Review of Saudia flight Jeddah Dar es Salaam in Economy

Airline Saudia
Flight SV463
Class Economy
Seat 35A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 04:50
Take-off 12 Jan 24, 01:55
Arrival at 12 Jan 24, 06:45
SV   #12 out of 96 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 113 reviews
Lia_K
By SILVER 560
Published on 11th February 2024

Impeccable.


Hey guys, welcome to another Flight Report!

This is FR number 2 of 6 of my trip to Tanzania and will cover the 2nd leg from Jeddah to Dar-es-Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania and its former capital. As I mentioned in the previous FR, this flight was booked 6 months in advanced and costed me £165 as an open jaw return from Milan to Dar and back to London. At that price (which also included check luggage), I'm 99% sure it'll be the bargain of the year. 

With a flight time of just over 4 hours, this flight is about the same length as a European medium haul flight from the UK to the Canaries or Greece (for example). I'm really curious on how this flight compare to those (spoiler: they're not the same). 


Routing


I aim to offset all of my CO2 emission from flights. All emissions are calculated using the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator and I will be funding projects approved by The Gold Standard. The CO2 output for this flight is:

JED → DAR: 240kg
Total for 2024 (so far): 440kg


video report


Here's the video version of this FR, it's got the same thing content-wise.



JEDDAH KING ABDULAZIZ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (JED)


You join me in the departures hall in Terminal 1 here at King Abdulaziz Airport, around 45 minutes after the end of the previous FR. The reason for the delay was that all transiting passengers had to go through security again. This was painfully slow with only 4 scanners and absolutely no staff in sight to help organize things. I have to be honest, I don't think any of them cared since most people just kept everything in their bags without anyone being stopped (I even got a full water bottle through). 

But anyway, here's the main departures hall. 


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There isn't a proper duty-free section and duty-free is just sold on shelves spread around the hall. Upstairs are some restaurants and Saudia's lounge (under the massive green screen on the other side). Also, it's interesting to note that the gates radiate out of this hall in all directions, which makes finding some gates really, really hard and is honestly quite confusing (as you'll see later). 


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Anyway, lets have a walk around the gates. 


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Like Terminal A in Abu Dhabi, this place is absolutely gorgeous.


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View of the apron, not much to see as it's night sadly. 


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With 2 hours until boarding, lets head to the lounge (there are two that's free with my Dragonpass). 


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The first one I went to was the Wellcome Lounge. Now, this lounge is really hard to find (mainly because of the terrible signage). I'll describe the best way to get here just to show how confusing it is. On the ground floor of the departures hall, walk around randomly until you find the only sign (which should point you up a set of escalators). After that, go the opposite way to the sign that says 'other lounges' (yes, really) and you'll find the lounge on your left. 

Anyway, here's the lounge. It's quite full but there's an alright selection of food and drinks but at least the seats are comfortable. 


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After about an hour in that lounge. I decided to head to the Plaza Premium Lounge (also free with my Dragonpass). To get here, it says it's near gate 39. What it means by that is to find the sign for the lounge, you have to walk towards gate 39 from gate 41/40-ish. If you approach it from the opposite direction (or from the departures hall), you won't get a sign and you'll just have to stumble upon it randomly yourself. Yeah… the signage for the lounges are really, really bad.

There's not a lot of people here (probably because most people couldn't find it haha), which makes it much cozier and quieter than the Wellcome Lounge. It's also much smaller and there's a lot less food options (you can see the counter in front), which only had 2 options for food (chicken and rice). It's amazing if you just want to chill out here away from the crowds but I'd probably get some food elsewhere first.


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the flight


As mentioned earlier, flight time tonight will be around 4 hours and here's our route. 


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You can see we had an interesting approach around Zanzibar/Pemba, I'll get to the reason for that later on in the FR. 



The IFE and tray table on this A320. It's amazing that Saudia decided to put IFE on their A320s, although it's not entirely surprising considering the long routes that they put these little Airbuses on. 


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The legroom - average. 


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First view out of the window with a Saudia A321neo (in the old livery this time). 


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On each seat is a pillow…


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… and blanket. Pretty nice considering the short flight time. 


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Once again, the crew handed out wet wipes, amazing for economy. Unlike my last flight, they actually remembered to collect it this time as well. 


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Another pair of headphones are handed out. All of Saudia's IFEs have a double headphone port however they all work with single jack headphones (which is what these are). 


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View of the terminal building as we taxi to the runway.


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There wasn't anything to see during takeoff so we'll just skip straight to the 'breakfast' served about an hour after takeoff (at 2am… but we'll just ignore that completely). The tray table on this A320 is slightly larger than the one on the A321neo, although it's still quite a squeeze to fit everything in. 


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And here it is. There were actually two options. I chose the egg (I'm not too sure what the other option is). It is an omlette with tomatoes along with mushroom, baked potatoes. A yoghurt, croissant and fresh fruits was also served alongside. All in all, a very nice meal. It's amazing to get a hot meal on a 4 hour flight, especially a high quality one like this. 


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Before I go to sleep, lets have a look at the IFE. I did a review on the A321neo but this is an older system with a very different UI. 


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Interestingly, I actually think there's less content on this IFE compared to the new A321neo. It might be that the older systems can't handle so much content (there's so much on the A321neo it was actually crashing its brand new IFE system), so I won't be surprised if they did limit it on the older A320s. But still, there's still a ton of movies and TV shows available, enough for long-hauls let alone 4 hour flight. 




