The Treasure of Serendib

The story of one of the world’s most interesting airline in passenger eyes…
(Based On The Experience Of Mr.Hawi From Jordan) 

This will cover the following flights on my trip to Kuala Lumpur with SriLankan Airlines:

  • A) Abu Dhabi – Colombo – Abu Dhabi in Business Class (A320)
  • B) Colombo – Kuala Lumpur – Colombo in Business Class (A343/A332)

In terms of flight selection, the usual selection was available, which included Etihad, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, and Qatar Airways (still not ready to try QR!). A more thorough search on revealed an idea that I had overlooked completely; SriLankan Airlines. Out of Abu Dhabi, they offered an excellent connection to and from Kuala Lumpur, with a maximum of two hours transit in Colombo. Out of Dubai an itinerary was available, but the transit time on the return journey would have been almost 20 hours.

Hopping on to the SriLankan Airlines website, which was extremely user-friendly (although it may look a little outdated), I was offered a Business Class fare which was slightly cheaper than Economy Class on all the airlines mentioned above. I even checked on Economy Class fares which resulted in AED 2,000 roundtrip (approximately AED 300 more expensive than a last minute AirAsia X fare by the way). It would have been too stupid not to book these flights! Economy Class was sold out, so SriLankan Business it was! My only concern was that I had to pay a rebooking fee if I wanted to change my dates of travel; but I figured I could pull a few strings at the airport to take care of that.

On the day of travel, I had come to know of the length of my holiday which meant I could stay one extra day in Malaysia. Having a decent relationship with UL’s airport staff, a quick phone call to their airport manager resulted in rather confident results. I was waitlisted on my return flights, but was assured it will be confirmed in a few days time. I was also asked to get in contact with the station manager on the evening of my departure.

Arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8:40pm, I parked my car at the long-term car park, and proceeded towards the terminal for check-in. SriLankan airlines operates from Terminal 1A at AUH. This ‘boutique’ terminal was initially designed as an extension to Terminal 1 during the Gulf Air era when the airline spawned its regional hybrid-LCC Gulf Traveller to operate high-density routes to the Indian Subcontinent. It was easy enough to transfer between between Gulf Air and Gulf Traveller yet easing congestion from T1 by segregating the large crowds that were to be associated with Gulf Traveller to T1A. Today Air India, Air India Express, AirAsia X, and SriLankan Airlines operate from this terminal.

Terminal 1A at Abu Dhabi International Airport

The visit to T1A was only for the sake of the picture above as premium passengers, regardless of what airline they are flying, can check-in from the premium area at T1 (unless otherwise requested by the airline i.e. BA, KL, LH, SQ etc).

Common-Use Premium Check-in Area at AUH

Approaching the counter at 9pm, I handed my documents to the agent, placed my suitcase on the belt, and requested to be seated in aisle seats for both sectors. The agent slammed me with a look like she wanted to cast a spell on me when she got off her shift that would curse me for the rest of my life. Given her attitude, I did not trust that she even paid attention to my request, but I was coldly assured of aisle seat availability when I asked again.

A few minutes later my suitcase was tagged, and my boarding passes and lounge card were dumped in front of me. Taking a look at my boarding passes, I was seated in ‘A’ seats on both sectors.

“Excuse me, I asked for aisle seats on both sectors please”
“Yes I gave you aisle seat”
“No you didn’t. ‘A’ seats are window seats”

After a bit of huffing and puffing, and a few loud finger slaps on the keyboard, my boarding passes (to CMB and to KUL) were re-printed and I was good to go.

Boarding Pass to Colombo

Lounge Card

The check-in area on that night was absolutely congested as everyone wanted to travel back home to spend Eid with their families. Queues at check-in, immigration, and security were a nightmare. Luckily I had an e-gate card and was able to skip the immigration lines and be airside by 9:30pm.

Being a UL passenger, I was entitled to use the Al Ghazal Premium lounge, one of three lounges at T1. The lounge offered nothing special so I skipped on that idea in favor of stroll around the bustle until it was time for boarding. A sit at Costa’s for a slice of carrot cake was also an enticing thought.

