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Colombo Bandaranaika Airport
6.2 out of 10  6.2 out of 10
56 reviews

 



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COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  27 March 2014 by Carl Borges    (UK)

Rating : 6/10

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Recommended

A reasonably good airport, there are some works going on in the departures area but they aren't causing significant problems. They need to sign board better, trying to find the toilets was not easy!



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  27 March 2014 by Charanjit Malli    (Australia)

Rating : 8/10

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Recommended

Airport was really good, a variety of shops and duty free range was good and quite cheap. Security strict which is good.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  11 March 2014 by D Fynn    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

Much better than I had expected. Overall cleanliness was reasonable, signage good and the aircon worked. Food and drink was decent once airside, with adequate comfy seating. The check-in experience though was a total nightmare.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  6 January 2014 by L Felix    (UAE)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

A truly unpleasant airport in every sense. Wash rooms are dirty and smell appalling. Staff are remarkably rude. Very little cleaning is done and although the airport is only a few years old, there is filth everywhere - seats with stains, dirt in every corner. Getting a taxi from the airport means getting treated rudely by airport personnel. No facilities, not a proper shop, no adequate refreshments available, no comfort. I will try to avoid visiting Colombo again.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  24 May 2013 by N Sundera    (USA)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

Having travelled through Colombo 4 times in the last couple of months, I can say it is one of the better airports in the sub-continent, which is faint praise indeed. The air-conditioning is anaemic, the restrooms are only marginally acceptable, the duty-free area in the arrivals hall is more like a bazaar with various traders vying for your attention. The drop-off area is over-crowded with people and with vehicles belching diesel fumes. Check- in is a nightmare, with long lines and clueless ground staff. On the plus side, the terminal is clean and well lit, and less crowded past immigration and easy to navigate. Sadly, the alterations and additions are very mediocre and the elegance of the original terminal with its colourful fabric ceiling have been long lost.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  28 November 2012 by Gyan Fernando    (Sri Lanka)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

The problem with this airport is that it is well away from Colombo, the only road can be very busy and therefore you need to arrive well ahead of time. Getting into the building takes a long time because of the security. The problem here is that non-travellers try to get into the terminal, which is not allowed (except with a permit) and so the security guy at the entrance checks your passport and asks for your ticket. With e- tickets, there is no need to carry any documentation and so this causes a little bit of unpleasantness. Once past security all baggage is x-rayed, which is fair enough but there is only one machine. There is a lot of queue jumping. Once past that hurdle the next one is trying to get to check-in. If you arrived early you will have to hang around until the check-in opens. Once past check-in things do get better. Immigration staff are generally courteous and immigration is painless. Once airside there is one reasonable but overpriced restaurant. Service is slow. If flights get delayed do expect chaos with the lovely but clueless hostesses. It is very easy to get into the wrong area as gate staff are pre-occupied. This is the only International airport in Sri Lanka at the time of writing and therefore I have no choice but to recommend it but with reservations.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  4 October 2012 by A Stevenson    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

The last time I came through Columbo Airport I gave it a pretty good review, sadly, things seem to have deteriorated - either that, or the airport is struggling to keep up with increased passenger traffic. Flying into the airport isn't too bad, although the pick-up point for arrivals is now as big a shambles as the drop off zone for departing passengers. Departures is a different story. Apart from the scrum at the aforementioned drop off point, the check in desks are partitioned off from the rest of the departure hall and you're not allowed to proceed to check in until instructed to do so. Fair enough, but the amount of seating in the departure hall is completely inadequate for the number of passengers waiting for their check in desk to open. Also, there is only one channel through the partition, and when check in for a particular flight opens this is immediately mobbed by the waiting passengers with no attempt by the authorities at managing the process or – heaven forbid – organizing a queue. Once airside, things do improve, but since passengers have already gone through full security screening at a) entry to the departure hall and b) entry to the check in area, why is there a need for a third security check at the gate itself? Still not a bad airport, but the management ought to think about making the departures process less painful for passengers.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  2 October 2012 by Kurt Mueller    (UK)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

