Sri Lankan is undergoing a much needed revitalisation, and its new flagship, the Airbus A330-300, of which the airline now disposes over seven, is flying daily between London and Colombo (as well as being deployed on several other routes).
I tried out the Colombo – London flight, departing at 0225 and arriving at 0845 the same morning.
While not strictly belonging to this section, I also want to comment on the extremely easy transfer at Colombo - small airport, short distances, minimum of fuss and hassle.
It honestly was a bit of a letdown; I couldn't quite date it, but it seemed in need of both a refurb and a deep clean. In terms of furniture, it seemed quite cluttered - lots of armchairs and low tables interspersed with dining tables, with no clear separation and all in a quite garish colour scheme.
Staff were initially friendly and explained that there was a small "ayurvedic spa" area (I didn't enquire further). However, when I, in vain, tried to find the advertised shower facilities, the receptionist got visibly irritated with me. To my surprise, the shower was co-located with a WC (inside a WC cubicle), without any signage. It seemed relatively clean - although when I turned on the water, it started smelling vaguely of urine in the room. To add insult to injury, there was no hot water - at all - available. Only positive was the friendly toilet attendant who handed me a towel and a small "shower pack" with soap.
Food and drink were acceptable, although not particularly nicely presented. As I had a few hours to kill, I moved to the relaxation area which featured comfortable armchairs with good recline. Problem was that the temperature was extremely low, and the flimsy blankets available didn't do much to keep me warm.
There are a total of 28 seats spread across seven rows. As is the norm with reverse herringbone seats, the personal entertainment screen could be deployed at the push of a button, though has to be stored for takeoff and landing. To the left of my seat were the controls, including the entertainment and seat controls, as well as a 110v and USB outlet.
The seats are very comfortable; both in fully upright position as well as in bed mode (the seats go fully flat). Furthermore, they're quite "private". To my surprise, the cabin was about 80% full - at first glance, I'd thought we were only three or four passengers onboard. Even the centre seats appear very private.
Almost immediately after I'd sat down, I was offered a glass of chilled Champagne (yes, please!). The printed menu revealed that it was a Piper-Heidsieck (no particular vintage); it was lovely. An amenity kit was also provided; containing all the necessities (of Crabtree & Evelyn brand). It was nothing too fancy, but more than adequate.
My only teeny gripe was that the blankets were a little flimsy for such an otherwise outstanding product. It wasn't that it was bad - it was more that all the other bells and whistles just "work"; from the seat's finishing and comfort, to the pillows and the supreme service (I've never experienced being called (correctly) by name throughout such a long flight - by all crew), you kind of expected a more luxurious bedding product.
For breakfast, in hindsight, I should've chosen the Sri Lankan option - but the fact that it was fish based was a wee bit much for me at 6 in the morning (even though my inner clock was closer to midday at that time...). Instead, I opted for Cheddar cheese omelette - served with tomato, rösti and chicked sausages. It was delicious, as was the whole meal and presentation was flawless. The juices were great. Obviously, I finished off the meal with a Ceylon tea.