On My Way to the Satellite


The Main Satellite Terminal 1 at AUH

Upper-Level Shops & Duty Free

The Main Duty Free Located on the Lower Level

A Nice Sit-down at Costa for a Slice of Carrot Cake

Followed By a Smoke at the Smoking Lounge

By 10:10pm I left the satellite and headed back to the main building towards T1A. Gates 20 to 22 are T1A gates, all of which are non-contact gates with one common holding area located one level below the main floor.

Walking Towards T1A

Passing through security, I was inside the holding area at 10:15pm.

T1A Common Holding Area

Gate 21 Has Been Assigned for UL Tonight

A Rather Orderly Queue for an Air India Express Flight

The station manager was at the gate, and had informed me that my requested date change has already been confirmed for the return flight, and I would not have to pay any penalty fee. Thank you Mr. Station Manager!! While this was just a favor resulting from an existing airline-airport relationship, this efficiency can best describe how SriLankan Airlines tends to deal with work-related matters in general; at least in Abu Dhabi. In my opinion, they can outdo a countless number of other airlines, which I will not mention here.

Boarding commenced at 10:20pm without any announcement. Because passengers were to be transported to the aircraft by buses, a separate Business Class bus was available, but only after the first two Economy Class passenger buses were loaded first.

Passengers in Queue for Boarding

At 10:45pm, premium passengers were ushered to queue for boarding, and by 10:50pm I was inside the bus. A few minutes later, and after all premiums had hopped on, the bus was on its way to the aircraft.

Arriving at the aircraft, I proceeded up the steps and arrived at Door 1L of the aircraft, where I was greeted by Austin, the purser for tonight’s flight alongside Thilanka, dressed in her green peacock-style sari with her palms clasped together at chin level. “Ayubowan” she said, greeting all passengers as they boarded the aircraft, while Austin directed the passengers to their seats.

“Welcome Mr. Hawi. A pleasure to have you on board”

It was a purely cultured and captivating sight in my opinion. This was perhaps one of the nicest boarding welcomes I have seen. It was even nicer when two females were at the door, replacing the male, as I had experienced on my KUL-CMB flight.

By 10:55pm I was on board.

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 208
Routing: Abu Dhabi - Colombo
Scheduled Departure Time: 23:15
Actual Departure Time 23:35 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 05:10 +1
Actual Arrival Time: 05:30 +1 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A320-232
Registration: 4R-ABJ
Condition: 4.25 years old. Delivered to UL in 2009, previously operated by Air Deccan

Passengers Boarding

The flight was 100% full in both classes, and a quick personal passenger profiling revealed that about 10 of us were connecting to Kuala Lumpur on the same flight. Others included Sri Lankan families and labor workers heading home for the holidays, and Arab and Caucasian holidaymakers on their way to Sri Lanka. A large chunk of the passengers were Eastern Europeans connecting from other Etihad Airways flights, due to the codeshare agreement between the two airlines (how ironic is that?).

Newspapers, welcome drinks, hot towels, and menus were served by the crew with utmost sincerity and warmth, although they seemed to be in a little bit of a frazzle as they had to squeeze between the boarding passengers.

“How about you sir? Can I offer you some orange or apple juice?”
“Apple juice please”

Welcome Drinks

My Apple Juice

Hot Towels


Our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He informed us that we were just about ready to depart, but were in the process of offloading the baggage of some missing passengers. He proceeded to inform us of our routing to Colombo, and that our flight time for tonight was 4 hours and 15 minutes. Shortly afterwards, the doors were closed at 11:20pm.

Thilanka then passed around the aisle to take our meal orders.

“How about you sir, what would you like to have?”
“The Chicken Curry please”
“Would you like anything to drink?”
“Just water please”

Meal Orders Taken Before Takeoff

Departure announcements were made in Sinhalese, Tamil, and English, followed by a manual safety demonstration predominantly in English. At 11:25pm, we pushed back for a 15 minute taxi to the runway. Takeoff occurred at 11:40pm and we began our journey to Colombo through the darkness of the skies.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off, and the cabin crew were released to prepare for the service. Austin rolled out a trolley, and individually placed linens, butter, plates, shakers, glasses, and silverware on each table. There are no meal trays in Business Class on SriLankan Airlines. Taking a glance at the meal-wares, you can see that it has Emirates written all over it.

Thilanka followed with the bread basket.