The management of this airport obviously believes that "queuing is good for you". Try to depart from here in the early hours and you are met with an obstructed main entrance to the departure area, where you first have to pass your luggage through x-ray machines. Then you get to the departure hall, which is separated from the check-in area by - you guessed it - more x-ray machines. Perversely, only one x-ray machine was working when I flew out, so the queue was horrendous and completely disorganized. Surely, this could be easy to handle, particularly now that visitors to Sri Lanka who previously obtained an entry stamp in their passports now have to pay for a visa on arrival. Where is that money going? Another annoying feature of this airport are immigration officials who are clearly chatting away to friends or family on their mobiles while on duty behind the immigration desks.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  15 April 2012 by Helen Jackson    (UK)

Rating : 1/10

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Recommended

Colombo to Heathrow check-in was appalling. We had checked in online and only needed to drop our baggage. Arrived in plenty of time, however, we were in the online check-in queue for 1 3/4 hours! Poor management, queue jumping, passengers not having checked in online, group members appearing from all over the place. When, through sheer frustration I complained, there was a total look of surprise from an attendant overseeing everything - but doing nothing. It would have been quicker not to have checked in online. Needless to say I only had 15 mins to shop. Also, whilst there may be many 'checks', several passengers were able to get water onboard without it being removed.



COLOMBO BANDARANAIKA AIRPORT customer review :  27 January 2012 by Mohamed Shukry    (Sri Lanka)

Rating : 7/10

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Facilities

Recommended

Excellent airport however the government officials such as immigration and customs are very rude. Long queue at the initial baggage screening. No ATM inside terminal.



Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  5 June 2011 by Nigel Garth   (Canada)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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Found the new addition to the airport, very clean and spacious. The airport is not very large and easy to navigate. The staff are friendly and willing to help. Great shopping in the Duty Free.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  7 March 2011 by B Kilby   (UK)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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We travelled from Colombo to Abu Dhabi yesterday. On arriving at the airport, we were asked for our details and why we had visited Sri Lanka etc and we were pleased with the security in force on entrance to the Airport. However, once through to check in this turned into a nightmare. It was nothing but unorganised chaos. We could not check in on arrival, maybe we were too early, no reason given and we could not understand what was called out and information given on the airport tannoy system could not be understood or even heard. Volume was far too low. People checking in after us were not forming queues but were cluttering up the area and making it impossible for people to check in easily when their flight was called. We have travelled all over the world, first time to Colombo, and the lack of organisation or any queuing system made it the worst checking in experience ever. It was not until a lady joined the officials on duty that any progress for checking in was made. We were at this airport for 4.5 hours and found it to be the worst system in the world. Once through this area to check in baggage it was acceptable.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  7 January 2011 by Dimitri Vassilakis   (France)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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My worst airport experience in more than 2 decades of frequent travelling! First of all , all vehicles approaching the airport are stopped by a guard who exercises a "face-control" - looks at the passenger and asks him his nationality. Any credible answer seems to be accepted since no documents are verified - I repeated 3times mine, but the guard had never heard of such an exotic country called Greece - but let me through! At the entrance of the terminal, queue for luggage screening -once inside 60 minutes queue for check-in, then the gate changes 3 times! What is the point of having recently revamped the shopping area ?


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  23 September 2010 by David Payne-Smith   (UK)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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It has got its act together pretty well I think. Everything clean in the terminal. Business lounge okay, staff great. Don't change much money here as not a good rate. Check in a bit chaotic but not bad. Good onward travel to Colombo, Kandy (by taxi, not tuk-tuk!)


