The SkyTeam airline alliance — of which Delta, KLM/Air France, and ITA Airways form a part — has my two favorite underrated airlines in the industry (thus far; I haven’t flown every airline in the world, not by a long shot). China Airlines is one of those carriers, and the other?
Since my first flight with Saudia — then Saudi Arabian Airlines — some ten years ago, I have nearly consistently enjoyed the in-flight service and entertainment, telephone customer service, and certainly the attractive Europe-Southeast Asia J class deals. I may have had some extra long layovers in Jeddah or Riyadh due to the low international frequencies of flights, but with the newish Jeddah terminal, it’s less of an issue now.
Added bonus: that Saudi coffee, called qahwa (قهوة) in Arabic, which greets premium cabin passengers aboard Saudia flights, as well as in lounges:
For fellows fans of Saudia, there’s good news on the horizon. The Saudi national airline will be starting/restarting no less than four flights this year–
- Beijing Daxing International Airport, China (PKX)
- Birmingham International Airport, United Kingdom (BHX)
- Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa (JNB)
- Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Nigeria (KAN)
Although the start dates for the above flights aren’t yet finalized, a major reason for the carrier’s expansion is due to the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP)’s desire to grow the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia.
In tandem with the ACP, earlier in 2023, Saudia had also introduced a 96-hour visa-free scheme to entice more visitors to get a taste of the country … qahwa sold separately.