“Mr. Hawi, what can I get you for your starter?”
“I’ll take the vegetarian option please”

Table Seat-up

Aloo Chat Starter

The potatoes were nicely spiced and perfectly cooked so no complains from my end. Thilanka cleared my plate once I was finished and promptly replaced it with my chicken curry and an “Enjoy your meal” with that too.

Chicken Curry

As some of you may have come to know about me, I am a huge fan of spicy food, and that includes a range of Asian varieties. Naturally the crème-de la-crème of that lies within the Indian Subcontinent, and this meal provided this very satisfaction. In pure Sri Lankan fashion, it was fiery hot, and with deep flavors that knocked your taste buds out with unpredictable surprises. I am not sure if this meal was cooked in the proper authentic way, but for me, it was an escape to cloud gastronomy.

After enjoying my entrée, my plates were cleared, leaving only the linen behind.

“Can I get you some dessert Mr. Hawi?”
“Yes please”
“Any coffee or tea?”
“No thank you”


The cheesecake was a little bit of a let-down as it clearly was a generic pile of sugar whipped up into something that looked nice and colorful.

Cabin After the Meal Service (notice the shape of the IFE screens under the seat covers)

After the meal service, the cabin lights were dimmed, and I fell asleep throughout the rest of the flight as it was rather uneventful. I was awoken by the cabin crew as we were landing in Colombo. By then the seatbelt sign was on, and the crew had already made their final preparations for landing.

At 5:30am local time in Sri Lanka, 4R-ABJ made her first touchdown for the day at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport.

After a short taxi, we docked at a contact gate right next to a company A340-300, which I later discovered was my ride to Kuala Lumpur. As the aircraft powered off, the seatbelt sign was switched off and everyone got up and gathered their belongings.

Preparing to Disembark

I thanked the crew for a great flight and proceeded inside the terminal for my connecting flight to Kula Lumpur.

Boarding Pass to Kuala Lumpur

I was absolutely stunned as I stepped into the main terminal building. The airport was amazing, with not a spot of dirt in sight. There were a number of passengers around, but everyone was calm and collective, either casually sitting around quietly chatting away, or queuing up for boarding in a humble and orderly fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a pile of dump or anything, but this airport is miles ahead of the likes of Abu Dhabi or Amman.


My Connecting Flight From Gate 7

Passengers Already in Queue for Kuala Lumpur & Singapore

Bandaranaike International Airport consists of a main terminal building directly connected to one concourse which houses all the contact gates. Apart from the gates and two non-UL premium lounges, the main concourse area featured very little amenities, and this included some seating areas situated alongside its length, which could be a quite inadequate at times of congestion.

Long Concourse Building at CMB

Limited Seating Outside the Holding Areas

This Terminal is Just So Clean!

The main terminal building features two levels. The lower level, which presumably is where check-in, immigration, and security are located, also has some Duty Free shopping. The upper level airside area features more Duty Free offerings, Tea Shops, Cafeterias, a smoking lounge, Day-Rooms & Showers, and the SriLankan Airlines Premium Lounge; absolutely amazing!

Lower Level of the Main Terminal Building

Upper Level of the Main Terminal Building

A Nice View of the Tarmac is Available from the Smoking Lounge (4R-ABE)

The most interesting experience during my transit was the SriLankan Airlines Premium Lounge. We are all familiar with the Emirates Lounges so in this case, picture an Emirates Lounge (especially one at an outstation), but with a tropical flair added to it. In imaginary terms, it is an Emirates lounge with sandy white beaches, coconut trees, sun-beds, pina colads, and colorful umbrellas in the background (you get my drift!).

Entrance to the Lounge

As I entered the lounge, I was greeted by a smiling agent seated at the reception desk, who requested to take a look at my boarding pass.

“Mr. Hawi, please make yourself comfortable in the lounge, we also have a massage service in the lounge if you are interested”
“Thank you”
“I will let you know when your flight is ready for boarding”

Seating Area

Dining Area

Excellent Food & Beverage Offering

I Settled for a Cup of Tea

I left the lounge at 6:20am and proceeded to Gate 7. The flight was already listed as boarding and there was a long queue for security. I joined the queue which was moving relatively fast, and arrived at the podium where I was greeted by a UL ground staff who performed the traditional “Ayubowan” greeting prior to scanning and tearing off my boarding pass. I was eventually inside the holding area at 6:35am.

