Flight: Colombo (Sri Lanka) to London Heathrow
Flight Number: UL503
Plane: Airbus A330-300
Cabin: Business Class
This is a review of my Srilankan Airlines flight from Colombo to London Heathrow.
As far as I can see, this is a flight which is operated daily by Srilankan, departing Colombo at 12:55 and landing in London Heathrow at 19:10.
The return leg (UL504) departs Heathrow at 20:40 and lands in Colombo the next day at 12:35.
Having flown on a number of internal flights with Srilankan, I was excited to see what they had to offer – and I wasn’t disappointed!
I’d already checked in the day before in Singapore – this was all very straightforward. I arrived in Colombo from Singapore around 21:00.
Transiting Colombo meant that I wasn’t required to go through Security or Passport control, and as I was staying in the Airport – it’s a very easy airport to transit!
Having spent the night in the Serendiva Transit Hotel (also operated by Srilankan), I was already ticketed for my trip back to Heathrow!
I was invited to use the Serendib Lounge in Colombo. Technically, with my ticket, I could also have accessed the Serendiva Lounge, which is built into the transit hotel, so I did that when I arrived for a drink and snack, the next morning going to the Serendib Lounge.
As I’ve written in my review of the Serendib Lounge, I was extremely impressed with the food – though perhaps the decor could do with a little work :).
This trip was going to be on Srilankan’s A330-300.
Srilankan are a modest-sized airline, and have 7 of the A330-300’s and 5 of the A330-200’s – as well as 12 A320 and A321’s.
All of Srilankan’s A330-300’s are configured in 28 Business Class + 269 Economy – giving a total of 297 seats. They do not operate Premium Economy or First Class cabins.
Seat 3A is a forward-facing window seat; I’ve reviewed this seperately here.
It is is good seat, but it’s sadly lacking in storage and starting to look a quite tired. However, not all is lost, as I understand that Srilankan are in the process of acquiring A350 and A330neo aircraft.
Food and Drink
Before takeoff champagne was offered, along with water. Srilankan’s Champagne offering is Piper Heidsieck Brut – which is becoming quite a standard for many airlines.
Once airborne, I was quickly offered a drink, which was served with cashew nuts. This flight was going to be around 14 hours – so I thought I’d try a dry Sherry!
If I was to be critical of Srilankan, I would say that their drinks offerings could use improvement. The only beer they offer is Lion, and the wines offered are either red or white, according to the menu – although when I did ask for a glass of red, I was given a couple of options.
Food – Lunch
Once sat down, I was offered a very nice looking menu, which had a very wide range of lunch items. On the left of the menu were the drinks options.
Appetizer options were:
- Dill cured salmon
- Picket vegetables
Options for lunch were:
- Chicken tikka breast
- Cheese tortellini and prawns
- Beef steak
- Vegetarian choice
Desert options were:
- Pear almond cake
- Fresh fruit
- Crackers and cheese
- and of the course a KitKat!
Srilankan’s meal service is a single-tray service – which is something other airlines are moving away from post-Covid. That aside, I thought the food was great! Srilankan really do have great tasting food both in their lounges, and on board their aircraft.
During the course of the meal, the very enthusiastic cabin crew brought down a bread basket, and were keen to ensure I was well-stocked with bread!
Food – Dinner
One thing that I thought really set Srilankan aside from other same-day long-haul flights I’ve traveled on, is their secondary food service.
Many airlines offer something a lot more basic for their second meal – but not Srilankan!
Options for dinner included;
- Chicken piccata
- Lamb and mint pie
- Negombo prawns
- Vegetarian choice
I decided to go for the chicken option, which I really enjoyed. It was a really hearty meal for a secondary service – and something I was glad of!
Food – Snacks
If there was one small thing that let the flight down it was a lack of mid-flight snacks. Perhaps this is because offering two large meals is quite sufficient? But when I enquired, I was offered cashew nuts. I do like cashew nuts, but there could have been a few more options!
Srilankan provided me with a nice Amenities Kit, from Aigner of Munich.
Inside the Amenities Kit was;
- Ear plugs
- A comb
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Body lotion
- Lip balm
Separately, an eye mask and socks were provided.
A second ‘Covid Kit’ was also provided which had a mask and some hand sanitizer – although masks are not required whilst flying with Srilankan.
Three Wifi packages were available;
- Full flight messaging for $10 (limited to 15MB)
- Three hours internet for $25 (limited to 50MB)
- Full flight internet for $40
Having purchased Wifi for one of my other flights with Srilankan, which failed to work, I wasn’t crazy on spending $40 – so I decided to focus on non-internet based work!
The entertainment system is controlled by a remote control, in the side of the seat console. What I really like about this is that you can control music separately from the main screen – which is great if you want to listen to music whilst watching the flight map, for example.
Akin to BA’s ‘old’ First Class, or American’s Flagship, the TV screens ‘flip in’ for take off and landing, officially.
I found the entertainment options to be plentiful. There was a good range of music, films, TV – and of course the flight map! The TV is of a good size, I’d say – and the cabin crew were not that fussed about having the screen stowed for takeoff or landing.
Headphones were provided too – but I forgot to grab a picture!
The Cabin Crew were excellent!
They were charming, keen to offer me lots of bread, and were quick to ensure my glass was never half empty – and were keen to have a chat!
Throughout the flight the Cabin Crew were constantly asking me if I needed anything, or if there was anything they could do.
Top marks cabin crew!
Landing in Heathrow
Once landed, we were quick to de-board the plane.
Passport control was also fairly quick.
Sadly, what was not quick was luggage! I waited nearly 90 minutes for my luggage to arrive! I’m not blaming Srilankan, it’s Heathrow’s fault – but this was pretty poor in my view!
Srilankan may be a modest-sized airline, but despite their size they lead from the front on both service and their hearty food.
For sure, the aircraft could have been newer, the seat newer, the snacks better – but that balanced against the fact that Srilankan are attempting to run an airline during a civil war, and after the catastrophic effects of Covid; I think makes them a great airline indeed! I’ll be happy to return to them soon!
101 out of 107 – or 94%.
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