After transfer security, we walked over to the Al Maha Lounge (the only Priority Pass lounge at Doha Airport). Luckily for us, the lounge was over capacity and instead of sending us away (perfectly within the rules) the staff gave us a pass for the Oneworld Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge (which is different to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge) used by passengers flying on Qatar.
This lounge was equally full but we were waved in; after 30 minutes it was emptied to just a handful of guests. We enjoyed the excellent hummus, the family room, the sleeping room, showers and alcoholic drinks. While the airport WiFi was slow, there was another WiFi connection which was accessible after providing a phone number that worked well that day (at about 3 Mbit).
About an hour before departure, the SriLankan flight showed as ‘boarding’ on the lounge displays. This often shows too early but when we walked down to the gate, it was indeed boarding and we walked straight from security onto the plane.
SriLankan has invested in their product on a massive scale. The aircraft looked as shiny as if it just came off the Aircraft Interiors Expo. The seat-back screens are massive (bigger than on many business class seat-backs) and the seat pitch is at least 32 inches (likely 33).
The business class cabin has also been upgraded from the 2-2-2 layout I reviewed a few years ago on SriLankan from Bangkok to Colombo. It is now a business class mini-suite.
The flight would be 100% full that day and it took a while until every found their seats. Clearly most passengers on this flight seemed on their way to a vacation in Sri Lanka. Eventually we all got settled in and we got on our way to Colombo right on time. SriLankan Airlines is not affected by the ‘Qatar ban’ and we could fly right over the UAE and Oman on our way over the Indian Ocean.
Although it was so hot and the area might have had thunderstorms over the ocean, the whole flight did not have a single bump; it was like the air was just solid.
After a meal and a movie I fell asleep (the cabin was very quiet after all the toddlers and babies had fallen asleep earlier).
For an economy seat I felt really good in this 2-4-2 configuration, with plenty of shoulder space and a headrest that actually worked for me.
We barely had to make one turn and landed furiously fast into a very early morning on Sri Lanka’s island nation. The pilot slammed the brakes on and we were at the gate in less than a minute after landing in this A330; that was quite a performance. Seconds later, the doors opened; just a few minutes later and the first passengers disembarked. It was so fast that I barely got the carry-on out of the bins.
Immigration was equally fast and friendly. Nobody needed our visa application – it had already been linked to our passports when they were scanned. Just a few seconds and a stamp later and we were on our way to meet our friendly Uber driver.
This was an awesome economy flight. A great lounge to start with, a new plane that worked just as it should and a landing and immigration experience that was just marvelous; maybe Sri Lanka(n) is serious about aviation?!