrowded.
It' only a quadratic room which is used by all airlines (so there is only one Business Class Lounge in Male). Lounges have a rather old-fashioned look, and the place doesn't get much natural light due to the shaded window, giving it an overall rather gloomy ambience (but it's still a better option than maintaining the congested terminals themselves).
I didn't have enough free space at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport to take pictures or make videos from the lounges as my connection from one flight to another was less than 45mins. However, I had a short walk through the complex and it seemed like a great and contemporary place with seating for about 150 people, a large sideboard, eating area and even an adjacent spas.
But my overall feeling of the lounging ambience was not so good as the place was filled to the brim. Probably because Bandaranaike International Airfield has been shut down in the last few month's light due to a much needed airstrip repairs (the airstrip has only one runway), so all takeoffs took place at nights.
There was chaos at the airports and the lounges as they could not handle the large flow of travellers very well, but the good tidings are that at the moment of the letter the repair work had been completed and the operation should be back to normality (so you can relax and savour the lounges if your trips take you to or via Sri Lanka in the near future).
Admittedly, the air company has a tumultuous story that has to struggle with eruptions of bribery, drama and nationality proud. Sri Lanka Airlines was severely hit during the last conflict, with a tragic climax on 24 July 2001, when the company was attacked at Colombo International Airports and was struck by the loss of 2 A330s, 1 Airbus40 and 1 Airbus20 (without deaths of passengers).
After the end of the Second World War, the company rebounded quite well, especially under the leadership of Emirates, which administered and held a minor shareholding in the company. The ( reckless ) acquisition of all-new A330 and A350 aircraft also caused further hardship for the company. However, the new company's managers are trying to turn around the poor financials: the A350 order has been canceled and the company has also discontinued all its European flights (except Colombo-London and Male-London).
Allegations have also been made that the airlines are (again) speaking to Emirates about a new transaction. The two routes (Male to Colombo and Colombo to Doha) were served by the same two-class A330-300. As with all A330-300s in Sri Lanka's A330-200s, this airliner was equipped with the airline's latest Business Class offering, which is far ahead of the old, less eye-catching Business Class offering in Sri Lanka's A330-200s.
Altogether 28 Business Class seating units are situated in a single cab behind the dashboard. Seven lines with 4 Business Class seating in each, all with full corridor entry and plenty of private space through 1-2-1 orientation (a fishbone layout). Business Class side seating is inclined towards the front opening (approx. 2 per seat), while the central seating is inclined towards each other.
IMHO, this is the best Business Class seating at all. With American Airlines, Air France, Qatar Airways, Eva Air, Finnair and Cathay Pacific, we have the same Business Class seating that I have already discussed here: Click here for a seatmap of the A330-300 from SriLankan Airlines. Business Class seating has the same characteristics:
On one side of the chair - towards the windows for windows or the centre line for centrechairs - there is a rather large side cupboard with a rear-view and enough space for your own equipment (such as mobile phone, purse, goggles and other small items). The exterior walls of this cupboard have a read-out lamp at the same height as the eyes, including the seating controller, a radio transmitter for the entertaining system and a general purpose mains adapter.
On this side of the chair there is also a large work area under which the discreetly dimensioned, fold-out trays provide you with the opportunity to dine and work at the same workstation. There is an Oceanic foot rest in front of the chair, under the monitor, which is part of the full size shallow lying frame when the chair is lowered.
A large, personal display (15. 4-inch or 40 cm) pivots out of the side of the seating group walls. Which are the best business class seating on UL's A330-300? Click here for a seating plan. Single travellers should go to the windows. Accompanying persons should choose the medium size seating.
Which are the toughest business class seating on UL's A330-300? Click here for a seating plan. It is also suggested to skip the last line of business class (row 7), which is located near the economy cabin places. Furthermore, the windows sitting in rows 7 lack a single one. On the other hand, there was no comfort package, probably due to the limited flying time (one minute from Male to Colombo and 4.30 minutes from Colombo to Doha).
It was a surprise to me that a complete dinner set was provided on the brief one-hour trip from the Maldives to Sri Lanka. Colombo's Doha trip included a dinner that was a festivity of travel and concentrated on Indian and Sri Lankan food. Featuring the latest Hollywood and Bollywood bestsellers, the state-of-the-art Nintendo AVANT in-flight entertaining system included a selection of classic and favourite Hollywood and Bollywood films, over 50 TV stations, 120 films, an expansive CD and CD media and a large number of titles for all ages.
I liked the hardworking SriLankan Airlines crews who made a good and competent impression. Thank you very much. While I was amazed that some of the flight attendants had face masked in Male when getting on the aircraft, I suspect this may have something to do with the recent spread of influenza in the Maldives.
The Business Class stateroom did not have a walk-in area. TOILET: There were two toilets for business class passengers, one in the front part of the cab and one in the back. Sri Lankaan, in cooperation with OnAir, is offering WiFi on board connection to the new Airbus A330-300 family.