My Ride to KUL

My Previous Ride from AUH

Inside The Holding Area of Gate 7

At 6:50am a boarding announcement was made, in which boarding commenced with passengers requiring assistance to board first, followed by Economy Class passengers according to row numbers. Premium passengers were invited to board the aircraft at anytime.


Proceeding through the aerobridge, I arrived at door 1L of the aircraft and was greeted by the purser, and also by a female cabin crew.

“Welcome on board sir, please proceed this way”

By 7am I was on board.

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 312
Routing: Colombo – Kuala Lumpur
Scheduled Departure Time: 07:25
Actual Departure Time 07:25 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:25
Actual Arrival Time: 13:25 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A340-311
Registration: 4R-ADB
Condition: 15.25 years old, delivered to Air Lanka in 1994
Remarks: This flight continues to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur

Another Emirates flashback occurred as I stepped inside the aircraft. The seats on this SriLankan A343 are identical to the Business Class seats on the Emirates A330/A340 aircraft, but with a 2-2-2 layout instead of 2-3-2. The aircraft was in an immaculate condition, and certainly did not feel or look like it was 15 years old.

The Cabin

As I was stowing my carry-on in the overhead compartment, a very sweet and warm cabin crew approaches me for assistance.

“Good morning sir, welcome on board”
“Hi there”
“How are you this morning?”
“I am fine thanks and you?”
“Fine thanks”
“Do you need any help with your luggage?”
“No thanks”
“May I offer you anything to drink before takeoff?”
“I’ll have a glass of orange juice please”
“Certainly please make yourself comfortable and I will bring it to you”

My Orange Juice

While the cradle seat was definitely no where near any new generation type of offering, it was very comfortable and offered great legroom. The seats were definitely wider than what EK has, and I could easily enjoy a long-haul flight in this cabin.

The Seat

Leg Space & IFE Screen



Another cabin crew, Senani, approaches my seat with a big smile offering a towel service.

“Good morning sir”
“Hi there”
“Would you like a hot or cold towel?”
“Cold towel please”

The seatbelt sign was switched on at 7:10am, and as the crew were preparing for takeoff, the purser approached my seat to request if it was alright with me to switch to another seat. I was asked to be seated next to a Buddhist ‘priest’ (several of which were on board and bound for SIN) because one lady was allocated the seat next to his and was not supposed to sit next to him. I had no problem switching seats so I agreed. He was an older man dressed in an orange robe and was originally from a Sri Lankan town called Kandy and on his way to Singapore for holiday. A very nice gentleman, who kept shooting smiling looks of curiosity at my obsessive photo-taking, but all seemingly without judgment. Unfortunately, we had too large a language barrier, for me to explain the concept behind it so instead, I smiled back.

At 7:20am our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also informed us of our routing to Kuala Lumpur and advised us that our flight time for today was 3 hours and 20 minutes. The doors were closed shortly afterwards and we pushed back at 7:25am.

Menus Distributed During Taxi

At exactly 7:35am 4R-ADB took off from CMB and began her short hop over the pond to South-East Asia.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew were released for the service. Breakfast orders were taken by the crew, in which I chose the chicken curry, which came with Roti and a Sri Lankan sambal.

The crew were so attentive to all the passengers. Some passengers were a little on the dry side with them, however they maintained their calmness, and continued to smile. The nice thing was that there was no system or procedure in the way things were done, but instead everything randomly flowed in a natural manner that resulted in a superb homely type of service; something quite similar to Malaysia Airlines (but judging from today’s TRs, it seems that MH is losing its touch).

Table Linens were Placed on our Tables

Meal Service Preparations

To start the service, a tea trolley was passed around with coffee and a selection of different Sri Lankan teas on offer, in which I went for a cup of lemon tea with sugar.

Tea Trolley

My Cup of Tea

As soon as I finished my cup of tea, I was offered seconds in which I declined. My cup was cleared away, just in time for a second trolley service, which included the individual meal-ware setups, in addition to the fruit starter plate. As soon as the tables were set up, a selection from the bread basket was offered.

Meal-ware Setups

Table Setup with Fruit Starter

The fruit did not seem too fresh, and the bread was a little too microwaved as it hardened up after it cooled down. My entrée was promptly brought to me after I was through with my starter.

