Departing from Riyadh after my stay there, I had to use the RUH airport International terminal to go back to Kuwait. Now, I have never been to RUH before and I did have some high expectations about it.
RUH had three terminals. Each is designated for a type of traveling purpose. Saudi Arabian Airlines had their own terminal, the local low-cost carrier had their own terminal and I was to travel from the International terminal, where all other airlines are allocated to. Upon entry for luggage inspection and checking-in, the whole place seemed like a disaster. Chaos and disorder were the main characteristics of the place. I mean I couldn’t have made it through to the check-in counters with the help of some low-wage worker who feverishly fought to get my attention in handling my bag and making it through all the way to the Gulf Air counter.
Upon checking-in, I directed towards the First/Business Class Lounge near gate 18 if I remember correctly since I was traveling on J class and it was the only available lounge in the whole terminal! I have heard stories about this lounge but I have decided to ignore it and give the place a shot. Upon arrival, there was no one available to admit me for entry. I had to wait till this staff person who was mingling with some hot food buffet bar to come and help me. Very bad start. The place was so small, it was the smallest lounge I’ve ever been to till now.
I wouldn’t recommend using the toilet down there, because it was as bad as any over-used toilet in an international airport in the Middle East: Nasty! The hot food bar looked bad visually and wasn’t promising at all. I had to resort to stale sandwiches which were hidden in the lower part of the buffet for unknown reason!
The WiFi service was pretty weak and you had to find the receptionist to get the password, which wasn’t available onsite and I resorted to ask some fellow lounge users about the access password. I have witness some rude treatment from the receptionist towards a fellow lounge patron wen he was rudely asked how he got in there and to show his boarding pass immediately, while the patron was enjoying his drink and food. The patron was patient enough to tell him that the receptionist’ colleague is the one who let him in after inspecting his boarding pass. I didn’t even hear a word of apology from the receptionist.
In the end, if you ask me what I heard about this place beforehand was the following: “don’t think about going there, just chill at Starbucks next to it near the gate and avoid at all costs!”