OW News: Sri Lankan (UL) Will Join oneworld Alliance in 2013

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by DestinationDavid, Jun 10, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Looks like we've got another member-elect. LINK.

    I haven't heard the best things about this airline, so I'm not sure this sticks with the oneworld motto of "quality over quantity". Anyone have personal experience?

    Recent trip report with UL premium cabin information: LINK and LINK.
     
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  2. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Great news; at last something in South Asia! With S7 in North, RJ in West, UL in South, MH/CX in SE, and JL in East, at least Asia is beginning to look covered---albeit thinly. If this goes through, I can see a few CMB stops/connections in my future. :)

    Future wishes: Carriers from mainland PRC, India, Middle East and Africa.

    PS. Shouldn't this discussion be moved to the OneWorld forum?
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Sri Lanka is one of my favorite destinations in the world, so I'm interested in this addition. I'll be in CMB regardless, but UL is an interesting addition. It really doesn't add too much to the map, but there's a few nice new dots or dots that get easier to access. MLE for one.

    Looks like they also have a thread in the OW forum, many of the threads are double posted there (where they get very little conversation) and here (where they get slightly more conversation). :cool:
     
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  4. JonNYC
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    JonNYC Silver Member

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    Very cool! I've been to Sri Lanka many times and love it as well. I've flown Sri Lankan about a half-dozen times (mostly due to civil-war related Cathay cancellations during my visits) and I found it to be excellent service-wise.
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Never been to Sri Lanka, but it's on my to-do list. Glad to hear that people love it.
     
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  6. NYCAdventurer

    NYCAdventurer Gold Member

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    Glad to hear, happy to see OW growing!
     
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  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Official oneworld press release confirms: LINK.
     
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  8. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    Yeah.. they just need one big fish in the Middle East now
     
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  9. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    David: Could you recommend any specific locations or activities to check out in Sri Lanka, based on your experience?
    Thanks!
     
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  10. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Well it really depends on what you want to do in Sri Lanka. See historic sights? Enjoy the beach? Get into the island culture?

    Some of my favorites....

    Visiting the old dutch fort in Galle on the southern tip of the island: LINK.

    Spend some time on the coast line enjoy the sun and water. Cities like Negombo, Beruwela, and Hikkaduwa are pretty popular and have a lot of tourist friendly facilities, but I prefer some of the smaller towns.

    Take a scenic train ride from Colombo inland to Kandy where you can see the Temple of the Tooth and other sights. If you want to see some more local flavor, visit during the Perahera festival.

    Historical sites in Anuraphapura, Polonnaruwa, and the very cool Sigiriya.

    Natural sites like Adam's Peak, Yala National Park, and Horton's Plains to stand on World's End.

    Or visit the tea plantations further inland as well near the town of Nuwara Eliya.

    Colombo is where most people enter the country, and there are things to see there, but it's a bit "meh" in my opinion. Now that things have settled down a bit, and I believe tourism has been opened back up, you might want to be one of the first brave souls to trek northward into Jaffna.
     
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  11. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. I also like smaller towns, train rides, and scenic landscapes. Since I've never visited the country before, I'd prefer to pick one or two base locations (not Colombo) and explore the area around them. I'll check out the links you provided. Of course, any other ideas will also be greatly appreciated!
     
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  12. jmjgp12

    jmjgp12 Silver Member

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    Great update! Thanks for the post!
     
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  13. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    I read about this on Lucky's blog this morning. Very happy as it opens up more options to get places.
     
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  14. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I had 3 flights with Sri Lankan back in February. I would say I'm pretty pleased with the experience. I flew Colombo-Male on a 340 in coach. Flight was about an hour, good legroom in coach, free alcohol (Carlsberg beer) and a snack was served. There was also a blanket and a pillow waiting in each seat.

    From Male to Colombo, I was on an A320, the aircraft was a few months old. Same service, good legroom.

    From Colombo, I took an A340 redeye to Bangkok in business. They still have a couple of non lie flat business planes flying around, I got one of them. Perfectly fine for a 3 hour flight. It cost 210USD one way CMB-BKK in biz.

    Full service on board, but opted to sleep instead.

    All in all, clean planes, professional crew and good safety record (Flight crew were British on all flights). Sure, interesting clientele that may smell a little funky, but hey, that's part of the charm.

    Would choose them again in a heartbeat.
     
