Between being up in the air & being hit by reality grounds.


Over the years, Saudi Arabian Airlines have done a great job disappointing its helpless clients. Beginning with the flight regular delays and cancelations, baggage loss and damage, serving donkey meet as beef and ending with its latest scandal; worms in the food!

Well, it’s not like Saudis flying domestic have a whole lot of options out there. If they wish to escape the misery of Saudi Airlines they’re only left with NAS airlines which in fairness did not record any major scandals up to this point but is still not so different than the former in terms of delays.

Unlike the narrow options of domestic traveling, international travelers enjoy an array of airlines to choose among. I personally had a pleasant experience with many such as Lufthansa, JetBlue, Singapore and Emirates Airlines. Then again, thanks to a few other airlines, my last summer trip was not as pleasant as I imagined it to be.

In a trip to the United States with my family, we booked with AirFrance. It was a round trip via Paris and both ways everything seemed to be perfect. Did I press my luck? I’ll come back to that later in this article.

To hop between states of America, we took the American Airlines. Be it bad weather or bad luck, a storm started right after we checked-in. Expectedly, an hour delay was announced but only thirty minutes after the scheduled boarding time. An hour later we boarded and as normal as boarding can be, everybody was settled in thirty minutes and the doors were closed. Another thirty minutes passed by and there were no signs of take off. As symptoms of inconvenience started to become more visible and louder, the captain made the long awaited announcement notifying passengers that another hour is expected before the plane can take off due to bad weather conditions. Later another announcement was made to ask for our patience as one more hour is needed. To sum it all up, till that point the total delay was three hours and thirty minutes all together for a three hour flight. Do I blame the airlines for Mother Nature? Of course not, in fact I bow in respect for their cautionary measures. However, do I blame them for calling for boarding before the skies were clear enough? Absolutely. Do I blame them for not having the thoughtfulness to give out snacks throughout the entire delayed trip? I do. As a matter of fact, a flight attendant was walking through the isle offering water during the wait time and just a few rows before she could reach us she ran out of water and simply decided not to fetch more and resume her act of kindness. Lastly, the baggage arrived soaked and that was the cherry on top of the cake.

Turns out I did press my luck! As we arrived back home via AirFrance, and from between all our 5 baggage pieces, the most important and heaviest bag with a month’s shopping did not make it. That was my bag. We were the last of our trip’s passengers to leave the airport that night after customer services informed us that the bag is safe at Charles De Gaulle Airport and that we should be expecting it with the next flight two days later. With the reassuring response, we happily and finally went home. As the next flight arrived, the bag did not show up and they asked us to be patient and wait for the next one again two days later. Ten days of patience and hope went by with no signs of my beloved bag arriving. They simply gave me an insurance claim where I must write the description of all items in the 30 kg very bright Orange bag with prices and attach supporting receipts!

I humbly ask: How am I supposed to remember every single item in the bag? And if I do am I expected to remember their prices? What makes them assume I would be holding on to the receipts after I had made up my mind about the items and carried them home?! What about the time I took out of my family time to shop, who will compensate that? What about the emotional damage and frustration? Let along the expenses of a whole month’s trip that ended in disappointment.

About Tamador Alyami

Saudi Columnist. An advocate of equality, peace & common sense!
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