One of the best values for traveling around Asia is SriLankan Airlines. Their normal fares to cities across Asia through their gateway of Colombo is sometimes a bargain. With its membership in One World, you can redeem for flights on SriLankan, or accrue miles in your own program by flying SriLankan. However, there is a little feature that sits on their website that I almost overlooked. The ability to bid for an upgrade on your seat to business class. The way it works is pretty simple; book any fare for a flight on SriLankan, and you can bid for the upgrade. No matter where you got ticketed, any fare qualifies. I booked my tickets from US Banks Flexperks. Depending on where you are going, your chances of approval for an upgrade depends on many factors. We were going from Kuala Lumpur to Male, which is not that big of a market, so my chances were good. However, I only bid for the first segment, as it was the longest, at a little bit over 3 hours travel time. The last segment was only an hour from Colombo to Male, which was tolerable, but 3 hours with two 4 year olds, could get turbulent, so an upgrade made sense to me. I did some research on FlyerTalk on a thread about upgrading on SriLankan to see what others bid before I decided on how much to bid, before deciding at $150USD. They website indicates they will notify you 36-24 hours before your scheduled flight if your bid was successful, or not. I found they notified me exactly 24 hours before scheduled departure, with a positive email about being approved for the upgrade!
The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo was on an A330 and had kind of an outdated business class cabin, but it was still far more comfortable than coach. Service was stellar, and flight attendants very professional and friendly. The meal consisted of a starter, a main course, and a dessert, followed by a tea and coffee service. The tea was excellent by the way.
Overall, I enjoyed business class on SriLankan, and hope to fly them again someday. Transiting through Colombo was kind of hectic, as they changed gates on us, and of course its up to you to figure that out. We almost missed our connecting flight to Male, but at the end, it all came together. Our departure from Colombo to Male was in the evening, and we arrived in Male at 8PM, which was perfect, because the kids were tired and ready to turn in. Have you flown SriLankan Airlines? What was your experience like?