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SV: ATH/IST - MNL/KUL/CGK 668 EUR o/w , 1180 EUR r/t

SV: ATH/IST - MNL/KUL/CGK 668 EUR o/w , 1180 EUR r/t

Old Jul 11, 19, 4:43 pm
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SV: ATH/IST - MNL/KUL/CGK 668 EUR o/w , 1180 EUR r/t

For those remembering the good old SV deals of last year from FCO/MXP to Asia, there are now similar fares out of ATH and IST which make for some great SkyTeam mileage running. Especially so as you can basically do same-day turnarounds or just a one night stay if you want.

One ways:
ATH-RUH-MNL 668 EUR, limited dates in July (only 26th, 28th July), but again lots of dates in September. In August it's around 900 EUR o/w
ATH-RUH-KUL 700 EUR on a few dates in July/September
ATH-RUH-CGK 777 EUR on a few dates in July/September
IST-RUH/JED- KUL/MNL 825 EUR, lots of dates in July, August and onwards
IST-RUH/JED- CGK 883 EUR, lots of dates in July, August and onwards

Returns:
IST-RUH/JED-MNL, 1180 EUR return, dates wide open in summer and into autumn
IST-RUH/JED-KUL, 1186 EUR on plenty of dates in July, August and September (except for 24 JUL-11 AUG when they seem to be more expensive at 1690 to 2121 EUR)
IST-RUH/JED-CGK, 1274 EUR return, dates again wide open
Similar to slightly higher return prices from and back to Athens - although due to limited service to ATH returns take a bit more effort to price out cheap
​​​​​​
Open jaws:
It is possible to book open jaws, although some routes seem to bump up the price by quite a bit. Eg. IST-JED-KUL, MNL-JED-IST is possible for 1180 EUR, but doing it vice versa by flying into MNL and out of KUL bumps up the price to 1690 EUR. IST-JED-KUL, CGK-JED-IST at 1280 EUR is also a nice route as you can combine it with KUL-CGK on the fifth freedom KLM flight (from 140 EUR).

It is also possible to book something like IST-JED-MNL-JED-MAD for example if you want an open jaw to a different place in Europe. Expect however a few hundred EUR more (for airports like FCO) or several hundreds more (airports like MAD or FRA).

Some things to note:
- Routes are with one stop in either Riyadh (RUH) or Jeddah (JED). Make sure you don't book a two-stopper in Saudi Arabia as for this you would require a Saudi visa. A visa is also required for pretty much everyone who has a layovers longer than 12 hours. Anything under 12 hours at a single Saudi airport is fine.
- Most flights on the return flight to Europe have long (overnight) layovers in JED
- JED and RUH to KUL services are on the 787 with all-aisle access, although other routes on 777 with 2-2-2 flat beds are not too bad either
- ATH is served by an A320 with comfy recliner seats, while IST has the A330 (not sure if lie-flat)
- JED works out better mileage-wise (eg. on Flying Blue, JED-MNL is a 'Long 3' category flight while RUH-MNL is 'only' a 'Long 2' category flight so will earn a bit less XP)
- Summer/early autumn is not the best time of the year to visit the Philippines weather-wise, but for most of Malaysia and especially Indonesia it is the best time to visit
- Books in I class on most flights (150 percent on Flying Blue)
- Fares are easiest to search on ITA Matrix with the monthly calendar feature and C:SV+ as routing code
- Saudia is of course a dry airline, so don't except any fizz on board. Food is however remarkably good in quality and quantity, although service is slow
- As I don't think the new JED terminal is already open, RUH is a much easier airport to transit with just a quick peek of your passport and luggage scan
- Those who want to know more about service on Saudia can always check my trip report of my last year's journey FCO-RUH-CGK, where I go much more deeper in detail about the pros and cons.

Bottom line: Qatar Airways is is certainly not, but I think Saudia has an underrated product and for this price it is great mileage running and/or a very comfortable way to fly to Asia

Last edited by Romanianflyer; Jul 11, 19 at 4:55 pm
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Old Jul 11, 19, 9:41 pm
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Thanks for sharing! You can get the ATH-MNL priced at $620ish on some OTAs.

