17 March 2013

My Dear John letter to Sri Lankan Airlines

Flew into the old motherland for the annual RoyTho cricket encounter. As a member of the Fly Smiles SLA (Sri Lankan Airlines) frequent flyer programme, requested travel agent to get my ticket on the said airline (12kg more baggage and choice seating). Arrived at the SLA Heathrow Terminal 4 check-in to find that the much sort after emergency exit seats have been blocked by SLA. Informed to me by the Alitalia check-in person as they handle it for SLA out of London. Why they even bother to have SLA staff in London, I fail to understand if Alitalia does the job at check-in.
Emergency exit seats are usually given to able-bodied persons who are able to help other passengers in case of an emergency evacuation.
In the case of SLA, they are given to people who know people. After I got on the plane, one of the stewardesses was a relative and she managed to move me to one of the seats where families with babies travel with more legroom. The emergency exit seats next to me were taken by an old uncle and aunty.
·      The blankets smelt of vomit, to and from London.
·      The seats were extremely dirty and the plane not cleaned properly.
·      The seats smelt.
·      Once the meal was served, it took a couple of hours for them to be cleared. This added to the stink.
·      Heard someone else asking one of the crew about the cleaning of the plane. They were informed that there’s hardly anytime to clean the plane properly due to the quick turn around after landing in London.
·      The plane from Colombo to London was dirtier and stank more.
·      The food from Colombo to London gave me a bad stomach. For three days. It was awful. Both the food and bad stomach. 
·      In my haste to get out of the plane in London, I left behind some personal items on the plane. It’s been five days now and I am still to get a proper reply to my emails. Despite being a frequent flyer on SLA.
·      The planes were extremely warm. Both from London and from Colombo. The sweat of the people added to the stink of the plane.
I understand that British Airways will start operations to Colombo from London this month.
I am on the frequent flyer programs of SLA, British Airways, and Qatar Airways.
But I look forward to flying Sri Lankan Airlines in the near future on my travels to the motherland.
The flights will probably be empty, smelly and the food still awful, but I have a very good feeling I’ll on a very empty plane. I’ll bring my own blanket and food.
After all I do have the excess baggage allowance and I will remain Sri Lankan even after my death.

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