SriLankan Airlines joined the oneworld alliance yesterday, May 1, 2014. I’ve flown SriLankan in the past and really enjoyed my flights with them. And for that matter, even though I’ve never actually been into SriLanka, I’ve flown through the airport a handful of times (it’s easily the best airport in the world for discounted first and business class tickets, even if it’s not quite as good as it once was). I really do want to visit the country next time, though.
SriLankan A330 at Male Airport in the Maldives
Anyway, I was curious what award availability looks like on SriLankan, given that they’re new to oneworld. It’s one thing when a truly “major” airline joins oneworld, since award availability is typically properly “adjusted.” Often when a smaller airline with a smaller frequent flyer program joins an alliance, almost every seat is available for awards since the airlines never had a problem with too many “outstanding” miles.
SriLankan Airlines award availability
Well, in looking at award availability on SriLankan, that’s definitely not the case. SriLankan award availability is now finally searchable through the British Airways award search tool. And availability isn’t looking great… at least in business class.
The general trend I’m seeing with SriLankan award availability is that they’re fairly good about releasing economy class award seats, while they release at most one business class award seat per flight, and in many cases none. It also doesn’t seem like SriLankan opens up much last minute award space.
For example, in looking at award space from Colombo to Frankfurt, many days they’re releasing one business class award seat and three economy class award seats:
Similarly, from Colombo to Bangkok I’m also seeing one business class award seat and three economy class award seats per flight:
From Colombo to Male they seem to be releasing at least nine economy class award seats per flight, while I can’t find a single date with business class award availability:
SriLankan fuel surcharges when booking through British Airways
Here’s something that’s a bit odd. If an airline imposes fuel surcharges on revenue tickets, then British Airways ordinarily passes them on for award tickets as well. SriLankan does impose fuel surcharges on their flights, though they’re fairly mild compared to what other airlines charge.
The thing that’s odd is that British Airways is charging a flat $85 in taxes/fees/fuel surcharges for one-way SriLankan tickets, regardless of the cabin or route. They charge that for economy class from Colombo to Male, just as they charge that for business class from Colombo to Frankfurt.
Award availability on SriLankan isn’t as great as I was hoping. That being said, it’s certainly better than nothing. Airlines do often adjust award availability somewhat after they’ve joined an alliance, so hopefully that will be the case here (for the better).