Sri Lanka flights - cheap international flight tickets and hacker fares to Colombo
Flights to Colombo in Sri Lanka. Book plane tickets to Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo.

Sri Lanka is open to international tourism

Sri Lanka reopened its border to foreign tourists in June 2021. All travelers can enter the country quarantine-free; the requirement of pre-departure and on-arrival PCR tests has been removed.

Most tourists visiting Sri Lanka must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in advance to receive a visa on arrival. Citizens of Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore are exempt from the ETC requirement and are entitled to a free visa on arrival.

Transiting through Sri Lankan airports is permitted, as long as the connecting flight is within 10 hours of arrival (you’ll still need an ETA document). If you want to leave the airport between flights or if you’re planning a stopover in Sri Lanka, you should apply for a Transit Visa that allows staying in the country for up to 2 days.

Practical tips

  • If you are flying to Sri Lanka from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportBandaranaike International Airport CMB in Colombo.

    These are also the best (and cheapest) airports to fly into Sri Lanka. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce, and airfare decreases as a result.
Best airports to fly into Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB),  Ratmalana Airport (RML) in Colombo, Mattala Rajapaksha International Airport (HRI) in Mattala, Jaffna International Airport (JAF) in Jaffna, and Koggala Airport (KCT) in Galle
Sri Lanka has 22 airports that serve both regional and international destinations. 5 of them function as international airports – Bandaranaike International Airport CMB and Ratmalana Airport RML in Colombo, Mattala Rajapaksha International Airport HRI in Mattala, Jaffna International Airport JAF in Jaffna, and Koggala AirportKCT in Galle.
  • Once in Sri Lanka, take advantage of frequent intercity flights operated by domestic airlines such as SriLankan Airlines, Cinnamon Air, Helitours, Senok Air, and Fly Southern. Those in-country carriers typically offer lower fares, operate from smaller airports located closer to city centers (you save on ground transportation) and provide flexible schedules – with a wide range of departure times.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Sri Lanka can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of Air Arabia, AirAsia, Flydubai, IndiGo, Salam Air, Scoot, and SpiceJet. If you have a layover in Sri Lanka and plan to fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries, these budget airlines are an excellent way to save money.

Flights to Sri Lanka
from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Sri Lanka. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Sri Lanka, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop.
  • Sri Lanka is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Sri Lanka with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Sri Lanka from the US and Canada are: SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.

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Flights to Sri Lanka from Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Sri Lanka — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights from Europe to Sri Lanka are about 9-11 hours long. Only some of the largest European hubs have a nonstop connection to Sri Lanka- among them are Frankfurt FRA, London LHR, and Paris CDG. Those flights arrive at the main international airport in Colombo CMB and are operated year-round by only one airline: SriLankan Airlines. However, there are some seasonal direct flights via Edelweiss Air (from Zürich ZRH), Air France (from Paris CDG), and Neos Air (from Milan MXP).
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Sri Lanka include SriLankan Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Finnair, KLM, and Lufthansa.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Sri Lanka from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Leverage frequent promotions from European budget carriers like RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to reach a major hub; from there, take a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination, potentially saving hundreds of euros.

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Things to know before flying to Sri Lanka
Airlines flying to Sri LankaAeroflot, AirArabia, AirAsia, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Finnair, FlyDubai, Gulf Air, Iberia, IndiGo, Japan Airlines, Jazeera Airways, JetBlue Airways, Kuwait Airways, LATAM, Oman Air, Malaysia Airlines, Neos Air, Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, Singapore Airlines, SpiceJet, SriLankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Vistara
Airlines of Sri LankaSriLankan Airlines, Cinnamon Air, Fly Southern, Serendib Airways, Senok Air, Helitours, FitsAir

Main airports in Sri LankaBandaranaike International Airport (CMB) — Colombo
Colombo International Airport (RML) — Colombo
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) — Hambantota
Jaffna International Airport (JAF) — Jaffna
Kandy Airport (KDW) — Kandy
Anuradhapura Airport (ACJ) — Anuradhapura
Sigiriya Airport (GIU) — Dambulla
Koggala Airport (KCT) — Galle
Batticaloa Airport (BTC) — Batticaloa
China Bay Airport (TRR) — Trincomalee
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €600 – €900 (from Europe)
✈ $900 – $1200 (from USA)
Official websitesSri Lanka Tourism (official travel website)
Sri Lanka Travel Advice (UK citizens)
Sri Lanka Travel Advisory (US citizens)
Sri Lanka Travel Advisory (Australian citizens)
Sri Lankan Airlines (national airline of Sri Lanka)

Low-cost flights from Sri Lanka

Stay ahead of the game. Fly to popular destinations at a fraction of the regular fare.

Get your visa in advance

Most tourists visiting Sri Lanka need to apply for a Sri Lanka tourist visa (only nationals of Singapore, Maldives, and Seychelles are exempt). This is easily done online, and your visa will usually be valid for 30 days, with an option to extend it to 90 days. We recommend applying around a week before the trip, as it usually takes 24-48 hours for the visa approval to come through.

Alternatively, you can obtain a Sri Lankan visa on arrival at the airport (at a slightly higher price). The caveat is that during the peak travel season you could end up waiting in line for a long while.

