This post's overview:
In this Saudia airline review, I will tell you about our first impressions from flying with Saudia to London and all you need to know about the interchange in Riyadh.
I never wrote airline reviews on Tripsget before, but I feel like it’s time to expand my content and share my experience of flying with Saudia. I was very uneasy before buying a ticket with Saudia (always through Skyscanner). I found plenty of negative reviews online and thought the airline to be something as terrible as Gulf air. I won’t explain here much much I dislike everything about Gulf air, but if you have a choice, don’t FLY with Gulf Air. If you’re curious, you can find out more in this post.
I will be talking about the economy class review with Saudia, as I didn’t have a chance to fly in Business or First. This review is not sponsored or collaborated with Saudia.
Booking with Saudia
I found the price of the flight from Amman to London on Skyscanner and booked via Expedia, as it seemed like the cheapest option at the moment, the only downside is that we didn’t have a direct flight (it was a flight with a layover or interchange in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh to be precise). The booking process was smooth, and I didn’t have any problems booking on Saudia.
Online check-in and choosing seats
On Saudia, you can start checking in 48 hours before departure. You can pick your seats for free, however, if it’s a long-haul flight, e.g. Riyadh to London, if you want to seat closer to the business class, you actually need to pay extra. Not sure why, but probably that’s connected to the earlier time you’re going to leave the plane. In the end, it didn’t matter, as we ended up waiting for our bags for 50 minutes.
Saudia economy class baggage policy
If you’re wondering about Saudia economy class baggage policy, it’s actually very very generous. By default, you can bring 2 check-in suitcases. However, as everybody seems to be taking advantage of Saudia economy class baggage policy, waiting time at the luggage delivery belt is usually super long. We waited for almost 45 minutes in Heathrow waiting for our bags.
Saudia counter service /airport staff
Even though we managed to check in online, we had to interact with Saudia airport staff (in Amman, Jordan) as well as in Riyadh during the interchange. Unfortunately, the booking system of Saudia was down, so we spent a lot of time just waiting for the manager to arrive and give the staff clear instructions on what to do in this case.
In the end, everybody managed to check in and our bags made it to London.
Saudia economy class review
As we didn’t have a chance to fly in another category than the economy, we can’t say much about other classes. However, the economy class with Saudia was surprisingly good. The aircrew was very friendly and polite on both flights. The seats were spacious and comfortable, so we both managed to sleep for 4.5 out of 6.5 hours. The aisles were wide enough for people not bump into you and wake you up.
What we found weird is an odd seat numeration. In our short flight from Amman to Riyadh, we couldn’t check in online and were granted seats in the row number 35. We got a bit upset, as we thought that this is a row right next to the lavatories. However, this was just the 5th row after the very small business class compartment. Not sure why the numeration is like that, but surely there must be a reason.
Food and in-flight entertainment during our Saudia flight
The food quality was also excellent – portions were good and the taste was good. There is no alcohol offered on board of Saudia for obvious reasons, however, alcohol-free options are decent and I particularly loved the mango juice!
The plane was also brand new and had decent in-flight entertainment with plenty of Western, Indian and Arabic movies including the recent ones and there was wifi available on board.
Overall, I think I enjoyed our flight with Saudia way more than our Qatar flight from Beirut to Qatar. I know that everybody seems to be enamoured with Qatar Airlines, however, they didn’t manage to impress us. Maybe next time.
Interchange in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – what to expect?
Finally, let’s talk about what to expect from the interchange at Riyadh airport. I was uneasy about this one at first, as I’ve heard many negative reviews about stopover and layover in Saudi Arabia, and particularly in Riyadh. We had 3 hours to kill in Riyadh, and of course, it was pretty dull. Even though the duty-free was open as well as a couple of shops, there is absolutely nothing to do at Riyadh airport. You can’t leave the airport, as you need to apply for the transit visa. I hope Saudia Arabia introduces the promised eVisas soon (read more information here), so it would be easier to do something rather than sit in the airport during a long stopover in Riyadh. At the Duty free in Riyadh, you can buy a lot of Saudi dates (as well as UAE dates).
Also, there are no sleeping options/pods in Riyadh airport, so all you can do is to sit and patiently wait. However, the airport in Riyadh is currently undergoing some renovations (perhaps in preparation for tourist eVisa introduction), so hopefully, improvements will follow.
Another thing I’d like to point out is perhaps that I wish that the airport staff was friendlier as well, especially during the security check process.
Okay, that was it. Hopefully, you found the information about the review of Saudi Airlines – economy class useful and it helped you to make your mind, whether to fly with them or not. Now you know what to expect from the interchange in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh airport as well. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!