SriLankan Airlines - the national carrier of Sri Lanka - was founded in 1979 as Air Lanka and rebranded to its current name in 1998. From its Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport hub, the airline offers more than thirty-five non-stop routes including destinations in the Far East, Europe and Australia. It also offers multiple destinations in India, and is the largest airline to service the Maldives. SriLankan Airlines also offers a direct flight from London Heathrow to Malé – the capital of the Maldives – twice a week.
The airline flies only Airbus aircraft (A330, A320 and A321 models) - with the A330-300 as its flagship - and features an economy and Business Class cabin only.
Sri Lankan Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, which includes the international carriers Qatar Airways, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and Sri Lankan. Its flights carry numerous codeshare partnerships to better facilitate global connections between more cities than one airline could feasibly operate on its own.
Members of its FlySmiLes program earn and redeem frequent flier miles when flying oneworld airlines, making it easier to earn free trips for future travel while also taking advantage of alliance amenities including lounge access and priority services when flying on other airlines.
Bandaranaike International Airport is around a 30-minute car journey from Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo.
Business Class passengers enjoy use of the Silk Route where they are dropped off to the side of the main terminal and enter a dedicated check-in area. SriLankan staff proceed with ticketing and tagging luggage while passengers relax in comfortable seating. They are then escorted through security to the Business Class lounge.
The Serendib Lounge in Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (Serendib is the Old Persian name for Sri Lanka) offers deep chairs with a picturesque view of the runaway. A designated quiet area provides the passenger a much-needed space to relax prior to their flight. The buffet consists of a wide range of international and local cuisine to suit all passenger tastes.
The newly refurbished Serenediva Lounge also provides a relaxing atmosphere with an array of cuisines - available around the clock - for passengers.
The cuisine at both lounges rotates during the day – from tasty pizza to Sri Lankan curries. It is good quality and freshly prepared. There is a full bar on offer with copious amounts of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut Champagne available. Also available are water, juices and an array of carbonated drinks.
One impressive facet to the lounges are the teas on offer – simply delicious and served with milk, lemon, sugar or enjoyed just as it comes.
The airline is hoping to reintroduce complimentary spa treatments as soon as it can but there are showers available if needed.
As part of the Oneworld alliance, SriLankan’s Business Class passengers can enjoy lounges around the world.
FlySmiLes Platinum (oneworld Emerald) tier members can use First Class, Business Class or frequent flyer lounges. FlySmiLes Gold (oneworld Sapphire) tier members are welcome in Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.
Emerald and Sapphire members may invite one guest to join them in the lounge. The guest must also be travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld carrier.
SriLankan Airlines has a small fleet of just over 20 aircraft - twelve A330s for long-haul and a mixture of a dozen A320 and A321s for medium and short haul routes.
The SriLankan logo features two hues of blue, orange, red and green. These colours are prevalent on entering the Business Class cabin. Passengers will see the walls and seats bearing motifs of the diversity and beauty of Sri Lanka’s flora and fauna.
The airline has a mixture of 28 or 18 Business Class seats depending on the long-haul aircraft.
The A330-300s are the newest long haul aircraft in SriLankan Airlines´ fleet. They offer 28 leather seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, providing direct aisle access for all passengers and good privacy. The flatbeds are 78” long (198 centimetres) and have a pitch of 47” (119 centimetres). They come with a power outlet, USB charging, coat hook, magazine holder and personal storage. A mattress or seat protector would have been a great accessory as it can become quite hot to sleep on leather. There are also 10 changing mood lighting settings – based on the sunsets and sunrises in Sri Lanka. A delightful surprise are the starry sky ceiling panels which twinkle when the cabin lights are dimmed and create a sense of a "higher ceiling".
Solo passengers will prefer the window seats while couples may prefer the centre seats. The challenge with reverse herringbone configurations is however that passengers seated in the centre seats have to lean forward to talk. If you are seated in the centre seats next to a stranger, the privacy is a positive.
The older A330-200 aircraft offer 18 flat bed Business Class seats in a traditional forward facing 2-2-2 configuration with a seat pitch of 77”-79” (196 to 201 centimetres). There is also a power outlet and USB charging at every seat. The seat is not the most comfortable in the sky and there is no privacy – but even the tallest passenger can stretch their legs.
Each seat comes with a thick, warm blanket and comfy pillow.
Before the meal starts you are given a choice of drink and a bowl of warm cashew nuts. After browsing through the menu, you make your choices as the delicious scents of Sri Lankan cuisine waft through the cabin.
