Ayubowan!! Welcome to my first trip report. This is my first ever trip report so thus apologies for my spelling errors, bad grammar, poor quality pictures, etc…
Without waiting further, lets start: The day started off a bit gloomy. it was raining and that ruined all our plans for the morning. We were resting in our hotel throughout the day until we finally left the magnificent hotel of Colombo to Badarnaike International Airport.
The following pictures gives you an idea of the weather like at the time. There were dark clouds every where that made the lush green trees look pretty. A sign( that was oddly placed as we were still 30 K.M away from our airport) showed us the directions to the airport.
I also took a screen shot of the weather forecast of the day.
As we neared BIA the weather started to clear as shown in the picture below:
We finally arrived at BIA and I was surprised by the number of people waiting outside the airport. BIA annoyingly has 4 security checks that passengers have to go through. This is the 1st check point where they check your bags and your ticket. Tip: Try printing out your ticket in advance, this makes it convenient for the security officers.
As we finished our 1st security check, we were led to a weird hallway that is under construction. It looked like the hallway was freshly painted and the presence of government run shops (i might not sure this might be wrong)made it easy for the tourists to do their last minute souvenir shopping.
I thought the hallway led us to the check in desks but i was wrong. There was another security check. It was the exact same as the last one. This was the 2nd security check. After that we went straight to our check-in counter which was very conveniently located. The check-in was a very slow process and the check-in agent took for ever to do a single passenger. This made it annoying because each flight was only given 1 counter. The check-in agent did not smile at all for the entire duration of the check-in, this did not make a happy atmosphere.
The picture given below shows us that every flight for the day had 1 counter for check in. Flights that also left on that day include: Colombo to Doha (-Srilankan airlines and Qatar airways) Colombo to Riyadh (-Srilankan airlines) Colombo to Singapore (-Emirates and Srilankan airlines) Colombo to Shanghai (-China eastern airlines and Srilankan airlines) Colombo to New Delhi (-Air India and Srilankan airlines) Colombo to Melbourne (-Srilankan airlines) Colombo to Mumbai (-Jet Airways) Colombo to Bangalore (-Srilankan airlines) etc……
I unfortunately could not take a picture of the immigration thus,I will explain it by words. The immigration was slow like all the other procedures in the airport and the Immigration officers was sleepy and he was focusing on something else. The good part about the time I went is that it was not rush hour, but, if I had come 30 minutes late then the rush hour would've -started and the process would've been longer. This is because large carriers such as Saudi( B777), Etihad(B777) and Emirates(A380 and B777) would open their check-in counters.
After immigration, we went to check out the shops and restaurants available in the airport. The options were average and i cant really complain about it. Restaurants included Pizza Hut, Burger king and Barista coffee shop. I think i remember seeing a Starbucks in the airport but i am not sure.
After that, we had a little peek around Colombo airport and I did some plane spotting. Picture courtesy: Flightradar24
Etihad airways ( A6-AEA) A321-321 to Abu Dhabi (old livery) 2-2 configuration for business and 3-3 configuration for economy 16 Business class seats and 120 economy seats
Air India ( VT-PPX) a321-211 to Delhi 2-2 configuration for business and 3-3 configuration for economy 12 business class seats and 170 economy class seats
Qatar Airways (A7-AEA) A340-642 to Doha 1-2-1 configuration for First, 2-2-2 configuration for business and 2-4-2 configuration for economy 8 first class seats, 42 business class seats and 260 economy seats
Korean Air ( HL7585) A330-323 From Male 2-2-2 configuration for First, 2-2-2 configuration for business and 2-4-2 configuration for economy 6 first class seats, 24 business class seats and 188 economy class seats
Azur Air (N/A) To Moscow
Srilankan Airlines (4R-ALL) A330-343 From Tokyo 1-2-1 configuration for first, 2-4-2 configuration for economy 28 business class seats and 289 economy class seats
Emirates (A6-EPB) B777-31H To Singapore 1-2-1 configuration for first,2-3-2 configuration for business and 3-4-3 configuration for economy 8 first class seats, 42 business class seats and 304 economy seats
Our flight was on schedule and on gate No.10
I, unfortunately am not a member of Srilankan airline's frequent flyer program (flysmiles) nor am I a business class passenger thus i could not visit the famous serendib lounge
I felt that the boarding pass should improve as they look plain and bland. Colours can improve the feelings inside your body. Colours such as Gold(Etihad), Red(Air India) and Purple(Thai airways) give a better royal or expensive look. Colors such as grey(China Eastern Airlines), Dark blue( Srilankan Airlines) and Light Blue( ANA) give a boring look to the boarding pass.
and finally the flight that will carry me to Chennai
Srilankan Airlines a320 to Chennai 2-2 configuration for business class and 3-3 configuration for economy class 16 business class seats and 153 economy class seats
At the gate we had to do the 3rd security check of the day. Unlike other airports the security checking machine is located at every gate in the airport. I don't know how the airport can afford to buy so many security machines.
Colombo's BIA( Badarnaike International airport) looks very old, they need a new airport to sustain the luxury that some of the airlines need such as the middle eastern carriers and Srilankan airlines. The airport is outdated and the increasing passenger numbers are being very troublesome. Boarding
Boarding started as FA's announced seats 16-26 to board. The load on this aircraft was surprisingly less. I would estimate about 55% of the aircraft was full. I could only see 4 business class passengers. The Airbridge was very dirty and needs to be cleaned.
