Introduction: Hello! I am a university student based in Singapore. I am extremely interested about airplanes, although I do not study anything related to it. However, I intend to keep up with my passion to keep my life dynamic and exciting. I have started an instagram account which documents my travels and flights, past and present. Do follow me at @draviationsg. After being hooked on this website for so long, I have finally decided to start writing my own flight report. This is my very first flight report, please give me some comments on how I can improve! I do have some pictures of some older flights, including a Singapore Airlines A350 flight to Jakarta. I hope to be able to write a report on that flight soon!
Background on Trip
I went to Sri Lanka for a school project in Anuradhapura, in the North Central Province. We decided to fly into Colombo from Singapore and take a train from Colombo to Anuradhapura. I did not take pictures on my flight from Singapore to Colombo, hence there will be no flight report. However, I managed to take more than enough photos on my return journey to put together a flight report, including the stunning photograph of Singapore on the cover.
The SIN-CMB route is served by three airlines: Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Emirates. Our first considerations was flight timing- we wanted a flight in the morning so that we could catch the afternoon train to Anuradhapura. As such, Emirates was out of the equation as its flights depart Singapore at 0055 and arrive at an unearthly hour of 0150. What a waste as I do enjoy flying 77Ws. Singapore Airlines recently launched a morning flight to CMB, departing at 0845 and arriving just around 10. However, these flights only operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sri Lankan Airlines has 3 flights between SIN and CMB- one in the morning a 0945, one at 1515 and a night flight at 2005. A quick check on price showed that on 1 Jul, SIA was selling at $500, UL was selling at $490. However, if we depart on 30 Jun instead, UL was giving us a good flight at $413 (we were quite irritated to find out that the price went down to $390 two weeks after we booked). As such, we decided to fly with UL. Ideally, I would have liked to fly with SIA as I always feel comfortable in it. However, the price difference was too much to ignore and UL was the final choice.
We flew SIN-CMB on UL 307, departing at 0945 and arriving at 1105, on an A321 aircraft. I do not have any pictures on that flight as I was too busy taking care of the group. But in summary, the A321 had a nice new interior and comfortable seats. Crew were friendly, but service was disorganised. Entertainment options were also limited, but sufficient for a 3h 30 min flight.
I had something on back in Singapore and had to depart one day earlier. Given the choice, i would never fly a red eye flight, so I chose to fly the 1215 flight from Colombo which would arrive at 1915 in Singapore on a A320.
Sri Lankan Airlines has a bidding system, where people can bid for upgrades on their flights. i decided to try my luck and put in what was determined to be a "weak" bid according to the system of about SGD260. 24h before the flight, my upgrade was confirmed and this was to be my first ever business class flight. I wished it would have been on SIA, but this is fine too!
Now here is the report proper!
I stayed at The Gateway Hotel Airport Garden Colombo, a hotel of the Taj group of hotels about 5-7 minutes away from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA, as some locals call it). It was clean and comfortable and excellent service. I had a free upgrade as the hotel was full, according to the manager. Won't talk too much about it, but I highly recommend this hotel if you have an early departure or a long layover in Colombo. here are some pictures of it!
A SriLankan pork curry dish from the in-room dining menu
Sri lankan egg hopper and coconut roti from the breakfast buffet
Exterior of hotel
I took the airport shuttle which cost USD 9 to BIA. Not really worth it for a 5 minute journey, but I guess there was no other option.
Some photos on the way to BIA
At the airport BIA is a single terminal airport. It is a functional airport- it has enough facilities, but nothing outstanding. There was a total of 3 security screenings before we boarded the flight- one just before you enter the departure hall, which was open to passengers only. The second one was just before proceeding to check in- I remember the last time I was here for a red eye flight, there was a massive queue at this security check, and very disorganised as there was no indication of where the queue started. Thankfully, there was no such queue this time, just a short one.
Entering the departure hall after clearing the first security check
No doubt whose hub this is with this giant sign
I kind of forgot that I was taking business class and headed to the online check in counter for all passengers. The lady at the check in counter looked at me quite bewilderedly, as if saying "what are you doing here". She went on to tell me that in future, i could use the first two check in counters as itll be faster. Well, there was only 1 person in front of me so it did not make that much of a difference. but still, shows that I am still getting used to the different perks of flying in premium classes.