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  21 September 2010 by A Stevenson   (UK)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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A pleasant surprise, the airport now has air bridges connected to a modern pier. This in turn leads to the first floor of an expanded main terminal, in which arriving / departing passengers mix freely. There were several immigration desks open, even though it was 3.30am, and I was processed quickly and efficiently. Baggage reclaim took a long time - bags were added to the carousel painfully slowly, and it took about 45 minutes to recover my two suitcases. Once through customs, there were several currency exchanges - don't bother comparing rates, they're all the same! Departure on the 14th – nothing much has changed since I was last here. The drop off zone is small and chaotic, with passengers having to (try to) queue up outside to get through the limited number of security / baggage screening lanes immediately inside. Once through security and into the terminal, things are a lot more efficient, although CMB remains one of those peculiar airports where the check in area is partitioned off from the rest of the departures hall and passengers are not allowed to proceed until the check in desks for their flights open. Fortunately there was sufficient seating while I waited. Once checked in and through emigration, the airside section was spacious and comfortable, if somewhat eccentrically laid out. For the most part the airport is, by the standards of developing countries, clean, efficient and pleasant - I've been through worse airports in wealthier countries.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  3 July 2010 by J Schmerker   (USA)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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Fairly smooth arrival and departure, both in the middle of the night. Found a functioning ATM which worked, and the arrivals info desk arranged a prepaid taxi for us. We took a local bus late at night for our departure; it left everyone off several hundred meters away, as is standard. Grimy wait for departures to open. Can anyone tell me why they sell appliances in duty free?


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  13 February 2010 by J Field   (Spain)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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My wife and I visited Sri Lanka 12 in January 2010 and found the airport generally very good on all counts apart from a large cafeteria type restaurant in the departure lounge which served some of the worst coffee I have had for a long time.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  2 February 2010 by Kurt Mueller   (Germany)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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Used this airport for departure on 30 Jan with a flight at midnight. What a zoo! Far too few entrance doors for the large number of pax to even get inside the terminal. Immigration a discrace for a country trying to attract tourists - with three or four wide-bodied flights departing around the same time, only six immigration desk were open. Next organizational gaffe: CX and EK departures scheduled within 10 minutes of each other from neighbouring gates 8 and 9 with a shared security checkpoint. Our flight delayed by more than one hour due to this horrendous circus.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review :  30 October 2009 by H Gomez   (Australia)

Customer Rating :  5/5

5 Star Rating   

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Small, modern clean airport. Has a fair amount of shops for its size, slightly overpriced, however not the ideal airport for a transit more than 1-3 hours. Take use of their stopover package which allows you to go out to spend time at the beach or to explore Colombo city, though I think its available only for SriLankan Airlines passengers. Overall nice airport, has the potential for so much more.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 19 July 2009 by Karsten Mengers

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating

I use Colombo often as transit airport Frankfurt-Singapore and cannot say anything bad. Airport is overall clean, easy to find the ways and gates, restaurant area is ok, the transit desk is working well.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 3 June 2009 : by P Harrison

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating

I must have been lucky because both arrival and departure on a recent trip to Colombo was very smooth. New procedures have been introduced to monitor swine flu with immigration officials sporting white masks - as soon as you pass through to arrivals all the locals are sneezing without any care! The security checks are still very much in evidence and with a constant military cordon around the airport. I was though able to be picked up and dropped off directly outside the terminal building. The airport has recently been modernised and has the benefit of the usual shops and restaurants - what I didn't like was the fact that the toilet attendants hover and expect tips and that once through the final security checks there is no access to the toilets from the gate area. Annoyingly because of the archaic Sri Lankan currency regulations everything is priced in $US


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 11 May 2009 : by Andrew Weber

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating

I flew to CMB from Doha and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the airport. I was through immigration and out of the airport in less than 30 minutes. The touts are numerous and best avoided. Outbound check-in area was nice and spacious. The duty free shops and restaurants are plentiful and toilet facilities clean. Overall, CMB is a small yet modern airport.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 30 April 2009 : by Naqeeb Isthiark

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating

Colombo Airport now has plenty of shops at the departure and arrival lounge. BIA needs more expansion and an expressway is underway.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 3 March 2009 : by Kurt Müller