Passengers are provided with four meal options and is always inclusive of a Sri Lankan meal for flights departing from Colombo. Kiribath (milk rice), which is offered as a breakfast option on many flights, is a favourite amongst all passengers who fly with airline. Apart from the Sri Lankan dish, the other meal options are curated to suit the relevant region and the passenger profile.
There are several options including a meat, fish and vegetarian. Be careful, the dishes can get rather spicy so prepare a large glass of water just in case! The portions are sizeable and the food trays are delivered to you individually – all plated neatly.
A selection of cheese and desserts complete the main meal service.
When a second meal is served on long flights, this is delivered pre-served with all dishes on a cloth-lined tray as a quicker service, similar to what many airlines do.
There are snacks on demand during the journey.
The signature Champagne offered for Business Class is Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut. The Champagne is served at your seat before take-off and is available freely throughout the flight. Two white and two red wines as well as port wine is also on offer, as well as beer and a wide range of aperitifs, spirits and liqueurs.
The printed menu promotes the SriLankan Sky Bar, which includes the airline´s own cocktails such as Classic Colombo Fizz a coconut Twister and a Botanical Burst. SriLankan offers Colombo Gin, a London Dry Gin distilled and bottled in England, but based on a recipe dating back to the Second World War and originally composed from ingredients from Colombo´s Cinnemon Gardens - including Sri Lankan cinnamon bark.
SriLankan Airlines also offer two varieties of freshly blended fruit juices that consists of local fruits. Juices vary but can include “pineapple and aloe vera” and “king coconut with coconut pulp”, both of which contains nutritional health benefits and soothing flavours.
The highlight of the beverage selection is the tea service - which is quite impressive. There is an endless choice of teas available from Early Grey to English Breakfast – all from Sri Lanka, of course. It is served in proper individual steel tea pots, large china cups and there is even a choice of hot or cold milk!
Bottled water is provided at each seat and is topped up when crew notice you are running low.
Female Sri Lankan cabin crew are dressed in beautiful Osariya uniforms, ornately designed with a peacock motif. No request is too big or too small. SriLankan realises that its fleet may not be the greatest in the sky but makes up for it with excellent service. Passengers are left alone when it is clear that they need a modicum of privacy but there is always a crew member walking up and down the aisle checking if you need something or indeed anything.
Crews – of course – vary. They all speak English perfectly and it is clear that they are well trained. Occasionally you will see lovely sparks of individuality.
Noise cancelling adjustable headphones are available on all A330-300s, A320 Neos and A321 Neos. They actually work!
The inflight entertainment offers a wide range of Hollywood and International movies, television programs, (including blockbusters, classics, Hindi, Tamil, Sinhala, Chinese, Korean, Japanese movies, and television programs), audio albums and audio broadcasts.
On the SriLankan A330 fleet, all aircraft have 15.4” (39 centimetres) screens and the rest have 9”, 11” and 13” screens (23, 28 and 22 centimetres, respectively).
The SriLankan A330-300s feature exterior cameras that provide particularly interesting views on departure and arrival. There is however no tail camera.
Wi-Fi is available on over half the fleet for a small charge, including on all A330-300s.
The current Business Class amenity kit consists of branded cosmetics from the German luxury brand Aigner. The amenity kit is provided on all night flights. You receive the basics – toothbrush & toothpaste, lip salve, socks and eye mask. Slippers are also provided.
The Business Class lavatories are equipped with essential amenities. In addition, a travel hygiene kit is provided as a health safety measure. This is offered on long and medium haul flights.
No bassinets are available in Business Class. Children - of all ages - are welcome in Business Class.
Sri Lankan offers numerous flights to India and the Maldives, many times a day. Its main workhorses are the A320 Neos and A321 Neos. On some flights you will receive a flat-bed if an A330 is used, but more often than not it is a recliner.
A320 & A321 and A320neo & A321neo have a mix of 12 and 16 recliner seats in Business Class configured 2-2.
The food and beverage offering on short and medium haul flights is adjusted to fit the shorter flying time, but overall the Business Class experience is consistent with longer flights.
SriLankan has adopted all the possible fuel and emission reduction best practices including IATA and Airbus recommendations into their daily operations, and are committed to oneworld & IATA’s, NetZero2050.
Overall, the airline is in the process of refocusing their environmental strategy into a more sustainability-driven path introducing sustainable products, streamlining the supply chain, production of upcycled & recycled products for the airline, increased emphasis on reducing their carbon footprint through market-based measures such as the ‘flygreen’ project and trading.
The airline is also taking part in community engagement, building resilient & sustainable partnerships with schools and selected community groups in terms of education & carbon reduction efforts.