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After documenting my journey from Manila to Amsterdam with Saudia, the airline reached out to offer me a first-class adventure from Paris to Riyadh. I want to disclose that this post is sponsored, as the airline provided me with a complimentary ticket.
First-class passengers are granted access to the Extime lounge at Paris airport. While the lounge is not exclusive to Saudia passengers, it caters to premium passengers from other carriers such as Kuwait, Qatar, Etihad, and Emirates as well.
The lounge offers a wide range of food and beverage options, although I decided to save my appetite for the flight.
Spanning 663 m2, the lounge is quite spacious and divided into different areas, including a main space and smaller, more intimate sections reserved for first-class passengers.
I was filled with excitement as I stepped into the first-class cabin, which boasts 24 luxurious suites and provides 1500 hours of entertainment through a 23″ HD screen and an 82″ seat.
To my delight, a bottle of water, a tray of macadamias, lokum, and Cape gooseberries were already waiting for me at my seat.
As I settled into my seat, the crew warmly greeted me and offered a choice of fruit juices along with a refreshing towel. The presence of an inflight butler and chef, exclusively available to first-class passengers, added to the already exceptional experience. The chef kindly offered me some Arabic coffee.
The first-class amenity kit included products from Sprekenhus, a renowned Norwegian brand known for its high-quality skincare, fragrances, and accessories.
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After takeoff, I had the pleasure of exploring the features of my seat and enjoying privacy by closing the door.
The chef came to take my food order, and although there were no menus on this flight, he explained the three dining concepts available in first-class: Saudia Banquet, Contemporary Arabic, and Modern European.
Based on his recommendation, I opted for the Saudia Banquet, which featured Cod Fish Sayadiah.
Here’s a look at the inflight menu.
As Saudia is a dry airline, alcohol is not served onboard. However, they offer a variety of creative juices, smoothies, soft drinks, tea, and coffee from Illy. Business and first-class passengers can enjoy the same range of beverages and desserts onboard. However, the Modern European cuisine in business class offers two starters and mains, whereas first class offers three.
Approximately one hour after takeoff, the butler meticulously set up my tray table, presenting the meal in an exquisite manner.
Saudia Airlines offers three dining concepts to cater to different tastes:
- Saudia Banquet: This concept follows the traditional Saudi Arabian way of dining, with all the food served at once.
- Contemporary Arabic: A modern twist on traditional Arabic cuisine, featuring dishes made with fresh, local ingredients and often incorporating creative elements.
- Modern European: This concept offers a taste of European cuisine with a modern touch, providing a delightful culinary experience.
The Saudia Banquet was served with bread and tahini, Fattoush salad, parsley hummus and grilled prawns. Everything tasted great. Super fresh, plated beautifully and delivered with precision.
The olive oil served onboard is sourced from Al Jouf, Saudi Arabia, one of the largest producers of olive oil in the Middle East. The butter, on the other hand, is Beurre d’Isigny from Normandy, France.
Choosing from the five dessert options was a challenge, but I ultimately decided on the sticky date pudding with butterscotch, which proved to be a perfect choice.
Inflight desserts can sometimes be hit or miss, but this one was undoubtedly a hit. To conclude my meal, I enjoyed some fruit along with a refreshing super green and ginger booster smoothie.
Within two hours of takeoff, the inflight service in first class concluded, allowing most passengers to rest and relax. As a lovely touch, the crew presented Patchi chocolates and a towel. Patchi is a luxury chocolate brand that originated in Beirut in 1974.
I had the opportunity to spend some time in the galley with the inflight chef, where I learned about the onboard service, meals, and his role. He even demonstrated how he plates up prawns, showcasing the behind-the-scenes work in the galley.
Curious to see the cabin, I took a walk to economy class and requested to take a photo of the meal served there.
I am immensely grateful to Saudia for providing me with an incredible first-class experience. I particularly enjoyed the extensive range of meal options, the flexibility to dine at my convenience, and the collaboration with prestigious high-end brands. It had been years since I last flew first class, so this experience was truly exciting and made me feel special. Thank you for making it possible.