SriLankan creates a dump, sends oneworld elites over calling it a Lounge!

I’m the last guy to usually use strong language, but what really gets my goat is when airlines sway away from the usually interpreted terms of the program and the alliances. SriLankan Airlines joined oneworld last year, and I would expect this gave them more business and connecting business from alliance partners.

One of the privileges of the oneworld loyalty program equation is the provision of lounge access to elite members of other programs as well. For instance, I am a oneworld Emerald by virtue of my British Airways Gold and American Airlines Executive Platinum status. By virtue of this, I should be provided access to SriLankan’s best lounge designated for First Class members. Since SriLankan does not offer First Class, a Business Class Lounge would be the next best thing to offer. On my recent trip with them where I flew from Mumbai to Male via Colombo, they indeed invited me to the Business Class section of the Mumbai Airport GVK Lounge.

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There are a few exceptions, and these are very well noted. For instance, in the USA and Australia, oneworld member airlines sell lounge access plans so domestic visitors are not admitted unless they have lounge access privileges via membership. Qatar Airways did some hard work to make sure their Al Safwa and Al Mourjan lounges at Qatar and Premium Lounge at London T4 is excluded.

When I arrived at Colombo, I proceeded to their Business Class Lounge to get access, and presented my boarding pass with my AA credentials on it.

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However, the lounge agent had this color me unimpressed look, and she handed me over a lounge invitation for two for the other lounge. The Serendib lounge looked good, but they insisted I head to the Serendiva Lounge.

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Turns out, the other lounge was not the most accessible lounge, in a shady corner of the transit hotel they built in the terminal two levels above the airport, behind the Emirates Lounge. I looked it up, and SriLankan invented its own differentiation, without having oneworld on board. They changed this only in July 2015 infact. Except, this has no mention on the oneworld Lounge Access policy page.

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Now, my beef with this whole change is, the Serendiva Lounge is not really the better lounge, and they don’t make any distinction apparent while announcing the change. When you go through the elevator, and you pass through the multitude of low light areas, you see this.

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No attendants, so you wait a while to be able to get someone who can scan you into the lounge.

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Once you are inside, you realise how unkempt and hideous this lounge is, as compared to the Serendib Lounge which SriLankan has clandestinely reserved for Business Class guests only.

For instance, seats have been collected from all over the terminal perhaps and organised her in some manner to make it look like there is a Lounge. What other explanation could they offer for cherry red, tan brown and mustard yellow couches organised in no particular fashion. There was no organisation done to make you feel welcome.

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The wifi did not work. They indeed had not even enough bandwidth to let an iMessage go through. While they did offer a bar, there was an empty bottle of champagne which was there throughout the 30 minutes or so I stayed here.

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There was food, but largely cold cuts and we did not have any.

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While the service in the air being good even in economy, I wonder why would SriLankan make this blunder of segregating passengers on their class of travel, and why would oneworld accept this?

Any insights from you all?

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Comments

  1. hi, i travelled to Male with srilankan airlines business class, while going to Male they gave me Serendib lounge , while return from Male as my boarding pass was Colombo bangalore they send me to Serendiva lounge. on enquiring i was told that colombo- blr is considered short haul and they consider Colombo Male a long haul that is why Serendiva Lounge on return. the service at the lounge was very poor & i had to write a complain as follows:
    Dear Sir,
    I have a pleasure to travel Srilanka Airlines: Bangalore – Colombo – Maldives – Colombo – Bangalore. Being in business class along with my wife & we had privilege to enjoy your Airport lounges Serenedib while going to Male and Serenediva while returning to Bangalore. We found the facilities were excellent especially at Serenedib and Serenediva.
    Unfortunately at Serenediva while returning back to Bangalore one of your staff named Mr. Prince Arunu Gunawardane with batch no: 963S was not ready to serve, was arrogant & misbehaved, due to which our mood of the total journey got spoiled. The matter was also reported to the receptionist who was sitting on the counter at that time. I also left my visiting card with her to pursue matter further.

    Thanking you

  2. Thanks Ajay for the warning. We work hard to get the status especially the OW emerald is not something you get easily/cheap .I am just a few TP short this year and now taking a long indirect route just to get the BA gold

    so should not let the these guys getaway with such practices.I have not flown Srilankan but was considering it.

  3. I’m not too familiar with oneworld since I have no status with any of its member airlines but I am a krisflyer gold with Singapore Airlines and I know at Changi airport, Singapore Airlines has a separate star alliance gold member lounge (KrisFlyer Gold lounge) that is different from their own SQ business class lounges.
    Of course, the SQ business class lounge is better than the krisflyer gold lounge but depending on the time of day, the business class lounge tends to be more crowded than the star alliance gold lounge.

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