Saudia Airliness Business Class Review

Saudia Airlines Business Class Review

The next step in our travels was to go from Tunisia to Asia, and so we turned to looking for flights.  We’d seen some excellent deals with Saudia Airlines in 2022 but didn’t have the opportunity to use them, and so when we saw a business class flight from Tunis to Male, the Maldives with a layer over in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia we decided to take a look.  So this Saudia Airlines Business Class review actually covers two business class flights with Saudia.  We flew on a Saudia A330-300 and also on a Saudia Boeing 787.  I’ll cover the details of why, we as generally budget travelers, took a business class flight, why we did this routing, and how we found our Saudia Airlines Business Class flight.  Ready?


This is definitely a treat for us.  In recent times we’ve been upgrading to extra legroom seats at the front of economy because long-haul flights are brutal enough as it is.  But the last time we flew business class was from Quito to the Galapagos back in 2018 (and that’s because we had expiring points, so rather than lose them we blew them).  Anyways, here’s why we flew business class with Saudia and what it was like.

Why we’re flying Saudia Airlines Business Class

We’re going from North Africa (Tunis) to Malaysia, but we decided to go via the Maldives as we found a great routing option with Saudia Airlines.  It’s not a direct flight, we do get a layover in Jeddah, KSA but there’s an added bonus.

Saudia and Saudi Tourism offered us a stayover visa of up to 96 hours in Jeddah, so we could explore the city known as the Bride of the Red Sea.  So we took them up on it.  I wrote about the Saudi Stay Over Visa here.

Now back to why business class.  Well, when we looked at booking, from Tunis to Jeddah and then Jeddah onto Male, Maldives, the business class flights – for several days in a row were about GBP£50 more than economy.  And that was VERY difficult to say no to!  The flights were also decently priced, so no more expensive than routing a different way.

Buying Tickets for Saudia

We found the flights via Skyscanner and then started looking at Saudia direct.  And that’s where we booked our flights.  As you’ll read in my guide to the Saudi Stay Over visa, you can get a free (plus a small admin fee) visa for up to 96 hours in Saudi, and you’ll apply for this as part of the flight purchase.

The Saudi site worked well.  We were able to take a look at a variety of dates and layover options.  We ended up with a 70-hour and 20-minute layover in Jeddah, which suited us fine.  And we also selected our seats.

During booking there’s also an option to select a special meal. (Vegetarian, etc).  While we did select a special meal (we went Hindu vegetarian), it was because it wasn’t clear to us that actually you get the regular meals, and this was only if you needed a specific culinary category.  On the flight, we chose to eat the Saudi specialties (which were LOVELY!).  Our UK-based credit card worked on the Saudia site and I’ve not read or heard of anyone having problems with foreign cards and booking on Saudia.

Saudia Business Class Review [Tunis to Jeddah]

  • Airline: Saudia Airlines
  • Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
  • Flight #: SV366
  • Route: Tunis (TUN) to Jeddah (JED)
  • Date: November 28, 2023
  • Duration: 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Cabin and Layout: Saudia Airlines business class, 30 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration
  • Seats: 03A and 03C

This is the first of our Saudia Airlines business class flights, from Tunis, Tunisia to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Saudia Airlines Business Class Check-in [Tunis]

Arriving at Tunis airport the signage indicates where to check in to the Saudia Airlines flight.  The line was long and full of large families with lots of bags.  I went to the front to check where Business Class check-in was, as it wasn’t clear.

It turns out that it’s in a completely different place to Economy (across the other side of the check-in hall), so we trooped off there, where there was no line and an air of calm.    Check-in was quick and easy, but as our backpacks are not hard-sided cases we had to take them to the special luggage drop-off (directly back across the check-in hall).

Tunis Airport Security & Immigration

We passed through security quickly, not because we went in the fast track line, but simply because there were no lines (which wasn’t our experience the last time we flew through here!). Immigration was a similar experience and then we were through to the secure side of the airport.

