Colombo Airport

Customer Reviews

No Skytrax Rating
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 86 reviews
4/10
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1/10

"were obviously in cahoots"

(United Kingdom)

Not Verified | I came through Colombo airport as a lone female traveller. I was asked by the officer at immigration how long I was staying. I told him one day and he told me I needed a visa and sent me to the visa desk. Once there I was asked how long I was staying and asked to pay $40. They said they wanted it in cash. I felt a little uncomfortable as there was a huge sign behind saying we welcome credit cards. I said no, I would pay by card. They asked if I had any foreign cash currency. Dollars? Pounds? SL rupees? I said no I will be using my card. Then I paid and they put a 30 day visa in my passport. I went back through immigration to the same official and he looked at my visa and again asked how long I was staying and again if I was travelling alone without my husband. He then muttered something about my stay being one day and transit and I should give my phone number to him as he could give me visa advice for next time and he would Whatsap me. I felt a bit uncomfortable about this so gave him a wrong number. He made me wait whilst he checked the number and kept letting people through in front of me. Then he demanded again that I give the number. By that time I just wanted to get through and even after trying to explain that my phone wouldn't work here he didn't let me through until he could see that my number had registered for Whatsapp. (in hindsight I should have given my husband's number but I was tired and a little freaked out). He then let me on my way. Once I got to my hotel for that night he started messaging me. I ignored his messages but by then was quite nervous as he would know where my hotel was because of the landing card. I also had to travel through the next day back out of the same airport so I didn't block him but just ignored the messages. I googled the airport to see if there had been other such complaints and saw that because I was in the country for less than 48 hours I was entitled to a free transport visa. (I know I should have made myself aware of this before but) so basically should I have paid cash he would have stamped my passport with a free transport visa and pocketed the cash. I am thinking that the cop and the visa official were obviously in cahoots and do this all the time. Once I googled it I saw that others had paid cash and got a free transport visa.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitApril 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
7/10

"not enough seats"

(United Kingdom)

Not Verified | This airport is no better or no worse than any other airport not in a developing country. Best to arrive 2 hours before departure as there is a security check when entering the airport, another security check at security and another security check on entering the flight departure lounge. This can take up to 1 hour. Not enough seats for passengers waiting for departure (same as most airports).
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitApril 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
yes
2/10

"It was a huge chaos"

(United Arab Emirates)

Trip Verified | We have a flight from Colombo to Sharjah. There were too many unnecessary check ups by security guards, and honestly not a proper check up. They did a body check on me, but not on my girlfriend. Also there were no proper system to be in queue while getting boarding passes. It was a huge chaos. And then it is written on the ticket boarding time as 3.50am, but at 3.10am while we were doing shopping one employee came and started speaking loudly that the passengers for the Sharjah flight to come to the gate. We had come, as we thought the flight was to be earlier than expected. But no, it wasn't early, for some uncertain reason they brought us in early, with no washroom at the waiting area. We felt trapped. Also at immigration the officer was chatting on the phone while doing passport control, which was very unprofessional and not respectful at all. Overall, we enjoyed our trip in SriLanka but the farewell at the airport is 2/10.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitApril 2018
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
8/10

"Some of the signing is terrible"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | Travelled through this airport 6 times in the last 3 months and on the whole quite like it. The queues for immigration are reasonable both inward and outbound and the general environment is pleasant and cool. I didn't appreciate the multiple security checks, which I didn't feel were as thorough as at other airports. Surely one really good check is better than numerous (5?) cursory checks? It feels like a job creation scheme rather than a serious attempt at air safety. Some of the signing is terrible. Some entertainment can be had watching the numerous ladies fooled into going into the gents toilet by bad signage in the region of the departure gates. This apart it isn't a bad airport with pleasant staff.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitFebruary 2018
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Airport Staff 12345
yes
6/10

