Saudia Business Class Trip Report: Saudia Lounge, Riyadh

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.

Here’s her previous installment:

And now P.C. continues with her visit to the Saudia lounge in Riyadh

Welcome to Kind Khalid International Airport, Riyadh. As soon as my inbound plane got to the gate, people starting lighting up: Riyadh is a smoke-friendly airport.

There were no signs about transit passengers or lounges or gates. Nevertheless, it was much easier finding the Saudia lounge and the airport had more to offer than Jeddah did. It had an odd coffee shop (which offered Wifi), and a few jewelry stores in the duty free area.

The lounge itself was very dark and smoky, but it had internet and a conference room. Also, restrooms are located in the main terminal i.e. there are no separate restrooms for lounge users. Every table in the seating area had a box of napkins and ashtrays.

There was the usual serving of plated desserts and hot breakfast:

My favorite was the plum topped tartlet:

Lots of cold sandwiches, sodas, and a functional coffee machine:

The staff in the lounge was very professional and I was personally reminded about my flight boarding.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wow, you would think in this day and age the airport director(s) would assign designated SMOKING areas. Unrestricted smoking in public buildings is so…third world. I am a former smoker and I have nothing against people who smoke–I think every airport should have a “smokers’ lounge”–but to allow smoking anywhere and everywhere in the airport is the epitome of rudeness. Even smokers don’t want to breathe someone else’s stale smoke!

  2. So no no-smoking area, I assume? Am about to fly through Riyadh, and become very sick when I smell smoke…

  3. I’ve been to this lounge few days ago. This lounge doesn’t have smoking section. Not sure how the Pakistani Correspondent smelled smoke!

  4. It’s hard to tell from the photo whether this is the international or domestic lounge at Riyadh as they are / were identical. If it is the international then this lounge is now closed and replaced by a much improved facility on the mezzanine level. I am currently sat in the lounge so just got up and checked and there is a dedicated enclosed smoking lounge.

    I have had the dubious pleasure of flying into Riyadh well over 100 times in the past 5 years and I’ve never really noticed the smoking in the wider terminal. There are unenclosed smoking areas at each end of the terminal and the areas directly adjacent to these can smell but have never noticed people smoking at the gate.

  5. Ah, I was sent here from Flyertalk to see if anyone has (recently) gotten a transit visa.

    I understand that PC couldn’t get one, but being able to visit Riyadh (if only for a day or two) is the only reason I’d want to fly SV.

    Thanks for your input,

  6. @Gary, thanks for your help.

    Reading through the comments on Matthew’s page, it seems transit visas might no longer be issued. I may have to call the Saudi Consulate in New York…which likely will prove fruitless, but it’s a start.

  7. Hello
    Please can anyone tell me if you can still smoke at Riyadh airport. We have stop over and my husband is a smoker.

    Many thanks

  8. This can’t be true!
    Smoking is forbidden in all Saudi Airlines for ages. Airports in Saudi has assigned rooms for smoking so this doesn’t make sense. In my whole life and mind you I’ve been flying Saudia for 25 years, I never saw anyone lighting a cigarette upon landing nor in saudi airports unless it is within the assigned smoking spaces.

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