RIYADH: Md RASOOLDEEN & SIRAJ WAHAB
Published — Saturday 4 August 2012
Last update 3 October 2012 9:27 am
The Saudi Arabian Airlines will implement a new baggage allowance policy on international routes effective Sept. 1.
The new scheme is based on the “piece concept” as opposed to the current “weight concept.”
The airline had informed all travel agents in the Kingdom. In a memo dated July 31, the airline said that the new piece concept has been loaded in all GDSs (Group Decision Support Systems) and it will be automatically reflected on tickets of the passengers.
The specification of each bag would be length 90cm, breadth 75cm and height 43cm.
Currently, international travelers are allowed to carry 40 kg irrespective of the number of bags.
“For instance, a passenger could carry three pieces, each weighing 10 kg, or two pieces of 20 kg each, without inviting any surcharge,” said S. Waheed Lateef of Azmeel Travel.
This will no longer be the case starting Sept. 1. According to the memorandum, Saudia has specified that each economy class passenger will be allowed to carry only one piece of 32 kg or less. For the first and business class, the airline will allow two pieces of 32 kg each.
“For instance, if an economy class passenger has two pieces of 16 kg each, he or she will have to pay extra money for the second piece,” said Lateef. “This is what is called the piece concept. The second bag will be calculated as extra baggage.”
The airline has specified the extra baggage charges in its note to the travel agents. Other airlines are expected to follow suit because the new concept will drastically reduce the aircraft load and increase efficiency.
Holders of Fursan Gold and Silver Cards will be given an additional baggage allowance free of charge.
Guest Class passengers who would like to take an extra bag, will be allowed an additional bag weighing 23 kg with an extra payment of SR 350 for African and Asian destinations and SR 500 to destinations in the United States , while Business Class passengers will be allowed the similar facility with 32kg for the additional bag.
During their return, such additional baggage services will be offered to passengers on payment of $ 100 from the embarkation points to the Kingdom's international airports in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.
Carry-on baggage must not exceed 9 kg in First and Business class and 7kg in Economy class cabins. The baggage size should not exceed that of overhead compartment capacity. It is forbidden to carry compressed and liquid materials in either checked-in baggage or carry-on baggage.
Saudia, which joined the 16-member SkyTeam global alliance recently, has started implementing code-share agreements with the alliance’s member airlines, allowing its passengers to select suitable carriers to reach their final destinations.
SkyTeam, which includes Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Aeroflot, Aeroméxico and Air Europa, offers more than 14,700 flights for nearly 530 million passengers to its 958 destinations in 173 countries.
According to Abdullah Al-Ajhar, vice president for public relations, the new code-share system would give passengers a lot of new options to reach their destinations at competitive rates. “We have set up a working team to enlighten passengers about SkyTeam services.”
Saudia passengers traveling on SkyTeam member airlines would receive special services such as priority boarding, landing, baggage clearance and extra baggage allowance in addition to facilities of special lounges.
“They will receive a variety of excellent services, before, during and after the flight, including completion of travel procedures at special counters,” Al-Ajhar said.
Saudia signed the SkyTeam agreement on May 29, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to join the alliance.
Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of the airline, signed the deal with SkyTeam Managing Director Michael Wisbrun during a ceremony at King Abdulaziz International Airport.