Know your time zone

Sri Lanka has only one time zone – it observes India Standard Time (IST) all year, which is UTC+05:30 time zone. As a result, clocks in Sri Lanka are 5 and half hours ahead of London and 9 hours and 30 minutes ahead of New York. IST does not have an associated daylight saving time.

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure time on your plane ticket is always listed based on the time zone of the departure airport. We suggest resetting your watch during the flight – it will help your brain adjust to the new time zone and to deal with jet lag.

Duty-free rules

Sri Lanka is serious about the duty-free concession. There is a limit for bringing in certain items. Strong alcoholic drinks such as spirits cannot exceed 1.5 liters per person, and you can also bring 2 bottles of wine. Customs regulations of Sri Lanka do not permit any tobacco products to be brought into the country. In addition to personal items, you may carry items up to a value of $250.

Anything above those limits must be declared – at the airport, head to the Red Lane to declare your goods.

Book a seat in a quiet zone

Some airlines (for example AirAsia X) start to offer child-free “quiet zones” for a peaceful flight experience. Children below 10 years old are not allowed in this section. Those seats are usually located in front of the plane (bonus: less noise from the engines) with soft ambient lighting and early meal service.

Next tips

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Air India, Emirates, GoFirst, and others).

When it comes to Twitter, there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@flysrilankan” for Sri Lankan Airlines). The customer care team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

The cheapest time to fly to Sri Lanka

The best time to find the cheapest flights to Sri Lanka tends to be during the low season – May to August. December is also an off-peak month if you don’t travel on dates around Christmas and New Year. With fewer tourists, flight prices to Sri Lanka are the cheapest, as airlines discount fares due to lower demand. Additionally, many hotels offer lower rates, and tourist attractions reduce admission fees.

Months between May and August mark the rainy season when the country experiences a Yala monsoon coupled with low humidity. It affects the southwestern part of the island (such as Colombo and Galle) with heavy rainfall. However, this is the best time for trips to the north of the island or the east coast – an interesting option for travelers who are into the laid-back surf scene (a surfing mecca in Arugam Bay is particularly worth checking out).

Avoid currency exchange kiosks at airports

Airports are infamous for making an exuberant amount of money from their currency exchanges due to the extremely high margins, and Sri Lankan airports are no exception. Airport kiosks usually charge higher fees which are sometimes hidden within the poorer exchange rates they offer – their business is based on charging extra for being a convenient, last-minute option.

It is always a good idea to bring cash with you to Sri Lanka, as the country runs on cash and many places don’t accept card payments. Plan ahead and exchange some money for the Sri Lankan rupee at home, or use one of the many ATMs located at the airport and in almost every city.

Next tips

Airlines of Sri Lanka

The most know airline in Sri Lanka is Colombo-based SriLankan Airlines. It is one of the leading Asian airlines, well-known for its service, comfort, reliability, warmth, and friendliness. The airline currently operates a fleet of 26 sophisticated aircraft, which includes the Airbus A330 for the long haul, and the Airbus A320/A321 for short/medium haul routes. Sri Lankan has a strong presence in the Indian sub-continent, connecting the capital of Colombo to major Indian cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Trichy, Cochin, Chennai, Madurai, and Hyderabad). It is also a member of the Oneworld alliance with Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, and 10 other major carriers.

When traveling domestically in Sri Lanka, you may be flying with other, smaller country-based airlines, such as Cinnamon Air, Fly Southern, Serendib Airways, Senok Air, and Helitours. They offer decent service, well-maintained aircraft and fair prices; these boutique carriers can be the best option for traveling to remote parts of the country.

Flights to Sri Lanka
from Australia and New Zealand

  • Australia and New Zealand offer robust flight networks to key APAC locations, Sri Lanka included. While domestic carriers like Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand provide solid options, several major international airlines also serve these routes. These include ANA, Cathay Pacific, EmiratesGaruda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways — expanding your choices for travel between Australasia and Asia.

    There are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to Sri Lanka. You’ll need a layover in one of the major hubs in Asia.
  • Airlines have different pricing strategies for different routes. Depending on airline partnerships, demand, and even the time of year, a flight to Sri Lanka could be significantly cheaper from Sydney than from Melbourne.

    Compare fares from main international airports in Australia: Sydney SYD, Brisbane BNE, Melbourne MEL, Perth PER, Adelaide ADL, Cairns CNS, Gold Coast OOL, Canberra CBR, Darwin DRW, and in New Zealand: Auckland AKL, Wellington WLG, Christchurch CHC, and Queenstown ZQN.
  • If you’re looking to save, consider flying from Australia or New Zealand to a primary Asian hub, then catch a connecting flight to Sri Lanka with a regional budget airline such as Air Arabia, AirAsia, Flydubai, IndiGo, Salam Air, Scoot, and SpiceJet.

    For the initial leg of your trip, full-service airlines such as Qantas or Virgin Atlantic offer premium comfort and exceptional service, albeit at a premium price. However, many Asian airlines, including budget carriers, operate out of Australia and frequently feature sales and promotions. For instance, AirAsia runs deals to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore; Cebu Pacific to Manila; Scoot to Singapore; VietJet Air to Ho Chi Minh City; Jetstar to Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo; Bamboo Airways to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing; Batik Air to Jakarta and Singapore.

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Flights to Sri Lanka
from major hubs in Asia

  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Sri Lanka look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Sri Lanka will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting Sri Lanka and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.

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Flights to Sri Lanka dataset