I have just received an email from Sri Lankan Airlines (access web-version here) about changes to Lounge Access effective immediately at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Airport.
Effective July 1st 2015 (so already in effect) the frequent fliers of Sri Lankan Airlines own program FlySmiles as well as oneWorld Sapphire & Emerald (!!) Members will from now on only have access to a secondary lounge.While First / Business Class Passengers continue to have access to the the Serendib Lounge, Frequent Fliers in Economy Class will now access the Serenediva Lounge. Both lounges are listed on the oneWorld website (access here).
The email / website reads:
Your new lounge entitlements effective from 1st of July 2015 will be as follows
Serendib Lounge – Passengers traveling on First/Business Class on SriLankan Airlines or any oneWorld member airlines flight.
Serenediva Lounge – FlySmiles Platinum / Gold Members as well as oneWorld Emerald & Sapphire Members traveling on Economy Class on SriLankan Airlines or any oneWorld member airline.
To me, this sounds like a downgrade. It gets quiet confusing however once you consult the Sri Lankan Airlines website for information about such lounges (access here) where it describes the lounge that FlySmiles and oneWorld elites are restricted to as more comfortable.
Located on the level 2 of the Departure Hall at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Serenediva Lounge is designed to accommodate the most valued top-tier customers and Business Class passengers travelling on short-haul flights. Open for 24 hours, the lounge has a tranquil ambience, with lounge sofas and a business centre.
Supposedly it’s also featuring a spa with a free 15 min treatment as well as a Premium Dining & Bar Service. This sounds more like an upgrade for frequent fliers, contradicting the first impression.
I have personally only visited the Serendib Lounge twice before, once as a Business Class Passenger and once traveling as oneWorld Emerald in Economy on SriLankan. I found it to be a standard Business Lounge however with very nice Food & Beverage Amenities (in the very least I’d call them sufficient).
I find the wording in this email announcement to be very strange. I have consulted two friends who are familiar with Colombo Airport and neither one could make sense of it. Why would UL specifically point out Economy Class Fliers in connection with that new lounge without calling it an improvement if the lounge is indeed much more Premium?
In addition, oneWorld Elite Members should continue to have access to both lounges, however it became a trend in recent times that some airlines keep separate lounges for Economy passengers with status. The latest one seems to be Qatar Airways in Doha where oneWorld Elites in Economy are now also banned from the excellent Al Mourjan Business Lounge – without any prior announcement from Qatar Airways.
If you have any experience or input regarding these Sri Lankan Airlines Lounges I would welcome your comments below!