This was the return leg of a Hong Kong to Bangkok return ticket which I booked through the travel agent Travel Expert for $1,387 all in the week before travel.
Ideally I would like to have come back on the Sunday, but as the flight only operates thrice weekly, there is no Sunday service and so I opted for a Saturday flight.
At the airport
I arrived over an hour before takeoff and checked in at the Sri Lankan counter immediately. No other passengers were waiting or being served. The ground agent was friendly and professional. On account of my One World status, he gave me a lounge pass for the Louis Tavern lounge.
The boarding gate was the distant E9. The departure boards stated that it was a final call, but when I arrived boarding had in fact not started, rather annoyingly. In the event, although it did not start until shortly after one o’clock, the plane still pushed back at its scheduled departure time of quarter past one.
The plane was an Airbus 330 “City of Sihagiri”, registration number 4R-ALM. On boarding there was a blanket at each seat.
There was a seatback screen and USB port and a wide range of films, programmes and music in different languages, although the headphones were not distributed until after the seatbelt sign had been turned off after takeoff.
My tray table and seatback were spattered with little bits of rice, as I noticed was the seatback next to mine, and in the seatback pocket was a menu for the Shanghai to Colombo flight, at least two sectors before, so I didn’t feel the plane had been well cleaned.
The flight was not busy at all – in economy it was only about one fifth full. This was in contrast to the outbound flight. I wondered whether perhaps this service is popular with Hong Kongers taking a break in Bangkok, and whether they wait until the weekday service to return. In any case, when I saw how empty the cabin was I figured that maybe that is why the airline has been offering such competitive prices on this route.
The flight was smooth and we arrived at gate 213 in Hong Kong’s midfield terminal on schedule. I find the midfield terminal less convenient than the main terminal, although perhaps this is part of the tradeoff of a cheap ticket. By the time I arrived at the baggage carousel my checked baggage had arrived.
The cabin crew was well groomed, friendly and professional. A male cabin crew member came up to welcome me as a One World member, and shook my hand, which I appreciated as a welcoming touch. Throughout the flight the crew were helpful and friendly – once again, I felt that Sri Lankan Airlines really does present a positive image of Sri Lankan hospitality.
There was a water service before takeoff, and then shortly afterwards a meal and drink service from the trolley. After that, the cabin crew were mostly in the galley.
Food and drink
The crew distributed a menu card, which I think is always rather a classy touch. I chose the deep fried snapper which was delicious and not greasy as I had thought it might be when reading that it was deep fried. The whole meal was very good.
I had wanted to try a glass of Sri Lankan arrack but was told that there was none available.
This was a good flight – on time, smooth, with a good crew, entertainment and delicious food. I would not hesitate to fly with Sri Lankan again.