Pictures of the check in counters. It was rather empty at that time
The premium check in counter
Immigration was a breeze- definitely much better compared to my previous flight out of BIA one year ago at night. Then, it took me almost an hour to get into the check in hall and crossing immigration to airside.
Once at airside, I took a quick look at the FIDS. My flight was codeshared with MihinLanka (and Qantas as well). Many departures were to regional destinations in India and some in China. Two other flights to Singapore are visible on the FIDS, the SIA flight at 1130 and the Emirates flight at 1515.
All business class passengers are welcome to use the Serendib lounge in BIA. There is another lounge, the Serenediva Lounge, which is apparently much better with Spa services as well. However, that lounge was only open to oneworld elite passengers. It is quite complicated but information can be found on the Sri lankan airlines website for lounge access.
I did some plane spotting on the way to the lounge. Little did i know that the view from the lounge would be exactly the same.
Singapore Airlines A330-300 to Singapore. Wish I had been on this flight!
Air india A321
A couple of UL 330s sitting at the parking stands. Interestingly, there were plenty of aerobridge gates available, but yet there were so many aircraft parked at the remote bay. Wonder why though.
Entrance to the Serendib Lounge.
The staff in the lounge just took my lounge invitation and invited me to enjoy the lounge.
The lounge was well furnished with a dining area and an area for people to sit around and do their work. There were great views of the tarmac, but the blinds were down, and my view was blocked. I had to push the blinds away to take the shots below
Naturally, i sat near the windows to get a good view of the tarmac (or whatever view I had left of it). This is the view from my seat. The lounge was quite empty when i first entered, but started to fill up and eventually almost every seat was occupied.
I came when they were just changing from breakfast to lunch buffet. There were some breakfast offerings left and I just took a bit to sample. My apologies for not having any pictures of the spread. The eggs benedict was… bad. The "muffin" below was hard and dry, and the eggs were not runny at all. I took a look at the lunch offering later as well, but nothing really stood out.
Enjoying a glass of champagne while catching up with my newspapers
A list of services offered in the lounge. Not bad.
Selection of alcohol on display
SQ 467 push back and ready to returnto Singapore. Catch you later in SIN! in my eyes, Singapore Airlines is still the best airline, though I am worried about its future with competition from ME3 and budget airlines.
At around 11.20, I decided to leave the lounge so that I could check out some of the shops around before I go to my gate. The FIDS stated that my flight was on "last call", and some passengers around me frantically called out "C'mon run! We have to catch the flight! We are going to be late" However, I knew that the FIDS was not accurate as it was well before departure time. I took a slow stroll over to the gate.
True enough, the flight was nowhere near boarding. For that matter, the crew arrived 3 minutes after I cleared security, at around 11.45 which was the original boarding time. I was thinking that unless there was a miracle or super efficient boarding, we were on for a delayed departure. I wanted to take pictures of the aircraft. However, there were signs on the glass that clearly stated that photography of was not allowed. I was pretty amused at it, but I complied. At 12 noon, boarding was called and as a business class passenger, I was in the first group to board. Pictures on the aerobridge- our neighbouring A330. if I am not wrong, it had just arrived from Male.
Bad angle, but this is the best shot i could get of our A320
Onboard the aircraft I was welcomed by 2 members of the crew, but no one guided me to my seat or checked my boarding pass, just a greeting "Ayubowan". I quickly settled into my seat 3A to enjoy my very first business class experience.
Quick view of my seat: Leather recliner seats, seat width of 21 and pitch of 39-40. Definitely more than enough room, and a luxury to someone who usually only flies economy xD
Based on the number of people who entered, I guess that the flight was probably quite full in economy, but thankfully I had an empty seat beside me.
Welcome drinks were served, with choices of apple juice, orange juice or water. Water would be my choice for now.
At 1215, the captain came on the PA to welcome us onboard and provided us some information on the flight. Flight time was estimated to be 3h 45 min, with quite a fair bit of turbulence. Miraculously, boarding was completed by then, and the crew requested everyone to be seated for headcount to be done. A staff member literally went down the cabin with a counter to count the number of passengers. The only time I recalled seeing this was on a budget airline, Tiger airways flight to Haikou.
At around 1220 or so, we pushed back and safety demonstration was also done over the PA with crew demonstration.
One last look at our neighbour
Taxi-ing to the runway, took about 4-5 minutes
Banking left after take off, giving us one final view of BIA. Thank you for the memories Sri Lanka. Unforunately this would likely be my last trip here for a while after 3 trips in the past 2 years. Definitely going to miss this place and the people.
