Hi guys, welcome to the 10th flight report by me. This time its the first leg of a return journey between Colombo and Delhi completed in December 2016.
I have been a die hard railfan long before becoming an avgeek. There are no operational narrow gauge railway lines in our home country (there were few, but all were dismantled or converted to broad gauge long time ago). I badly needed to have a ride on one and fortunately our neighboring country still have few lines preserved as UNESCO heritage sites. Along with three other railnuts I decided to visit the Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh with an extended journey upto Manali Valley. Delhi was chosen as the port of entry and UL as the airline which is one of the only two airlines operating direct flights between CMB and DEL along with AI.
We arrived at the airport in the typical manner, via the expressway.
Just before the security screening prior to check-in.
This supermarket outlet offers goods at "regular" prices.
People queuing for security screening before entering into check-in area.
UL had about 14 check-in counters open, most of them were common for all of their flights and two of them for online check-in passengers. We belonged to the latter so we dropped our baggage and collected the BPs. It took about 10 mins for this process.
It took another 10 mins to clear immigration and reach airside.
We were given a remote gate but since we have sometime to kill, we headed to the viewing gallery.
My boarding pass.
Turn it back and oh… how can you waste such a good space without any advertisement, right?
My favourite place in the whole airport…
Let's go through the aircraft parked here…
UL A321 4R-MRD.. ex Mihin Lanka. Came under UL after its absorbed MJ's fleet and routes. I think all three ex-MJ aircraft are due to be returned to the lessor soon, that's why they have not painted any of them in UL livery.
UL A321 4R-ABQ. One of the two original A321s of UL, the other will take us to New Delhi.
A332 4R-ALC. At the age of seventeen, waiting for retirement in coming years.
A333s 4R-ALL and ALM. Two of the latest in UL fleet.
A320 4R-ABL. One of the two oldest A320s in UL fleet. This and 4R-ABK are over eleven years old and does not posses any IFE. May retire in next year after arrival of A320neo.
We decided to walk around the terminal a bit…
Concourse for the gates with jet bridges.
Model of the new terminal which is scheduled to be in operation by 2020.
We turned back to reach our gate. CMB allows arriving and departing passengers to mix and has airside security screening at gates just like in KUL and SIN. By the time we reached our gate, the boarding has already commenced.
Views from the bus. It's the first time I'm taking a bus to board an aircraft!
Today our aircraft is 4R-ABR, an eight year old A321 delivered to UL in 2014. You can see my friend aiming his DSLR to get a good shot.
View from my seat 27A. SV787 departing for Riyadh.
UL A320 4R-ABP.
Most frequent visitor to CMB. EK348 from DXB will continue to SIN as a fifth freedom flight.
In flight magazine of UL.
Seat pitch is pretty decent for a three and half hour flight.
Water was offered before departure. A nice gesture, especially on this extremely warm weather.
Last passengers boarding.
Tried to turn on the flight map and ouch!!! This error was reported by one of my friend who took a flight in the other UL A321 early this year. Looks like its common to the both ABQ and ABR and they have no intention of rectifying it.
View of the cabin.
Pushing back on time.
Who can hate this cute safety demo video…
Here we go…
Bye bye Colombo!
Turning northwards over Negombo lagoon.
Flying almost parallel to the west coast of the country. This is when I realised I made mistake by choosing a seat on the left! on a flight in the afternoon!! flying northwards!!!
Menus were distributed while we were still over Sri Lanka.
Meals carts rolled out just as we entered Indian skies.
My meal tray. I chose the chicken option.
The dessert and salad.
One thing I really like about UL. Steel cutlery in Y class!
Crew offered Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Red and White wines, and three types of beer as choices of drinks. I went for a beer and chose Stella Artios over Carlsberg and Lion Larger, just because I haven't tried the brand.
The chicken rice… It tasted pretty good and spicy. At the end of the meal service crew offered coffee and tea too.
So many rivers on the way…
Felt really dumb without flight map… IFE too was bad with limited choices. Turned on some oldies music just not to be bored.
The information displayed was rotating and showing the altitude occasionally.
We were on course for an early landing and captain asked the crew to get ready for it. Then this happened… I should thank my fellow avgeek Mr. O for tracking us.
No announcements were given, we were going around and descending…
Moon also came to the scenery.
And sun again…
After shifting between views of moon and sun once again, we were back on track for landing…
Taxiing to the gate.
Parked next to this guy… we were late by 10 mins.
Thank You ABR and its crew for flying us here safely!
Some views at the international arrival pier at DEL.
Immigration. It was crowded but there were separate counters for foreign passport holders. Took about 10 mins to pass through and we were officially in India.
First scene after exting the airport was this long queue at an ATM. Found out that its a common sight in the coming days. Demonetization has made a huge impact on daily lives of people, including foreign tourists!
Headed to the metro station to reach the city.
That concludes the onward leg of my trip. Hope you enjoyed and will see you soon with the return leg.
Colombo - CMB
New Delhi - DEL
A decent flight with Sri Lankan. Cabin was comfortable, crew was serving with all smiles and catering was great. Only disappointment was lack of flight map and horrible IFE. Overall its a good experience.
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