29 November, 2022


SriLankan Airlines: Disgruntled Corporate Heads Vent Frustration On Social Media

Disgruntled and prominent business folk in Colombo have taken to Facebook to vent their frustration at the denial of basic services offered by the country’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines towards its full fare paying customers.

Suren Goonewardene - Denied Access To SriLankan Airlines Business Class Lounge In Singapore

Suren Goonewardene – Denied Access To SriLankan Airlines Business Class Lounge In Singapore

Suren Goonewardene a pioneer in the mobile telecommunications business who was denied access to using the Business Class lounge in Singapore last night posted “Bloody Sri Lankan lounge in Singapore refuses me entry to the lounge after a long trek from Aussie . The excuse given is that a passenger cannot stay in the lounge for more than 3 hours.. bunch of jokers who run the airline .. never has this happened before to me . Flight code share with Qantas ..”

Incidentally Goonewardene who purchased a full fare ticket from Hemas Travels (Pvt) Ltd to travel on SriLankan Airlines / Qantas from Colombo via Singapore to Australia was granted access to the Qantas Business Class lounge on his first leg during his four hour stopover. However on the way back as the stopover was over nine hours, he was denied access by SriLankan Airlines. Since denied access he had no option but to check into a transit hotel.

Kasthuri Chellarajah Wilson - Managing Director Hemas Says "Travel Emirates Instead"

Kasthuri Chellaraja Wilson – Managing Director Hemas Says “Travel Emirates Instead”

Another prominent passenger Dr. Thiyagarah Iraivan who traveled recently on SriLankan Airlines to Bangalore and took to Facebook earlier to also vent his frustration wrote “This is the state of the national airline”. Earlier he had posted pictures of a broken arm rest of a passenger seat he had to sit when he traveled.srilankan-airlines

Commenting under Goonewardene’s post, Kasthuri Chellaraja Wilson the current Managing Director of Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd and former Managing Director of Hemas Transportation wrote “That’s why you should travel Emirates”.

Michael De Soysa the former Manager of the national Sri Lanka Cricket team also commented ” Ouch… never fly UL or Qantas…unless absolutely no other option”. ‘UL’ is the two letter abbreviation for SriLankan Airlines.

Meanwhile when Colombo Telegraph contacted a Senior Commercial Manager of SriLankan Airlines for clarification on the airline’s policy regarding access to the SriLankan Airlines Business Class lounge, he said “Please send this complaint directly to our CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte. Perhaps he can answer for all the nonsense that is currently taking place”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 17

    lets be reasonable,Sl airline has only one flight from Singapore to any other country,whereas quant as fly to Sydney Melbourne Perth Bangkok London Dubai and many more destinations . So just to open business class lounge for 9 hours for 5 0r 6 passengers is not humanly impossible .you travel from quantas to Colombo because it’s offering very cheap fares.Ifyou have money hire a rest room at Singapore air port for45$. .Srilankan air line will be better off without people like you and stay for ever in Australia. And try to stay Qantas lounge.

    • 1

      Sri Lankan shares the DNATA lounge with a number of other airlines in Singapore so no question of “open business class lounge for 9 hours for 5 0r 6 passengers” – It is already open.

      AND the lounge is supposed to be open for “Sri Lankan Airlines Business class and Economy passenger holding Platinum & Gold frequent flyer cards”

      He should have been given access to this lounge for sure

  • 1

    Flight was code share with srilankan .lounge should accomodate passengers .it’s a shame . And what about that rude comment by some dr.

  • 3

    Despite the many witty and catty comments made by many about Suren Goonewardene, I think there is a lot that there is to learn from this episode. Suren Goonewardene is a decent bloke and a very humble human being for those that have come in contact with him. He always had passion for the work he does and as an ex junior colleague who worked under him, I can say he was tough but extremely fair. On a personal basis I have seen the many times he has stretched out his hand to help the less fortunate and many people in need. He has stood like a rock in support to those whenever he ever felt it matters.
    I feel the travel agent should have briefed him about the non availability of the lounge access on the return flight. If he was made to understand he would not have been disappointed as he was. Come to think of it, a lounge access nowadays is part of the basic product all airlines offer their passengers and this is something expected. But if Suren Goonewardene knew that he was not being offered that service he would have gladly paid for a transit room. He is no keep skate by anyone’s imagination even though many have made it sound in otherwise in their comments.
    However the airline ought to take this incident and the outcome very positively. Michael De Soyza the former SriLanka Cricket Manager has traveled a lot in his life time and his comments probably are made due to the fact that he would have seen the inconsistencies in the levels of service over the years and also the drop in product. The Dr.Iraivan;s comment comes perhaps out of frustration. You pay to fly the national carrier and then you are given a broken seat.
    As for Ms Kasthuri’s comments her loyalties now lie with Emirates Airline as she works for Hemas who is the GSA. Nothing wrong with her comment. Perhaps very sincere and a honest comment.
    I have heard many people say ‘we are patriotic towards our own national carrier and that is why we fly it’ to them I say that is good too if that is of a value to you. But in reality the top just keeps milking the airline of its resources and the airline is nothing but a goose that lays golden eggs for them. Now a bunch of unqualified people man crucial posts who know nothing in their present role. Its a joy ride for them. Also unnecessary top heavy management despite being dead weight continue to be mere hang ons. With the national carrier belonging to the people of Sri Lanka, I think everyone is entitled to have their say. After all this is their airline and preferably the people should be given the opportunity to decide who they want to lead the national carrier. Ajit is a joke as Chairman and Capt. Ratwatte -well the less said is best regarding his capabilities as the CEO. There will be more incapabilities to write than capabilities.
    Well done Suren for making a noise and bringing this issue up. Just simply ignore the personal attacks some commentators have made. You have been a thorough gentleman right throughout.

    • 1

      Keerhi A

      Thanks for the excellent character certificate but in the context of the discussion it is totally irrelevant . Are you a disgruntled UL employee ?

  • 1

    Ref. Keertrhi A What/who is a “keep skate”

  • 4

    Oh ! the big business folks in SL..you ll must fly your own private jets..surely..why do you have to wait in lounges..every srilankan must know that we are a 3rd world country and we have governments who dip their every finger to all the co-operation..all of u must be having so much to complain ..boys an girls , don’t you have complains regarding Public hospitals in SL, run by our tax money ?? Or the CTB ?? Is it because you have your luxury cars to run around ?? If you don’t like this country you must Leav, you think you can change SL ?? Pay your bills pls, when you are not entitled for..

  • 0

    Disgraceful SL Airlines is trying to save money by limiting lounge admission to only 3 hours. Srilanka will be a laughing stock among world tourists.

  • 1

    As always, the story has many facets and us Sri Lankans love to take the most extreme view of the simplest circumstances.

    Business Class lounges are a convenience offered by Airlines at major airports. Your ticket fare does NOT qualify you to use one. Read the conditions of carriage before you want to state otherwise.

    If there is maximum use policy in Singapore, the Travel Agent should have explained this to the traveler. This is not the role of the airline, if and when a Travel Agent in involved. That’s why they collect a commission or fee for their service.

    The Hemas person was extremely flippant in her attitude without asking for the facts. Yes, Emirates is a well run operation but, they have their own issues too.

    And, why on earth will an experienced traveler like the author want to spend 9 hours in an airport lounge? I am certain he has his reasons, but if the lounge allowed unlimited use at a busy airport like Singapore, the airlines should spend more for the service. That is not likely and therefore what happened was inevitable. To make this only a Sri Lankan airlines story was a stretch. That does not however absolve the idiots presently managing the operation, and those who appointed them!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.