More than any other alliance, SkyTeam is known for their technological innovations, ranging from website award calendars that are broken as a “feature,” to the ability to fax on a longhaul flight.
That continues this week, as, via Aviation Today, Saudia (the national airline of Saudia Arabia) has confirmed they will be offering complimentary WiFi to first and business class passengers on longhaul flights.
“We are now breaking new ground by being the first Middle East airline to give free Internet access to our first and business class passengers. We firmly believe other airlines will, in due course, follow our lead,” said Abdulmohsen Jonaid, chief commercial officer of Saudia.
In all seriousness however, Saudia actually has tremendous award space, and while they aren’t the most luxurious of premium products, availability is phenomenal.
Saudia flies to Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Washington Dulles, and it’s not uncommon to see seven first and business class seats on a given flight, even out of Los Angeles, which is borderline unheard of:
Saudia is a dry airline, and while their hard product certainly isn’t on par with the other Gulf carriers, they have been been investing more in their hard product. Their new 777-300ER has lie-flat seats in both business and first, and is certainly an improvement.
At least they do a good job of managing expectations, given that on their website they show a picture of American economy class to represent their business class. 😉
The best (though not necessarily easiest) way to book Saudia business class is with Delta SkyMiles, which charges 140,000 SkyMiles for a roundtrip award between North America and the Middle East.
For first class, the best value will be through Korean Air SkyPass, which requires 160,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Middle East. While Korean Air allows one-way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip on their own flights, they require roundtrips when traveling on partner airlines.
I was going to review Saudia’s first class product back in 2012, but when I asked you guys whether you wanted me to, you said you didn’t. So… 😉