Fly with Saudia in business class from Athens, Greece, to a variety of destinations in Asia for just 442 EUR one-way or 793 EUR return in this amazing deal!
Business class deal
Saudi Arabian Airlines (which is also known under the name of Saudia) currently has a great sale offer for flights departing from Athens. You can fly to many different Asian destinations with prices starting at just 442 EUR for a one-way trip. Returns start at 793 EUR – making this an excellent deal to fly to Asia in luxury. You will arrive at your holiday or business destination fully rested after a great night of sleep in the air.
The offer is valid to destinations all over Asia such as Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Jakarta and Medan (Indonesia), Guangzhou (China), Manila (Philippines), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Malé (Maldives). The flight deal also works to some African destinations served by Saudia such as the island nation of Mauritius and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Open-jaw tickets are also possible. You can book a multi-city ticket in which you fly your outbound journey from Athens to Kuala Lumpur and for example return from Jakarta to Athens. This way, you can even construct a multi-country Asian trip.
It is even possible to book a double open-jaw ticket and fly back to another airport in Europe. For example, you can book Athens-Jeddah-Kuala Lumpur; Colombo-Jeddah-London if you want. This might also work with flights returning to Rome, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris! Do however note that for the deal to work you have to commence the journey in Athens – and that selecting a different return airport might jack up the price by quite a bit. For the cheapest fares, a simple return ticket works out the best.
Note that Saudia only operates the Athens-Jeddah flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. This means that have to select on of these days as departure and arrival day. Wednesdays and Fridays in particular seem to be the departure dates giving the lowest fares irrespective of the month you want to travel.
Flight availability is generally wide open! You can depart next week, all winter long, in spring and even in the summer high season. Before booking, make however sure it is the right season to visit your destination of choice. While for example summer is ideal for a visit to Indonesia, it constitutes the rainy season in the Philippines, which is a much better place to visit in the dry and sunny winter season.
No visa needed
Most nationalities (including EU nationals) do not need a Saudi visa if booking this ticket and can simply transit through Jeddah airport if in the same way like you would make a flight connection in Frankfurt or Madrid. During your layover, you have to remain at the airport, although you can of course kill the time by making use of the Saudia business class lounge.
Do note that your layover in Jeddah must be 12 hours maximum as otherwise you would formally require a Saudi (transit) visa. You can only transit through one single Saudi Arabian airport on your journey. Flying Athens-Jeddah-Kuala Lumpur is perfectly fine, but for a journey with two stops in the Kingdom such as Athens-Jeddah-Riyadh-Manila you would need a full Saudi visa.
It is always the responsibility of the passenger to comply with (possible) visa rules. In case of doubt, always consult with the airline and the embassy.
If you want, you can arrange the flight dates in such a way to allow for a stopover of a few days in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia has long been a secretive country which refused to hand out tourist visas, only welcoming businessmen on a business visa or Muslim pilgrims on a Hajj or Umrah visa.
This has however changes as since last year Saudi Arabia has opened up to tourism by introducing a tourism e-visa for most nationalities. At 440 SAR (105 EUR) they however do not come cheap.
Contrary to popular belief female travellers do not need to cover up their hair or wear a veil or headscarf when flying Saudia or transiting through a Saudi airport. The airline does however have a clothing policy in which miniskirts, tops and other revealing clothes are forbidden, so it is best to err on the side of caution and not to reveal too much skin.
Remember that Saudi Arabia is a very conservative country and the entire Middle East in general abides to different dress codes than Europe. In the same way, it is highly frowned upon for men to wear shorts and a t-shirt – although you would likely get away with it as an outsider. I would recommend to dress up in some comfortable jeans and a long-sleeve shirt. As Saudia often puts the plane’s air-con on sub-zero temperatures it will also save you from a cold – so better leave the swim shorts and t-shirt for arrival in Asia 😉
What to expect of Saudia’s business class
From Athens to Jeddah, Saudia uses the Airbus A320 with 2-2 seating in business class. These are comfortable leather seats which recline into a fully flat position if you might want to catch up on some sleep. For a short-haul flight these seats are as good as you can possibly get in business class.
It depends on your destination of choice which plane Saudia uses. If you fly to Mauritius, Kuala Lumpur or Guangzhou you can fly on Saudia’s excellent Boeing 787. This plane features a business class cabin in a 1-2-1 layout, which means that all seats have direct aisle access. Of course, these seats turn fully flat to give you an excellent night of sleep on your long-haul flight to Asia.
Saudia Boeing 777
If you are heading to Colombo, Jakarta or Manila it is a bit of a gamble which plane you will get. Saudia uses the Boeing 777 on these routes. The airline has two different versions of this plane: a three-class plane featuring first, business and economy, and a two-class plane featuring only business and economy class. The former is the one to avoid as it has the old business class cabin featuring angled flat seats in a 2-2-2 layout. The two-class Boeing 777s do have modern lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout.
If you opted as Medan as your destination you will fly on Saudia’s antiquated Boeing 747. Even though the jumbo jet is an unique plane to fly on the upper deck in business class – it is also a rather old aircraft. Business class seats on the 747 are in a 2-2 layout and are of the angle-flat variety.
In the air you will experience true Saudi hospitality. You are welcomed with a cold refreshment towel, a pre-departure drink of choice and traditional Arab coffee and dates. In the air, you are treated to a three-course dinner on the Athens to Jeddah leg. On the overnight flights to Asia you will be given a four-course dinner (appetiser, soup, main and dessert) and breakfast shortly before arrival. On the return journey you can expect a main four-course lunch service and a slightly smaller dinner service before arrival.
My own experience
I have flown Saudia’s business class on two different occasions and found the experience to be top-notch. I had a great night sleep on my overnight flight to Asia and arrived fully rested at my destination. Service on board was genuinely friendly and there are enough films and series on the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system to keep you entertained. Some planes also feature WiFi for a small fee.
While it might not be as lavish as some of the world’s best airlines such as Singapore Airlines or Qatar Airways, the food on Saudai is certainly way better in both quantity and quality than you get on airlines such as Lufthansa or KLM. It certainly all left a very good impression on me. The only drawback is that Saudia is a so-called dry airline, which means that no champagne (nor any other kind of alcohol!) is served on board.
That said, Saudia has vastly improved its assortment of non-alcoholic drinks in recent months. You can expect freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, several mocktails as well as barista coffee and quality teas. I would certainly not hesitate to fly Saudia again – especially when the prices are as low as this!
Where to book these flights?
I would recommend first to use the ITA Matrix and Kayak to search for your flights. Even though you cannot book through the ITA Matrix directly, you can do so through Kayak, which will give you price quotes of several online travel agencies.
Of course, you can also search and book directly through the website of Saudia. Even though this might be marginally more expensive (like 10-20 EUR more) it is more reliable than booking through some of the lesser-known OTAs to which Kayak links. The main advantage is that on Saudia you can directly assign your preferred seats – which is not always possible to do (for free) when using an online travel agency for your flight booking.
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