✅ Verified Review
| Colombo airport has a single terminal which has undergone many upgrades over the years. 20 years ago, passengers would exit their flights to board buses to the terminal (always a major shock to the system when you step out of the air conditioned cabin to be smacked in the face by the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka. Now however, you can delay that feeling until you get through to the baggage claim area. It is also worth pointing out that an expressway has been constructed over the past few years to dramatically reduce the journey time between the airport and the city of Colombo. Anyone who hasn't been to Sri Lanka in the past 10 years will certainly be shocked at the modernisation projects that have taken place/underway. Arriving into CMB is very easy. A short queue at Immigration (most foreign passport holders must obtain a visa online before arriving, or they must purchase one at the airport for a slightly higher fee), and the a final look at Duty Free - arriving passengers may buy a respectable amount of alcohol to bring into Sri Lanka, however tobacco products are not allowed. You can buy them anywhere in Sri Lanka, and they are still far cheaper than UK prices. After the shopping, passengers go to baggage claim. Luggage is usually on the carousel in a short period of time so you can move through Customs and into the Arrivals hall quickly. I would say, you could progress from the aircraft to Arrivals hall inside 30 minutes, if you choose not to buy loads of duty free before collecting your luggage. In the Arrivals hall, there are several bureaus to change your currency into Sri Lankan Rupees. There are also stands for the telecommunications companies (handy to buy a local SIM card), large hotel chains and also taxi firms. If you haven't arranged transportation to your destination in Sri Lanka, you can do from inside the building. Once you have left the Arrivals hall, you will be outside where you realise you have stepped into another world. When departing through CMB, try and arrive at the terminal with at least 3 hours to spare. Due to the history of civil unrest the airport is very security minded. There is a screening point for anyone wishing to enter the terminal building. As it is customary for entire families to go to see off their loved ones, the area before check-in can be very crowded, and sometimes you just have to push your way through crowds of locals to get to the second Security area that is situated just before the check-in desks. In my experience of travelling through CMB, there are usually long queues at the desks (especially if you are travelling economy) and hold ups can occur as passengers may be required to repack their cases. Once through check-in, things get more relaxed. A quick stroll through Passport Control then upstairs to the Departure Lounge. There are several Duty Free stores, as well as more locally tailored shops. Restaurants and cafes are available and there is ample seating. It is recommended you get to the gate as soon as it is announced. There is another security check before the gate.