When my best friend bought her plane ticket to Seville and planned a ferry journey to Morocco, I thought I would not miss it for the world. While she got one of the best flight deals from Ryanair from London, I monitored the flight deals from Kuala Lumpur to Morocco for months. When Saudi Arabian Airlines marked down their airfare to RM2,304.79, I secured the ticket because my monitoring showed it could not go any lower to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Morocco. Since I did not want to splurge on airfare, I had to make do with 11 hours transit in Jeddah en route to Casablanca.
It was my first time flying with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. I had always wanted to fly on board Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is a 298-seat passenger aircraft with 24 seats in Business Class and 274 seats in Economy Class. I settled into Seat 42L and got the whole row to myself. I was flying out on a Sunday and the full load capacity was occupied by 30%. All passengers literally got a row each to lie flat for the 8 hours journey flight.
I found the multi-coloured LED lighting gorgeous.
The seat featured a 9 inch audio video and remote control with wide selection of entertainment. There was a USB port to charge mobile devides and AC power supply for laptop computer. The AC power was that of G type, the three rectangular blades in triangle pattern used in Malaysia, Hongkong, Singapore, UK, Ireland and Malta to name a few.
There were two inflight meals served on this flight. First came the white rice with chicken kurma and steamed vegetable, salad, bun and dessert.
Then, it was fruit salad, pudding, pasta and bun.
Saudi Airlines also offers inflight internet for the passengers. For 20 minutes internet access with 20 MB data limit, it costs 4.99USD. Just enough to message your friends and upload a selfie or two. The 60 minutes package with 50MB data limit costs 9.99USD while the traveller pass costs 14.99 USD. I did not get to test any because I was writing throughout the journey.
I was nervous when we landed in Jeddah because it was named as one of the worst airports ever. So a long layover in the worst airport would be nerve-wrecking to any traveller. Transferred to the main terminal by the shuttle bus, I proceeded to queue for transfer passenger. After having my document certified, I was asked to proceed to the first floor.
When I approached it read, a transfer lounge. For a budget traveller on a budget airfare flying to the other side of the globe, a transfer lounge sounded fancy and luxurious. After inspecting my boarding pass, the staff of the transfer lounge told me I could rest at the lounge before my next flight. However, some of the transit passengers had to go directly to the departure gates.
I struck up an interesting conversation with a Malaysian girl who was occupying the opposite sofa bed. She was in transit to Paris. Based on her previous experience, if your transit time is 4 – 5 hours, you would be directed straight to the departure gate. Since our transit time was 8 – 10 hours, we had the privilege to lounge around. Atleast this arrangement spared me the nightmare of Jeddah airport.
Okay, the transfer lounge has limited sofa bed and it is on first come first serve basis. Due to the low load of Kuala Lumpur – Jeddah flight, the transfer lounge was half empty and quiet. After waking up from my sleep, it was full to the brim and most couples were sharing the sofa bed and some passengers were sleeping on the floor.
I was feeling a bit out of place and observed that other transit passengers were supplied food. So I walked up to the staff and asked where I could buy some food to last me the 11 hours. He told me food is provided for free in the transfer lounge and all I need to do is to show my boarding pass. I showed the food counter my boarding pass and was handed a food box consisting of a container of chicken biryani, bun, salad, mineral water, wafer, sweet drinks. I could also request for tea or coffee and get never-ending supply of mineral water. One thing I can say about Saudi Airlines is the food is really good.
Time was up. I had to leave the transfer lounge and entered the nightmare realm. I had no idea how near the immigration check was from the transfer lounge. Less than a minute’s walk. The full immigration check was done by a lady and I was questioned for my mobile gimbal casing. It was nothing serious though as I got away after explaining it’s for video shooting.
Once I reached the departure gate, there was another flight scheduled to depart about the same time as my flight. Confused, I queued together with the crowd. Not long, passengers travelling to Casablanca were asked to depart to another gate by the gate personnel. Now, boarding gate change without proper announcement was very worrying especially in the sea of people in Jeddah International Airport. People were sitting on the floor overflowing into the duty-free shops and the seats near the departure gates were all taken.
Only when my flight was scheduled to depart in 10 minutes that there was a change on the flight departure board. Again, a new departure gate. Luckily, it was the right gate this time. I passed the boarding gate after much pushing and queue cutting by fellow passengers. From the boarding gate, we took the shuttle bus to board the plane.
It took almost one hour waiting in the plane before it started to taxi.
One of the two meals served on board Saudi Airlines bound to Casablanca. If I’m not mistaken, this was the breakfast meal.
Entering the Moroccan airspace.
Patches of green fields seen from above.
Landed safely as a local Moroccan air taxing to leave.
Air Canada Rouge at Casablanca International Airport.
From here onwards, I embarked on the 3 weeks journey around Morocco.