airxliban
Topic Author
Posts: 4307
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:14 pm

Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 4:26 am

I've spent the last month or so in Saudi Arabia and have had the chance to see a bit of the country, including extended time in Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Jeddah and Yanbu. I have some questions about travel in the Kingdom that have come up and I thought I'd post them on here. They are as follows:

1. I was flying from Dammam to Jeddah last Tuesday and as we approached Jeddah, an announcement came on to say that we were now approaching the "Ihram Zone" - something religious, obviously, but does it have something to do with being on the same longitude as Mecca and what is a pious Muslim meant to do when in the Ihram Zone?

2. The Hajj terminal at Jeddah is massive. I checked out a couple of photos online and there seem to be special zones for different countries. How exactly does the Hajj terminal work? If you want to go on a Hajj, how do you select your flight and do you travel to Mecca from Jeddah with people in your same nationality, or how does it work? The terminal seems to be outdoors, does it not have any cooling?

3. I read online that Air France and World Airways are the only airlines from non Islamic countries to have used the Hajj terminal. How did Air France manage to use it?

4. Does anyone know where I can download a copy of the misafireen prayer that SV broadcast before takeoff?

5. Where can I grab a ride on an SV 747-100B other than Dhaka?

Thanks in advance
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
swissgabe
Posts: 5148
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2000 4:57 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 4:41 am

Quoting AirxLiban (Thread starter):
Where can I grab a ride on an SV 747-100B other than Dhaka?

I was asking my self the same question some time ago. Unfortunately we got a 743 on the DAC-RUH sector and I wasn't able to fly the 741. I have seen it several times operating to CMB as well but if not mistaken it is now days rather kept as a spare aircraft or being used on Charter flights as I haven't seen it being scheduled for quite some time.

I can't help you with the other questions but I think SV is a cool airline and I have enjoyed them very much! Their product is quite nice and they would only have to work out better transit times at RUH/JED and they would be quite an alternative to travel from Europe to Asia via KSA.
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HiJazzey
Posts: 697
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 5:06 am

Hi AirxLiban,

I hope you had a good trip to Saudi Arabia.  Smile

In answer to your questions:

1. The Ihram zone is a boundary relating to pilgrimage. It loosely means sanctuary area. If you intend to perform Hajj or Umrah, you perform an "Ihram" before entering the sanctuary. In the Ihram, you wash, change into unsown cloth make a prayer, and declare the intention to perform a pilgrimage.

2. The Hajj terminal is divided into self-contained units, each unit has 2 contact gates, 2 remote stands, a large gathering area and a coach station. There are 10 units in total, but not all of them are operational. The government has recently signed a BOT concession for a private consortium to renovate and expand (read: get the western half operational) the Hajj terminal. All Hajj (and nowadays Umrah) charters are directed to the Hajj terminal. Most charters from Muslim countries are organised by local government agencies, hence why you see each tour operator identified by country name. Hajj quotas are done by country, and you take a tour from the country of your domicile. So if an Indian who lives in the states wants to perform the Hajj, he applies for a visa from the states, and goes on an American Hajj tour.

3. Any airline can fly in on a Hajj charter. If they want to, British Airways can fly the British pilgrims over.

4. Du'a' as-safar is a standard prayer. There are many audio recitations available. However, I don't know if you can find the same recitation as the one they use on SV.

5. Catch them while you can. They sometimes operate to Dhaka, Kano, Khartoum, Mumbai , Lahore , and I think that's about it.
 
PanAm747
Posts: 4713
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:46 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 5:07 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ihram

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

While pilgrimages to Mecca can happen at all times of the year, most of the pilgrims arrive at a specific time - hence the need for MASSIVE facilities.

I cannot comment on the education level of all travellers; however, I do know that many have never been on an airplane before and do not come from the wealthiest of villages or countries. I would imagine that dealing with the thousands upon thousands of people arriving and departing would make logistics formidable.

As an example, if a pilgrim from country X arrives at the airport and cannot read or write the signage, that person can at least be directed to the correct area where planes from country X arrive and depart. Once he is in the appropriate area, his search for the proper locations can be narrowed down further. I would imagine, based on the size, that the facilities would be QUITE overwhelming.

Also to be considered would be Saudi entry requirements. I would imagine that American Muslims would garner a bit more scrutiny than say Syrian Muslims. Saudi entry standards are quite strict as it is - with hordes of people arriving at once, I'm sure they want to stay as organized as possible.

As far as the foreign airlines at the Hajj terminal, the only thing I might be able to suggest is that the AF and World Airways flights were charters. In the past, many airlines with long distance equipment have done Hajj flights.
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airxliban
Topic Author
Posts: 4307
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:14 pm

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 5:14 am

Quoting Swissgabe (Reply 1):
I was asking my self the same question some time ago. Unfortunately we got a 743 on the DAC-RUH sector

I saw them hanging out at Jeddah, Riyadh as well as Dammam this week but no idea where they were going. I was in Dhaka in March and I saw that there was an SV 741 parked at DAC. I believe it was HZ-AII. When I flew out of Dhaka a few days later, I noticed that it was still parked in the same place, but there was another Saudi 741 parked alongside it, leading me to think that -AII went tech when it arrived at Dhaka.
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
ChinaClipper40
Posts: 202
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:23 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 6:28 am

Who flies Hajj flights for Israeli Muslims? Or are they forced into the hassle of going via Amman or Cairo? If so, what did they do before the Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Jordanian peace treaties? Travel via Cyprus or Turkey? Thanks.

ChinaClipper40
 
JJJ
Posts: 3408
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 5:12 pm

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 6:45 am

Quoting ChinaClipper40 (Reply 5):
Who flies Hajj flights for Israeli Muslims?

They'd better have another passport or they won't be allowed in, hajj or otherwise.
 
ChinaClipper40
Posts: 202
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:23 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 7:30 am

Quoting JJJ (Reply 6):
They'd better have another passport or they won't be allowed in, hajj or otherwise.

So the roughly 17 percent of Israeli citizens who are Muslim are prohibited from participating in one of the most important obligations of their religion? Prohibited by a Muslim country? Wow. No doubt I'm naive, but I had no idea such was the case. I should have thought that being Muslim trumped one's citizenship for something as important as the Hajj. Are there other countries whose Muslim citizens are also denied airline access by Saudi Arabia?

ChinaClipper40
 
oly720man
Posts: 5813
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 7:13 am

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 8:10 am

They'd better have another passport or they won't be allowed in, hajj or otherwise.

http://www.islamonline.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=1973

They get temporary Jordanian ones.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
JJJ
Posts: 3408
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 5:12 pm

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 8:25 am

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 8):
They get temporary Jordanian ones.

I imagined something like this. Thanks for the link  Smile
 
keno
Posts: 1809
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:46 pm

RE: Traveling In Saudi Arabia

Fri May 11, 2007 9:21 pm

Quoting AirxLiban (Thread starter):
I was flying from Dammam to Jeddah last Tuesday and as we approached Jeddah, an announcement came on to say that we were now approaching the "Ihram Zone"

I believe annoucement regarding Ihram zone is also made on many if not most airlines from Islamic countries not long before approaching Jeddah. I've experienced this on MH (non-Hajj period) and EK (Hajj period).

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