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  15. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    A Srilanka trip on the next OW Mega Do?
     
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  16. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Lol.. Doubt it ;)
     
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  17. AA_EXP09

    AA_EXP09 Gold Member

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    They should have flights from ICN and NRT though for more international connections.
     
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  18. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    One reason SriLankan has been so good is that it was until 2008 operated by Emirates which owned >44% of the airline. It has grown more politically controlled since then, but still seems to be maintaining quality. Tommy's commentary seems the most pertinent recent ridership information that I trust.
     
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  19. AA_EXP09

    AA_EXP09 Gold Member

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    Quality is there, I will agree with that.
    However, if I could, I would rather fly CX to CMB and I don't think that there are very many connections out of CMB, other than to Indian destinations which can easily be served by CX/JL/BA.
    My experience was in 2008 where I got a revenue ticket there for cheap.
    I also went to India.
    It was supposed to be LAX-SHA-DEL-CMB but I did it in reverse. (LAX-SHA-CMB-DEL)
    On the return I was rerouted on BA in SHA.
     
  20. GUWonder
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    GUWonder Silver Member

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    Emirates or Etihad, with EK having more history with Sri Lanka but I doubt BA will want that.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    We did a week there this past New Years and I cannot speak highly enough of the country. We did the whole time inland, visiting Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. Lots of info in my trip reports here. The tea plantations up in the central part of the country are some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.

    As for UL as a carrier, I mostly echo Tommy777's comments. I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning from them on the flight down from MAA-CMB, but other than that it really was a completely reasonable and pleasant flight. I also had the same BKK fare booked but ended up not flying it, opting to come home in EK F instead. Getting that refunded did take a bit of persistence and harassing them via Twitter but it got done eventually.

    If you're interested I can put you in touch with the driver we used. Reliable and reasonably priced.

    How would you get from Thailand, Vietnam or Singapore (or most of the rest of SE Asia) to India on OW? Not a ton of new dots, but some much better connections than the alliance previously had in the region.

    And the extra options out of Europe to the region, albeit slightly out of the way, shouldn't hurt the award redemption situation.
     
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  22. JonNYC
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    JonNYC Silver Member

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    Absolutely! I've been to Sri Lanka many times and these are two of my "go to" hotels:

    http://www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama/ for location near historic sites, a wild and unique hotel!

    http://www.heritancehotels.com/ahungalla/ for some relaxing time down south. A cool seafood shack (literally) just down the beach. Generally speaking the food at hotels in Sri Lanka is not especially good, the local food-- off the tourist trail-- is AMAZING!

    In the tea growing area, for total, over-the-top amazingness: http://www.teatrails.com/
    (when was the last time ya saw a tripadvisor rating like this?
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...n_Nuwara_Eliya_District_Central_Province.html

    As far as preferring CX to get to CMB-- not me.

    The equipment they use on this route is very rustic and stop in BKK or SIN is a killer. I've flown 6 carriers in/out of CMB (TG, EK, SQ, RJ, UL and CX) and UL is actually one of the best ways to do it, IMHO. Plus, the lounge UL has at CMB is much, much nicer than the shared lounge that CX/SQ (and I think TG-- don't remember for sure) use-- no comparison in fact, UL lounge is very cool (massage, food, nice airport views, rest chairs, etc)-- the shared lounge is not at all.

    I too have a highly reliable driver/guide that I recommend if anyone's looking'-- I've used him 5 or 6 times. Here he is on FB: http://www.facebook.com/rammuni.silva

    Sri Lanka is very, very delightful and very worth the trip.

    BTW, as mentioned above, IMvHO CMB, the City itself is a boring, dirty dump-- don't spend even a single night there if you have a choice, IMHO. YMMV, but the Capital city has nothing whatsoever to offer compared to the rest of the Country, if ya ask me.
     
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  23. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    There are rumors that JL is going to introduce a flight into Sri Lanka when the new international airport opens in Hambantota, though no official news from JL. Would be great to be able to get there in 2 stops going ORD-NRT-HTT. Pipe dream for now.
     
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  24. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Great trip reports - thanks! Feels like Sri Lanka has a fairly comfortable climate, despite being on the equator.
    Unfortunately, most of my miles are on OW, so can't fly UL on miles.
     
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  25. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    You can when they become a full member I guess, even earlier
     
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