Executive travel: Flying from Sri Lanka to Heathrow in fine style

As the newest member of oneworld – the third-largest global airline group – SriLankan has much to offer the business traveller.

Being part of the alliance means travellers can earn and spend air miles across all the 14 members, which include Qatar Airways, British Airways and Qantas.

SriLankan’s latest A330-300 business class product was launched two years ago on key routes such as the UAE.

My 11-hour, 20-minute journey from Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International in Colombo to London Heathrow began with SriLankan’s only branded lounge, Serendib,

Located near the airline’s gate, there’s a food buffet, business centre, relaxation room, views of the airport apron and even an Ayurvedic foot spa offering complimentary 15-minute treatments.

On board, the new premium cabin has a smart and contemporary interior and 27 business class seats, all with aisle access. With a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration, the centre seats suit colleagues travelling together, while the window seats offer privacy for solo travellers.

During the flight, two food services are offered, with the first including tea-cured salmon fillet starters – full of flavour and beautifully presented. The second meal, served a few hours before landing, included roast pumpkin soup as a starter, followed by tikka chicken breast with saffron rice.

For travellers wanting to work, a large folding table and side ­table is ideal for setting up office along with USB and universal power ports. Wi-Fi is a rather pricey US$25 for 40 megabytes.

For those looking to relax, the seats are kitted out with a large high-definition touchscreen with a secondary controller to navigate the system, check on flight progress or play games.

The seats angle away from the aisles and easily recline into a 198-centimetre fully flat bed. A thicker blanket and a mattress protector – something other airlines offer in business – to protect from the leather finish of the seat would have been nice. However, SriLankan offers two linen-covered pillows featuring ornate modern peacock designs.

Passengers flying business also have the airline’s limousine service, which provides a door-to-door service – a great addition to already affordable fares.


So how much are tickets from the UAE to Colombo?

Fares are currently on promotion, with business class seats from Dh2,120 plus taxes .The A330-300 operates from Dubai five days a week, and a smaller A320 aircraft flies from Abu Dhabi and Dubai the rest of the week.

Is there a “bid upgrade” system in place?

Yes, all passengers with a SriLankan economy class ticket are able to bid for a business class seat if there is one available. The online bid system, found on SriLankan’s home page, offers suggested bid levels and the strength of their offer. Passengers will find out 24-48 hours before their flight if their bid has been successful, at which point their credit card will be charged.

What amenities were handed out?

Slippers, an eye mask and amenity kits from Crabtree and Evelyn packed with a moistur­iser, lip balm and a refreshing Jojoba oil face mist as well as the usuals, such as a toothbrush. If you only want to sleep, ask for the kit early as this isn’t usually distributed until after the first food service.

The A330-300 offers the new business class. But what of the other aircraft?

SriLankan’s A330-200 aircraft, which fly shorter routes, also feature a fully flat business class, however, these are six seats across, compared with four, and situated in pairs, so offer less privacy. They still offer the same comprehensive in-flight entertainment though.


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