Saudia

This Saudia First Class Fare Is Tempting Me…

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“Saudia first class” and “tempting” are probably phrases which don’t typically go in the same sentence.

As you guys know, I’m trying to review as many new airline products as possible, even ones which might not be so great.

This year I’ve done a good job of sampling new airlines, and I think it’s because I’ve changed my mentality. When I find a good opportunity to fly a new airline I ask myself why I shouldn’t try it, rather than why I should. If I can’t come up with a good reason not to, I typically end up booking it. That’s how I recently ended up booking a trip from Colombo to Casablanca in Qatar Airways and Royal Air Maroc business class. Even though it was totally out of the way, the positioning flights will let me review several new airlines as well, including China Eastern, Kuwait Airways, and Royal Jordanian.

Saudia is another airline which is on my list of airlines I want to review. While they don’t seem to be actively terrible, they do seem to have underwhelming first & business class products.

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Help Me Pick The Most Amusing Routing From Colombo To The US!

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Earlier I shared the details of the trip I planned yesterday, or at least the parts I already ticketed. This includes flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai to Colombo on China Eastern, and then flights from Colombo to Doha to Casablanca to Doha to Casablanca on Qatar Airways and Royal Air Maroc.

I’m doing this trip with my friend Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly. Before we started ticketing the first two parts of the trip we had already agreed on the return as well (which is option 1 below), but then we got a bit more creative. Now we’re down to three options, and it would be great to hear which one you guys would most like to read about.

When we were first planning the return, this was the option we had settled on. Kuwait Airways has sub-$1,000 one-way business class fares between Colombo and New York, which includes flights from Colombo to Kuwait on an A340, and then from Kuwait to London to New York on a 777. All of these flights are on their planes featuring a very outdated product.

The fare is unbeatable, and I’ve long been promising to review Kuwait Airways, so this seems like a great opportunity.

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My Bad Luck Booking Awards On Saudia, Avianca, And Aeromexico!

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In 2016 I want to review a lot of new airline products on the blog. And I’m off to a good start, because in the next month I’ll be reviewing Finnair A350 business class, Air India 777 first class (twice), and Hainan Airlines 787 business class!

This morning I was getting ready to book my next trip, where I was going to fly from Los Angeles to London the long way.

On the outbound I was going to redeem 60,000 LifeMiles for Avianca business class from Los Angeles to Bogota to London, and on the return I was going to redeem 62,500 FlyingBlue miles for Saudia business class from London to Jeddah to Los Angeles.

So I opened up two browsers — one for the outbound and one for the return — with the intent of ticketing them both around the same time. But then when I got to the ticketing page, I was informed the Saudia award would cost 150,000 miles rather than 62,500 miles. Grrr, I guess the pricing of 62,500 miles one-way was in fact a glitch.

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Gay Passenger Files DOT Complaint Against Saudia — Interesting!

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There’s no denying that many of the human rights policies/laws in the Middle East are appalling. While I’m of course vehemently opposed to many of these policies, I also know they won’t change overnight, and that ultimately these aren’t airline policies, but rather government policies based on religion.

I have lots of gay friends living happy lives in the Middle East working for Emirates and Etihad. While of course they’re not happy about the laws, the reality of living in cities like Dubai is quite different than the “letter of the law,” if you will.

Of course that’s Dubai, which is fairly progressive within the region, especially in comparison to places like Saudi Arabia. Which brings us to an interesting complaint filed by a lesbian against Saudia with the Department of Transportation. While the complaint is 15 pages, it’s a quick read, so I’d suggest checking it out.

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Can Delta SkyMiles No Longer Be Redeemed For Saudia Business Class?

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I’ve argued that the relative value of Delta SkyMiles has increased over the past couple of years. For my personal redemptions, I’d say the value of SkyMiles increased even further this year, given that one-way awards are now possible for half the cost of a roundtrip (unfortunately that came at the expense of stopovers on roundtrip awards).

Primarily I like redeeming SkyMiles for travel on Alitalia, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, etc.

But there’s no denying that SkyMiles have historically also been extremely useful for travel to the Middle East. That’s because Saudia is in SkyTeam, and they’ve historically released an almost unlimited amount of business class award space. It was kind of insane, they had at least seven business class award seats available on most flights.

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Saudia Won’t Introduce Gender Segregated Seating After All

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Yesterday I shared the story from rt.com which suggested that Saudia would introduce gender segregated seating on their flights. On one hand it seemed a bit farfetched, on the other hand we’re talking about a country where women aren’t even allowed to drive, so it wouldn’t have really surprised me that much…

The rt.com article read in part as follows:

“Saudi Arabia’s national airline carrier is planning to introduce gender segregation aboard its flights following complaints from passengers who refused to have random males seated next to their wives, the Kingdom’s media report.”

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How To Search Saudia Business Class Award Space

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Saudia might not be the Middle East’s most glamorous airline, but they are the one that releases among the most first and business class award space between the US and the Middle East. Of course that’s for good reason — their premium cabin products can’t even begin to compete with what the other airlines of the region are offering, like Emirates and Etihad.

Still, Saudia is a way to redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel to the Middle East/India, no matter what time of year you want to go. As a reminder, Saudia’s North America destinations include Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Washington.

In the past, ExpertFlyer was the best place to search Saudia award availability. However, reader CG notes that ExpertFlyer is no longer displaying Saudia business class award availability. They are still displaying Saudia first class and economy class availability, though.

As a reminder, the fare classes for award travel on Saudia are as follows:

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Fistfight Between Crew Delays Saudia Flight

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In terms of stories that leave you scratching your head…

“Via Arabian Business:

A fistfight between the pilot and a cabin crew member caused a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane to be grounded for six hours last week.

According to a report on the Arab News website, the cabin crew member and the aircraft’s captain were involved in a verbal argument which soon turned into a fistfight, as the flight crew were preparing the plane for take-off.

The pilot sustained an eye injury and had to be taken to hospital, while the steward was injured on his hand and was treated at the airport.”

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