Stranded group's outrage at Saudi Arabian Airlines
Saudi Arabia’s main carrier has been accused of failing to provide accommodation for its passengers stranded in London due to the recent volcanic ash cloud, despite direct orders from Crown Prince Sultan to help.
A group of Saudis, lead by surgeon Hussain Kahlani, told Arab News Saudi Arabian Airlines staff said it was not the carrier’s responsibility to cover passengers’ expenses incurred by this natural disaster.
The deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation earlier said all Saudis stranded around the world would be provided free accommodation while the aviation crisis continued.
The ash cloud forced the closure of the UK’s airspace for safety reasons for six days earlier this month.
However, the airline’s director of European operations denied the accusations, saying 45 out of the 170 passengers on board Khalani’s flight to Riyadh were given a hotel room in accordance with orders from Riyadh.
Al-Hussaini told the paper the 45 passengers “were already checked in and had been issued boarding passes,” and that everyone else was given airline form to be able to claim back for food and accommodation costs.
Kahlani confirmed he was given a form but was told by the airline’s office in Riyadh that he would not be reimbursed because the expenses were incurred in British pounds.
Meanwhile, the Saudia has announced it will increase baggage weight allowances for domestic flights starting Saturday.
First and business class passengers will be able to check-in two pieces of luggage weighing a total of 50kg – up 10kg.
Economy class passengers will be granted an extra 5kg, taking their allowance from 20kg to 25kg with one piece of checked-in luggage.