When I first found out that I’d be flying Saudia Airlines from Beirut, Lebanon, to Jakarta, Indonesia, I was ecstatic Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, my first thought was, “Can I even accomplish this as a solitary female?”
I honestly had no idea if I would be able to board the plane, let alone travel through the nation, because it is not recognised for being the most female-friendly country in the world.
I know, I’m naive and possibly ill-informed – but I consider myself to be a rather relaxed tourist, particularly within the Middle East, and I had no idea what such a trip would entail!
So I began my online investigation and found it really difficult to find many details – what would it be like, and how would I need to prepare for this journey?
As a result, this article’s notion was formed!
Continue reading if you’re a solitary female traveller thinking about flying Saudi Arabian Airlines or transiting through Riyadh Airport.
Saudi Airlines was my carrier during my trip.
My Saudia Airlines voyage began in Beirut, Lebanon.
The plan was for me to fly internationally to Riyadh airport (Saudi Arabia’s capital), where I’d have to wait about 5 hours in transit before going on to Jakarta, Indonesia, with the same airline.
I was eager to make it work if at all possible because Saudi Airlines was by far the most economical airline for our vacation.
As a white British lone female traveller, though, I had a few key concerns:
- Is it possible for me to fly Saudi Airlines as a solitary female passenger?
- What would it be like to travel by plane?
- Is it possible for a solitary female to pass through Saudi Arabia’s main airport?
- Is a visa required for this?
So I began studying this voyage and, as I previously stated, found it to be extremely difficult to obtain the information I required.
After hours of searching, I couldn’t discover any answers to my questions on the internet.
That’s the major reason I’m writing this piece — to give any other female travellers the lowdown, so that now that I’ve had my journey, I can perhaps help more of us get across the world for less!
As an unaccompanied solo female passenger on Saudi Airlines
So, despite my reservations, flying on Saudi Airways as a single female traveller is absolutely possible and painless.
Surprisingly , I was the only white person on my plane at the time, but that’s not unusual!
Despite Saudi Arabia’s tight laws regulating female movement, this did not apply to its airline fleet, or if it did, it did not apply to western women.
Except for the fact that I was 4 hours late, booking my ticket, checking in, and boarding went flawlessly and couldn’t find anyone to speak with about the possibility of missing my connection, but that’s another storey.
Apart from that, everyone was extremely friendly, courteous, and inviting, as I’ve often experienced while travelling alone in the Middle East.
What Can You Expect From Saudi Airlines?
Saudia, of course, operates a dry service on all of their flights, but because I don’t drink when I fly, especially on long-haul flights, this didn’t disturb me at all.
I wondered if boarding and airline seating were gender-separated after my solo travel experiences in Sudan (another very strict Islamic nation), but this was not the case.
There was also no distinction between passengers from the United States and those from other countries.
All of the air hostesses were female and spoke English, despite the fact that they were mostly from Europe or Asia.
The onboard service was excellent, and safety alerts and other information were delivered in both Arabic and English.
I’m happy to say that both planes I travelled on were in great shape, and I believe Saudi Airlines’ fleet has just been upgraded.
But perhaps best of all, both of the planes I flew on were rather empty, so I had an entire row to myself on each leg of the travel, including the entire four-seat middle row on the overnight flight to Jakarta – complete success!
The other added bonus was the sight of literally every Saudi national on the plane getting out of their Seats .I strolled down the aisle with my luggage and children in hand, items out of overhead lockers, while the seatbelt sign was still on… and the plane was still moving , queued next to the curtain separating first and economy class waiting to disembark, all while the seatbelt sign was still on… and the plane was still moving.
We hadn’t even completed the taxi ride yet!
I’m guessing the hostesses were oblivious to what was going on behind their curtain!
You have to appreciate cultural diversity!
As a solo female transiting Riyadh Airport
Although I understand that Saudi Arabia’s main airport is a major international gateway and that transiting there does not constitute entry into the country, I still wanted to be sure I’d be allowed to do so as an unaccompanied female.
And the answer was yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
The length of my layover, on the other hand, made things a lot easier.
Because, as a British woman, I would have needed a transit visa to stay in Riyadh for more than 12 hours, as I found out when doing research.
I was really amazed to discover this technique on the gov.uk website and save myself the trouble of having to go through it all!
So far, so good! I was allowed to transit through Riyadh without needing a visa or being accompanied.
I did, however, bring a headscarf with me in case it was needed.