Checking in to arriving will always be stressful — especially for first timers — and confusing but then again, flying in would always going to be half the adventure. For people travelling to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, here are a few things that might help guide your way to this Desert Kingdom:
There are two important things that you should remember when checking in going to Saudi and those are the entry visa and your own baggage. Most likely, the dates would be in Arabic letters using the Hijri calendar. To skip the hassle of finding the dates, know where the date is supposes to be and find its corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar.
Generally, things such as pork, alcohol, things related to porn and gambling and religious things are not allowed inside Saudi. However, a passenger can still bring their own copy of the Bible considering that it is for their own personal use.
Saudi Arabia is a conservative country knowing this; travellers should respect and dress moderately upon arrival. Covering up from head-to-toe would be unnecessary and wearing a simple shirt and pants are enough.
The first thing that passengers would probably see would be the pilots kneeling down. Most flight would be very early in the morning and since, Saudi is a Muslim country, the pilots usually do daily prayers before the flight. Seat allocation might take a while considering that Saudi Arabian men and women tend to prefer to sit next to a person of the same gender. This doesn’t mean that they are trying to be rude but it is only a matter of personal preference.
Saudi Arabian flights don’t serve any pork and alcoholic beverages and would sometimes have travel prayer announcements before take-off. The flight attendants would also give out entry cards that don’t really have any known purpose but it is better if you could just fill it out.
Before the plane lands, there would be two noticeable things that you would notice. One is that, Saudi Arabian women would change to their abaya and niqab and, two, are people standing up to get their bags from the overhead compartments. This is mainly because some of the people boarding the plane run in a very tight schedule and don’t have time to wait until the pilot gives the green light to get their bags.
This is the most confusing part of the journey. The first thing that you have to do would be to find the shortest line. If it happens that you are on the wrong one, you’d be directed to another one. Segregation would again be noticeable but this time, the segregation would be of nationality. If you are going to Saudi Arabia to work, expect to be the last one to be served.
For female foreigners travelling alone, you would be asked for your ‘sponsor’, an individual that undertakes all administrative paperwork (Justlanded.com) to ‘claim’ you to the airport.