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CMB Terminal Concourse

CMB Terminal Concourse
December 2013

Bandaranaike International Airport
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Our first stop was the SriLankan transit counter where we checked in the UL first leg of our ex-CMB First Class fare. For years, CMB was known as the home of bargain Asia-US First Class fares, in the $2,000 one way range. SFOJr and I took one on these last February on our return from India. While fares are still attractive, the cheap $2,000 OW fare is pretty much disappeared and both OW/RT are now much more restrictive.

With 7 hours to kill, we decided just to stay at the airport and get a room at the in terminal transit hotel. I had booked it by email earlier in the day, request and confirmation within 30 minutes. For $55, we got a spartan yet comfortable double room that let us get about 4 hours sleep. The lounge is easy to find on the upper level just beyond the Emirates Lounge.

Pleasant staff checked us in and proactively asked if we needed a wake up call.

One of strange features in the hotel is a Srilankan Business Class Lounge (Serenediva Lounge). Absolutely no idea why since the new renovated Serendib lounge is much nicer and now open on the main concourse. Nevertheless, we stopped in to pick up a Coke Light and some cookies.

While Mrs. SFO went to sleep, I headed out to get some pics.

And Sri Lanka's most famous export to Bollywood, Jacqueline Fernandez.

February 2013


Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Surprising amount of activity at 4:30AM. We headed toward immigration and the exit, not quite sure what the drill was for transiting passengers.

One of Sri Lanka's most famous exports... former Miss Sri Lanka and Bollywood star, Jacqueline Fernandez. Doesn't sound very Sri Lankan though.

At the end of the concourse, immigration is on the left and transfers are to the right with a transit service center in the middle.

Since we were already in the departure concourse for our EK flight, there was no need to clear immigration, and apparently no need for our visas, although we might have had trouble checking in at JAI without the documentation.

The first order of business was to check in for our EK flights and get boarding passes. Since the EK lounge didn't open for another two hours, we went to the SriLankan Airlines Transfer Desk, as they are agents for most airlines that serve the airport. Lovely agent checked us in but could not issue boarding passes due to a computer problem. She said she would call the EK lounge and explain that we still need our BPs.

Unfortunately, the EK Lounge only opens three hours before each departure, so 0650, or nearly two hours from then. As we had passed two other lounges in the walk from our gate, we back-tracked and used my free Priority Pass card (from Amex Platinum) at the Lotus Lounge.

Not the nicest lounge but it was quiet and had fast internet service.

But it did have quite an impressive array and food and beverage, especially for 5AM.

And a small Business Centre.

At around 5:30AM, in one of the most amazing displays of customer service I've seen in years, the SriLankan agent who was having trouble printing our boarding passes, found us in our corner of the lounge and gave us both our CMB-DXB and DXB-LHR boarding passes. Apparently, when she discovered the EK lounge was closed, she started looking for us in each lounge until she found us. Wow.

At around 7AM, we bid adieu to the pleasant lounge dragon and headed off to the impressive Emirates Lounge.