Catastrophe: My Jeddah Airport Transit Expertise

Good day from Jeddah! I simply wrote about my weird Jakarta Airport transit expertise. Properly, that was like a trip in comparison with my Jeddah Airport transit expertise, which concerned 5 ATMs, a harrowing one hour drive, and getting in a yelling match with a driver. Let me clarify…

I knew my Jeddah Airport transit can be sophisticated

On my present assessment journey, I ended up connecting in Jeddah, the place I had an prolonged layover of round eight hours or so. That ended up being the most suitable choice (by some masochistic definition of “greatest”), given the airways I needed to assessment.

I knew my transit wouldn’t be easy. I used to be arriving on the North Terminal on Garuda Indonesia (from Jakarta), and was departing from Terminal 1 on Etihad (to Abu Dhabi). After I wrote about my deliberate journey, some type readers warned me that my transit expertise can be a bit sophisticated, as the 2 terminals are 20 kilometers aside by street, with no simple airside transit possibility.

I figured that was an exaggeration. Nope, by street the terminals are in truth 20 kilometers aside…

Transit between terminals in Jeddah

My expectation was that I’d clear immigration on the North Terminal (I had a Saudi Arabian e-visa, in spite of everything), after which I’d take a taxi to Terminal 1, et voilà! What may go flawed? Properly…

My Jeddah layover was worse than I may have imagined

My Garuda Indonesia flight arrived on the North Terminal. This was actually fairly the cultural expertise, as this terminal is primarily utilized by overseas carriers largely working flights for pilgrims. Whereas Jeddah’s new Terminal 1 is gorgeous, the North Terminal is… not.

Jeddah Airport North Terminal

Though the terminal has jet bridges, we have been placed on a bus and despatched to immigration. Immigration was seamless, and the immigration officers have been tremendous pleasant, and welcomed me to Saudi Arabia with an enormous smile.

The arrivals space was fairly abandoned, since most pilgrims are touring in teams, taking buses, and many others., so there aren’t many particular person guests. My first order of enterprise was to seek out an ATM, since I’d want money to pay a driver. I attempted the ATM closest to the terminal exit, however after getting into all my info, the machine mentioned that there was no money. Unusual.

Jeddah Airport North Terminal arrivals corridor

I used to be approached by a pleasant Pakistani man, who requested if I wanted a taxi.

I didn’t see any official taxi queue (as talked about above, in all probability as a result of most individuals are touring in teams), so I requested him how a lot it might be to the North Terminal. He mentioned 120 SAR (~$32). Whereas steep, he insisted the drive would take 45 minutes with site visitors. I ought to have in all probability haggled, however I simply agreed.

I defined that I nonetheless wanted money as a result of the ATM didn’t have any, and he mentioned that wasn’t a difficulty, and we’d cease on the best way.

At this level we began strolling towards his automotive. He then revealed he’d be driving one different particular person, who then began strolling with us. Okay, odd, however no matter…

Issues are going nice thus far!

I can’t actually do justice to the size of this terminal, however it was a strong 20 minute stroll earlier than we acquired to the parking zone. He instructed us to attend, and that he’d get his automotive. Let me simply say that I heard his automotive a number of seconds earlier than I noticed it, as a result of it was the largest screeching pile of junk I’ve ever seen/heard, and I don’t know what number of accidents it had been in. It simply persistently made the loudest whining noise possible (sure, greater than I’m whining on this put up!).

Okay, at this level I ought to’ve in all probability reconsidered, however it might’ve been a 20 minute stroll again to the terminal, and I didn’t essentially have a greater possibility anyway. I imply, how dangerous may or not it’s? Properly, I’m joyful you requested…

This man was the worst and most careless driver I’ve ever seen in my life:

  • He spent many of the drive texting with out even trying up each few seconds to see if there was site visitors; I repeatedly requested him to cease, however then he’d cease for a minute or two, till his telephone chimed once more, after which it was again to extra of the identical
  • The street close to the airport is 5 lanes in every route of site visitors, and when the street curved, he didn’t wish to truly flip the wheel, so in a matter of seconds we’d be driving diagonally throughout 5 lanes of site visitors, and he didn’t even look within the mirror to see if there have been any vehicles within the lanes
  • He solely appeared to have two modes of driving — both absolutely accelerating or slamming on the brakes
  • I don’t know what number of dozens of occasions we acquired honked at; his driving was so dangerous that I nearly felt like I used to be in a comedy skit, besides there was nothing humorous about it

Look, normally I’ve a number of religion in drivers, even when they drive wilder than I might. In spite of everything, they do that for a residing, and I determine that in the event that they’re alive to nonetheless drive me, they’ll’t be that dangerous. Nevertheless, I didn’t fairly get that degree of confidence from this man, and his automotive’s “battle scars” additionally didn’t do a lot to reassure me.

By the best way, quite than drive the 20 kilometers proven within the above map, we truly drove left, protecting a distance of 28 kilometers. I believe that’s as a result of there are extra ATMs in that route.

So about midway by way of our drive, we stopped at an ATM. The primary ATM mentioned there was no money obtainable. So then we stopped at one other one. The identical factor occurred. Then we stopped at one other one. The identical factor occurred. This man clearly thought I simply had no cash in my account, quite than there being an issue with ATMs.

Jeddah ATMs go away a bit to be desired

Lastly we arrived at a drive-thru ATM that in all probability had a queue of 20 vehicles ready to make use of it. It nearly felt like ready at a fuel station earlier than a hurricane. Okay, so I suppose Jeddah has a money scarcity, or one thing? Does anybody know why all these ATMs don’t have cash? I imply, it doesn’t precisely appear to be Saudi Arabia is brief on money…

Slightly than ready in line for the ATM, he drove to the very entrance, after which instructed me to get out and reduce the folks and use the machine.

“They’re additionally ready, I’m not going to chop them.”
“No, simply clarify to them, they are going to perceive.”
“Clarify what? There’s a line to make use of the ATM.”
“Simply reduce, it’s superb. You possibly can simply clarify.”
“No, what am I supposed to clarify? You clarify, if that’s what you need me to do…”

At this level I simply form of stood within the drive through ATM, with me and the driving force yelling at each other. He saved insisting that I ought to reduce the road, whereas I instructed him I wasn’t snug doing that. The person within the automotive who was subsequent to make use of the ATM clearly took pity on me and seen how uncomfortable I used to be, and invited me to go in entrance of him.

One other 30 minute drive later, we lastly arrived at Terminal 1. As I went to pay him, go determine he didn’t even have change, so I principally ended up having to offer him an enormous tip. Oddly the opposite man being pushed wasn’t truly going to the terminal. I’m unsure if it was a pal of his, or what…

I can’t even start to specific how joyful I used to be to be out of the automotive and within the new terminal after this journey.

Jeddah Airport Terminal 1

Backside line

My expertise transiting Jeddah Airport was terrible. I knew the transit from the North Terminal to Terminal 1 can be sophisticated, however I wasn’t ready for the worst drive of my life, plus so many ATMs in Jeddah not having money (what’s up with that?).

Satirically sufficient, the precise immigration course of was tremendous simple and everybody was pleasant. It was simply the getting between terminals that was a bit sophisticated. Subsequent time (okay, there received’t be a subsequent time, but when there have been), I’d remember to plan the switch a bit otherwise…

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