Pakistani Correspondent continues her guest post describing the experience flying Saudia business class, which she redeemed using American Express Membership Rewards points transferred to Delta. This is the final installment of her report.
Here’s her previous installment:
- New York JFK – Jeddah
- Saudia Lounge, Jeddah and Jeddah-Lahore
- CIP Lounge in Lahore, Pakistan
- Lahore – Riyadh
- Saudia Lounge, Riyadh
And now P.C. continues with her final installment, flying Saudia from Riyadh to Washington Dulles.
A 777-300ER was awaiting and I was excited to have premium seats in what looked like a full flight. My seat was missing a blanket and a headset which I had to ask for. I was generally satisfied with new magazines, functional remote and a better entertainment guide.
I discovered that I could pull a wall between the seats that came equipped with individual lighting, however, my light did not work. Also, I was not prepared for the haggling of seats that ensued once I settled in my seat. It seemed like musical chairs.
Lots of people were bumping up from economy, and no less than 3 people asked me if I could move to x, y, z location, so a, b, c, could sit together. Literally, the people just stood in the aisles going around with their boarding stubs even when the doors were closed.
The usual excuse was that a female member of the family did not want to sit with strangers but I did not yield my window seat to anyone. I’m certain this barter was the cause of our delay.
In flight, the outlet had a green light, but I didn’t get any charge at any time during the flight.
The service was generally polite. The menu this time advertised soup and breadsticks so I was quite thrilled, but alas there was no soup on the flight. I eventually settled for the marinated prawn for starter which was quite delicious
For my main dish, I wanted to try something from the local cuisine so I got the Lamb Kapsa (rice dish), but it was very dry and bland.
For my next meal, I decided to play it safe with Arab mezze for starters, and the grilled seafood for my main dish. The Fish was a bit salty but overall the meal was pleasant. I was quite full and skipped the dessert and dozed off till landing.
Ultimately, most of the stumbles that I encountered in my travel were due to third world problems (airport mismanagement, unavailability of advanced landing technology during fog). I would definitely fly the same route with Saudia again.
If you can put up with a dry airline, and going through Saudi Arabia (transit restrictions for women, dressing modestly etc), the airline is a very good option for travelers who are looking to connect onwards.
For their US routes, Saudia has new planes and pretty decent service (albeit a bit rushed). The award availability even during peak times is phenomenal, and for people going to Pakistan, there really aren’t that many travel options.
Tremendous thanks to View from the Wing’s Pakistani Correspondent for sharing her experience flying Saudia business class on a Delta Skymiles award. Hopefully it will help you just whether it’s a reasonable fit for your own travels, given how good availability is and how challenging it can be to get premium cabin awards with Delta sometimes.