Roti, Chicken Curry, and Sambal

The Roti was slightly on the stale side but the curry and the sambal were mouth watering.

My table was cleared once I was finished, and the service concluded with another round of coffee and tea.

“How was everything?”
“Excellent thank you”
“Would you care for some coffee or tea?”
“No thanks”
“Can I offer you anything else sir?”
“No thank you”

I slept for the remainder of the flight, only to wake up at 1pm Malaysian local time when we had already begun our descent towards KLIA.

The seatbelt sign was already switched on and the crew were making final preparations for landing. A quick round of hot towels was served right before the crew took their seats for landing.

At exactly 1:25pm we touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. After docking at the gate, the aircraft powered out and the seatbelt sign was switched off. I got up to gather my belongings in preparation to disembark.

I thanked the crew for their wonderful efforts and proceeded inside the terminal building where I cleared immigration and customs without a hassle, collected my suitcase, and met my friend at the arrivals hall.

I have featured Kuala Lumpur in a previous Trip Report, so this time around I will post a few pictures relating to the Eid celebrations.

Eid Bazaar at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

My Attempts At Beef Rendang (A MUST Try Malaysian Dish!)

Ryanair!!! I know what you’re thinking!

On Eid Day: I am A Malaysian Jedi!

The last day after a nice holiday always brings mixed emotions. You are depressed at the thought of going back to work and the usual routine chores, yet the plane ride that awaits is your last chance for another round of excitement. Today it was no different for me.

My friend took me to the airport that day after bidding farewell to his family and thanking them for hosting me at their lovely home. Arriving KLIA at 12:25pm, we proceeded directly to the arrivals hall, just in time to meet a certain a.netter who was scheduled to arrive on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.

Also known as Airpearl, this aviation-nut had just arrived from his great Emirates A380 adventure, and I was quite excited to hear all about it. We managed to exchange our usual aviation chatter for about an hour, before I had to bid my farewells to him and to my friend, and continue my much anticipated SriLankan Airlines journey. … Thanks for that chats Airpearl!

International Passengers to Proceed Through Doors 5 & 6 at KLIA


Arriving at the SriLankan check-in counters at 1:45pm, I found the counters adequately segregated and organized by barricades. Even a SriLankan Airlines pop-up was placed to indicate the start of the queue; something similar to Emirates, although EK’s set-up can attract attention from thousands of miles away (nothing beats the way Emirates sets up their check-in counters in my opinion).

SriLankan Airlines Check-in Desks at KLIA

The friendly agent checked me in without a hassle, and by 2pm I was handed back my passport and ticket, and received my boarding passes to Colombo and also to Abu Dhabi, in addition to my lounge card.

Boarding Pass to Colombo

Lounge Card

After walking around for a while and inspecting the goings-on (or lack thereof) at the airport, I proceeded through immigration and security, and took the train to reach airside by 3:10pm. I had the option to make use of the Plaza Premium Lounge, but I skipped on that in favor of the usual stroll around the terminal. At the KLIA satellite, there are a few areas where you can get a good view of the tarmac and hence, some reasonably decent celebrity sightings.

Malaysia Airlines A333 (9M-MKF)

Malaysia Airlines B744 (9M-MPO)

The Sighting of the Day: Saudi Arabian Airlines B744 (HZ-AIY)

Qatar Airways A333 (A7-AEC)

And Finally, Arriving from CMB via SIN

After my spotting, I continued to walk around the terminal for a little longer.

Satellite Happenings at KLIA

Looking at the FIDS for an update, I notice that there has been a gate change for my flight and it was now to operate from C4 instead of C15. I have been to KLIA several times now, and one thing I seem to always notice, is the significant amount of ‘New Gate’ remarks on the FIDS; why is that?

Arriving at Gate C4 at 3:55pm

Gate Information

After security, the very friendly ground staff tore off my boarding pass and I was inside the holding area at 4:05pm. Boarding was immediately called for by then.


Through the Aerobridge

I found myself going through the aerobridge leading to Door 2L rather than the one designated for Business Class. At Door 2L, I was greeted by two beautiful SriLankan crew in their eye-catching peacock sari. Looking to my right, “Ayubowan” as she welcomes me on board with her palms clasped together. Looking to my left, she smiles as I hand her my boarding pass.