Tunis Airport After Security

If you’re carrying any Tunisian dinar, then you’d be wise to spend it before you get to the airport, or before you go through security.  All the prices on the pre-security side are in TND, and all the prices on the other side are in Euros.  You CANNOT pay for anything in TND after security.

You may even be questioned when you go through security as to whether you have any dinar, as the Tunisian Dinar is a closed currency and you’re not supposed to take the currency out of the country.

We made this mistake the last time we flew out of Tunis airport.  And ended up giving our small amount of remaining money to one of the cleaners.  This time we didn’t make the same mistake and tipped our transfer driver with our last dinars.  (We’d traveled up from Hammamet to Tunis that morning to catch this flight).

Prices for drinks and food after security are standard expensive airport prices, so if you need to eat or drink before your flight, do it in dinar before security.  This time we just headed straight to the business class lounge.

Saudia Airlines Business Class Lounge Tunis, Tunisia

Saudia Airlines doesn’t have a dedicated business class lounge in Tunis, it uses the Tunis Espace Privilege lounge, which is found by going right after security, and it’s on the left at the first turn.

The lounge is small, with several separate sections, although there’s not much to distinguish between the separate areas apart from a few plants and chairs strategically placed. 

Seating Areas Tunis Espace Privilege lounge

There’s a reasonable selection of snacks and drinks available (even alcohol).  The coffee was good and the staff spoke Arabic, French, and English.

Tunis Espace Privilege lounge seating

The seats were comfortable, the WiFi worked better than the general WiFi in the airport (but that’s not difficult, as WiFi in Tunis airport is pretty awful and slow).

Food Selection Tunis Espace Privilege lounge

There are charging points near the seats and announcements are made (using a loudhailer!) about flights.

Announcements at the Tunis Espace Privilege lounge

It’s definitely worth waiting for the boarding announcement as the “holding pen” for flights here in Tunis is pretty awful.  It’s crowded and busy and there are no designated lines, just crowds of people.

Boarding Saudia’s Business Class in Tunis

There are no designated business class/economy class lines for boarding Saudia Airlines in Tunis.  It’s just a “bit of scrum”, so if you want to board, you’ll need to either push to the front or wait until the end.  We chose to follow a couple of other business class passengers and pushed to the front.

Saudia Airlines Business Class Seat [SV366]

The Saudia Airlines plane for the Tunis to Jeddah route was a Airbus A330-300 and business class was arranged in a 2-2-2 format.  The seats were old-style business class – like you see in the US Airlines first-class domestic seats. 

Welcome Drink SV366

It wasn’t the most comfortable seat, as the seat was rather short, but tilted, which meant that I slid forward.  The footrest was also broken on both of our seats, so if you rested your foot on it, it just crashed to the floor.    The recline worked, and our TV screens and tables were in the arms of the seat.  There was, as expected, lots of legroom.

Saudia Airliness Business Class Seats SV366

There was no amenity kit provided and storage was available in large overhead bins.

Power was available with a multi-socket that would fit any of the plugs that we had onboard.  (UK, US, and European).

Power on Saudia Airlines SV366 Business Class

Entertainment System in Saudia Business Class

Along with the provided over ear headphones, there was a TV in the armrest of this seat. And the entertainment system provided movies, music and information. However, after scanning the content, (and listening to a little music) we both closed it up. The provided movies were pretty outdated, and there wasn’t anything that I saw as recent.

Meals on Saudia Business Class

While we’d mistakenly ordered Hindu vegetarian meals when booking our flight (as the booking process seemed to indicate that you had to select *something*), the staff seemed to understand that we’d made a mistake, and confirmed that they had the meal but that if we wanted something else, then we were ok to have that too.

There were two Saudi Arabian options and one European option.  We both opted for the Saudi Arabian options, having sea bass sayadiah and beef fillet begendi style. 

