Connecting at CMB

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hrs027

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Hi
I have an upcoming trip where I will be connecting at CMB from UL to SQ on separate PNR. I have 2 and half hours to do that. Is that too tight? Will be in J in both flights coming into CMB and departing from CMB on SQ.
Will i have to pick up my bags and check in again? I emailed the reservations desk at UL who are very grey with the baggage interlining to SQ since they are not partners.
Does anyone have experience in connecting at CMB with such short duration with collecting bags? Would appreciate your input.
My alternative would be to take an earlier flight which will leave me at CMB for 7 hours and I wont be able to check in for 3-4 hours so will have to spend that time at the departure area after collecting my bags.
 

Cossie

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Can't help with the connection time, but if it were me(!) I'd take the earlier flight, get a free online transit visa valid for 48 hours, before you arrive in Sri lanka, otherwise you can buy a visa on arrival, collect bags and get taxi/tuk tuk to nearby hotels which aren't that expensive. Security for flights leaving the airport is a pain but 'J' helps with fast track. There is also security at the gate, xray for carryon bags etc.

I don't know for sure but I'm guessing you will have to get a visa just to collect your bags and checkin, unless of course you don't need a visa.

I've stayed at Negombo beach about 1/2 an hour away and at a nearby Ramada and recently on Negombo Lagoon, but there is a hotel across the road which is where I probably will stay next time if I need something similar, Goodwood Plaza. Reviews vary, but I guess it depends on your expectations as well.

Taxis from the airport through the 'desk' seem to all be over $10, but you can walk outside to the main road and get a tuk tuk. Tuk tuk to Negombo Lagoon cost me about $2.50 last time.

There is plenty of good food in the Sri Lankan lounge, imo.
 
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Austman

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Does anyone have experience in connecting at CMB with such short duration with collecting bags?

If they won't through-check your bags, 2.5 hours should be enough time to collect and re-check your bags at CMB. You will need a transit visa. They are free but you may as well apply for one in advance: https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp

The time taken at passport control is usually fairly quick. But you might be unlucky. And hopefully your incoming flight won't be late. You'll have 1.5 hours to do it all if your flight arrives on time. That should be enough time, and the airport is reasonably small, but it is tight.

I read that if the next flight is UL, apparently the air-side transit desk can arrange for collection and re-checking of your luggage for you. So you might first try asking the air-side transit desk if that can be done for SQ.
 
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Mattg

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All going well, the 2.5 hour connection should be possible. Personally I would take the longer connection though. You can always leave the airport and head to Negombo if you have a few hours to kill.

I wouldn't risk the shorter connection unless you can "afford" (in terms of time and money) to miss the earlier SQ flight.
 

wandering_fred

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All depends on whether flight #1 is on time..............

Get the transit visa and stay in Negombo

Happy wandering
Fred
 

emirates777

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During peak hour, clearing immigration and collecting your bags can take upto 1-2 hours. I am guessing you are leaving during/around midnight? - which can be quite a busy time. So I would echo earlier sentiments and take the longer connection
 

hrs027

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If they won't through-check your bags, 2.5 hours should be enough time to collect and re-check your bags at CMB. You will need a transit visa. They are free but you may as well apply for one in advance: https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp

The time taken at passport control is usually fairly quick. But you might be unlucky. And hopefully your incoming flight won't be late. You'll have 1.5 hours to do it all if your flight arrives on time. That should be enough time, and the airport is reasonably small, but it is tight.

I read that if the next flight is UL, apparently the air-side transit desk can arrange for collection and re-checking of your luggage for you. So you might first try asking the air-side transit desk if that can be done for SQ.
The flight coming into CMB has been re-timed to arrive at 2215 hrs and my next onward connection on SQ is at 0110 hrs. So i have opted to fly this itinerary. That leaves me with 3 hrs at CMB, technically 2 hrs to clear immigration, collect bags and check in again. I will apply for the online ETA transit visa which will hopefully save me a few minutes and a queue.
 

