Impressions Of SriLankan Airlines A321neo Business Class

Filed Under: SriLankan, Travel

Hello from Abu Dhabi! After spending a great week in Sri Lanka, it was time to fly home the long way from Colombo to Abu Dhabi in SriLankan business class, and then Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam to New York in KLM business class (this was a discounted paid business class ticket).

In this post I wanted to share my initial impressions of the 4.5 hour SriLankan flight.

SriLankan Airlines A321 business class cabin & seats

SriLankan Airlines has a total of six A321s, four of which are new A321neos.

SriLankan Airlines’ A321neo business class cabin consists of a total of 12 business class seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration. It’s interesting that SriLankan’s two older A321s have four rows of business class, so they’ve reduced the size of the business class cabins (which makes sense, given the limited premium demand).

Legroom is generally excellent, much better than you’d find in domestic first class within the US.

I found some of the seat finishes to be interesting. For example, the console between seats felt to me like something you’d find in a car rather than in a plane.

With SriLankan’s cabin configuration, you can look all the way to the very back of the plane, as there are no mid-cabin lavatories.

Much like SriLankan’s A330 that we flew on the way out, the cabin was bright, and I quite liked the turquoise finishes.

SriLankan Airlines business class food

While not the most elaborate meal service, the food was quite good on this 4.5 hour flight departing around 7PM. There were printed menus and the choice of three main courses.

Service began with drinks and cashews.

Everyone got the same sides, consisting of moutabel and tabbouleh salad with grilled paneer and pickled vegetables, and a side of fruit.

For the main course I selected the vegetarian option, which was a delicious “polos curry,” which included jackfruit, mixed vegetable stew, and tomato curry.

SriLankan offers a great tea service (given how much tea is produced in the country), so I ordered a spicy chai, which was served on a cute tray. I was also offered dessert, which was an opera cake with vanilla sauce (personally I was sad not to see a Sri Lankan dessert).

SriLankan Airlines business class amenities

There were no amenity kits on this flight, though there was a decent pillow and blanket, the same I had on the much longer flight from Tokyo Narita.

I was also given some really low quality headphones.

SriLankan Airlines business class entertainment & wifi

The A321neos have personal televisions at every seat, and the selection was quite good. The system was also easy to use and responsive.

SriLankan’s A321neos have wifi, though it’s provided by OnAir, which is almost unusably slow. You can purchase wifi passes ranging in price from 4USD for 20 minutes/9MB of data, to 25USD for the full flight/240MB of data.

SriLankan Airlines business class service

While the service on my flight from Tokyo to Colombo wasn’t great, the service on this flight was very good. There were two flight attendants working the cabin (there were only five passengers, and three of them were operational upgrades because economy was oversold), and they were both lovely.

They were extremely friendly and well intentioned, the purser came and shook everyone’s hand before takeoff, etc.

SriLankan Airlines A321 business class bottom line

SriLankan’s A321neos offer a better experience than you’d find in domestic first class within the US. While I’d no doubt choose a flat bed over this product, I do think that I prefer SriLankan’s business class to Etihad’s business class on this route, as Etihad mostly uses rather outdated A320s for the route.

If you’ve flown SriLankan’s A321 business class, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. I’ve flown this exact route on UL’s a320NEO countless times in J.
    My thoughts echo yours exactly.

  2. I would agree. As a principle I try to avoid narrowbodies for anything over 2 hours but sometimes choice is limited.
    Did a few 4-5 hour flights on these planes and it was better than I expected. Not in the least because the seats are reclining quite a bit.
    Looking forward to your KLM experience.

  3. I’ll fly this route next week.
    Cmb-Auh (ul)
    Auh-Cdg (Ey)
    Stopover 2 days
    Cdg-jfk (Af)
    Stopover 2 Months
    Jfk-Fco (Az)
    Stopover 2 days
    Mxp-Del (Ai)
    Del-Cmb (ul)

    I paid 1389$ biz.

    How much you paid? where you credit?

  4. If it’s a true french quality Opera cake, I would take that over any dessert I ever had on a plane. Opera is one of my favorite desserts, and there are very few places where you can find it in US. But that’s a matter of taste, I know. Maybe they offered Sri Lankan desserts to the passengers traveling coach, you could have asked the flight attendant about that.

  5. I look forward to traveling to a few good places someday possibly as my affiliate income increases and a complete transition to side hustle millionaire status is achieved. By the way, do they not have real food on the Sri Lanka flight to Abu Dhabi like well done steak, seafood and grilled chicken? Doesn’t look like there’s any meat on the plate.

  6. The tea service is a really nice touch. I wish more airlines would do signature luxury touches like this that reflect the countries they come from.

  7. SriLankan has nailed the IFE aspect. No Indian full-service carrier provides seatback IFE on a narrowbody, whether in Y or J, and it’s a shame for Indian airlines.

  8. Lucky – how do you know that 3 of the 5 passengers were op-ups? Do you ask the cabin staff, or is there another way that you could tell?

  9. “SriLankan’s A321neos offer a better experience than you’d find in domestic first class within the US.”
    It’s what’s you wrote, it’s true for regular First Class but the First Class on A321T American Airline is far better. I bet United and Delta offer the level of service on transcontinental flights.

  10. A handshake from the purser, while no doubt well intentioned, seems a bit OTT. There are ample opportunities to pick up germs on every aircraft already, without crew facilitating the spread. I think I would ignore the offered hand without drawing attention. I would simply not be comfortable doing something I prefer not to do.

  11. I am not a fan of the seating material. It is a plastic/rubbery seat cover which can leave one feeling…damp 😛

  12. @ glenn t

    Seriously? If you’re so worried about infections maybe you should stop breathing in…?!

    Anyway, he shook hands *before* take off, so presumably that was shortly followed by a hot towel service, giving you a chance to disinfect with a good old scrub.

  13. @The nice (?) Paul
    I stated my opinion. You don’t have to agree. Shaking hands with all and sundry is the most effective way of spreading germs. If you disagree you should read up on the matter.

  14. Get a grip Glenn, stuck on a plane with recycled air for hours with 180 plus people but wont shake a persons hand!

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