Dinner on Saudia Airlines Business Class

Drinks on Saudia Business Class

On getting seated the staff offered each passenger a cold refreshing towel and a drink – we went for fresh orange juice and a date milkshake.  I think we’ve eaten our body weight in dates while being in Tunisia and we’re getting one last hit.  An extremely generous portion of selected nuts was also provided and they were great.

Before takeoff, Saudi coffee and a date were provided.   It’s a great introduction to Saudi hospitality.

Saudia is a dry airline, and we were surprised to see alcohol-free wines and alcohol-free beers even on offer, but having never tried these specific options we went for them.  And so for drinks with our meal, we opted for the Jukes No 1 and Jukes No 6 alcohol-free sparkling wines.  The red was good, the white definitely woke you up with the flavor combinations.

Snacks were also provided later in the flight – small packets of Pringles, chocolates, and whatever you wanted.

Amenities on Saudia Business Class

A set of headphones, clearly stamped “to remain on the plane” were provided, but there was no other amenity kit on this plane.  Likely, I’m sure as this was a daytime flight.  We left at 11:40, arriving in Jeddah at 18:05.

WiFi was a purchasable option on the flight.  US$20 got you 60 minutes of WiFi with a 50Mb data limit.  There was a free messaging plan, but I couldn’t get it working, so in the end I didn’t bother and chose to read instead.

Saudia Airlines Business Class Baggage Allowance

We were well within the Saudia Airlines Baggage allowance, which for business class basic fare is one piece of luggage up to 32 kilograms (70 pounds).

Final Thoughts on Saudia Airlines SV366 (Tunis to Jeddah)

The cabin crew and food were superb on this flight and I can’t fault them at all.  The seat wasn’t that comfortable (but one imagines more comfortable than Guest Class further back in the plane), but it was somewhat irritating that one family decided that their small children could run around and up and down the aisles (and bear in mind they don’t do this quietly!) while they sat with their headphones on.  They ended up being shepherded back by the cabin crew regularly.  And the cabin crew definitely had heaps and heaps of patience with them!

Saudia Business Class Review [Jeddah to Male, Maldives]

  • Airline: Saudia Airlines
  • Aircraft: Boeing 787
  • Flight #: SV838
  • Route: Jeddah (JED) to Male, Maldives (MLE)
  • Date: December 1st, 2023
  • Duration: 5 hours, 45 minutes
  • Cabin and Layout: Saudia Airlines business class, Seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • Seats: 04 L and 05L

Saudia Airlines Business Class Check-in [Jeddah]

I *love* check in at Jeddah Airport, there’s an entirely separate check-in area for business class and first class and it was so quiet.  And calm.  And so not airport-like at all. 

Of course, we didn’t know this when arrived, so trooped up to the Guest Class check-in area (Guest Class is what Saudia Airlines calls Economy), and found out that we had to walk a little further.  No matter, it was worth it.

Business Class Check in Jeddah Airport Saudia

Check-in was simple, Jeddah, it seems can cope with our backpacks in a way that Tunis couldn’t, so they were whisked off and we headed through Fast Track security – where it appeared we had an entire staff dealing with just us!

Jeddah Airport Fast Track

Despite it being very early everything was open and we headed straight to the Al Fursan lounge. 

Saudia Airlines Business Class Lounge Jeddah – Al Fursan Lounge

The Al Fursan lounge here in Jeddah International Airport is for business and first-class travelers with Saudia and it is huge.  There are a variety of areas, including spaces just for first-class passengers, that we inadvertently wandered into.

There’s a games area and a media lounge with reclining chairs for watching sports or movies.  Showers if you want them.  And several seating areas.  There’s WiFi here too, and it worked, although if you’re going to be spending time in Saudi Arabia, then a local SIM card is advisable. Our guide to Saudi SIM cards is here.

There are a huge amount of food options all of which looked great, but when I get up at 02:15 to get to the airport I’m not usually hungry and this time wasn’t any different, however, the coffee (there were various machines and also barista made options too) was excellent. 

Dining in Al Fursan Lounge Jeddah Airport

The seating areas were comfortable, there was power at each seat.  And I had a great view of the Grand Piano too.