I was curious to compare the price vs last year, only paid €441 for MXP-CGK in September.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 2:32 am
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JED new terminal is open for domestic airport but not for international flights yet
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Old Jul 12, 19, 6:19 am
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Thanks for sharing. Definitely not as good as FCO/MXP-CGK (used them several times to get back to SIN and rack up dozens of thousands FB miles) but still a good one.
I also recommend SV: very nice crew and solid food (well, for airline food it is said).
Transiting in JED is an interesting experience for any avgeek though spending more than 2 hours in the JED lounge is not exactly recommended.
With those prices, who can complain anyway?
Also a nice opportunity to visit IST and ATH.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 7:35 am
  #5  
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I once had a look at the deals from SV. In the end I did not take them as the long layover in airports and the famous 2 stopovers. It is certainly not my loss.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 8:14 am
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OJ possible to CDG

While a return to IST is certainly cheaper on this fare, it will trigger a long layover in either JED or RUH on the return. So I went ahead and booked an open-jaw IST-MNL-CDG (like mentioned by OP) for $ 1352 which is a good deal IMO. Besides CDG, LON and MXP have similar arrival times and therefore shorter layovers in KSA but are much more expensive. With a 7.00 am arrival time in CDG, this itinerary is very good for onward connections from CDG.

Sample Google Flight link
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Last edited by KL803; Aug 27, 19 at 8:20 am Reason: added info
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Old Aug 27, 19, 9:31 am
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KUL is the way to go (789), CGK does not get lie flat very often but the cabin has been always empty. I loved the A320 tho. Definitely very good earnings for FB.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 10:03 am
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ATH-KUL works great for SkyTeam and Delta flyers as it would earn 5571 MQMs and RDMs as well as 1114 MQDs.

FlyingBlue would get 15 XPs for ATH-RUH and 30 XPs for RUH-KUL for a grand total of 45 XPs

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Old Aug 27, 19, 10:28 am
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Just to report back on my own mileage run one-and-a-half months ago (IST-RUH-MNL-JED-IST) - it was not exactly a trip as great as I hoped for.

While I had pleasant experiences from last year's FCO-RUH-CGK flight, with the FCO-RUH flight operated on a comfortable A320 and the RUH-CGK flight on a 2-class B777 (with 2-2-2 lie-flat seating) it wasn't all that great on my recent run. Sure, IST-RUH and JED-IST were super comfortable on a 2-class A330 (2-2-2 layout) with lie-flat seats and good food. Those flights were both excellent with zero complaints whatsoever. The IGA lounge in Istanbul is also a very pleasant and quiet place to await your flight.

The RUH-MNL and JED-MNL flights were however operated by a much, much older B777 in a three-class configuration (with additional first class cabin). The business class seats (again 2-2-2 layout) in this plane are awful, as they are not fully flat but rather some slippery slope kind of seat. Food was also rather mediocre on these flights, especially on the MNL-JED flight where it was nearly inedible. The crew was great on the RUH-MNL flight but horrible again on the flight to JED (probably the - mostly Filipino - crew was not really looking forward to return to Saudi Arabia to work).

Don't forget to take a sweater on board as temperatures on the flights to MNL were put on subarctic temperatures and the blanket provided is flimsily thin. As a result I was sick for four days after completion of my MR. Bring a pillow perhaps as well as even with two pillows I still could not find a comfortable position to rest my head on those awful seats on the MNL flights. In hindsight, I should really have booked this to KUL (on the excellent B787 with 1-2-1 seating) even though it would have given me fewer XP and miles compared to MNL.
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Last edited by Romanianflyer; Aug 27, 19 at 10:40 am
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Old Aug 27, 19, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by Romanianflyer View Post
Just to report back on my own mileage run one-and-a-half months ago (IST-RUH-MNL-JED-IST) - it was not exactly a trip as great as I hoped for.

While I had pleasant experiences from last year's FCO-RUH-CGK flight, with the FCO-RUH flight operated on a comfortable A320 and the RUH-CGK flight on a 2-class B777 (with 2-2-2 lie-flat seating) it wasn't all that great on my recent run. Sure, IST-RUH and JED-IST were super comfortable on a 2-class A330 (2-2-2 layout) with lie-flat seats and good food. Those flights were both excellent with zero complaints whatsoever. The IGA lounge in Istanbul is also a very pleasant and quiet place to await your flight.

The RUH-MNL and JED-MNL flights were however operated by a much, much older B777 in a three-class configuration (with additional first class cabin). The business class seats (again 2-2-2 layout) in this plane are awful, as they are not fully flat but rather some slippery slope kind of seat. Food was also rather mediocre on these flights, especially on the MNL-JED flight where it was nearly inedible. The crew was great on the RUH-MNL flight but horrible again on the flight to JED (probably the - mostly Filipino - crew was not really looking forward to return to Saudi Arabia to work).

