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SriLankan Airlines Fleet & Seats

SriLankan Airlines Rating: 3 out of 10 1.5 Star Rating: Pretty poor Reviewed by Airreview from 69 flights with 1234 photos.
SriLankan Airlines Economy Class seats
Economy Class SriLankan Airlines A330 economy class is a classic 'pile em in, stack em high' style
NEWS: SriLankan Airlines is planning to buy several new Airbus A330-300 and to replace its ageing Airbus A340-300s, and also put a foot in the Boeing camp, with a couple of new Boeing 777 for ultra-long routes.

SriLankan Airlines love their Airbus aircraft: longhaul you'll be on an A330 or A340, while shorthaul (including some long-hauls over the pacific) you'll be on an A320.

Alas, the quality of the seats varies quite a lot between the fleet, with both old and new style business class seats, and economy class being a decidedly mixed bunch.

SriLankan Airlines are slowly revamping their cabins, and the new ones are decidedly unusual, with the design of the curtains and the bulkheads are from traditional batapellala (bamboo) rug mats, which are still popular in Colombo. Screwed to the wall are old black and white prints of Sri Lanka in ancient history.

SriLankan Airlines Cabin Classes

SriLankan Airlines scrapped First Class when the airline was run by Emirates: there is now just Business Class and Economy, and although Economy is pretty consistent, there is a new Business Class with flat beds.
SriLankan Airlines Business Class cabin
Business Class SriLankan Airlines A340 business class cabin is not the best, but quite cosy, and good if you travel with a companion

SriLankan Airlines Business Class

There are two types of Business Class seats. A few aircraft have the new SriLankan Airlines business class seats, which recline fully flat. You'll have to be lucky to get one of these aircraft, but it is well worth it, as it is a derivation of the standard Air China flatbed seat, with a seat pitch of 79" inches, in rather tasteless red leather.

There is an ottoman seat opposite you, which (despite the 'no seat' signs) you can use for buddy dining, and it also becomes part of the seat when it is fully reclined. These seats have full Audio / Video On Demand (AVOD) on demand and 15.4 inch wide HD TV screens. It's easy to see if the new seats are fitted: if the aircraft has five rows of business class, it is the new style seat.

Alas, on most aircraft, SriLankan Airlines business class seats are very much the old style second generation seats, which don't go flat. Pitch is a basic 55. Classic recliners, they look just like the old Emirates seats from years gone by. And indeed they are. Like wide squashy arm-chairs, there is a small cocktail table between the seats, but if you are travelling alone, there isn't much privacy. TV screens are small 10 inch affairs on the seat in front, which can be quite hard to see, particularly when the seat in front is reclined: when this happens it can also be very hard to get out of the seats, particularly the window seats.

SriLankan Airlines A330 Toilets
SriLankan Airlines A330 The bathrooms are basic

SriLankan Airlines Economy Class

Expect few frills on SriLankan Airlines economy class, although all seats do have a seatback TV, and on a few aircraft it actually works. There is only one aircraft as yet with AVOD with the rest of the aircraft, films are on a loop. All economy seats have 32" pitch. Emergency exit row seats can usually not be booked in advance, but are allocated at airport check in.
SriLankan Airlines A330 Seat Controls
SriLankan Airlines A330 Seat Controls

SriLankan Airlines Premium Economy Class

A few travel agents are running what can only be described as 'a bit of a scam' by offering Srilankan Airlines premium economy. However premium economy is not offered on SriLankan Airlines. Instead what happens is that you get a 'request' for a bulkhead or emergency exit seat. True, there may be more legroom, but there is no guarantee that you will get it. Alas, SriLankan Airlines at checkin are also going along with this idea, and at some outstations will offer you Premium Economy on SriLankan Airlines - for a fee. This is currently around £75 at London Heathrow. But all you get is a little extra legroom - if, indeed, you get this seat.

