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  • freckles 134 posts

    Just returned from a 2 week tour of Sri Lanka, flying business with Sri Lankan. Although no requirement for vaccine passports to enter the country, I was asked for this at check in. I was issued with a lounge invite for the CX lounge and enjoyed the Dan Dan noodles and Dim Sum basket before strolling onto BA lounge. Here the chap on reception had issues with my entry, as despite being BAEC Gold his computer said ‘no’. Eventually he gave up and waived me in.

    Sri Lankan business class is a 1-2-1 configuration, so a window seat for me. Comfy enough with large screen, power socket and a USB socket (although the old style rather than a C). Plenty overhead storage and some in the footwell cubby hole.

    A small amenities kit supplied containing toothbrush/toothpaste, comb, tissues, lip balm and hand/body lotion. Slippers, socks and eye shade already at the seat along with pillow and blanket.

    Pre departure drink provided, then on departure orders taken for initial drink, dinner and breakfast meal choices. Dinner mains choices included a fillet steak, but as they took orders by row numbers there was none left by the time they reached me. Starter, main, dessert and cheese all served as a 1 tray service (Sri Lankan still ‘limiting’ contact with passengers), along with another choice of drink, followed by tea/coffee.

    Lights dimmed fairly swiftly after service to allow max sleep time.

    Breakfast was fruit, yoghurt, hot choice, croissant with tea/coffee.

    Arrival in Colombo was easy and efficient – plenty of immigration desks open and no queues.

    Departing, I had invite to the Serendib lounge which was bright and very quiet. The buffet was being changed to lunch time choices and offered a great selection of salads, soup, about 6 hot dish choices, sandwiches, cheese, desserts and fruit. The bar offered a reasonable choice, but no fizz.

    Return flight was a day flight, so lunch and dinner served. Again pre departure drink, then orders for both meals and initial drink taken. This time they started with those passengers with status, so I got first choice and opted for the fillet steak which was again on the menu. Can’t say it was the worlds best steak as you would imagine for a reheated airline meal, but perfectly pleasant. Whilst a second drink was offered with lunch, they didn’t then automatically offer further selection, although judging by the number of times the cabin crew visited a seat on the other side with a bottle there was no problem with requests.

    Sri Lanka itself at the moment is wide open and inviting. I was in a small group tour of 9 people and we were welcomed everywhere – in fact at some hotels we stayed at we were the only guests which is sad to see. We did come across other small groups of overseas tourists, but numbers are as yet very very low.

    A few things listed on menus are not currently available – lamb and steak and expensive imported branded spirits for example, but otherwise no issues. We only experienced 1 power cut near the end of the tour for around an hour, but the restaurant supplied battery powered lights and kept us happy with drinks until they were able to take food orders.

    Overall a really good 2 weeks touring through National Parks, ancient cites, the hill country and tea plantations, Sigiriya, elephant orphanage, beaches and a whistle stop visit to Colombo.

    memesweeper 1,180 posts

    Thanks for the detailed update. Staying on my “would like to visit” list.

    Aston100 1,367 posts

    Thanks for the trip report.
    Were there any signs of unrest anywhere?
    Did you go to Yala?

    freckles 134 posts

    @memesweeper – possibly never a better time to go if you want to avoid tourist crowds.

    – absolutely no signs of unrest. Our tour guide whilst admitting that there had been demonstrations etc suggested that what we had seen reported in the west was perhaps a little ‘over egged’ and it was confined to a very small area. There is no doubt that the country has suffered over the past 2 years with COVID and concerns over the political/financial situation. Clear signs of closed restaurants/shops etc, tuk tuk drivers eager for business etc, but from what we saw it’s a very safe country.
    We didn’t visit Yala, but did go to Wilpattu (north from Negombo, near to Anuradhapura), and although half the drive was in a monsoon downpour, we did spot an elusive leopard. Best sightings of elephants (other than adorable babies at the orphanage) were in Udawalawe National Park.

    Forgot to mention on original post, Sri Lankan have been really quick with Avios/tier points so far – outbound was credited after 10 days, very impressed.

    Aston100 1,367 posts

    Thanks for the additional info.
    There was a chance for us to visit Sri Lanka in 2023, but the unrest reported in the news put us off.
    Will look at 2024 when the time is right.

    strickers 684 posts

    Thanks for that, should be there next month if Sri Lankan don’t change our flights again. Starting in Chennai, 10 nights touring Sri Lanka, down to the Maldives for 5 and back to Chennai for a week. There’s a slight issue with API information stored by Sri Lankan but I’m hoping to be able to update that at check in! What’s the mask situation like there at the moment?

    freckles 134 posts

    Hi @strickers, masks not compulsory anywhere, but lots of locals still wearing them out and about, including most hotel staff. We were advised to carry one in case. Enjoy the trip.

    strickers 684 posts

    Thanks Freckles. One other question, did you check in online and if you did were you asked to check API in the process?

    freckles 134 posts

    No, I checked in at LHR, I wanted to make sure they had my BAEC number on the booking as it sometimes appeared and sometimes didn’t when I looked at booking online.

    strickers 684 posts

    OK, thanks. They want $40 each for a name change because we didn’t put our middle names on the ticket. My gut feeling says it will be fine.

    freckles 134 posts

    I don’t think my middle name was on my booking either

    Michael C 642 posts

    My bro was booked into CMB-ICN with Sri Lankan in club a couple of weeks ago,
    and received an email beforehand to note there was no IFE “including drop-down tv screens”!!

    Michael C 642 posts

    Masks are pretty much everywhere, and power cuts still v frequent but shorter – not usually longer than 1-2 hours.

    strickers 684 posts

    Currently in Cape Town, my wife rolls her eyes when I pack a head torch, she’s been very grateful I did!

    qc 177 posts

    Thanks for that, should be there next month if Sri Lankan don’t change our flights again. Starting in Chennai, 10 nights touring Sri Lanka, down to the Maldives for 5 and back to Chennai for a week. There’s a slight issue with API information stored by Sri Lankan but I’m hoping to be able to update that at check in! What’s the mask situation like there at the moment?

    When are you going – I’ll be interested in your experiences as we’re doing a similar trip for 5 weeks at the end of Feb.

    strickers 684 posts

    Heading off in just over a week. I’ll add some details when we leave Sri Lanka for the Maldives at the end of Jan.

    WaynedP 259 posts

    Thanks @freckles, very informative.
    Have you needed a sizeable supply of local currency on you, or can majority of transactions be done with credit card ?

    , load-shedding (and the reasons for it) shame me and break my heart. Hoping that you’re otherwise enjoying CT in Summer. Will be there myself in seven weeks’ time (DV).

    freckles 134 posts

    @WaynedP – I took GBP with me and changed to local currency while there (airport arrivals is full of currency change places with comparable rates to banks etc). FDCO advice cautions against using cards due to card fraud, and if you do to only use ATM’s attached to banks or major hotels. I spent a lot less than I had budgeted for, but we were not staying in 4/5* hotels etc.
    If you’re doing cash, don’t overchange – getting it converted back at the airport on departure some change offices had no GBP available.

    strickers 684 posts

    Had a great time in Cape Town, ready for some more sun now. Two more working days after today.

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