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Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

London, United...
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Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

My friend and I are looking at flying Saudi Arabian Airlines from Cairo to Kuala Lumpur - I have red very mixed reviews most of them bad and was wondering if anyone has either flowen this route or has flowen with them lately and could give me some feed back. The airfare is good but I wonder whether it's worth paying the extra £100 for a more reputable airline??? help!

85 replies to this topic
Amman, Jordan
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18 posts
205 reviews
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1. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

Is it the best airline, definitely not and far from it. But I have no problem using them locally and internationally if it has direct flights to my destination.

London, United...
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1,059 posts
63 reviews
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2. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

It's so difficult with airlines because of so many variables. I've recently used Saudi Airlines internal flights. Inside the plane and in the air, the service was good. However the ground staff checkin operatives anywhere in Saudi do not belong to the human race. Perhaps they are recruited for that reason or maybe they have turned into that way because of all the bad mannered & pushy locals they have to handle. If there was some way of bypassing these people and going straight onto the aeroplane, then flying on Saudi could be a nice experience.

Northampton, United...
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3 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

This is not directly related to your question but probably worth mentioning. My daughter recently booked a ticket to Singapore with Saudi airlines - with a change of planes in Riyadh. She was excited at the prospect of the 21 hours between flights as she was keen to see something of the middle east- albeit only a few hours. She soon learnt when checking visa sites that this was not going to be possible as there are many restrictions preventing lone woman travellers from entering the country with male relatives etc. Not deterred she decided that the 21 hours in the airport would still be possible with a good book and made an assumption that as she was not leaving the airport a visa would not be needed. On turning up at the Saudi airlines desk at Heathrow she was informed that she could not board the plane despite having a valid ticket as she did not have a visa- had the connection time been 18 hours or less. she wouldnt have needed one but as the connecction time was 21 hours a transit visa was apparently needed despite not leaving the airport. - and heres where the fun starts - the airline staff then said the sale was illegal as it is virtually impossible for a single female traveller to get a transit visa for saudi arabia. A rather stressful telephone call to the travel company Travelpack proved unfruitful with them basically passing the buck to anyone else except themselves- apparently tickets are booked by a computer which cannot possibly forsee this type of problem - duh ! basically the up shot was one extremely distressed daughter at the start of a 6 month solo trip to south east asia, - a whip round and a hastily arranged ticket for the following day with Emirates and a vow NEVER TO ASSUME THAT YOU WONT NEED A VISA JUST BECAUSE YOU ARENT LEAVING THE AIRPORT !!!

Northampton, United...
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3 posts
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4. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

ooops spot the typo......

"there are many restrictions preventing lone woman travellers from entering the country with male relatives etc" was supposed to read "entering the country WITHOUT male relatives"- sorry...

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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20,702 posts
1,729 reviews
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5. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

I would only use Saudi airline if I was flying into Saudi. There is no way I would use there planes for a trip elsewhere because of the reasons mentioned by Roamin_.

Edited: 10:50 am, August 22, 2011
Dubai, United Arab...
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11 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

Yes, the visas are an issue and make sure you ask with the airline.

Also please note, that transiting in Jeddah is never a good idea as the airport is worse than the local bus station. Riyadh and Dammam airports are a better place for transit.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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200 posts
58 reviews
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7. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

I would not choose to fly on Saudia if I was not ending my flight in KSA. The service on the ground is extremely poor.

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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20,702 posts
1,729 reviews
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8. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

'I would not choose to fly on Saudia if I was not ending my flight in KSA. The service on the ground is extremely poor.'

I had the misfortune to do an internal flight with Saudia recently and the check in was nonsensical, inept and incompetent.

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4 posts
25 reviews
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9. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

Being a frequent flyer of Saudia I have to say they are easily the worst airline I have had to go on. But they are my only option for direct flights hence the frequent flying with them.

On a different note, friends travelling on it from DC are full of praises!

Cheers!

Harlow, United...
1 post
1 review
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10. Re: Flying Saudi Arabian Airlines

I annually travel from London to Manila and this last flight, I used Saudi Arabian Airlines for the first time, and definitely the last time.

I prebooked aisle seats and non-cholesterol meals. Both of which I did not get on booking in, even though I asked and was told my seats were aisle and I would get the requested meal.

In the air, the cabin staff seemed preoccupied with everything and anything other than looking after the passengers.

On arrival at Manila, I found that one of my suitcases was damaged and covered with black footprints (obviously from baggage handlers). I was too tired to make an issue of it at the airport and emailed them the next day to let them know. I was not asking for compensation only an apology. I am still waiting.

I now find that I need to change my return flight date and have written three emails to their service departments asking how I can do that and how much it will cost for a new return ticket on the date I will return.

Again, absolutely nothing back from them.

Overall, the worst airline I have ever dealt with. Four emails ignored, a total mess of the requested seats (which incidentally I requested because of impaired hearing in my left ear and I needed aisle seats to be able to hear the cabin staff or the person seated next to me). Meals I could not eat because of the high cholesterol content and unfriendly cabin staff.

My family also flew with them a month later and on their return flight, they were delayed over 24 hours and it cost them over £100 for a taxi from Heathrow to get home. They also reported to me that they had similar problems.

After seven years flying to Manila and return, they are the only airline I have ever complained about.

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