I finally made a trip to the main Saudi Arabian Airlines office in Riyadh. The reason being that the flight I requested was not available as an electronic ticket, so I had to get a paper one. Lemme give you a piece of advice. If you find out you can't get an electronic ticket, do not bother with Saudia, because for the money you will save with the cheap flight, you will be paying out emotionally and with your time instead.
After being informed by the booking assistance Saudia guy on the phone that I needed to go to a travel agent or saudia office to get my ticket, I asked my husband's office runner to help make a booking. In the evening I proceeded to Saudia head office (the big one off King Fahad near Panda Supermarket). If you have never seen a typical Saudia travel agent work, let me paint the scene for you: a Saudia employee sits expressionless and motionless staring blankly at a computer screen while you approach the counter - he types so slow you have to double check whether you are in real time or whether you have slipped into a slow motion wormhole - he gives you a number that reads 87 while the electronic counter behind him reads 70 - ten minutes later he is still in the exact same position serving the exact same customer - you realize you could be there all night. The office was just stuffed with people, a total mess, and the men's section was a million times worse. After hearing that a friend had waited six hours at that very office, I decided to leave and tackle the task the next day.
The next morning, due to a lack of consensus on where I could pick up my ticket, I visited three different travel agencies and a Saudia office near the airbase, only to be sent right back to the Saudi head office. Finally I resigned myself to the fate of sitting in the pile and took a number from the front desk. Once I got to the counter, it took another twenty minutes to get my precious paper ticket.
My advice if you still decide you want to risk visiting this office is: 1)get the lady in your life to go 2)make sure you have your passport 3)make sure you get a number directly from the employee as they have stopped distributing them from the dispensers 4)go in the morning 5)bring a book or something to stab yourself with, anything to relieve the boredom!
I have heard really mixed things about Saudi Arabian Airlines. On the one hand, some people say the flights are on time and have good leg room. On the other hand, I've heard that VIP's and HRH's that show up last minute are given priority over proper ticket holders who get bumped off their flights, and the planes seem to have more unsoothed toddlers on them wreaking havoc. And now I have witnessed the abomination that is their head office...hmmm....
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