|This is better. Go here instead, brave Oneworld traveler.|
After several notoriously bad layovers, some of which even included having our passports taken from us with little explanation, and returned an hour later...still without our onwards boarding passes we'd been asking for, and yet others involving all-nighters at airport restaurants with questionable hygiene, the phrase 'at least it's not Jakarta' has come in quite handy when discussing various, less than ideal, airports and destinations.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself here. We arrived in Columbo on our Malaysia Air flight around midnight local time and found ourselves in a packed terminal. This was likely a result of the fact that the airport's runways are undergoing massive renovation, and so all flights have been moved to the overnight while the work takes place in the daytime.
To get our next boarding passes for our Qatar flight, we went to the Sri Lankan transfer desk so we didn't have to exit customs. It might not seem like they can do this for you, but they can, it will just take some time. It will also take some aggressive line-guarding, since the custom of waiting your turn is a little hazy in this part of the world. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Though it's not Jakarta, Columbo is nevertheless one of those airports where a huge range of people come together, and the amenities and technology lag behind. It has it's fair share of confused regional travelers, backpackers sleeping in the hallways, and the like. What it does have going for it though is that it's a home airport of a Oneworld member, Sri Lankan, and as such offers a decent lounge option, if you know where to find it.
The caveat here is that they'll try to send you to the "Amalya" lounge, which is a fairly minimal, crowed space. The Sri Lankan branded lounge is much , much better. To find this lounge, from the transfer desk, bear left, and pass the various duty free and tea merchants, then look for wooden doors guarded by a couple of lions. Easy.
|Rawr! In Colombo they have lions guarding their lounges, instead of 'dragons'.|
|Quick cup of Sri Lankan Tea|
|QR 777-300 Business Class Cabin|