The ascend was turbulent, as was the whole flight
After the seatbelt sign was turned off, I decided to watch Kungfu panda 2. There was a limited selection of movies, but definitely enough for a short 3.45 flight.
Headphones- good enough, but not enough to cancel out the voice of the passenger across the aisle (who was talking really loudly)
The table is set for meal service!
Let's take a look at today's menu. Three choices for the main course.
Pre-meal drink service was done. Champagne for me again. Orders for lunch and drinks were actually taken before departure.
Meal service today
The appetiser was a simple greek salad with feta cheese. For the main, I had enough of rice the past few days and was craving some western dishes. Hence, I went for the lamb.
The salad was actually very bad- very bland and it seemed like there was no dressing, not even olive oil. Only the cheese provided some taste to it. underwhelming. The lamb was decent- the sauce was flavourful. The meat was slightly tough, but still edible- cant expect super tender meat on inflight meals.
Hot bread rolls and garlic were offered from the basket. I had the garlic bread and a soft plain bun. Both were slightly sweet and tasted not bad. However, i prefer garlic bread to be slightly crusty, but this one was just soft, but still not bad, just a personal preference
My tray was cleared and dessert was offered. A pineapple ginger cake and some fresh fruits. The cake was nice, but it was quite sweet and I could only handle 2/3 of it. Fruits were normal.
From my memory, no one offered any coffee or tea at the end of the meal.
requested for some water after the meal
Bottles of water were distributed to every passenger
i made a quick visit to the lavatory. It was well stocked with different amenities.
When i returned to my seat, my windows were closed, and the cabin lights started to dim to allow passengers to rest
I continued watching my movie. And requested for more nuts. I also decided to order a Cockburn wine, just to try out the different wines onboard. After all, I did pay for these perks haha.
After the movie, I tried to sleep, but could not really fall asleep despite starting the day so early. I continued reading the newspapers on my iPad
After a while, i decided to take a walk to the galley to chat with the crew. There was a lady there whom I unfortunately cannot remember her name. She was friendly and offered me more drinks. I requested for some coffee. I thought she looked familar and asked her if she had flown to Singapore on 30 Jun and she said yes. She was very attentive- on my visit to the toilet previously, I had a very sleepy look and was just touching my hair, and she asked if I was having a headache. overly concerned, but signs of great service. She requested me to fill up a feedback form and I gave her some nice comments (: hopefully her efforts will be recognised by Sri lankan airlines!
Coffee- very weak and tasteless. I passed on this comment to that flight attendant who offered to ratify it, but i declined as I was already filled with liquid
About 35 minutes prior to arrival, the first officer can on the PA to give us some arrival information. He warned us that some delays were expected due to heavy air traffic at this time. It was a typical Singapore evening of 30 degrees celsius and light winds.
Window shades were up and I was treated to to some lovely views of the surrounding islands.
Route of approach. We would be flying across singapore heading up north and coming round to approach from the north
A pre-arrival drink of apple juice
Nice fluffy clouds
Just at this moment, I saw a familar shape of an island- it was the first time I have seen Singapore and its iconic shape from a plane. It looks beautiful, and also gives me a different perspective on how small Singapore is.
Making a left turn over Malaysian territory to line up on Changi's runway from the North
Approach to Changi
We parked at one of the furthest gates in Terminal 3. A long walk awaits
Back on home ground! Glad to be back
i was unable to get a good picture of the plane upon disembarkation
This concludes my first ever business class flight and also my first ever flight report! Thank you for reading!
Sri Lankan Serendib Lounge
Colombo - CMB
Singapore - SIN
BIA: A very functional airport- has all the necessary amenities and services. It is also very clean. However, it is quite a distance away from the city of colombo. Efficiency was high more because there was no large crowds, but I have seen worse. I think that there is potential for greater development for BIA!
Sri Lankan Business class: Worth the extra $250 top up from economy fare, but I would not pay 3 times the price of economy for it. Food was decent and service was excellent. Seats were comfortable, and good for a narrowbody aircraft on a 3.45 min flight.
Singapore Changi Airport: The only airport in the world where I can leave my aircraft and be on my way out of the airport within 10-15 minutes. Excellent
Overall, a nice flight with Sri Lankan Airlines!
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