Of course, I had no grand expectations about the flight experience having been a frequent flyer with the airline and seen firsthand its demise into a substandard carrier over the years. As written about in a previous post, my biggest complaint about the airline was the inhospitality of the crew, the inedible food and just the general demographic who fly the carrier (leading to excess noise and a somewhat marketplace environment). Anyway since it was just a 1 hour flight and not the usual 10 hour grind, I didn't have much of a problem in enduring this.
So FM and I packed our bags, hailed a taxi and went to the airport. There is now added security at the airport with some bus transfer business which sort of led me to question 'isn't the war meant to be over?'. Anyway, kudos to the security fellows for doing their job and luckily we didn't have to get on the (rather dirty) bus. Checked in proceeded smoothly, no longer were there the long queues of the past. The counters seemed blissfully empty. Although I don't think this is blissful for the Sri Lankan Airlines topline. Hung around the airport for the mandatory 1.5 hours, finally got the boarding pass torn and stood in line to the aircraft.
Enter the aircraft. It was one of those small fellows - A320 i think, the business class section looked as always quite comfortable. Got shoved into the cattle class, and imagine our suprise. No longer were there the (somewhat dirty) blue upholstery on the tiny seats. Instead, facing us were row upon row of red leathery plastic seat covers. FM says its what they use to cover hospital beds. I say it looks like a private bus.
Sat down - there was no cushion. I suffer from back pain however due to the absence of cushions, had to sit straight upright through the entire flight. Gone were the seat reclines. Gone were the little head resters. Gone were the leg rests. Oh did I mention, people had wrote on the seat covers (much like a bus)? Gone were the magazines and gone - a little alarmingly - were the safety precaution sheets, the vomit bag and the likes.
Here my friends lay a truly budget aircraft. The crew were as inhospitable as always. The stewardess who served us had no incling of a smile. The food was as terrible. In fact, any redeeming quality Sri Lankan airlines had - had brutally gone out the window. Freefalling towards airline hell at a steady 600 km/h.
Its sad to see something that we were once proud of fall from such great heights into such pitiful oblivion. But one thing for sure, with those red seat covers - those seats look definetely 'HOT'.