Return Business Class to Asia From ~£722!

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Saudi Arabian flag-carrier Saudia is currently offering some superb Business Class fares from Geneva to Asia – starting at just £722!

Options include:

  • Delhi
  • Manila
  • Jakarta
  • Kochi
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Maldives
  • and Colombo

all for under £800 Return.

Availability is generally excellent between January and March 2018 (use Google Flights to get an idea of dates quickly and then SkyScanner etc, to find the cheapest site to book with.

According to the fare rules, the booking window is supposed to be open until the end of October, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see these get pulled sooner.

Top deal

The standout fare for me is to the Maldives for £790 Return:

Availability seems to be a bit more limited than for some other destinations, but I saw a couple of dates in January, plenty in February and one at the beginning of March. Business Class flights from the UK are typically £2,000+ so the saving is significant.

Is Saudia any good?

(Perhaps) surprisingly, yes – with some caveats.

The relatively short ~5 hour flights between Geneva and Riyadh/Jeddah look like they are operated by an Airbus A320 with a recliner rather than a lie-flat seat. For a  flight of that duration, I don’t think many people would mind too much.  We reviewed the product on a very similar route a while ago and were left quite impressed.

You can also check out our review of the Saudia Business Class Lounge in Jeddah too.

The longer legs to/from Asia have proper ‘lie-flat’ seats and should be pretty comfortable. Ben over at OMAAT posted a characteristically excellent review of what should be a very similar product here.

The most obvious downside (from my perspective anyway ? ) is that Saudia is a ‘dry’ airline, meaning they do not serve any alcoholic beverages whatsoever. For those of us who enjoy a chilled glass of champagne when flying Business Class, that might take a little bit of the fizz out of the flight…

More seriously, Saudi Arabia is obviously an extremely conservative, religious society by Western standards and that applies to the national airline too. There is a Dress Code when flying with Saudia, for instance – it’s nothing too onerous, but something to be aware of.

Anything else?

If you’re not an expert on Saudia ‘Alfursan’ Miles (anyone?), you can credit the flights to either Delta or Flying Blue and earn 150% of the flown distance.

Bottom line

The fares are excellent and flying Saudia would be an interesting experience and possibly a pleasant surprise.

That said, I can certainly understand why not everyone would be comfortable flying via Saudi Arabia given the political and cultural differences.



  1. James says

    Mostly older seat types, no booze, very serious dress code, western women treated with contempt and an awful airport to spend time in.
    Spend the extra money on a deal with a better airline.
    Pluswho on earth wants to support the Wahabi regime ???.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I’ve also heard that due to “Saudi-ization” there will be a number of Saudi nationals notionally working as flight attendants to meet the quotas, but then they will sit down in a premium seat and actually leave all of the work to the Asian attendants…

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