Reserved Seating Signs Irk Traveler

August 3, 2015

in Seat Stories

This is about the only time I ever flew Saudi Arabian Airlines which was in December 2013. Due to the holiday season, I had no option but to fly with them. Afterwards I decided never to fly with them in the future. The overall attitude of Saudia staff was bossy.

First of all my flight was Dhaka – Jeddah + Jeddah – JFK. They didn’t mention anywhere that there would be a delay of 1 hour in Dammam where they dropped off some passengers and took in some crew.

Once the crew boarded in Dammam, they bullied me into leaving the front seat (with better leg space) so that their crew could sit there. I was really pissed because I am a paying customer and should get preference.

On my return trip JFK-Jeddah, they actually placed a sign using napkins on each of the seats in the front row that said, “For Crew.” And they meant working crew (flight attendants). So the moment that the plane crossed 10,000 feet and seat belt signs went off, I walked up to those seats and took a few pictures of the signs. Once I got the snaps I wanted, I told the steward nearby that I am going to complain and show these pictures to the world.

As soon as I returned to my seat, a senior steward came and said, “Sir, we have made a seat available for you; please pick where you want to sit.” I put my foot down and demanded that he remove all of the napkins and make the whole front row available for any passenger who wanted them. He gave in to my demand.

Pics that I took are posted here. I decided to share them anyway because I heard the same thing happened to one of my friends. Since they continue to do this, I think it is fair for me to publish the images.



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

saffie August 5, 2015 at 3:25 pm

First world problems, man. Must be awful to be ordered to give up privilege for the possible use of the "lower humans." So happy your "demands" were met (insert heavy sarcasm here.)


PESMITH August 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

It's good you did it on the return flight. I'm sure you would have had a "greeting party" at Jeddah otherwise. Just the same, you reinforced the entitled American stereotype. I've seen non – US airlines (not first world airlines) do the same. What's the big deal? I recommend that you avoid Air Koryo.


iloveflying September 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm



PESMITH September 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

uh, it's a second world airline. flyer should have known what he was in for…this can be avoided by using a first world airline …duh


Traveler1 January 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Second World??? Do you know how rich saudi arabia is? Clearly you don't while you walk down the streets in the incredibly rich and prosporous USA (or whatever clone you might live in) and see all the homelessness and desolation of the "first world"….lol.


James January 31, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Saudi Arabia is neither first or second world. The concept of three worlds originated in politics, not economics. The First world was NATO, plus a few specific allies (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel.) The Second World was he Soviet Union, Peoples Republic of China and their allies. The Third World were the non-aligned countries.

There is a more economic definition now, where First World is the western democracies, Second World is the former Communist Block nations, third word are developing countries with long-term growing economies, Fourth World are the stagnant countries, and fifth world are the undeveloped countries that are in an economic decline.

In both definitions, Saudi Arabia is third world.


Jodi August 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Maybe I'm missing something here, feel free to let me know if I am. But I thought all airlines had special seats for flight attendants.


Zombie August 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

For long hauls, they are usually not in the "seating" area, but in a separate compartment.

And certainly not ones with extra leg room.


patsytp January 26, 2016 at 2:59 am

Not true… at least on Emirates, they have a few rows/ seats designated towards to back of the plane near the galley for crew, for their short breaks.. Yes, they have bunks too but often those back two rows on the right hand side are for crew only.


Little Bored August 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Ok, first world problems, yes – agreed… but that's what this forum is about – we're talking about flying here – a luxury for many people. Obviously, airlines are around to make a profit. This also means keeping customers happy. I respect flight attendants tremendously, they have a very difficult job, however the above story is somewhat out of the ordinary with my experience flying and I would be somewhat irked by it as well.

The flight attendants are working. Ensuring safety of passengers, followed by customer service, is their job. Unless reserving what appear to be normal passenger seats was a safety issue, which it doesn't seem to be if the flight attendants succumbed to "demands", then paying customers should be made comfortable on long haul flights and given priority seating, especially since flight attendants have more opportunities to get up and move around. I also believe they succumbed because they were well aware they were out of line.

I get extremely uncomfortable standing up all day at work, however I certainly wouldn't make a paying customer / client get out of his/her chair so I can sit down. That's what the service industry is about in our culture… making sacrifices and keeping customers happy. Do not be fooled, if that flight had paying customers willing to take up that space, there are seats elsewhere reserved for flight attendants.


RedHead0186 August 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

The fact that they were "reserved" with handwritten napkins too makes it seem like this wasn't an official thing. I 100% agree it's a first-world problem, and aside from that this flight seems to have been just fine. I also agree that paying customers should (within reason) get precedence over employees. If there was nowhere else for the FAs to sit, that's one thing, but given that I've never seen this on a plane I'm assuming they had other places to sit and just didn't want to sit there.


Robert August 7, 2015 at 12:41 pm

I agree completely with Little Bored…..we pay for seats we expect to get; to get booted for staff is nonsense.


Traveler1 January 30, 2016 at 6:56 pm

I hate getting booted for anyone, for any reason with the exception of a very sick or emotionally distraught person, or maybe an unhappy child. For staff? no way. For a family of 5 who neglected to reserve a row seats to accomodate everyone but expects the airline to inconvenience someone else? NO WAY. This actually happened to me on a Thai airways, I had a seat towards the front (granted, I didn't reserve the seat, but was told where I would be sitting before hand and was happy with it) then when I got on the plane I was told rather unceremoniously by a FA who could barely speak english that I had to be moved so "a family of 5" could all sit together, I was NOT consulted, not asked nicely, nor shown the new seat, simply moved to the most uncomfortable spot on the plane mind you. It really, really pissed me off. Call it "first world problems", I don't care, but I think if you're a family you should be required to reserve your seats so that airlines don't force someone else to move just so you could all sit together. Think before you book!


virtual credit card November 5, 2015 at 5:41 am

Maybe I'm missing something here, feel free to let me know if I am. But I thought all airlines had special seats for flight attendants.


Ahab the Arab January 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

I would rather crawl across the desert than fly on anything operated by a Saudi. Those savages can't be trusted to treat anyone in a humane fashion just look at their human rights record. Probably the most backwards country on the planet oops now I've done it I will be beheaded if I ever return to the worlds anus, aka Saudi Arabia for talking truth about them.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: