Jonathan Norman flies aboard Sri Lankan Airlines, from London Heathrow to Bandaranaike Airport, Colombo.
On time: Slightly delayed departure from London Heathrow but arrived in Colombo on time.
My seat: 2A.
Fellow passengers: I arrived to find someone else’s possessions scattered all over my seat. The contents of a handbag, an iPhone, a half-drunk glass of champagne and trashy magazines made it a scene reminiscent from a piece of Tracey Emin artwork. The lady who had mistakenly taken my seat seemed highly strung so I had no problem swapping seats, positioning myself one row back.
With it being a night flight I was asleep within a couple of hours of take-off, only to be repeatedly woken by what sounded like a very one-sided argument. I could hear a woman loudly complaining to what I thought was her very quiet partner. I put it down to drunkenness and figured they would eventually pass out but it wasn’t to be. After being woken for the third time I grumpily decided to investigate only to find the source of the commotion wasn’t coming from two people but one. The lady who had originally taken my seat was now having some kind of night terror. She was asleep but shouting, thrashing around and gesticulating. Half in and half out of her seat she looked and sounded incredibly uncomfortable. I alerted a couple of attendants who managed to move her into a more comfortable position. There was one seat left in Business Class which I moved to and the remainder of the flight was uneventful.
The service: Approachable and friendly staff who dealt with the situation above promptly.
How full: Only that one seat left in Business Class and Economy looked pretty full as well.
Entertainment: Was so limited I thought I’d picked up the wrong brochure. From the selection of roughly 10 recently released films Deadpool 2 was the only one that vaguely appealed and even that I gave a miss. I find flying to be anything but relaxing so usually opt for comedy box sets to while away the time, but the options there were just as barren. One episode of Family Guy doesn’t eat up much of a long-haul flight.
Food and drink: As you’d expect from a Sri Lankan airline there was quite the selection of tea available with Black Tea Sunny Lemon a hit. Champagne, quality red and white wine and even Cockburn’s Port an option for those who want to drink through the night. Sri Lanka boasts some of the finest cuisine I’ve ever been fortunate enough to sample on my travels so I got into the mood for what was to come with the chicken coriander curry which was creamy and full of flavour.
The toilets: Didn’t need them too often but when I did there was no queue and the cubicles were clean.
Luggage: Charged $20 for going over my allowance by 2kg. Arrived without issue.
The airport experience: The Heathrow Business Class lounge wasn’t as impressive as Emirates. It’s not as spacious nor as much choice of food, but pleasant enough.
Would I fly this again? I would. Economy flights are available for around $1000 and it’s the only direct service from London to Colombo. The time of flight makes the journey zip by if you don’t have someone doing an impression of Animal from the Muppets in their sleep in the seat in front of you.
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