Al Fursan Lounge Jeddah Airport

Announcements were not made in this lounge, but there were TV displays with details of the departing flights.

Boarding Saudia’s Business Class in Jeddah

Our flight from Jeddah to Male was boarded via a bus and steps, there was no jetway there.  So we ended up stood waiting on the bus for the stragglers to arrive.  No matter, it was mere minutes until I was nicely situated in seat 05L where I’d be for the next 5 hours and 45 minutes.

Saudia Airlines Business Class Seat [SV838]

Bliss.  A full flat bed.  This is what I’ve been looking for.  I think for me it’s not just that it goes flat, but it’s the “walls” around that give you more privacy than the old-fashioned business class seats of the previous flight.  We’d decided to go for window seats on this flight so that we could see the Maldives as we flew in.

Seat 05L Saudia SV838

The seats on this Saudia Airlines SV838 had heaps of storage locations, an overhead bin, and a footwell, as well as several (small) lockers.  The TV was touchscreen and there was a remote hidden in a small locker too. My experience of the entertainment system contents was the same as on the previous flight. There wasn’t much recent content, so I didn’t watch anything. This wasn’t an issue, as I planned to sleep, but if you plan to take a longer haul flight with Saudia you might want to look at providing your own movies or books to read.

Seat and TV controls SV838

There’s also plenty of table space, my laptop rested on the tabletop, which extended right out to make it comfortable to work and eat while reclined.  Again before we took off, a cup of Saudi coffee with a date was offered, and again accepted.  Saudi coffee really is rather nice, but very, very light.

Saudi Coffee and Date SV838

The seat controls were on a small panel to the right of the seat.  And included a short massage – it only lasts about 60 seconds, but you could keep pressing it.  The seat went flat easily.  A blanket was provided and a comfortable pillow, which came in handy later.

Waking up on Saudia SV838

Saudia Business Class Meals

Today’s flight included breakfast options, and (again) we’d preordered Hindu vegetarian menus because we messed up, but were again offered whatever we wanted.  And while the smoked salmon contemporary European menu was for a moment interesting, we both stuck to the Saudi option.

Clearly recognizing that we didn’t have a clue what we were doing, the cabin crew were incredibly helpful, advising how we were to eat our Foul Medames (by mixing in the olive oil and tahini).  Oh, it was so good.  I’d go back to Saudi Arabia just for that.

Foul Medames Breakfast on Saudia Airlinies

After breakfast – which you could choose to have later in the flight if required – I pressed the requisite buttons and got my flatbed, put on my eye mask, and got several hours of sleep.  It was much more peaceful than the previous flight.  Although we also had small children on this flight, they were either sparked out or much quieter!

Saudia Business Class Amenities

This flight came with his and hers amenity bags, which are truly lovely.    The Missoni bags came with a fabulous hairbrush, a great dental kit, ear plugs (which I didn’t need), an enormous adjustable eye mask, moisturizer from Grown Alchemist, lip balm, and hand cream also from Grown Alchemist as well as a sachet of cleanser.    There’s a small mirror and a pair of non-slip socks too.

Saudia Airlnes Amenity Kit

Final Words on Saudia Airlines Business Class Flight SV838

From check-in to arrival this was a great experience.  The staff were superb, the food really tasty and it was a delight to have a lie-flat bed, and even better to be able to sleep in it without being disturbed by fellow passengers.  The only thing that could have been better was if there had been a jetway to the plane rather than the bus, but as I said it meant mere minutes of waiting.  This was a great experience the seat, plane, and whole trip were great!

Travel Tips for Saudi Arabia

Final Words on Flying Saudia Airlines Business Class

We are definitely not regular business-class fliers.  The last time we flew business was in 2018, but this opportunity was too good to pass up.  Not only did we get to experience two business-class flights (more or less for the price of one), but we also got to explore Jeddah for several days, and arrive in the Maldives in style!  I recommend Saudia Airlines and their business class service, but also the transit visa option too

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