After a full week in the highlands of Sri Lanka, we headed back to the airport at Negombo, not far north of Colombo (the biggest city) and Kotte (the capital of Sri Lanka).
The taxi-ride from Kandy takes around 3 hours (and from Colombo 50 min), depending on traffic. It is not difficult to reach the airport, but you need to be adapted to the South Asian way of driving.
They only let you in the airport if you show your ticket. Otherwise you have to pay an entry fee (it is the same in India). First, you need to pass through a security check-up that leads to a corridor where you can change your srilankan rupees into USD, strangely the only currency accepted inside the airport. Then we headed to the check-in counters but before we needed to go once more through a luggage security check-up. There were 3 counters for our flight, from which two were for luggage drops. It went quite fast and upon finishing we still had more than one hour for the take-off, but they were already calling for boarding on the several screens present around the airport.
We therefor went to pass immigration, which had more counters opened than people waiting. After getting a new seal on my passport in less than 3 min, I was expecting to pass security (once more) but we reached the commercial area of the airport, where we decided to go for a quick coffee (despite the call for boarding). I asked for a small cappuccino, for which I paid 7 USD! Looking at the screen present in the café, we saw that they were calling the last passengers.
We went to the gate, and after passing a first ticket screening, we had to pass security once more at the waiting room. The room was full of people waiting for the buses taking us to the plane. We stayed there standing for 10 min in the middle of the crowd, while more passengers were on their way. Finally a first group of passengers whose seats were at the back of the plane were asked to board the bus. We boarded by the end of the plane, an A320-200, and we calmly found our seats, while people seating before seat 15 were boarding by the front door.
The plane was super clean and temperature was ok (a bit cold, since the temperature outside was 30ºC). The crew was nice and we got offered some wipe before take-off.
We took-off on time and we got offered diner when the plane reached cruising altitude. There was only one choice, a vegetarian dish with rice and vegetables, not bad, and as dessert, payasam (rice and milk pudding with cashews and raisins). Coffee/tea was served just after. It was filing, better than last time, but nothing great.
In terms of entertainment, since it was a newish plane (3 years old), it had IFE with some good movies and TV shows. The screens were small but for a quick flight like this one (under two hours), it is quite cool to have this feature. The magazine had changed since last trip, and even if it was still full of publicity, had some OK articles.
We reached Bangalore on time, at 21h. We got directly out to immigration, which, once again, was chaotic, with mixed queues. Took 30 min or more. After that we had to pass once again security and got our baggage waiting for us downstairs. We took an official airport taxi (follow the signs – on the left after exiting the airport doors), don’t take any random taxi that comes, since it could be dangerous/more expensive.
Srilankan is a good company that tries follows the Asian standards of hospitality. This outbound flight was much better than the inbound one (which was late and didn’t offer so much in terms of entertainment and food). Friends flying from Europe on this company are really happy with the service they got. Usually when flying from India, those standards are lower (as it happens with Oman Air or Emirates), but this flight didn’t follow that trend and makes me recommend this company if you flight to South Asia (via Colombo), instead of Air India for example.
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