“Welcome on board sir. Your seat is 2H in Business Class, please turn left and go straight ahead”
“Thank you”
“Have good flight!”

By 4:15pm I was on board.

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 318
Routing: Kuala Lumpur - Colombo
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:50
Actual Departure Time 16:55 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 17:45
Actual Arrival Time: 17:30 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A330-243
Registration: 4R-ALD
Condition: 10 years old, delivered to SriLankan Airlines in 2000
Remarks: This flight arrived from Colombo via Singapore

The cabin looked exactly the same as the A340 that I was on during my outbound flight, with one less row of seats. There is a total of 18 Business Class seats on UL’s A343’s while only 12 on their A332’s.

The Cabin

The Seat Offering the Same Comfort as on the A343

As I settled into my seat, a cabin crew that goes by the name Shehanna, casually appeared from the galley and walked towards my seat, with a tray of towels

“Welcome on board sir, how are you today?”
“I am fine thanks and you?”
“Very well thank you. Can I offer a hot or cold towel?”
“Cold towel please”
“Is this cold enough for you?”
“Definitely, thank you”

Welcome Drinks Followed and I Chose Mango Juice

Leg Space



Boarding Business Class Passengers

The seatbelt sign was switched on at 4:25pm, and the menus were distributed afterwards. It was the same menu as on the outbound flight to there is no requirement to reproduce it here.

Drink & Meal Orders Taken

“What can I get for you to eat sir?”
“I will have the vegetarian meal please”
“And what would you like to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”
“Would you like it spicy?”
“Very spicy please, Sri Lankan spicy”
“I can definitely do that for you”

Another cabin crew, known as Amali distributed the landing cards.

“Sir are you going to stay in Colombo?”
“I am transiting to Abu Dhabi”
“Your flight will depart Colombo at 7:00pm, and no need for this card then”
“Thank you”

At 4:55pm our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing to Colombo and informed us that our flight time today was exactly three hours. Pushback occurred around the same time, and was immediately followed by the safety demonstration.

We took off at 5:05pm and began our 3 hour journey to Colombo. When the seatbelt sign was switched off, the cabin crew got up to prepare for the service.

Bloody Mary with Bowl of Nuts

The Bloody Mary was exactly as requested, extremely spicy. Shehanna later returned and asked “is it spicy enough for you?” to make sure. I was barely able to respond because my mouth was on fire, and that may have answered her question. Nevertheless, it was great drink!

Crew Preparing for Meal Service

As the crew were preparing for the service, I powered on the IFE for a quick exploration. It was definitely the older generation type that was definitely non-AVOD. As with Emirates’ TV & Radio IFE on their A332/A343’s, Business Class passengers can choose from a selection of available movies, and the crew will attach a movie player to your seat for you to view on your screen. Nothing really interested me that was on offer, so I resorted to the best option of keeping the route map on.


Table linens were placed on our tables, and Shehanna then rolled out a trolley for our table set-ups.

Table Set-ups

“Which starter would you like to have sir? Onion salad or Chicken?”
“You can have both if you like! You should try them”
“Sure. Thank You”

Table Set-up With Two Starters

The salad which consisted of onion, cucumber, and yoghurt was great, and so was the chicken, so no complaints from my end. Once finished, my plates were cleared and promptly replaced with my entrée.

Excellent Paneer Dish!

Amali & Shehanna Followed with the Dessert Trolley

“Some dessert for you sir?”
“Yes please”
“Also some fruit?”
“No thank you”
“No fruit? Are you sure?”
“Yes, Thanks

My Dessert

Again, the dessert wasn’t anything special however, the rest of the meal was great.

Service Concluded with a Cup of Coffee with Milk

Cabin After the Meal Service

Route Map & Flight Info

After my table was cleared I got up for a quick tour of the Economy Class cabin, which revealed an identical replica of the EK A332/A343 offering but with blue colored seats.

Economy Class on SriLankan Airlines

At 5:05pm local time in Sri Lanka, the seatbelt sign was switched on, and our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards Bandaranaike International Airport. We were expected to land at 5:30pm.

Approaching Colombo

The crew made their final preparations for landing, and the cabin was sprayed with a disinfectant spray. Finally, Sanjeewa, the purser on today’s flight approached my seat for a quick chat.

