As I wrote about yesterday, I was extremely underwhelmed by my Saudia flight from Colombo to Jeddah, as the service was the worst I’ve ever experienced. The service was so bad that it was almost comical. Almost.
It’s sad, because the food, hard product, and amenities were otherwise quite good, but the soft product was a disaster.
Well, early this morning we connected from Jeddah to Manchester, a flight that was operated by one of Saudia’s brand new 787s.
The hard product on this flight was significantly better than on the previous flight, even. Saudi’s 787s have reverse herringbone seats, which are super comfortable.
The flight had the same great amenities as the previous flight, including wifi, incredible Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits, beautifully printed menus, etc.
Fortunately this flight also had significantly better service. That’s not to say the service was good, but rather simply that the flight attendants weren’t actively making the flight unpleasant, as was the case on the previous flight.
We had a Filipino flight attendant taking care of us, and there was only one Saudi guy working the cabin. The Filipino flight attendant was friendly enough, though not over the top.
However, what really struck with me is how incredibly inefficient their service was.
The flight from Jeddah to Manchester was about six hours long, departing at around 4AM and arriving at around 8AM. They serve a small snack after takeoff and breakfast before landing.
It took them 75 minutes after takeoff before they served me the after takeoff snack. It was delicious once I had it, but I found it ridiculous that the wait was so long.
Then breakfast service started two hours before landing. C’mon, that leaves at most 2.5 hours to sleep between meals.
While the breakfast was good, it was all served on a single tray, so I really can’t make sense of why it needs to be served two hours before landing.
Also, while Saudia is a dry airline, I’d take it a step further. They’re almost a still-water-only airline. It’s almost as if you’re asking for a huge favor by asking them for a cup of coffee, sparkling water, etc.
Breakfast was served two hours out, though despite several requests I was never served coffee. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the first thing that should be served in the morning is coffee, even before food.
Saudia 787 business class bottom line
Unlike the last flight, this Saudia flight was pleasant. The plane was nice and had great seats, and the catering was very good… once it was actually served.
While the flight attendants seemed well intentioned, I couldn’t get over how inefficient the service was. Short redeyes should be all about maximizing sleep, so there’s no excuse for it taking 75 minutes to serve a snack after takeoff, or serving a single tray breakfast two hours before landing.
Still, if all Saudia flights were like this, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again…
I’ll shortly be flying from Manchester to New York on Pakistan International Airlines, so stay tuned for that. I can’t wait for this one. 😉