And a fully interactive map is also available.


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After that I went to sleep for about 2 hours and woke up just as the sun is rising over Kenya. 


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Passing some pretty intimidating clouds as we start our descent towards Dar es Salaam. 


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If you remember our route, we flew East of Zanzibar before turning west towards the mainland. The reason behind that was to avoid a storm cloud. Even with that, there was a lot of turbulence as we flew through the clouds.


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The last 15-20 minutes was flown below the clouds at around 6000ft as we head back West towards land. 


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But finally, first views of Dar-es-Salaam and Tanzania.


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Welcome to Tanzania! Thanks to the storm, we arrived 30 minutes late. This is very lucky considering most flights from last night either got cancelled or got diverted to Zanzibar. 


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Being Tanzania, you'll gonna get some pretty interesting and rare planes on the ground here. 

A ton of Cessna 208s. These normally fly the short 20 minute hop to Zanzibar as well as other destinations like Mafia Island or Pemba. 


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An Auric Air Dash 8-Q100 (or -200…) in the distance along with an abandoned Douglas DC-3 on the right. 


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Terminal 2, or the domestic terminal with two Air Tanzania A220s as well as an Air Tanzania Cargo 767 that's parked in front of the gates for some reason. There'll be 3 domestic FRs in Tanzania coming in the next few weeks. 


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And finally, parked at the gate next to an Oman Air 737 MAX 8. That plane was due to arrive last night however it got diverted to Zanzibar before finally arriving just an hour ago. 


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Dar-es-salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR)


View of the Oman Air as we head to passport control. 


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Terminal 3 at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is the international terminal and opened only in 2019. 


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Passport control took around 10 minutes (not including time taken to fill out the immigration card). This is because there was only 4 counters open and they had to check visas for pretty much every passenger. 

But anyway, here's the baggage reclaim area. 


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And here's the arrivals area landside. 


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I'll end this FR here. I'm heading straight to Zanzibar however it won't be on a plane. I'll get a taxi from here to the ferry terminal before catching a ferry to Stone Town in Zanzibar. My next FR will be on a domestic flight out of Zanzibar in a few days. Thanks for reading and see you there! 

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Verdict

Saudia

10.0/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering10.0

Saudia Alfursan Lounge

5.0/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services5.0

Jeddah - JED

6.1/10
Efficiency4.0
Access6.5
Services4.0
Cleanliness10.0

Dar es Salaam - DAR

7.0/10
Efficiency6.5
Access5.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

An amazing flight with Saudia. Considering the length of this flight, I couldn't fault it in any way. Seats are very comfortable with average legroom. IFE is amazing with a lot of content as well as an interactive map. The breakfast was very high quality and delicious and the crew was impeccable. This is honestly the best you'll ever get for a 4 hour flight in Economy and it's better than the long haul product of a lot of European airlines. Absolutely no complaints from me.

Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) - A gorgeous and modern airport. Efficiency is a problem (especially if you're transiting during a busy time) and signage can be quite confusing at times (especially if you're trying to find a lounge that's not Saudia's Alfursan Lounge) and there's not a whole lot of shops or restaurants (apart from the few that's in the departure hall).

Dar-es-Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) - A new and modern terminal for international flights. It's small and is only designed to handle a handful of flights an hour and there's no public transport but... it's Tanzania, what do you expect? No complaints really.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 644210 by
    East African 1570 Comments
    That's an amazing deal, for sure - you lucky! Considering also that your lay over was rather short (by SV standards 🤣).
    As normal ops, WY flights either stop at ZNZ or DAR alternatively.
    I'm very curious about the rest of your journey too - not only because I plan a new vacation in Zanzibar end of this year, but also because there are lot of choices in Tanzania. So any hints/bonus (if available) will be gladly appreciated 🤗.
    Many thanks for sharing (BTW, sadly your video can't be played 🥺 - it shows private - whilst the previous one MXP-JED works perfectly).
    • Comment 644652 by
      Lia_K SILVER AUTHOR 55 Comments
      Hi East Africa, thanks for reading! I did get quite lucky with the transfer times at JED. It does seem like SV isn't the most transfer-friendly. I've seen some pretty crazy transfer times haha (although that's true for a lot of airlines). Oh, it's interesting that WY serves ZNZ and DAR alternatively, I remember seeing their 737 in ZNZ the next day. You get some pretty interesting ops in Tanzania, which also includes QR using a leased WY A330 for their route to DAR as well.

      I didn't spend too long in Zanzibar. I only had 1 week and tried to cram as many flights and places as I could haha. And you're right, there are a lot of choices in Tanzania, I honestly preferred my time in the Lake Victoria region (especially Mwanza) as it felt more authentic compared to Zanzibar (although that's probably just me preferring less tourist-y places). I'll probably share some pictures and stuff in my later FRs.

      Thanks again!
  • Comment 644411 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6594 Comments
    That's one impressive terminal building...of course it would be!

    Pillow, blanket, full hot meal, IFE, in-seat power...on a 4h flight....in Economy--absolute madness!! 10/10 definitely deserved. As you mention, flights of similar length in Europe--or North American for that matter--can't even come close!

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 644651 by
      Lia_K SILVER AUTHOR 55 Comments
      Hi Kévin! Yeah, it's amazing how they treat a 4 hour flight the same as a long haul, although it's not entirely surprising considering they are a Middle Eastern carrier - they really do things differently there haha.

      Thanks for reading!

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