TomCC

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FWIW having in the past couple of weeks visited CMB both inward and outward bound:

Arrived circa 2am, having pre-arranged visa online took all of half an hour to clear customs, collect checked baggage and leave airport.

On departure got to the airport abut 4.30am for 7.30am flight, getting through security, customs then check in was reasonably straightforward (probably around half an hour max). But then to get to the gate was a mad scramble (below is the line yesterday) with a couple of other flights leaving a little earlier from same gate section which took half an hour in itself to clear the final body/bag scan. However they were calling through those who needed to get through for the most urgent flights (definitely no priority lane through to boarding area here!)

upload_2018-8-15_12-14-51.png
 

wandering_fred

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Yes CMB is getting frustrating with the extensive use of bus gates......

Happy wandering
Fred
 

hrs027

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My singapore airlines flight has been rescheduled to depart CMB at 0045 hrs from 0110 hrs originally. Now its cutting my time fine! I'll still have 1 hour and 45 minutes to clear immigration, collect bags and proceed to check in. Contemplating whether to take an earlier arrival flight and spend around 4.5 hours sitting at the departure area waiting for counters to open.
 

Cossie

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A bit too close for my liking, if you are in business then you should get fast track through security for the second flight. If it was me I'd be looking at a longer gap, but I'm a worry wart. Good luck!
 

hrs027

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A bit too close for my liking, if you are in business then you should get fast track through security for the second flight. If it was me I'd be looking at a longer gap, but I'm a worry wart. Good luck!
I am not even sure if they offer express cards through security. I am in business on both flights though.
 

Cossie

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I am not even sure if they offer express cards through security. I am in business on both flights though.

Last time I went through there was a seperate area for business class and crews. At first they didn't want to let me use that line, but the sign did say 'business' class.

I've been though Colombo at least 8 times in the last 5 years, and really haven't had an issue, but definitely never as close a connection time as this.

Remember to apply for a transit visa online if you do exit as it's free, you can get a transit visa on arrival, but from memory it was about $25 US.
 
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Austman

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Transit visas, even when done on arrival, are still free. But it's quicker to have it all done, in advance, on-line.

I've not seen any special business lanes on my recent trips. But the passport control processes both for arriving and departing have been quite quick. And of course the "silk road" check-in area, even if you are allowed to use it, is useless for transit pax as it has its own external entry a fair way away from the main terminal entry and exit.
 

Cossie

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Transit visas, even when done on arrival, are still free. But it quicker to have it all done, in advance, on-line.

I've not seen any special business lanes on my recent trips. But the passport control processes both for arriving and departing have been quite quick. And of course the "silk road" check-in area, even if you are allowed to use it, is useless for transit pax as it has its own external entry a fair way away from the main terminal entry and exit.

The fast track line was for security, not immigration, interesting I paid for a transit visa on arrival a couple of years ago.
 

Austman

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I applied for a transit visa one time when I arrived and it was free. And that's confirmed here:

https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/fees.jsp#profee

On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka. Transit visa with Single Entry for 2 days. Free.

Security before the gate has always been quick for me. There's a quick x-ray of bags at the terminal door, then a security check before the check-in counters. Final security is done at the gate.
 

hrs027

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I have already applied and got a free transit visa. I guess it should make it faster at immigration upon arrival. My biggest concerns are incoming flight arriving on time (flight radar stats show 93%), bags coming through as priority (being J class) and getting through security at departure entrance quickly in time for check in. SQ counter closes 40 minutes before ETD.
 

hrs027

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I have opted and changed to an earlier flight as can't afford to miss the connection on singapore airlies. Now I will be left with over 7 hours at CMB. My arrival into CMB will be 1725 and onward connection is 0045. After collecting my bags, will i be allowed into the departure terminal or will i have to wait outside until the SQ counters open T-3 hours timeframe? I am not keen to go to Negombo with luggage but will check for availability at the left luggage counter.
 
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