This is not the first time I flew to Sri Lanka, but my first time I use Sri Lankan Airlines. The following is my experience.
Initially, I was not interested to fly this airlines, but as the online travel service failed www.asiatravel.com I had no choice as the other flight options were too expensive.
I was initially pleasantly surprised by the timing of the flight, leaving in the afternoon and arriving before dinner was GREAT! And so I got the tickets on zuji.com.sg.
At the Changni International Airport, I found the Sri Lankan Counter (which is also China Eastern Counter) and to my dismay, there were CHINESE NATIONAL staff manning the counters. The passengers were mostly Sri Lankans and there seemed to be a big problem of communications as both their accents were hard for each other to understand. Though I was third in the queue, it took more than 30 minutes before they got to me.
The passengers, as usual were bringing 30 LCD panels and tons of computers back, enough to open an Internet shop. Everything else was quite ok though.
On the flight, I found someone sitting on my seat and as I informed him that I'd like the window seat as I've requested for it and I hate to be disturbed during flights, he promptly ignored me. I informed the Air crew about this and they spoke in Sinhalese and the Air Crew did not manage to move him and gave me another window seat after changing with several passengers.
The plane was alright, seats were adjustable and they have a TV screen, though some beside me were not working and my screen had lots of static and the headphones did not work, it was still fine as the cheapest airline with a somewhat viewable screen was good enough for me.
Reading the magazines, I felt that I had Dejavu and on close examination, I saw that some of the pages were repeated. I'm not sure if this was done on purpose or was it to make the magazine look thicker than it is or it is an emphasis on some pages so great that they had to reprint the same ad twice.
I then got the menu and was informed that I had a choice of Chicken Curry on Rice, Spaghetti or sorts or Lentils. I decided not to be adventurous and go with Spaghetti, however when the air hostess came, I was not asked anything and was given Chicken Curry. EVERYTHING else was out.
Well at least I did not have to decide. The wine on board was the worst wine I ever drank. It seemed to be sour, kinda like vinegar and rather foul. DO not drink the white wine.
Overall, the plane landed safely in Sri Lanka, and I was glad I was alive. Overall, when I compared it with a budget airline flight, the service was ok, and I did not need to pay for food, so I'd say the experience was alright.
Eat before boarding the plane, food sucks.
Timing of flight was good, so you can get dinner after.
Bring an mp3 player or a portable video player of sorts, do not rely on the TV programs on board.
Soda, water is safe, DO NOT TRY THE WINE.