Don't forget to take a sweater on board as temperatures on the flights to MNL were put on subarctic temperatures and the blanket provided is flimsily thin. As a result I was sick for four days after completion of my MR. Bring a pillow perhaps as well as even with two pillows I still could not find a comfortable position to rest my head on those awful seats on the MNL flights. In hindsight, I should really have booked this to KUL (on the excellent B787 with 1-2-1 seating) even though it would have given me fewer XP and miles compared to MNL.
I belive in you. KUL is even getting new 787-10 soon.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 1:41 pm
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Ouch, I thought the slippery slopers were a thing of the past… two years ago my SV flights to MNL from/to RUH and JED had all lie flat seats on the two class B777. I will report back in November how it went.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Romanianflyer View Post
Sure, IST-RUH and JED-IST were super comfortable on a 2-class A330 (2-2-2 layout) with lie-flat seats and good food. Those flights were both excellent with zero complaints whatsoever.
Which A330's are we talking about specifically? Afaik, SV's A330 aircraft come with a 36 seat (6 rows 2-2-2) recliner business class and none have lie-flat.

Originally Posted by Romanianflyer View Post
The RUH-MNL and JED-MNL flights were however operated by a much, much older B777 in a three-class configuration (with additional first class cabin). The business class seats (again 2-2-2 layout) in this plane are awful, as they are not fully flat but rather some slippery slope kind of seat. Food was also rather mediocre on these flights, especially on the MNL-JED flight where it was nearly inedible. The crew was great on the RUH-MNL flight but horrible again on the flight to JED (probably the - mostly Filipino - crew was not really looking forward to return to Saudi Arabia to work).
Which B777-300ER's did you fly? Because the only -300ER's with a First Class are the very new ones.

Oldest have full flat old style 2-class layout with 5 rows 2-2-2 seating (e.g. HZ-AK11 etc, commonly used to MNL)
The following range have full flat new style 2-class layout with 5 rows 2-2-2 seating (e.g. HZ-AK23 until 35 ; also common to MNL)
The newer ones have a 3-class layout with First class in 1-2-1 layout, business class in 1-2-1 layout and economy. (very uncommon to MNL, but are used sometimes)

So, I wonder what you mean with a 3-class 777... there are a couple of -200ER flying, but their business class is 2-3-2 recliner and not operating to Manila.

Re the crew; I spoke with a lot of SV crew in my life and they tend to love working for SV because they are Manila and Jakarta based and can just live at home in their own countries , usually with 5 day breaks between their duties for SV, which is very generous for people from these nations. Of course, there might also be people be based in the KSA, but still SV is one of the better employers when it comes to annual leave and rosters (according stories told to me by the crew)
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:32 pm
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(typo) // delete
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by KL803 View Post
Ouch, I thought the slippery slopers were a thing of the past… two years ago my SV flights to MNL from/to RUH and JED had all lie flat seats on the two class B777. I will report back in November how it went.
These are a thing of the past indeed. HZ-AK11 till (maybe -19) have old style lie flat seats but still go flat
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Old Aug 27, 19, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by skycruiserNL View Post
These are a thing of the past indeed. HZ-AK11 till (maybe -19) have old style lie flat seats but still go flat
Sorry to say, but these are definitely not a thing of the past - I'd wish! I thought like you they actually were a thing of the past - and thus was quite disappointed to find out I was on a plane with a slippery slope seat. I didn't even manage to sleep for more than 30 minutes as I kept sliding down each time.

Originally Posted by skycruiserNL View Post
Which A330's are we talking about specifically? Afaik, SV's A330 aircraft come with a 36 seat (6 rows 2-2-2) recliner business class and none have lie-flat.
The A330s I had did for sure turn fully flat (or at least so close near that you don't realise at all there might be a slight angle) - and without doubt I was on A330s and not any other plane. I don't have tail numbers but anyone with a Flightradar24 account or similar can for example check the plane which operated SV265 JED-IST on 29th July. Plane interior also felt new and fresh.







Which B777-300ER's did you fly? Because the only -300ER's with a First Class are the very new ones.

Oldest have full flat old style 2-class layout with 5 rows 2-2-2 seating (e.g. HZ-AK11 etc, commonly used to MNL)
The following range have full flat new style 2-class layout with 5 rows 2-2-2 seating (e.g. HZ-AK23 until 35 ; also common to MNL)
The newer ones have a 3-class layout with First class in 1-2-1 layout, business class in 1-2-1 layout and economy. (very uncommon to MNL, but are used sometimes)
Again, I don't have the exact tail number, but you can for example look up the plane which operated SV862 RUH-MNL on 26th July. Horrible, old seats that for sure don't get anywhere near fully flat! The plane was three-class plane - first, business, and economy.





Now I'm not sure whether I was just unlucky on my Saudia-MNL-Saudia flights - or if these seats are really the standard... That said, last year my B777 flight RUH-CGK was excellent and did had a more modern B777 with fully flat seats (2-2-2 layout) on which I had some excellent sleep. At this point I really do not know what to expect with SV on routes to the Philippines/Indonesia!

Last edited by Romanianflyer; Aug 27, 19 at 4:19 pm
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