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating

Well, the nightmare described by a contributor below has not improved - far from it. Somewhere within the mad bureaucracy, a new scheme has been devised for departing passengers. You may now not be driven to the airport terminal by friends/associates. Instead, they must drop you off about 500 metres ahead of the terminal where you are transferred to a rickety bus without A/C. How this is supposed to improve security (the officially stated reason) is beyond me - but it does provide additional income for touts who pounce on passenger's luggage and lift it into the buses. On the upside, arrivals are quite smooth, but that is to be expected at an airport with hardly any traffic worth mentioning.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 10 December 2008 : by Steven Long

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating

The inbound is OK but be prepared for a total nightmare on leaving the country. Before you arrive at the airport you join a long bus queue to have your Passport checked. Then you disembark the coach and are met with a huge throng of friends and relatives seeing off one person. Then your ticket and passport is checked again before you get into the building. 10 feet further in, all your luggage goes through X-ray scanners and you are subjected to a full personal body frisk. And I do mean full. Genital areas too. These soldiers are also wearing filthy gloves that have done the same thing to hundreds of others before you. Absolutely disgusting. Then you will probably have to open your case because none of the young soldiers/airmen know what simple equipment is. A camera battery for example. In a camera. I even had a Cuban cigar taken out of its tube and handled. All the time you are holding up the queus of people behind you. Then it's off to the check in desks down a short corridor to another ticket check point and luggage check. All this before you have even got to check in. I totally agree with Andrew here. I've travelled through most of the airports in the world and I have never, ever seen one as bad as this. It makes Homeland Security look like amateurs. It's a fairly nice country but nobody has any idea of what they are doing.


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 6 November 2008 : by Arun Anand

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating

Modern construction and airbridges, good shopping in departure, including souvenirs, garments, tea, etc. Plenty of seats and restaurants. Plenty of check-in counters and baggage carousels for collection. Taxi and forex conversion counters in arrivals. Immigration very slow and careless, and not very co-operative or friendly immigration staff. My passport was stamped with the previous day's date when my flight arrived at 4AM, the staff were so callous not to even bother changing the date on the stamp!


Colombo Bandaranaika Airport customer review : 7 October 2008 : by Lasitha Leelasena

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating

New terminal building is a vast improvement on the old once. Good facilities, air bridges and a reasonable number of shops. Immigration can be slow (as with many things in Sri Lanka). Leave plenty of time to get through security and immigration when leaving Colombo. There is only one ATM (cash machine) at the airport. On the day of my arrival it was out of order. So take some cash or travellers cheques. There are plenty of banks just outside the arrivals hall where you can change to Sri Lankan rupees. If you need a local SIM, there is a Dialog shop just after the banks (near the hotel stands, on the left). A local SIM costs Rs 1,600 with Rs 1,000 credit). Activation takes 2-3 hours.


COLOMBO AIRPORT review : 21 June 2008 : by Russell Barr

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

What a dreadful experience! Heathrow/Colombo/Bangkok and return. The outbound wasn't too bad, but that was probably due to the arrival time of our flight at Colombo, the immigration process took about 40 minutes, but the return was a nightmare. Our flight arrived at about 1000pm and seemed to coincide with the arrival of several other flights - six or seven hundred passengers at immigration and about twelve desks but only four were being used, that's about 150 passengers per desk, after queing for over an hour the immigration official serving the queue that we were waiting in decided that he had had enough and cleared off - we were then told to join the back of one of other three queues. Another hour and a half wait and it was our turn, my wife got processed but when it came to my turn the official decided that he was thirsty and was going for a drink. I tried telling the official that we were together but that fell on deaf ears and again we were told to join the back of one of the two remaining queues. Pandemonium broke loose, airport security then stepped in and began screaming at passengers - almost immediately two more desks were opened, but that just made matters worse. Never again. The security people were treating the passengers as though we were animals, I appreciate that there are big security issues in Sri Lanka but our experience was totally unacceptable.


COLOMBO AIRPORT review : 17 June 2008 : by Sukhith Jayawickrama

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

The airport is clean and modern, duty free shops are good and the staff polite and helpful. Check-in takes a lot of time due to the many security checks.




 
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