"Poor announcements and notice boards"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Arrived from Singapore in the middle of the day, the airport was very quiet but they only have a few airbridges and we had to get a bus to the terminal. Immigration was fast - the staff are indeed very gruff but also fast and they took less than a minute to process my ETA, not even needing to look at the printout. I couldn’t see any toilets before immigration but there were some near the baggage carousels - fairly clean but obviously had some drainage problems that a worker was struggling to fix. Actually, the whole airport was a bit hot and humid. Luggage took half an hour to arrive despite the airport being very quiet. There were lots of staff in the baggage hall (maybe some could have gone to help bring the bags from the plane) but they were not at all aggressive. Customs is easy in the green lane - they pick just a few people to x-ray bags, seemingly targeting young men. The outside hall has ATMs, money changers, phone company stalls and taxi booking stands. Some hotels have stands and can organise transport (which I used) but a lot of foreigners were using the airport taxi rank so that shouldn’t be too bad. There were touts but they weren’t very bad. Departure for a midday flight was also ok. Baggage screening on entry but the queue was short (lots of people standing around outside looking they were queueing though - pass them if you can, if they were a group and you get stuck behind them, it would be a long wait). Then a walk through a shopping hall (last chance to change money) then another strange baggage check before check-in then emigration was fast, then there’s another security check before the gate - it was all fairly fast but the whole layout is bad and confusing and the signage is very poor. The main departure hall is large and has a lot of shops. Food outlets were very expensive (noticeably more than other airports and they prefer USD) and the food looked awful but the places are ok for a coffee. Toilets were clean although sometimes overcrowded. Poor announcements and notice boards so make sure to get the right gate yourself. Looks like you can get free wifi from a desk but the queues were long and I had a SIM to use up.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitFebruary 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
2/10

"staff need a course in smiling"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | It is absurd that water that is bought at duty free cannot be taken on board a flight! There are so many check points which are completely un-necessary. The Immigration and Emigration staff need a course in smiling to visitors to this otherwise people friendly island.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitJanuary 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"Disorganized and inconsistent"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | The worst organised airport I've ever seen with the worst of the worst staff. Disorganized and inconsistent security checks, rude, unpleasant staff who can't be bothered to say anything to you when you talk to them, let alone say please or thank you. Crazy approach to gate security. Badly signed and poor flight info (final call used far too early).
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitJanuary 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"Very unorganized airport"

(United States)

Not Verified | Very unorganized airport. It’s not very clean. They also do not even tell you if your flight is delayed. It only says check-in which means “wait” or update the screen. No guidance on transfer flights and no sense of urgency between flights. The check-in area gets overcrowded very fast and there isn’t no structure to the line.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitDecember 2017
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
9/10

"very good service"

(Thailand)

Verified Review | A relatively small airport, easy to move around, all gates not far to walk. One nice touch, my wife had left her iPad on the incoming plane. Within 10 minutes of being in the lounge the ground staff returned it to her before she realized it was missing, very good service. Would that happen at LHR? The same lady recognised my wife on our return trip and asked if everything was ok. One positive issue is how friendly the security staff were, did their job properly but with a smile and asking "how are you today" many of the security staff worldwide could learn how to treat the passengers as guests not as an another threat.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitNovember 2017
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
5/10

"nothing much has improved"

(Hong Kong)

Verified Review | After many years, nothing much has improved in this airport. It is not a huge airport by any standard, there seems to be insufficient staff at the immigration, long queues are far too often. The queue at the immigration upon departure was no better. Tedious security screening including removing one's shoes and belts. Almost the same shops at the airport for years, and the prices inflated terribly! Except for duty free, where you may hit a bargain. Avoid buying anything if you can at all the other shops, you will be paying through the nose especially for tea! Price is at least double to triple that from buying it downtown. I often believe, an airport is the gateway to a country, it says a lot about them in general. Colombo airport is very much in need of a facelift and complete updating of their facilities. For this reason, try to shorten your time as much as possible. This is one of those airport that makes you feel better off sitting in the plane and leave.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitNovember 2017
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no