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Saudia Unrealistic Rebooking: What Are My Options?  
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3808 posts, RR: 51
Posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3775 times:

I wasn't sure how to word the title. Basically, I'm booked oneway CGK-JED-MAD on Saudia, with a couple of hours in transit in JED. Now the MAD flight has changed dates for the summer schedule, so basically I'd be sitting in the waiting lounge for 2 days (!). Not only do I have to be back at work on Monday, I also can't get a visa for Saudi Arabia so I would literally have to wait in the gate area for 2 and a half days.

I'll call them tomorrow or the day after, but before this, I want to be prepared with some alternative suggestions in case they can't come up with any themselves. I'm kind of angry anyway because how can they just rebook me 2 days later without coming up with a better plan?

So originally I was booked CGK 13:05 - JED 18:40 on April 6, then JED 02:50 - MAD 11:00 on April 7. Now with the schedule change, the times for CGK-JED have stayed the same, and JED-MAD is now 2 days later (April 9) as MAD is not served on April 7 or 8.

Now my first idea would be their JED-CDG flight on April 7 (00:45-06:10), then connecting to alliance partner Air France's flight CDG-MAD (07:15-09:20). Would they do this even though the AF segment in question is not a Saudia code share?

Or my main question (since I can find out the above when I call them), can you come up with any other, better / more comfortable routings? (The above would put me on a 6.5h long haul on an A320) But only routings that Saudia would realistically book me on.

Thanks!

Soren   


All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11612 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3751 times:

How about somewhere in North Africa, or Italy? When I've looked their fares into CMN have been very reasonable, so maybe they will be kind and put you on that instead.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3696 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
Would they do this even though the AF segment in question is not a Saudia code share?

Yeap, SkyTeam-Partner airline, so shouldn't be a problem...

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
Or my main question (since I can find out the above when I call them), can you come up with any other, better / more comfortable routings?

As said before, SkyTeam - so you might even ask, if they are willing to rebook you on any other SkyTeam-Partner all the way from CGK to MAD (KLM is offering a flight on April 06th 2013).


User currently offlineb2319 From China, joined Jan 2013, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3640 times:

Also, MXP seems a one-stop option, accrding to the Sky Team timetable app, available here:

http://www.skyteamtimetable.com//update.html?20130311

Regards

B-2319


User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3808 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3609 times:

So I called Saudia, and they say they can NOT book me on any other airline, just their own metal, and the best they can do for me is keep it the way it is. Meaning I have to sit in JED for 2 days!

This is ridiculous! I spent an hour in 2 different country's phone lines (and I had to pay for the calls)

What should I do now? I have no idea... any ideas?

Soren   



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineHywel From Uganda, joined Apr 2008, 801 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3597 times:

Why not ask them to rebook you to CDG, and leave it at that? You'd have to buy a new ticket from CDG to MAD, which is hugely unfair, but if they won't change their mind then it could be your best option. Even better would be asking to be rebooked on JED-LHR, as there are lots of cheap options for flying London to Madrid.

User currently offlineSkyeurope From Germany, joined May 2006, 168 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3597 times:

Sure you can't get a transit visa? I don't know what citizenship you've got, but these are not as hard to get as Tourist/Business visa.

German citizens have to apply through a visa agency and a transit visa costs about 100EUR.


User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 552 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3563 times:

Are there any legal loopholes to exploit? I don't know Saudi Arabia's policy on transit, but I think that Russia, for example, has a maximum transit time of 24 hours before requiring a visa, even if you never intend to leave the airport. If Saudi has a similar maximum transit time, you could attempt to use this to your advantage and say that the updated itinerary is illegal, and see if you can gain any leverage.

Otherwise, I would go with Hywel's solution--find out what it would cost to change your final destination.



Happiness is rediscovering a forgotten L-1011 in your flight log.
User currently offline9MMPQ From Netherlands, joined Nov 2011, 304 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3543 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 4):
So I called Saudia, and they say they can NOT book me on any other airline, just their own metal

Have you asked why they can't/won't rebook you onto one of their Skyteam partners ? The Skyteam app does give you several options with SV so either you're being given the runaround or perhaps there are some conditions on the fare you have booked restricting what you can have changed now ?

In this situation I think Hywel may have given you the best advice so far & i'd go with that just to be done with it.

Personally though, if my booking conditions allow reasonable changes & SV are delivering poor alternatives in the way you've described with me then being expected to spend 2 days in JED i'd be pretty much finished with them by now. There are plenty of other options available, though i'd have to admit SV would not have been high on my list in the first place.

Let us know how you get on & good luck !



I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3528 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 4):
So I called Saudia, and they say they can NOT book me on any other airline, just their own metal, and the best they can do for me is keep it the way it is.

If SV is offering only their own metal, you should ask to be rebooked completely to April 09th 2013 flight from CGK to MAD! But the problem will be your work commitment...

You should try to write an email to this address- demanding a reply within 7 business days: customerrelations@saudiairlines.com AND fax to: +966 2 686 4587

Important: make clear that you have signed a contract of carriage for a specific date and that you have agreed to the General Conditions of Carriage, which are:

5.10.2. Cancellation, Rerouting, Delays, Etc

5.10.2.2. Except as otherwise provided by the Convention or applicable local law, including in particular EC Regulation 261/2004 on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of... if we cancel a flight, fail to operate a flight reasonably according to the schedule, ... we shall, at your option, either:

5.10.2.3. carry you at the earliest opportunity on another of our scheduled services on which space is available without additional charge and, where necessary, extend the validity of your Ticket; or

5.10.2.4. within a reasonable period of time re-route you to the destination shown on your Ticket by our own services or those of another carrier,


User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3496 times:

Unfortunately, Saudia is well within their rights to refuse to book you on another carrier. Just ask for a refund and book on someone else that meets your scheduling constraints...

