Taste This!

The (in)famous slogan of our national air carrier is “Proud to serve you.” That’s a nice slogan, except for the fact that the kind of services provided by Saudi Airlines is nothing to be proud of, especially in their domestic flights. I have had my share of bad experiences with them, and I heard countless of negative stories from friends, family members and complete strangers. But forget about us, whiny customers, for a moment and check out this funny story featuring none other than Khalid al-Molhem, the Director General of the troubled airline, who found himself on board a Riyadh-to-Jeddah flight that was delayed for one hour. Why? Because the pilot was late. I guess Arab News got it right in their first line: “Talk about the worst possible day to be late for work” hehe.

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22 thoughts on “Taste This!

  1. hahahah…..POOR PILOT!!! apart from jokes….another problem with saudi airlines is the double-standard services….with best services for the wasterners and the worst for the south-asians!!! this is RACISM!!!

    • Yeah. When I came for Umrah, I noticed that. My aunt actually got called a Paki by one of the security guards. It’s funny how their attitude changes when you flash your passport (in my case a British one)

  2. Well as far as poor national airlines go, Air Canada, alas is a contender for top spot. They advertize fares that double after all taxes are applied, you can buy a sandwich style lunch box ahead if you want to eat on the flight, you get a reduction of $3 for not stowing luggage, etc. Very unclassy, Service is comme ci comme ça (in bad bilingualism).

    I wonder if the unfortunate pilot was a relative of the Director? Otherwise, better have an outstanding reason for being late! Indeed most airlines have standby crew.

  3. The solution to this is to build more railroads. If you’re going to be trapped in a metal tube in the middle of the desert, at least trains have a dining car where a person could get some snacks, moving or not!

  4. Norvegica:

    The solution is indeed to improve transportation terrestrial.

    This reminds me of the item posted months ago regarding tourism here and why it will not succeed.

    We cannot realistically pretend that tourism is viable given the poor infrastructure for internal transportation.

  5. I’ve been on airplanes ever since I was a child and flown on Saudi Arabia airlines several times and I must say….they’re quite bad.

    Nothing really stands out as bad it just seems…like everything is half-baked you know? Like they’re not even trying to be good.

    I can also back up Chiara’s statement that Air Canada is quite bad. Worse than Saudi Airlines.

    I’ve never flown on the fancy gulf airlines like Emirates or Qatar airways but I rode First Class on British airways once years ago…….WOW!

    That’s all I can say!

  6. I’ve flown Saudi Arabian Airlines many times (its part of my husband’s employer’s contract in Kingdom). Once, all the overhead lockers were filled with inflated lifejackets. Another time, a piece of the internal ceiling fell into the aisle mid flight. Another time, the engines stalled during takeoff and coughed back into action just in time. There is no control over people’s carry on baggage and on one flight, people just put their carry on bags in the aisle when the oveheads were full. I was known to joke “One day we’ll get on a plane and there will be chickens or something” and one day, we got on a flight to Tunisia and the row in front of us was indeed reserved for poultry – a collection of falcons on perches and in baskets sitting quietly, and indeed better behaved than many of the passengers!

  7. Well good for me as i am flying with Nas Air today from Riyadh-Jeddah. Anyways, i agree with all the above comments. I think its all the management that is to be blamed. Emirates and Al-itahad all have outstanding services due to better management & even better crew :)

  8. I can’t believe the pilot wasn’t informed that the head of the airlines was gonna be on board on that flight.
    Good to see the head getting a feel of his airlines’ bad service!

  9. Well, I have had my share of Saudi airlines when on a Riyadh to Jeddah flight, the flight got 6 hours late and on another occasion, I found something ‘live” in my salad. It was funny the way cabin crew behaved when I complained about the tiny creature in my food. It took them about half an hour after which they handed me a complaint form. Of course they couldn’t apologize as it was catering service’s fault :)

    The comment about different treatment i strue when it comes to planes. I have never travelled on Saudi airlines to west. However, towards south asian destinations, the planes are crowded with more seats, less leg space. It is even crowded than their domestic planes.

  10. Hey I was on that flight….
    now I know why everyone was refusing to tell me what the delay was about…I wonder what happened when he landed…who was the first person he called.

  11. @Omer: here’s a joke for ya. Whenever they see my face they think I’m Asian so I talk (American accent) English to them. When they talk behind my back or get frustrated, I’d eventually speak out in (Saudi from Riyadh) Arabic accent. They just don’t know what to do next & will try their best to serve me as possible….people & their racisms…sad but true.

    @Glow!: Naam Yastahloo bil gowwah baad! >_<

    @Andrew: Do tell. Internal transportation is really a serious issue for tourism. Heck I’ve been here for long & I can still see some troubles traveling other nice cities in this country.

    @ColdBlog: You got that right.

    This never happen if the pilot was aware of ethics & morale codes of an employee.

    Embarrassing for him & this might cost his license.

  12. In another show of irony, the saudiairlines website, which boasts some award for excellence in its online presence is surprisingly difficult to use.

    Ever tried booking a flight on there? After getting through the first few stages, the site simply stops working on Firefox. And then it keeps messing up your credit card details… annoying!

  13. I know this sounds contrarian, but I actually like to fly Saudia internationally! Domestically, not so much… there, it’s a zoo.

    My first experience with Saudia was when I first arrived. The flight from Jeddah to Dhahran was delayed three hours on the blazing tarmac as we waited for some princess or other to arrive.

    But internationally, I think the planes are comfortable, the food decent, and the people not quite as rude. I don’t miss the alcohol, so that probably puts me in a minority for Westerners.

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