Introduction: A Quick Jaunt On Saudia, Jet, And Tunisair
Review: Korean Air First Class Lounge New York JFK Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER New York To Riyadh
Review: Saudia First Class Lounge Riyadh Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER Riyadh To Dubai
Review: Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
Review: Marhaba Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: SkyTeam Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: Jet Airways Business Class 737 Dubai To Mumbai
Review: GVK Lounge Mumbai Airport
Review: Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER Mumbai To London
Review: Yotel London Heathrow Terminal 4
Review: SkyTeam Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Tunisair A320 Business Class London To Tunis
Review: Sheraton Tunis
Review: Tunis Airport Lounge
Review: Tunisair Business Class A330 Tunis To Montreal
I intentionally planned a fairly long layover at Riyadh Airport, since I knew I’d have to get some work done between flights. So I arrived in Riyadh shortly before 1PM, while my connection to Dubai was shortly after 6PM. Last year I flew from Colombo to Jeddah to Manchester, so I was curious to see how the Riyadh ground experience compared, and in particular how the lounge compared to Saudia’s Jeddah lounge.
The Riyadh Airport transit experience was super easy. While I got the sense that I was among the only people making an international connection, the process was still easy, and I didn’t have to even reclear security.
Riyadh Airport isn’t the most beautiful in the world, though it’s so much better than Jeddah Airport, at least until Jeddah’s new terminal opens. If you’re flying Saudia for now, be sure you connect in Riyadh — it’s a much better experience.
Upon arrival I headed to the Alfursan Lounge, which is the Saudia lounge used by all SkyTeam airlines. It was one level above the main concourse, and could be accessed either by elevator or escalator.
I was greeted by two friendly associates at the front desk, and pointed left towards the first class section. While Jeddah Airport has a shared lounge for first and business class passengers, Riyadh Airport has a special lounge for first class passengers.
The first class section had a beautiful lighting display by the entrance.
Past that was the main corridor that connects the various parts of the lounge. I should note that the lounge was totally empty when I was there. That’s not really surprising, since the middle of the day is typically the quietest time at airports in the region. I think I saw one other guest the entire time that I was in the lounge.
Near the entrance and to the right were a few semi-private rooms with daybeds, where I decided to spend most of my layover.
It was nice to have a comfortable and somewhat private space from which to work.
Next to the area with daybeds was the dining area, which consisted of both booths and dining tables with chairs.
There was a decent size buffet, and frankly I was surprised they had anything on display over Ramadan daytime hours.
There was a coffee machine at the corner of the buffet, along with a selection of Twinings tea.
Then there was a selection of non-alcoholic drinks — I appreciate that they have Evian water, and while I prefer San Pellegrino to Perrier, I’m happy that they have sparkling water at all.
They also have non-alcoholic Budweiser, which is possibly the most vile thing ever (though I’m also not a beer drinker to begin with, so…).
There were half a dozen display cases for hot food, though they were empty. Again, I’m not sure if this is due to Ramadan, or simply because this is a very slow time of day in the lounge.
Then there was a selection of whole fruit and bread.
There was a beautiful display with salad, fresh fruit, sweets, etc.
While it wasn’t a huge spread, I thought it was tastefully done, and everything looked appetizing (I only had water and a coffee, since I was still full from the flight).
On the opposite end of the lounge was a separate room which was perhaps a bit more elegant than the rest of the lounge. It had plenty of seating with some drapes along the windows.
There was also a self serve drink station here.
Next to that was another relaxation area with what looked like Eames chairs, though they may have been knock-offs.
Behind that was a business center with a bunch of iMacs, both along a high-top counter, as well as at individual desks.
There was also a selection of magazines and newspapers.
The first class section of the lounge had separat bathrooms.
The picture used for “men” is a bit different than what we’re used to in the US!
The washroom had a couple of individual stalls, a couple of urinals, and a shower room.
The shower room was basic and didn’t have a toilet in it, though it looked decent enough.
The wifi in the lounge was fast, and I managed to get quite a bit of work done during my layover.
My flight to Dubai was scheduled to board at 5:25PM, so at around 5PM I decided to walk around the terminal a bit and do some plane spotting. There weren’t many planes at the terminal — just a couple of Saudia 777s, as well as several flynas A320s.
At around 5:20PM I headed to gate 24, where my flight was scheduled to depart from. Just as I arrived the crew boarded, and 10 minutes later general boarding began.
Saudia Lounge Riyadh Airport bottom line
While Saudia’s Riyadh lounge isn’t one of the best in the world, I found the entire transit experience to be pleasant. Transiting Riyadh Airport was easy, the lounge was comfortable and had fast wifi, and there were even some rest areas. I’d highly recommend connecting in Riyadh over Jeddah until the new Jeddah Airport terminal opens.
If you have a longer layover, note that Riyadh Airport also has private hotel rooms without the Wellcome Lounge, which could be a good place to pass time.