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Hello Riyadh travellers,

I'm an Indian Passport holder with a valid US visa. I am flying J and have a transfer from TK146 to AI922 in Riyadh airport. The layover time is 3.5 hrs. Both flights from T1 terminal.

  1. Am I allowed to transit without any visa for this layover?

  2. Will my baggage transfer be taken care by the airlines (both Star Alliance) at Riyadh airport? I called Air India and they were obviously not very helpful. They were like you should ask at check-in counter if they will transfer the baggage.

  • You are right. The T2 is in Mumbai. I got confused. Do you know an answer for my questions in that case ? – TechCrunch Nov 12 '17 at 4:21
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According to Timatic (the visa system used by most airlines), an Indian citizen transiting through Riyadh does not require a visa :

TWOV (Transit Without Visa): Visa required, except for Holders of onward tickets for a max transit time of 12 hours through Dammam (DMM), Jeddah (JED) or Riyadh (RUH).

Only one transit stop-over in Saudi Arabia is permitted.

As for the baggage question, this is a question you need to ask Turkish Airlines, not Air India as it is their decision as to whether they will do this or not.

If both bookings are on the same ticket, then Turkish Airlines policy is that they will check the baggage through to your final destination. There will be no need to do anything with your baggage in Riyadh.

If the two bookings are on a separate ticket, then you have a problem. Officially Turkish Airlines will not "interline" bags to another airline when the booking is on a different ticket. It is possible (but unlikely) that you would be able to talk them into doing this at checkin, but their policy is that they will not do it.

This basically means that if you both flights are on separate tickets, then you will likely be denied boarding at your origin. As you do not hold a visa for Saudi Arabia you would not be able to collect and re-check your bags, and thus would be refused boarding.

And no, you can not obtain a transit visa - Saudi does not issue either transit or tourist visas, and all other visas are expensive and difficult to get (my current one cost well over $1000!)

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Update:

Before boarding Turkish flight to Riyadh:

  • Check-in agents tagged my bags to BOM as the Air India system is not allowing them to do all the way to Hyderabad.
  • Check-in agents were not able to give my RUH to BOM to HYD boarding pass and asked me to contact arrivals desk in RUH.
  • Air India customer service on phone told me to figure out things about boarding pass myself when I arrive in RUH. After I told, I am in Business class, he put me on wait and gave some documented information on  Air India counter (like room number 16xx - WTF?) in RUH but did not give specifics of how I can meet them. Very useless customer service. It sucks. Thats the reason travelers don't want to fly Air India. Basically they are like find yourself when you are at the airport.
  • Gate agent asked for Visa and made fuss for a while until he checked the system.

After landing in Riyadh:

There were no board signs about transfers in Riyadh KKIA Airport. Fortunately I found a helpful agent wearing SGS (Saudi Ground Services) tag ID card. He checked my documents, asked me to wait and got a passenger transit form. Filled some details in it and asked me to sign. Made me go through quick security scan in the terminal. Again asked me to wait - took my passport, ticket. Came back after 35 mins with my Air India boarding pass. He also changed my baggage tags from Turkish to Air India checked all the way to Hyderabad. Since I was in business class, I was told to use the Plaza Premium lounge (which is boring by the way. I used Wellcome lounge with my PriorityPass).

While the process went with no hiccups, it was not pleasant as I was nervous all the time in RUH airport because of no signs of transit boards.

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