There was only 1 FA to greet us on the plane. This was the only moment on this trip-report where I had a happy atmosphere. As seen here, the other airlines need to create a happy atmosphere unlike the check-in agents, immigrations officers, security officers,etc… We got a glimpse of the business class product offered by Srilankan Airlines in their A321. In my opinion, just by looking at the product, I don't think it is worth spending your money on this product. I will tell you why you should not buy the business class product later on this report. If you are planning to buy the product, do note that the lounges available in Chennai airport is not very good as you have to share the lounges with other airlines and they don't have a good selection of food. The business class was also not a lie flat bed
I reached my seat(12A), where I discovered the little IFE system provided. As seen on the picture below, there is a USB port, card reader and a headphone jack available. The head phone jack was of little use as there was no headphones available. This means that the entertainment was a bit disappointing. There were very few movies and shows that had English subtitles. We could also recline the seat a little bit but it was really not needed for a 1 hour flight.
In-flight Literature The In-flight literature was in plenty First there was a branded air sickness bag in the seat pocket.
There was also the safety card for the A320
The Srilankan magazine is very fat and contains a lot of content. A good portion of the magazine is written in English but some of the articles are totally available in Tamil and Sinhalese. The Serendib magazine has a lot of ads unfortunately. Did You Know!: Serendib is another name for Sri Lanka which is derived from the arabs.
There was also a duty free shop available on the flight. It included only liquor and cigars.
They also gave a pillow on this flight unlike other full cost carriers such as China Eastern Airlines. The pillow was not that soft but you can't complain about a 1 hour flight. They did offer a softer pillow on my flight from Shanghai. They did not offer a blanket in my flight.
The seat itself was very old and the volume and brightness button on the IFE was almost not visible.
I would also like to appreciate the tray table that they offer. The tray table had a cup holder when you folded the tray. This is usually not available in most of the airlines today.
The doors were closed 20 minutes late( 18;50) because of transit passengers that took a long time to be located. The safety demonstration was not shown via the IFE system but by human demonstration. This was a bit odd because there was a monitor right in front of us. The flight attends distributed a pre-departure drink. We had an option between Water and Ceylon tea. I chose the water this time.
The plane started to go of the airbridge 10 mins later and then i remembered all the memories i made in Sri Lanka as we took of from the Srilankan soil. The take of was very noisy and it clearly showed us that Srilankan airlines needs a new fleet. I hope they would change their A320 to their new A320 neos . The picture given below is the beautiful Colombo at night.
Almost 10 mins after the plane took off they served the food. The food was a green coloured box that contained a vegetable puff, a kind of milk pastry and a carton of orange juice. Other things in the box include a spoon, a fork and a wet towel(cold).
In-Flight Entertainment Now lets have a look at the IFE The Voyager is the flight map. I think that this facility can be improved Srilankan Airlines is the packages that can be bought on arrival at BIA Book on line is a feature that does not work so thus i don't know what the feature does Fly Smiles gives you a detailed look on the advantages that this program has compared to other airlines throughout the globe. Serendipity Treasure is the duty free shop Srilankan air taxigives you the destinations in Sri lanka that they serve
The music selection is in abundance. They have most of the languages that Srilankan Airlines fly to. Mainly English, Tamil, Hindi, Chinese and Sinhalese They have live radio broadcast but that feature does not work on this flight The also have pre loaded music both these features are useless as they did not provide heaphones
The television selection was also carefully categorized and compared to other international carriers in asia they can be improved They also had serials that very mainly in Tamil and English.
The IFE also had a separate selection of music, shows ,movies and games for children.
They also had a wide variety of games available to play
This is the cabin right before landing
As we were approaching our destination airport we got an Ariel glimpse of the vibrant city of Chennai
The landing( like the takeoff) was very noisy and bumpy, making it very harsh. We got a look at Chennai international airport from the tarmac
Chennai International Airport We arrived at the gate 10 mins late but that does not matter.
We soon walked through the empty corridors to the immigration counter
The immigration was fast as there were no other international flight at that time because it was not the rush hour. The rush hour at Chennai is usually at midnight. The officer here (unlike the Sri lankan agent) was smiling at us when we went towards him and he looked like he got enough sleep for the day. After finishing immigration we headed to the baggage claim but before that we did our last security check for the day. This was the 4th security check for the day.
Our belt was no.3 and my bag came at the end.
Jet Airways launched their flight to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport recently
As i left the crowded airport of Chennai, i took a final picture of the airport at night
Thank you everyone for reading and make sure you check out my Chennai to Bangkok in Thai airways which is coming soon.
Colombo - CMB
Chennai - MAA
The flight was a very short flight but we had amenities that we normally don't get in short haul flights. The airport was very shabby and needs a renovation to meet the growing demands of the passenger. The one thing that Srilankan Airlines has to improve is to give headphones on the flight or else there is no form of entertainment, but besides entertainment i think the service, facilities and the flight as a whole was good. I definitely recommend Srilankan airlines over Jet Airways, Air India, Spice Jet and Indigo. Although Chennai airport is much better than Colombo as a whole, they should improve their lounges in the airport.
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