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Review: SriLankan Airlines Business Class A330 Tokyo To Colombo – One Mile at a Time

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SriLankan Airlines 455
Tokyo (NRT) – Colombo (CMB)
Thursday, January 24
Depart: 11:20AM
Arrive: 5:50PM
Duration: 10hr
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 6G (Business Class)

I had only ever flown SriLankan’s A330-300 business class on the very short flight from Colombo to Male, so was looking forward to seeing how their long haul product compared.

We boarded through the forward door, and turned right into the business class cabin. SriLankan has a total of 28 reverse herringbone seats on the A330, and they’re spread across seven rows.

SriLankan Airlines A330 business class cabin

SriLankan Airlines A330 business class cabin

These seats are fully flat and feature direct aisle access. Usually I’d select a window seat in this configuration, which I like since it faces the windows and has good privacy.

SriLankan A330 business class seat

SriLankan A330 business class seat

While perhaps not how I’d choose to decorate my home, I do love SriLankan’s bold interiors, with turquoise seats and art on the bulkheads.

SriLankan A330 business class cabin art

Since I was traveling with Ford we decided to select two of the center seats, so we could sit together.

SriLankan Airlines business class seats A330

As you can see, reverse herringbone seats still aren’t perfect when traveling with someone, since you have to lean forward to talk. On the flip side, the good news is that if you’re in one of these seats and the other one is occupied by a stranger, you still have privacy.

SriLankan Airlines business class seats A330

These seats face towards the center of the plane.

SriLankan Airlines business class seats A330

The footwell was definitely on the tight side, as is often the case when you have reverse herringbone seats on an A330, given that the cabin isn’t that wide. This becomes less of an issue on the 777, where reverse herringbone seats are typically a bit more spacious.

SriLankan A330 business class seat footwell

On the console to the side of the seat were many of the seat functions, including a reading light, entertainment controls, seat controls, and charging ports.

SriLankan A330 business class seat & entertainment controls

The tray table extended from the center armrest, and could be folded over in half.

SriLankan A330 business class seat tray table

Sometimes reverse herringbone seats have enclosed storage compartments, but this one didn’t. Again, I suspect that’s because the cabin isn’t as wide. However, along the center of the seat was a small exposed area where you could place things.

SriLankan A330 business class seat storage

The aisle side has an armrest that can be raised or lowered, depending on whether you prefer to have somewhere to rest your arm, or prefer to have a wider sleeping surface.

SriLankan A330 business class seat armrest

I appreciated that the seats had individual air nozzles, though when you’re seated in the center section you really have to reach to get to them.

SriLankan A330 overhead console

Already waiting at my seat upon boarding was a pillow and blanket. The pillow was nice, while the blanket was scratchy and not great.

SriLankan business class pillow & blanket 

Also waiting at my seat were slippers, eyeshades, and socks.

SriLankan business class amenities

Then there were some cheap-feeling headphones.

SriLankan business class headphones

10 minutes after boarding we were offered pre-departure drinks, with the choice between champagne, water, or fruit juice. We both had champagne, which was Piper-Heidsieck Brut.

SriLankan business class pre-departure champagne

10 minutes after that we were offered warm towels.

SriLankan business class warm towel

Business class was half full, and with the exception of one guy, everyone else in business class seemed to be Japanese senior citizens who were obviously on holiday. For that matter, almost the entire plane was Japanese tourists.

Speaking of that one exception, as luck would have it there was a Sri Lankan businessman seated across from me who was finishing up a very, very important business deal on his cell phone before takeoff. He was yelling into his phone as if there was no one else around, so at some point I glared at him, hoping he’d at least lower his voice.

He didn’t, but when he got off the phone he turned to me and said “I’m sorry, I had a very important business deal to attend to.” I know…

Anyway, at 11:10AM the main cabin door closed, and at that point the captain added his welcome aboard, informing us of our flight time of 9hr40min, and our cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.

Unrelated to the passenger experience, but I found it interesting that SriLankan only has two pilots on a 10 hour flight. I get it’s a daytime flight, but in the other direction the flight is a redeye, which at some airlines requires higher staffing.

At this point the crew also distributed amenity kits, which were Aigner branded.

SriLankan business class amenity kit

The crew then took meal orders. I’ve found SriLankan to be pretty inconsistent when it comes to service — they have some exceptional flight attendants, but they also have quite a few flight attendants who seem uninterested in their jobs, and unfortunately that’s how I’d describe most of this crew. The crew was totally fine, but it was also apparent they didn’t really enjoy their jobs.

We had quite a wait for pushback, though at 11:35AM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video was screened.

Pushing back Narita Airport

Scoot 777 Narita Airport

I always love watching the ground handlers bow and wave in Japan.

The Narita bow

At 11:45AM we began our taxi. While the taxi itself was short, there was a bit of a wait for takeoff.

Taxiing Narita Airport

By 12:05PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 34L.

Taking off from Narita Airport

View after takeoff from Narita

View after takeoff from Narita

We had a smooth climb out, and 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the curtains between the cabins were closed.

SriLankan A330 business class cabin

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment system. It was surprisingly good — the system was extremely responsive and easy to use, but also had a good selection of movies and TV shows.

SriLankan A330 entertainment system

SriLankan Airlines entertainment system

SriLankan Airlines entertainment system

I also checked out the route for our flight on the moving map feature.

