Sri Lankan Airlines Business Class
Flight: UL605 Melbourne – Colombo
Checking out the Sri Lankan Airlines Business Class service from Melbourne (Australia) to Colombo (Sri Lanka). The flight was taken during the afternoon/evening, departing Melbourne at 4.55pm and arriving into Colombo at 10.15pm (local times). Total flight time just under 10 hours.
The seats on the A330-200 are pretty old. There is no mattress or protector when you want to go to sleep which I have a bit of an issue with because you’re basically lying on the same surface hundreds of other passengers have laid on before. I think Business Class flat beds should always have at least a washable sheet cover that can go on a seat when a passenger wants to go to sleep.
The seat has 3 positions, TTOL (something take off and landing), RLAX (I think they just couldn’t fit the ‘E’ on the button) and BED (…you know, bed). Pressing one button slowly moves your seat from where you are to that position, and whilst you can let go to hold the seat where it is, you can’t then individually move the back or footrest to get comfy. Sometimes I like to have an upright back but have the footrest fully extended (like when working on my laptop), but I couldn’t find how to do that on this seat.
Also when transitioning from TTOL to RLAX the seat physically raises up into the air as it reclines, so if you want a slightly reclined position but not fully laid back (like if you’re working for example), you end up way higher than the person next to you. Which did feel a bit odd. Useful if you want to reach up to adjust the air vent though I suppose.
The massage function uses a 4 point vibration system, two on your back, one under your bum, and one under your legs.
It’s an older chair, you can’t do a lot with it. And the holders for drinks, magazines, slippers etc are all part of the unit that houses your TV screen, which is a long way forward to reach for.
Food and Drinks
The food we had, in its own right, was tasty. However the menu is limited. A terrible screenshot from a video I filmed is below. Note for vegetarians you only have one choice, and if you’re not into curry you’re not left with much at all (one one flight I ended up with bread and salad). For meat eaters there are a few Western choices if you didn’t fancy a Sri Lankan meal.
The service was generally good but a little hit and miss. We actually flew Sri Lankan Business Class 4 times over a 10 day period. On this flight (MEL – CMB) one particular staff member was fantastic, smiling and chatting to us during the meal service, handing out garlic bread like it’s going out of fashion (I love garlic bread). But the rest of the crew really didn’t seem like they wanted to even be on the plane, let alone interact with customers. But then, on another UL Business Class flight that we took a few days later, our cabin crew were all cheerful and helpful.
On this flight, my wife was woken up for the dinner service when she was clearly fast asleep despite me telling the staff she didn’t want any food. To their credit the staff did apologise later.
So, I guess I’d summarise the service as, inconsistent.
I know the cabin crew aren’t there just to serve meals and smile at passengers, but this is a Business Class review and I feel the service is an important part of why we pay to travel in this cabin, and it just felt a bit lacking on this flight.
Value for money
This return fare from Melbourne to Male (Maldives) via Colombo was booked as a sale fare, so because of that it was pretty good value for money. However the pertinent question is would I book again? (See next point…)
Would I book again?
If there was another sale fare and I was looking to earn Qantas status credits (Sri Lankan is a OneWorld partner so I can earn QFF SCs on this flight), then yes I would book again as a status credit run. But in its own right, if there was another carrier available, even at a slightly higher price, I don’t think I’d book UL again. If I’m flying from Australia to Sri Lanka again I’d look at alternative routes such as via Singapore or Dubai/Doha and add a stopover in those countries to try another airline.
Sri Lankan Business Class video
If you want to see more of the business class cabin, food, seat, and service check out this travel vlog I made: