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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No attendants, so you wait a while to be able to get someone who can scan you into the lounge.
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.
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.
There was food, but largely cold cuts and we did not have any.
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?