If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I have recently returned form another wonderful vacation to the Maldives (if not then head on over for some amazing travel inspiration). This was my third time to spend an idyllic week at the Constance Moofushi resort and I can only hope that I will visit again one day very soon. Being based in Mumbai the journey to the Maldives is not far in terms of miles, but does require 3 relatively short flights before my feet touch the sand and I am handed my first cocktail.
When we (usually my husband) begin researching potential vacations, we start with the journey. If British Airways is not an option then we ask the following questions. Is there a direct flight? What airlines fly the routes? Are they part of the One World program? What aircrafts do they use? For this route, we discovered that our best option was to fly SirLankan Airlines to get us to Male where we would then board the seaplane out to the island.
Tip: When researching airlines its important to look at the aircraft they use on particular routes. I had seen rave reviews about SriLanken Airlines business class cabin facilities and yet sadly the flights on our route were very old, extremely tired, and in need of a refit.
Mumbai International Airport has a relatively new airport terminal with quite clear signs to easily locate the various airline check-in counters. This is a very busy airport, especially during the night hours when most flights arrive and depart, so we always ensure that we arrive with plenty of time to spare. In fact on this occasion we were about 10 minutes before the check-in desks actually opened.
As with most airlines, there are various lines for the different types of tickets. SriLanken Airlines has an economy line, a line for passengers just checking bags that have already printed boarding passes online, and a business class line. Once the counters opened and passengers began being processed we stood in the business class line, rather bemused, as we watched the other two lines being cleared as we barely inched forward. At no point did the numerous people working the check-in desks think to accelerate the business line. When we finally made it to the counter and commented on the slow progress the clerk told us,’ yes, business is full’ So to put that into perspective that’s 12 business class seats versus 138 economy! Major fail.
Tip: Whenever possible always check-in online prior to arriving at the airport, as increasingly the airlines seem to have a dedicated line to speed the bag checking process for those customers, regardless of class of ticket purchased.
Our experience at Male airport for our return was completely different. Arriving with only one other person in front of us, we were called to another desk to speed our check-in. Greeted warmly, our tickets were processed very quickly, and we departed with our Maldivian high still in tact.
As we had flown with this airlines on our two previous trips to the Maldives we were not surprised when we boarded the plane and discovered the rather old looking business class seats. But to look at the positives – the 2/2 configuration over 3 rows in business class ensures that you are not rubbing shoulders with the person sitting next to you, as each chair is around 21inches wide, with a small recline, and a foldaway foot rest. Each seat has a pillow and a blanket provided.
Upon boarding we were offered various juices or water and then the customary hot towel. At 3am I am only looking to doze the flight away but many of my fellow passengers did enjoy a meal and a few drinks. All the meals are Halal and there are veg and non-veg options.
There were no visible signs of any television entertainment systems on this flight but I believe there might have been a pull out monitor in the seat arm.
No amenities kit was given out on this business class leg.
The Airbus A330 has a much bigger business class section with a 2/2/2 configuration with 3 rows. Sadly our flight was not one of the newly refurbished models, but nonetheless we did have lie flat seats. I’m guessing that many of our fellow passengers had never enjoyed the experience of a lie flat seat as they spent much of the hour’s journey playing with their controls – not annoying at all!
The seats all have their own television system with a full range of films and various programs to watch. Our flight had flown in from Kuwait on its previous leg, so I am sure passengers on longer flight routes could take advantage of the entertainment system far more than we could on our short flight. There were also numerous magazines in each seat pocket.
Each seat had a large pillow and a set of headphones. No amenities kit was offered on this flight.
Once again upon boarding we were handed a menu and once airborne we marveled at the speed and efficiency of the cabin crew to serve mostly hot meals to everyone in the business section and still clear away in time to land. We enjoyed a spinach and cheese omelet with a glass of fresh orange juice.
A few years ago Emirates tried to takeover this airline and promised to modernize the fleet and the way service was offered, alas this deal did not go through. That said, the airline are now gradually upgrading their fleet so there is hope for future flights. The cabin crew is very helpful and efficient and the ladies do have a stunning uniform. Would I fly this airline again? It would not be my first choice, and while this experience did not impress me very much, with the prospect of newer planes and the lack of other carriers on this route that work for my schedule, I would probably give SriLanken Airlines business class another try.
Have you flown SriLanken Airlines? What are your thoughts? Don’t miss out on other airline reviews by signing up for my monthly newsletter on my sidebar.
Hi I'm Sue - welcome to my blog. If you love to travel, find great hotels, resorts, and restaurants, and importantly do it all as luxuriously as possible, then you are in the right place. I invite you to travel along with me.