Moving map enroute to Colombo

Moving map enroute to Colombo

At this point I also realized that SriLankan has exterior cameras on their A330s, though the truth is that it’s only really a tail camera that gets me excited (like you’ll find on most A380s), since it’s such a cool perspective.

SriLankan A330 nose camera

SriLankan Airlines has wifi on their A330s, though unfortunately it’s offered by OnAir, which offers among the slowest connectivity in the sky.

The pricing options are as follows:

  • 20 minutes / 9MB costs $4
  • 1 hour / 25MB costs $8
  • 3 hours / 80MB costs $15
  • Full flight / 240MB costs $25

As you can see there’s a time and data limit, and your pass expires with whichever one you run out of first.

SriLankan Airlines wifi

The meal service began quickly after takeoff. The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

Just 20 minutes after takeoff drinks were served with cashews. I had a glass of the French white wine to drink.

SriLankan business class — champagne & cashews

Tablecloths were distributed a few minutes later, and then the appetizer was served about 40 minutes after takeoff, as the crew rolled a cart down the aisle.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — appetizer

I selected the smoked salmon tartar, marinated octopus, and prawns, presented with mixed lettuce, mixed peppers, micro herbs, salmon roe, and genoves dressing, which was quite nice.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — appetizer

Ford had the Japanese style couscous salad presented on cucumber ribbons, sliced okra, steamed cauliflower, micro herbs, and grilled paprika.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — appetizer

We asked for a refill on our white wine, and one of the flight attendants responded “that’s the last bottle.” We were surprised, since that was the first one they had opened, as far as we know. So she said “just kidding, I was hoping you’d cry.”


The main courses were brought out just 15 minutes after the appetizers were served. I selected the vegetarian choice, which consisted of paneer makhani and aloo gobi accompanied by saffron rice, vegetable jalfrezi, and pakoda.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — main course

Ford had Indian style chicken curry served with dhal makhani, vegetable jalfrezi, jeera rice, and curry puff.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — main course

Both of these dishes were excellent.

Next up we were offered cheese and fruit off a cart. Ford and I decided to split one cheese plate.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — cheese course

15 minutes after that a dessert trolley was rolled down the aisle with dessert, coffee, tea, and liqueurs.

I had the chocolate pear cake with whipped cream, along with a coffee and Baileys.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — dessert

Ford had the almond gateau with mixed nuts and custard sauce, along with a Baileys.

SriLankan Airlines business class lunch — dessert

The meal wrapped up around 90 minutes after takeoff, and all things considered I’d say it was a pretty good meal.

Service was alright — the crew was going through the motions, though they definitely weren’t polished. For example, they’d constantly reach across the aisle to serve me from the left aisle or to serve Ford from the right aisle, which seemed lazy.

After the meal I checked out the lavatory — in business class there’s one right by the cockpit, and one at the back right of the cabin. They were pretty no frills, and had no extra amenities.

SriLankan Airlines A330 lavatory

After the meal I decided to try and get some sleep. At this point we were just under eight hours from Colombo.

Moving map enroute to Colombo

Moving map enroute to Colombo

I reclined my seat, and was also offered a bottle of water.

SriLankan business class bed

Even though this was a daytime flight I slept exceptionally well, and slept until three hours before landing, when I was woken up by a crew member presenting me with a hot towel.

Moving map enroute to Colombo

Moving map enroute to Colombo

A few minutes later the crew came through the cabin with a selection of juices.

SriLankan business class snack service — apple juice

The pre-landing menu read as follows:

For this meal I ordered the sea bass yuba natane-yaki in yuba sauce, served with mixed vegetables, tawara rice, and yukari powder. The fish was quite good.

SriLankan business class snack service

Ford ordered the deep fried beef in Szechuan sauce, served with assorted vegetables and steamed jasmine rice.

SriLankan business class snack service

Both were served with a side salad, fresh fruit, and bread.

After the meal I ordered a coffee.

SriLankan business class coffee

At 5:40PM Colombo time the captain advised that we were 110 miles from landing, and should be touching down in 25 minutes. A few minutes later landing preparations were made, including the crew spraying the cabin.

Moving map approaching Colombo

I’d note that there was one Japanese-speaking flight attendant who just seemed like a delight, but unfortunately she just served Japanese passengers. During the approach she even came around to each of the Japanese passengers to thank them for flying SriLankan. We got no such goodbye.

We were arriving just before sunset, though unfortunately it was a hazy evening, so views weren’t that great.

View approaching Colombo

View approaching Colombo

View approaching Colombo

We touched down at CMB Airport at 6:05PM, and from there had a five minute taxi to our arrival gate. Immigration was painless, and from there we were on our way to the town of Galle pretty quickly.

I’d say SriLankan offers a good product, though not a great one. Overall the reverse herringbone seats are nice, the entertainment is good, and I appreciate that they have wifi, even if it’s the slow OnAir service.

While the food was pretty good, the soft product otherwise disappointed me. The service seemed uninterested, and I wish SriLankan would offer better bedding, which seems like an easy and relatively cheap fix.

SriLankan has really inconsistent service, so on a good day the experience would have been much different. Go figure on the return (from Colombo to Abu Dhabi), the crew was excellent.

Still, Colombo isn’t exactly the most competitive market out there, so all things considered I’d fly them again, either if visiting Sri Lanka, or if the price is right and I’m connecting.

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