Everybody needs something to look forward to right now, and these great value business class fares from India to the Middle East caught our eye.
Saudia’s cheap business class fares from India to the Middle East
Today’s deal comes courtesy of Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, which has never had a fantastic reputation, but is said to have improved massively in recent years.
They’ve upped their game when it comes to service and catering, and they’ve also invested in shiny new aircraft like Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Be aware that Saudi doesn't serve alcohol, either in the air or on the ground.
The airline has cheap fares to a number of destinations in the wider Middle East region, including to Amman in Jordan and the capital of Lebanon, Beirut.
The fares we are focussing on, which are around INR 60,000 for round-trip business class, can be found using ITA Matrix (you can read more about that in our article on flying in luxury for less).
It’s a little tricky to find itineraries that don’t involve tortuously long connections, but it can be done, especially if you are happy to fly from/ to different Indian cities, as in this example, which departs from Hyderabad, but returns to Mumbai:
If you don’t mind hanging around the airport for an extended period (Saudia has business class lounges, though I’ve never used them), there are plenty of options:
You can even go as far as Ankara, Turkey, though there are long layovers in Medina, and one sector seems to be in economy:
The fights in the itineraries above feature a mix of long-haul and short-haul aircraft. Saudia has a large fleet and various business class seats, so exactly what equipment you’ll end up with is a bit pot luck.
You should, however, get a pleasant experience and a big, comfortable seat up front, whatever aircraft you happen to fly on.
Saudia says that any tickets cancelled due to coronavirus will be protected for one year - you’ll be able to travel in the same cabin/class with no fare difference in the future, even if you choose a peak period.
While I've shown dates for the end of 2020, these prices are available for travel up to April next year.
What’s there to see?
Two of the destinations we’ve featured - Turkey and Jordan - have easy visa arrangements for Indian passport holders, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Lebanon, however, requires a visa to be obtained in advance.
Among other attractions, Jordan is famous for Petra, an archaeological site in the country's southwestern desert that dates back to around 300 B.C. I’ve wanted to visit for years:
Beirut sounds a little more wild, and the Lebanese capital is said to have an “east-meets-west vibe”. It’s a buzzing, hectic place known for parties and fabulous food:
From Ankara, you could venture on to explore any of Turkey’s many wonders, which include fantastic beaches, mountains, and olive groves.
Flying to the edge of Europe and back in business class for something like INR 60,000 is a great deal. Okay, so Saudia is no Emirates, and you won’t be sipping champagne at 40,000 feet, but you can’t complain about the price.
Even if you aren’t ready to book yet, it’s still nice to dream about the day we can start travelling again - right?
Anybody fancy a visit to the Middle East or the Mediterranean?