Saudi Arabian Airlines or Saudia Airlines is a government-owned flight carrier in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Expatriates working for the government (i.e. Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Health to name a few) are entitled to free round trip tickets from this airlines once a year.
If buying a ticket for the Riyadh(RUH) – Manila (MNL) – Riyadh(RUH) route as a guest class, a round trip ticket will cost you 3500 SR – 4000 SR (multiply by 11 to get a rough conversion to Philippine peso), depending on the availability of the tickets. Bookings in this route are quite massive especially during school vacations or Philippine holidays that is why it is best to book a flight ahead of time. It’s cheaper to buy round trip tickets than one way flights which amounts to roughly 500-600 USD or 2000-2500 SR.
To book / rebook a flight, call the hotline 920022222 (KSA). As soon as you hear the voice prompt, dial 9212. You will be advised to wait for n minutes until an agent picks up your call. This number is not toll-free so check your recharge (preferably not less than 10 SR) before making a call. Booking online would entail you to pay via credit card while booking via the call center will allow you to pay cash at their ticketing office or via SADAD transactions ( in ATM or internet banking). Usually, in the case of govt. employees, the government offices you may be working for already have specific travel agencies so you can also ask them to book for you instead.
During the booking via the Saudi Arabian Airlines hotline number, you also have to identify if the ticket will be government-paid or cash. Cash is for visitors, employees of private companies who choose to fly via this airlines or trips other than the free one round trip ticket of the govt. employees.
Flight bookings give you a convenient time limit of two weeks before the booking expires. If you haven’t paid the ticket within the time limit, you have to rebook an hour after its expiration to be given another two weeks of buying period. Make sure to give out the same booking reference /PNR number when rebooking to ensure a faster transaction.
This morning I had quite a funny experience rebooking my husband’s flight where the agent is the one who is irate, not the other way around. It was just one instance out of the many booking/ rebookings I had to make in the past years so what’s one instance to let go anyway, right?