“So Mr. Hawi, I hope that you have enjoyed the flight with us today?”
“Yes it was great, thank you”
“Thank you for flying with us today, and I hope to see you on board again soon”

He shook my hand, and proceeded to similarly converse with the other passengers.

We touched down at 5:30pm, and after a quick taxi, we docked at the gate. Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, everyone got up to gather their belongings and prepare to disembark.


I thanked the crew for the excellent service and proceeded inside the terminal at Colombo for my quick transit to Abu Dhabi.

My Boarding Pass to Abu Dhabi


I did not have much time to visit the lounge, so I went to smoking room for a quick cigarette before heading back to the gate.

Same A343 That Took Me to Kuala Lumpur

Returning back to Gate 6, the queue for security was rather short and I was processed and eventually inside the holding area by 6:15pm.

Inside The Holding Area

Boarding was announced at 6:30pm and everyone got up and walked towards the aerobridge.

Arriving at Door 1L of the aircraft, I was greeted by the purser of the flight accompanied by his female colleague.

“Welcome on board sir”

By 6:35pm I was on board.

Flight Information

Airline: SriLankan Airlines
Flight No.: UL 207
Routing: Colombo – Abu Dhabi
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:00
Actual Departure Time 19:05 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:15
Actual Arrival Time: 21:53 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A320-232
Registration: 4R-ABJ
Condition: 4.25 years old. Delivered to UL in 2009, previously operated by Air Deccan

Seat & Cabin

Tighter Legroom on the Bulkhead Seat

As soon as I settled into my seat, Shamila appeared from the galley with a tray of hot towels. This was followed by welcome drinks, served by Ashadhee.

“Welcome on board sir, can I offer you something to drink?”
“Mango juice please

Mango Juice

Menus Were Then Distributed

The seatbelt sign was switched on at 6:45pm, and our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. After advising us of our routing to Abu Dhabi, he informed is that our flight time this evening was to be 4 hours and 15 minutes.

This Was Followed by an Announcement by the Crew

The doors were closed at 7pm, which was followed by a manual safety demonstration by the crew, and pushback occurred at 7:05pm.

After our short taxi to the runway, we finally took off at 7:15pm and began our journey to Abu Dhabi through the night. As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew got up to prepare for the service.

Drink and meal orders were taken, in which I selected the chicken option.

And Yet Another Bloody Mary!

Our tables were set up with linens and the usual meal-wares from a trolley, and this included the starter plate which was the same onion salad as on my earlier flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Table Set-up


Cold Bread from the Bread Basket

Followed by an Excellent and Very Spicy Chicken Entrée

My plates were cleared as soon I was through, and the service concluded with dessert and a coffee/tea service from a trolley. The dessert wasn’t so bad this time around.

My Cup of Tea & Cake

After the meal service, I slept for the remainder of the flight as I was feeling very sleepy. I woke up at 9:30pm UAE local time, when the seatbelt sign was switched on and we had begun our initial descent towards Abu Dhabi International Airport.

A quick juice service was conducted, and was followed by hot towels, before the crew made their final preparations for landing.

4R-ABJ touched down at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 9:53pm, bringing this journey to an end.

After a quick taxi to a remote stand where the aircraft docked and powered out. The seatbelt sign was switched off and everyone got up to gather their belongings and prepare to disembark.

I thanked the crew for their great efforts and proceeded down the steps and into the bus. Eventually, after clearing immigration and customs, I was in my car and on my way back home.

I was extremely impressed with SriLankan Airlines, to the point that I had flown the same route with them on my way to Hong Kong more recently.

Their hardware may be a tad outdated, but I believe that their best asset is their cabin crew. They were excellent in all four of my sectors and treated each passenger exactly the same. This I find to be very rare amongst a lot of airlines and SriLankan Airlines seems to have mastered it. For the incredibly cheap fares that they offer, coupled with the superb inflight service, it is bargain that you just cannot pass on. I would highly recommend this airline, and in fact, I even find their service to outdo Malaysia Airlines (the airline I found to be most similar to UL). SriLankan Airlines is definitely on my top 5 favorite airlines list!


This concludes Mr.Hawi's Trip Report. Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have enjoyed it.