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 / A340

SriLankan Airlines A340 Tokyo
A340 at Tokyo SriLankan Airlines 4 engined A340 at Tokyo
SriLankan Airlines has a small fleet of the classic Airbus widebodies, the A330 for shorter routes with better fuel economy, and A340 for longer ones. The age of the plane varies a lot, but on average they are about ten years old, with many coming from a buying spree after an attack on Colombo destroyed much of the old fleet a decade ago.

SriLankan Airlines has six of the four-engined Airbus A340-300 series, along with seven of the A330-200. They have pretty similar cabins, although some of them have not dated very well.

SriLankan Airlines Economy Class cabin
Economy Class SriLankan Airlines A340 economy class cabin is pretty basic, but at least there are seatback TV screens

Business Class in most A330 and A340 aircraft is in just 3 rows of 2-2-2, with a 55" pitch, although there is one A330-200 with just 2 rows of 2-2-2 business class, and one A340 with 4 rows of 2-2-2. These are the classic old style second generation seats, which don't go flat. Pitch is a basic 55inches and a width of 21 inches. It reclines electronically to lie at a slope of 160 degrees, and there is only TV on a loop.

Row 1 gets a bulkhead with loads of legroom - and unfortunately bassinette fittings. If you don't want to be blighted by sitting next to a couple with a crying baby, ask if there are any children onboard before asking for this seat. On the A330 there is a small walk up bar at the front of the cabin, in front of 1D and E. These seats are great if you want a drink, but to be avoided if you want to sleep, as you have to lean around the front seat passengers if you want to get a drink from here.

SriLankan Airlines Business Class seats
Business Class SriLankan Airlines A330 business class is decidedly retro

New Style Business Class on SriLankan Airlines A340 is a totally different beast, although so far only a few A340 aircraft have been retrofitted. These have 5 rows of the new flat-bed seats which are superb, and which have the new Air China style flatbeds.

SriLankan Airlines Economy Class on the A330/A340 is in a 2+4+2 formation, which is ideal if you are flying as a couple, as it means the end of clambering over two people when you want to leave the window seat. SriLankan Airlines reviews always show that although not very notable, the extra pitch (slightly better than some other airlines) of 32 inches really does help longhaul. The seats have a video screen, and have the remote under the TV screen, rather than clamped into the arm as it is on many planes. In the A330s row 10 gets a bulkhead, while row 20 and row 50 gets an emergency exit, but it is blighted by light spill from the toilets ahead of this seat. On the A340, the bulkhead seat is row 7, while the emergency exit is row 23.

There is also one recently leased ex-bmi A330 aeroplane (4R-ALG), which still has its bmi British Midland cabin intact, which is totally different to all the other A330s in the fleet.

SriLankan Airlines Business Class cabin
Business Class SriLankan Airlines Airbus business class cabin has only basic recliners

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A320

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 at Colombo
SriLankan Airlines Airbus At the gate at Colombo Bandaranaike Airport
SriLankan Airlines use the single aisle Airbus A320 for some quite long flights over the Indian Ocean. There are eight in the fleet, with 4 with 3 rows of business class, and 4 with 5 rows of business.

SriLankan Airlines A320s seat 140, in economy with a 3-3 layout. Row 17 and Row 18 are the overwing emergency exit - if you ask to sit here, you will get 2 inches more legroom. Row 18 is highly prized, as the seat here reclines fully. Pitch is 33" and width is 17".

All models have large 14 inch fold down LCD TV screen under the overhead lockers for both classes. Service can be a bit slow, with only a single aisle for service.

SriLankan Airlines have a basic business class seat on the Airbus A320 it is marginally better than the convertable euro-business seat, but it it nowhere are good as the A330 business class seat. As a result, on routes where both A330s and A320 operate, you should always choose the A330.


Next Page: SriLankan Airlines inflight entertainment
All reviews and opinions on SriLankan Airlines food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Frequent Flyer scheme are given as a personal opinion. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice.
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