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Wed, 01 October 2014 21:13:57
Sri Lankan Airlines chases Indians
19 Mar, 2008 14:55:20
Mar 19, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan Airlines, already the biggest foreign carrier to India with over 100 flights a week, says it is intensifying efforts to attract Indians to fly its network and bring them to its hub in Colombo.
More than 100,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka in 2007, with authorities expecting volume to double in the next two years.

In February the airline had offered discounted fares for Indian travellers below the age 27 provided they stayed in the island for three days.

"India is the largest country of origin of tourists to Sri Lanka, having replaced our earlier traditional markets in Europe every year since 2005," Senaka Fernando, regional manager for India and Maldives said in a statement.

The airline says flight time to Sri Lanka is less than an hour from six out of 11 Indian destinations it flies to.

It carries North Indian, South Indian and vegetarian dishes and the latest Hindi and Tamil films on its entertainment system.

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READER COMMENT(S)
4. lucky Mar 22
I know it's pricy but I just wanted to patronise the local airline and try to fly Sri Lankan as much as possible.
I find the business class inflight service quite good although not as comprehensive as Qatar airways.
3. Jack Point Mar 22
Lucky/Rohan Samarajiwa, thanks a lot for the info. I generally fly based purely on price so thus far have always found other airlines to be cheaper so have not been on Sri Lankan in a long while. Will make it a point to avoid it at all costs.
2. lucky Mar 20
The rot was there, albeit on a different level, even before the handover.
I was at the Skywards office to book a flight to Chennai in January and the person ( a woman) behind the counter looked at the computer for at least 15 minitues and told me that all flights are fully booked on business class and the earliest date that she could book me was on the 26th of March.

Then I pleaded with her to get me any seat - the same reply- no seats. So I went to my usual travel agent to get a ticket on Jet Airways as I had a meeting on February 4th. While she was about to book the ticket on Jet Airways, I just mentioned that Sri Lankan is fully booked for March until the 26th and showed her the slip that was given to me by Skyward. She looked shell shocked and told me that there were no bookings on Sri Lankan business class on that day and immediately booked me a seat.

With the reference in hand I walked into the Skyward office(WTC) and confronted the lady about the booking. The same person looked me in the eye ,with the usual perfuctoral smile that most airline staff are famous for and said that , 'the office is closing now- go to the ticketting office next door'. No apology and no service. It was near 5 pm and I was in no mood to argue. So I went next door to the ticketing office - and things were no better.

The person behind the counter tried to charge me USD 50 for the booking. When I questioned why I had to pay for the booking and why are they quoting in USD when we are in Sri Lanka, the chap said then its okay and gave me the ticket. The best part of the drama was, when I got on the plane - yes, you gussed it right- I was the only passenger in business class! Later they brought in an elderly gentleman from economy to the front. And there is more - the saga did not end there.

When I was in Chennai, I got a frantic call from my wife saying that Sri Lankan called and informed her that I have not confirmed my return and the flight is fully booked - I was asked to get in touch with Sri Lankan office in Chennai. Which I did and confirmed my seat- when I got on the plane I was shocked to find out again that there were only two passengers - myself and another gentleman on business class!

With regards to feed back from Sri Lankans companies and CEOs, they are as rare as hens teeth!. Sri Lankan CEOs, MDs and management in general, have no regard for customers, despite all the hogwash about good governance, CSR, etc.

Over the past twelve years I have written to at least a dozen top company CEOs regarding various matters- these companies include big names like Abans, Singer, ICC - and have never received a reply to date.,

In contrast to the practice here, I always get a reply whenever I write to a UK company. If it's a complaint, I get a letter from the CEO with his personal signature, apologizing for the failure or poor service etc. Now these CEOs of companies like Prudential and BT, get salaries that are bigger than the turnover of some companies here, and yet they are humble and responsible enough to write back! Thats the main difference between a sophisticated society and a mediocre one.

1. Rohan Samarajiva Mar 19
And it has begun to cancel flights, offload confirmed passengers and do all the things it was notorious for in the bad old Air Lanka days, as the rot has begun with the ending of the Emirates management contract.

So far I have had to plead with SriLankan to not offload me from a flight to Delhi and had to miss connections because of an unannounced cancellation of a flight from Trivandrum.

No compensation in the latter case. No apology or even a response to my letter in the former.

Caveat emptor. Anything but SriLankan.