Review: Saudi Arabian Airlines B747-300 First Class

Jakarta to Riyadh

There are plenty of mysteries surrounded with this low profile airline. I always have the curiosity of finding how onboard Saudia would be like. Join me and Roni find them out!

We arrived into Jakarta the day before and at 10am we're ready for the journey and adventure.

Rone and I board a very nice Silver Bird taxi from Hotel Indonesia Kempenski for Soekarno-Hatta Int'l airport

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Scenes on arrival at T2D at Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta.

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Foreign airlines using CGK.

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A nice facelift of the gate area at Jakarta. Only ticket holder are allowed entrance to check-in area.

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Flight Display of Terminal 2D. Only foreign carriers are using this terminal.

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Arrived at Check-in counter for flight SV813 bound for Riyadh. A very friendly ground agent welcome us to check-in.

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Check-in display of our flights. Departs ontime today from Gate D6

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Since we do not possess Saudi Entry Visa and are connecting to Dubai with Emirates from Riyadh. Saudi Airlines request us to visit their office to sort out the issue.

The airline was concerned that no ground stuff were able to assist and take us to transit from Saudi terminal two to Terminal one where Emirates operates from Riyadh

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Saudia have the biggest station office in Jakarta by far. Many crew were based in Jakarta, not in Saudi Arabia.

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A view of the station manager office.

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After clearance was given. We were escorted back to check-in area to collect our boarding passes. A photo for the memory of the trip.

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Our lounge pass. Very nice they hand wrote our names, seats and flight number.

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Our First Class boarding passes issued!

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First sight of our flight, a B747-368 HZ-AIR. Nice Registration.

Both of us were glad that it is B747-300 operating. Saudia flight are very punctual.

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The apron looks like a park. Love the landscaping at Jakarta! Good to see 2 generations of Jumbo jet docking at the same time.

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Saudia passenger are invited to use the Premier Lounge

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View of the food area of the lounge.

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Some part of the sitting area. Lounge was not crowded around noon. Some part of the lounge are dimmer and some part are brighter.

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The nice feature in the Business lounge: Foot Massage and Reflexology Room. I have tried and they're excellent. It cost about US$10 per half an hour.

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Airside walkways between different concourses in CGK.

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Unique archietecture of CGK utilised daylight. Designed by French Aeroport de Paris

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Boarding gate today at D6. Boarding starts 30 mins prior to depart.

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Nice walkway with lush tropical garden surrounding

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A big sticker "God Bless You" on the nose of HS-AIR. Never got sick of this frontal view of the Jumbo Jet.

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Finally onboard! We're among the last passengers board the flight. The nose section view. First Class were about 1/2 full.

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A Saudi Arabian Airlines (unknown nationality) FA distributing hot towels before take-off.

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Finished quickly with the welcome drink. Glassware with distinct Saudi Airlines logo.

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We pushed back precisely on-time, taxiing to Runway 25R for takeoff.

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A low climb out of Soekarno-Hatta followed by immediate right turn.

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Stretch out and relax. Those leg rest are electronically adjusted and controlled, contrast to some modern planes with manual pull switch.

The leg rest came up all the way to make it feel like you're on your bed!

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Cabin sights onboard Saudia. Not bad for the leg room? Almost every passenger have their own row except row 1 and 2.

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My retro-Saudia Bag (bought online, made from Thailand) made some eyebrows raising onboard! I love all the Saudia colours!

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Overview of SV B747-300 First Class cabin. Note the fixed low bench in the middle.

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Roni is glad to make the trip and can't stop laughing onboard Saudia since.....

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Colourful non alcoholic drinks were offered after takeoff.

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First Class menu with welcome drinks and Saudi logo napkin.

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Cheers! Today's flight is operated by Capt Al Yamani and F/O Badjened, E/O Buchari all based from Jeddah.

Total of 173 POB. Flight level 36000.

Total flight time 8hrs 40 mins. Criuse Speed Mach 0.85

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Meal service about to start with some drink selections. Love the colourful bottles.

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Appetizer: Smoke Salmon

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Middle Eastern appetizer: Arabic Mezze

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Salad with Vinaigrette dressing

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Salad with Thousand Island dressing.

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Two kind of soup is offered : Pumpkin Soup

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Or Minestrone Soup. The breadstick are a bit on the stale side.

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Main Course are served in old fashion trolley style with your choices to mix and match.

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Chicken, Beef, Fish, Biryani were on offer.

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Rone have the Chicken Breast with Pasta

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I took a bit of everything with rice.

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Saudia flight attendant serving dessert and fruit after main course.

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Ice Cream bowl and Chocoklate cake nicely presented.

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After meal, I requested a bottle of water. To my surprise the crew gave me a 2L bottle and told me that was the only size of bottle water they have.

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Some entertaining sight onboard. Saudia shown a few movies on overhead screen but most Saudi passengers aren't interested in Movie or Music.

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After some rest, I was taken upstairs to visit the upper deck. It was empty and blocked from passenger seating.

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Upper deck of Saudi B747-368

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Front section of the upper deck. Almost mistaken for KLM decor.

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Lavatory with steel bowl and non-pressurized flush. Just like the old way.

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Jakarta based Saudi flight attendants have no problem posing for photos! These ladies work mostly on Jakarta flights as Saudia have a large base in Jakarta, outside Saudi Arabia.

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The unique feature on B747. The stairway connects upper deck and main deck.

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Cruising at 36,000 feet over the Indian Ocean.

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Saudia, like Thai and KLM, have the long galley between door 1 and door 2.

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Second meal was served 1.5 hours prior to landing consist of Chicken Pasta, Fruit and Salad all on one tray. The catering are all from Jakarta.

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Flying Westward while the sun is setting before our descend into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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A look at the second Business cabin behind nose area just before landing.

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At 17:50 local time after 8hr 45 mins, HZ-AIR touched down on the soil of Kingdom of Saudia Arabia (KSA) at King Khalid Int'l serving Riyadh.

It is time to leave and say goodbye to the crew. A last look at the massive B747 cabin.

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A picture with Purser Mohammed. He told me his favourite A/C was....Saudia L1011

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King Khalid Int'l was surprisingly modern, airy and spacious. There are green plants and fountains downstairs. It has two levels with departure upstairs and arrival downstairs. Transfer is rather easy to go from ground level to upstairs and pass the security check. It is possible to made transfer at Riyadh but Saudi Airlines never advertise it. We have proben it is even possible to transfer across terminals with different airlines.

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A close up view of the Fountain in the terminal. It was not operating.

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This conclude the trip from Jakarta to Riyadh onboard Saudi Arabian Airlines. I have finally fulfilled my curiosity about onboard Saudi Arabian.

SV is a decent yet quite humble airline. It seldomly advertise their service yet it provided a very solid schedule and product. I was expecting lot of check-in and mid air drama. None of them actually happened. The flight went on very orderly and crew were all very experienced.

With them joining the Skyteam, I hope there are more chances provided to experience Saudia and will see continue improvement of the airline fleet and services.

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