Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (SA)
Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport lies 19km north of the Saudi Arabian city. It's the destination for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and has a reputation for needing renovation.
The airport has three terminals:
Travelling between terminals
The North and South Terminals are nearly 8km apart and the only formal access between the two is by taxi.
There's no train right now from the airport, and buses are generally avoided as they can be overly crowded. A taxi is your best option.
Fixed-price taxis are available outside Arrivals. The journey time to central Jeddah is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic and where in the city you need to go.
Uber is also available.
Cost: SAR 60-130 into Jeddah, around SAR 300 to Meccah
Future rail plans
The Haramain High-Speed Rail project is underway, and will connect the Muslim holy cities of Medina and Mecca, via King Abdulaziz International Airport. However, the project has been delayed and it is now scheduled for completion in March 2018.
Jeddah Airport is infamous for overcrowding, little food options, and poor cleanliness in the toilets. For those reasons, it's worth the money to check-in to an airport lounge. We recommend the Al-Fursan Lounges in the North and South Terminals, which offers free Wi-Fi, hot and cold food, and plenty of seating. The lounge is open 24 hours and entrance costs USD 50 for passengers not flying business class. However there have been recent reports that economy class passengers might be denied entrance to the lounge.
Men and women are expected to adhere to Saudi customs in the country, even on an airport layover.
For men, modest dress such as long trousers and no sleeveless shirts are recommended. Women may arrive at the airport without an abaya (cloak) but should wear loose-fitting, conservative clothing. While you should wear an abaya locally if you are leaving the airport, a headscarf is not necessary. We recommend carrying one in case you are approached by religious police.
If you have a transit visa for Saudi Arabia, you can stay near the hotel at the CROM Airport Hotel. There are 60 guest rooms with complimentary wireless internet access, spa, restaurant, and premium amenities. The hotel is attached to the South terminal and can be accessed by turning left as soon as you walk out of the terminal. Rooms start at USD 215 per night.
Even though it's very hard to get a visa for Saudi Arabia, there are some international rental car companies located at both terminals:
Europcar and Sixt offer a Meet-&-Greet-Service to have a car delivered to you upon arrival.
There is a 12-hour limit on layovers and transit in Saudi Arabia. Avoid flights with layovers longer than this as in some cases you will be unable to board your flight.
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