User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9497 posts, RR: 52
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3481 times:

I think your only right is for a refund based on EU law. They do not have to book you on another carrier. Despite them having alliances, and even some code shares, the airline still has to buy that connecting ticket and nothing requires them to do so.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineb2319 From China, joined Jan 2013, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3450 times:

This may come across as a smart-arsed reply, which is not my intention.....

I need 365 day worldwide travel insurance cover; actually it is 40% cheaper if I exclude the US.....so, taking the view that an insurance company can only be judged on a claim, I'd put them to the test, so-

It is both unreasonable and unviable (legally) to spend 48 hours at JED.....

So, you leg it out of the country asap.....

Given April 8th is a Monday, you apply for a new Saudi visa in city of choice; express service.....

(Hopefully) make it back to JED for the flight to MAD on the 9th, given that departure is 2300, this to me, is perfectly do-able.

Insurance company picks up all the costs for this (flights, accomodation, simple food, even passport photo cost.....); arguably loss of ~ 2 days earnings, if you're lucky.

Regards

B-2319


User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3424 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 4):
What should I do now? I have no idea... any ideas?

Pray?

SV should refund you, it's them (not you) that have changed the schedules or offer you a sensible alternative. I had a smiliar thing with LH last year, booked a trip in the Summer, Winter schedule came and it messed everything up. I was offered a refund or an alternative, which I took. But SV can't reasonably expect someone to stay in transit for 2 days.

Just a thought...what if you changed the booking to say LHR and then picked up a local fare LHR-MAD on BA/IB for example?


User currently offlinerwsea From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3077 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3361 times:

I would try several avenues, in the following order:

1) Try to work with them and get them to reschedule you onto another carrier.

2) Try to work with them to get somewhere closer to MAD that has a reasonable layover.

3) Apply for a refund under the EU compensation laws. I am sure that this would be in violation of one, if not more, such clauses and you would be in your rights to obtain a refund.

4) Dispute the charge on your credit card.


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3200 times:

Soren, whatever they say, you are not allowed to transit 2 days without visa. The maximum allowed time is 18 hours.
If you want to keep this itinerary, you will need to get a transit visa, which may prove extremely difficult.

Your second option is to be rebooked to a 2 stop itinerary. i.e. CGK-JED-RUH-MAD or whatever fits. According to TIMATIC this is allowable, as long as you have 18 hours between both entry and exit of the kingdom. That said, with my experience with SV; in practice they say you that it is not allowed and you will have huge amount of arguing at check in, possibly immigration etc. If there is no other way and you're adventorous, do that, but I would avoid at all costs.

As SV indeed not rebooks you to other metal that long advance (they would do, but only on day of departure i.e. in case you misconnect), your only option is to find a way to find a SV metal only routing, with one stop in KSA, which lasts less than 18 hours. If you find one and you have a long layover, I strongly recommend you to pay an entry to the Royal Fursan Lounge, It's cheap and it's so much better than the regular airside area (which I experienced in JED).

EU regulation 261 law will probably not be applicable, as you're travelling on a non EU-carrier departing a non EU-origin airport, so I wouldn't count on that. They will probably laugh at you if you mention that, as again it would only be applicable if the flight from MAD to CGK would be affected, but not the other way round.

Honestly, if there is a way to get a similar timed flight for a similar rate on another carrier, I would just cancel and get a refund and rebook somewhere else.

Other than that, I found SV quite ok in the air. On the ground and customer service is defnitely something different.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3168 times:

Quoting reifel (Reply 15):
Your second option is to be rebooked to a 2 stop itinerary. i.e. CGK-JED-RUH-MAD or whatever fits. According to TIMATIC this is allowable, as long as you have 18 hours between both entry and exit of the kingdom.

It depends on your passport - but this rule is exclusively for SV passengers and shouldn't be a problem at all!

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Visa required, except for Holders of onward tickets for a max. transit time of 18 hours when inbound flight is
operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines;
- Only one transit stop-over in Saudi Arabia is permitted.
- Except when flying on Saudi Arabian Airlines, where a second transit point is permitted.


User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3808 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3078 times:

Thank you all for your valuable input!
I had indeed thought about the 1-stop visa exemption for Saudia PAX, I could have made it into FRA via RUH and also to CDG. But most of those alternatives had no more availability, so in the end I decided to just cancel it and claim my 325 EUR back from Saudia and shell out 150 EUR more for my new itinerary which is via PEK on Air China.
I wasn't too keen on traveling on Saudia anyway as the main reason was the B747-300 I was scheduled on, but which got retired early so I was on a 773 anyway.

Thanks for all your creative ideas though!

Soren   



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineHywel From Uganda, joined Apr 2008, 801 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2976 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 17):
I wasn't too keen on traveling on Saudia anyway as the main reason was the B747-300 I was scheduled on, but which got retired early so I was on a 773 anyway.

I almost booked CGK-RUH-LHR just for the B747-300, but I'm glad I didn't as it got subbed for a B777-300 about a week after I would have booked!


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