- BA lounge Review Manchester Airport
- Hotel Review: Holiday Inn London Heathrow
- BA Galleries full photo tour of the empty morning lounge (I was lucky!)
- BA Club Europe (business class) London to Istanbul review
- Review: Primeclass lounge Istanbul airport
- Saudi Airlines Istanbul to Jeddah
- Photos from Mekkah- the Holiest city in the world for Muslims
- Hotel Review: Hilton Makkah Towers
- Transporation from Jeddah airport to Mekkah and Medinah
- Demystifying Umrah: What Muslims Do & How They Perform Umrah?
- Hilton Makkah Hotel review
- Best hotels in Mekkah for you to stay during your Umrah
- Photo album of the road trip from Mekkah to Medina
- DIY Umrah: How To Get From Jeddah To Makkah & Medinah For Umrah
and more to come
Now, I grew up in countries very similar to how Saudi operates. Long queques, short working time and the attitude take it easy. What is most interesting is that arriving there you have people from so many different cultures.
Once you arrive you have different desks for different people, which makes very good sense in a way since GCC nationals and diplomats don’t have to stay with those performing Umrah as they can be there for ever. However they put only two desks for 300 people who came to perform Umrah and on top of that those desks were empty!!
I waited in line with my husband as patiently as I could until I heard a guy saying that women can go to another desk. I jumped on the opportunity. Supposedly the queuewas only for women but that didn’t stop the husbands of some joining and pushing along. Since I knew these are all tests of my Umrah I tried to be nice :). Plus this only prepared me for a small percentage of what I would see in Mekkah.
After about 20minutes I managed to pass immigration. The officer was quite polite, didn’t even ask me to check any of my documents congratulated me on my Umrah and let me pass. Then there was another big queue that I had to join coming from all desks for a guy to check the stamp on my passport. Since he was talking to a friend of his I doubt he even saw half of the stamps he inspected. Bureaucracy at it’s best. Just like Greece 🙂
I really wanted to take some photos but I left my bag with my husband who managed to be the LAST person from the whole Umrah queue. Apparently the camera didn’t work and couldn’t take his photograph. So he had to wait for another person to come and inspect the camera and make it work. A friend told me later that they only take photographs of the males arriving in Saudi and not the women, which was interesting, and I wonder why it’s the case.
Few things to remember if you pass by Jeddah airport for Umrah or transit:
- Patience is your best friend. As we say in Greece, relax and take it easy!
- Be nice to the staff. I have a lot of respect for many of them but for some reason some seem very touchy and defensive. More on this later.
- There is no problem to separate from your spouse and join other queues if it will take you less time. Usually they are nicer to ladies and check them faster.
- If you performing Umrah have your documents and vaccination certificate in hand. They don’t always ask but if they do you don’t want to hold up the queue.
- Please don’t push or try to cut the queues. You are there to perform Umrah try and have some order and classy demeanour ( friendly advise)
- Smile it’s Sunnah (part of the Islamic tradition)
By the time my husband finished 1hr and 40minutes later, I had retrieved all oursuitcases and we were on our way out. Thankfully our driver was waiting for us and we were on our way to Mekkah in no time.