Help Me Pick The Most Amusing Routing From Colombo To The US!

Filed Under: Advice, Awards

Earlier I shared the details of the trip I planned yesterday, or at least the parts I already ticketed. This includes flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai to Colombo on China Eastern, and then flights from Colombo to Doha to Casablanca to Doha to Casablanca on Qatar Airways and Royal Air Maroc.


I’m doing this trip with my friend Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly. Before we started ticketing the first two parts of the trip we had already agreed on the return as well (which is option 1 below), but then we got a bit more creative. Now we’re down to three options, and it would be great to hear which one you guys would most like to read about.

Option 1: Kuwait Airways all the way


When we were first planning the return, this was the option we had settled on. Kuwait Airways has sub-$1,000 one-way business class fares between Colombo and New York, which includes flights from Colombo to Kuwait on an A340, and then from Kuwait to London to New York on a 777. All of these flights are on their planes featuring a very outdated product.


The fare is unbeatable, and I’ve long been promising to review Kuwait Airways, so this seems like a great opportunity.

As we were getting ready to ticket, however, Matthew stopped me and said “I’d really like to fly EgyptAir as well.” I was going to finish his sentence with “said no one ever,” but we decided to take a look at what else was available.

Option 2: Saudia and EgyptAir


EgyptAir had award space for our preferred dates from Cairo to New York, so that part seemed easy enough.


The catch is that in order to get to Cairo in time for that flight we couldn’t take Kuwait Airways to Cairo, since they operate a limited schedule out of Colombo. Instead we’d have to fly Saudia, which is an airline I’ve also been wanting to review. They had the following flights available:


Okay, so now we’re completely leaving out Kuwait Airways, which I’ve been wanting to review all along, but at least we’d get to try two other cool airlines.

Option 3: Kuwait Airways and Royal Jordanian


That brings us to the third option. The thing is, Kuwait Airways has super cheap fares between Colombo and Cairo, which are $200+ less than on Saudia:


The problem is that the flight wouldn’t get to Cairo in time for the EgyptAir flight to New York, so that seemed a bit pointless.

After looking at some revenue fares out of Cairo, I noticed that Royal Jordanian has very good business class fares from Cairo to Chicago, via Amman:


With this we’d earn American AAdvantage miles, and it would also be my first flight on Royal Jordanian since the scariest flight of my life. Trying their 787 seems like a cool opportunity as well.

Which routing should we select?

At first Kuwait Airways the whole way seemed like a no brainer, as much as flying a dry airline with crappy seats for nearly 24 hours sounds extremely unpleasant. But hey, if we can get two unique airlines out of the experience, maybe that’s even more interesting?

Vote in the below poll to let us know which itinerary you’d most like to read a review of, and if you have further thoughts, let us know in the comments section below! We’ll be booking the return flights in the coming days, and I’ll of course report back on what we ticket.

Which itinerary would you most like to read a review of?

View Results

  1. The other consideration with RJ is obviously their complimentary hotel accomodation for J passengers on stopovers between 6-24 hours

  2. Definitely the Saudia/EgyptAir option. Saudia is not bad at all. But! Beware! JED is a disaster of an airport. Though it will make CAI look like a model of efficiency.

    Yeah, a review of utterly dreadful Kuwait Airways would be amusing; however, reviews of SV and MS would be far more useful. And I’m sure both carriers will give you many entertaining tales to tell.

  3. Of all the airlines mentioned in this article, Saudia by far is the best. The reason I voted against Saudia was that they fly their old products to Colombo and Cairo as well as stopping over in Jeddah (more about that in a minute). If you really want to review Saudia then I’d recommend trying their B777-300ER which is mostly used on long-haul routes or, even better, their brand new B787-9.

    The second thing is the issue of the airport, Saudia operates out of 4 main hubs (Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medina), Jeddah by far is the worst of them all, some would go as far as to say among the worst in the world.

    The Alfursan lounges in Riyadh and Dammam are excellent, way better than Jeddah’s. If you want to visit Jeddah, which is a pretty cool and fun city, then I’d recommend you wait till the new airport becomes operational, as it should be something comparable to other “main” GCC airports.

    As for Egypt air, I can only wish you luck!

  4. I have good experiences on RJ before – but this was even before their lie-flat seats so I expect the current experience to be even better.

  5. “we’d get to try two other cool airlines”
    “Trying their 787 seems like a cool opportunity as well”

    This word “cool”, I don’t think it means what you think it means… 😉

    Anyway, it appears flying Syrian Air, with a stop over in Damascus, will have to wait for a future trip.

  6. Would have loved to book Kuwait. We are flying in Oct.

    We booked Star Alliance:
    CMB – BKK on Thai
    BKK – ZRH- on Swiss
    ZRH – MIA on Swiss

  7. So you’re willing to have an overnight in AMM on a CMB-KWI-CAI-AMM-ORD routing, but not in CAI on a CMB-KWI-CAI-JFK routing?

  8. I think it’ll be interesting to see the latter two routings as they both take you on the JED-CAI route, which let me just say is an eye-opening experience. Saudia usually flies between KSA and USA at half capacity (at best) whereas their Cairo flights are consistently sold out, filled with aging religious tourists who have never flown. It is worth the stories alone…

  9. RJ was surprisingly good. Their catering was good, but not memorable, their crews were friendly and the check in facility in AMM was way better than the flagship check in. Definitely going to be a good experience than Kuwait and Saudia

  10. NONE!! Air Kuwait in Business is abysmal like torture my Hubby flew them, it’s like 1980 all over again plus don’t forget the homophobic anal probe or DAN test you have to get upon landing in Kuwait. Saudi may even be worse. Sure it’s a new 787 but how can you justify flying on an airline where in Rhiyadh they have, in execution square, people whipped, their hands cut off or executed, you know like in biblical times, for all to watch every Friday, and yes that really goes now, today. I’m not making this shit up. My hubby, the gay jew was their last year, you don’t want to go, and you certainly don’t want to give their national carrier your money. It would be morally reprehensible to fly either of those airlines. The fact you would even consider flying the airline of the country is worrisome. I like you and your blog too much, couldn’t you just fly Air France or Sri Lankan air, or how about Garuda? You had one of the worse experiences of your life on Royal Jordanian and Egypt Air is predictably bad with mediocre moments. Please Ben come to your senses and don’t do it! These are all bad choices and not worth the risk even or moral compromise just for a trip report.

  11. Saudia is given alot less credit than it deserves. It’s actually a pretty decent airline. But yeah, if you’re gonna try Saudia, at least try it on a 777 or a 787 so you’ll get their new product.

  12. I would vote for:

    Colombo – Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
    Hong Kong – Sydney on Qantas
    Sydney – Auckland on Qantas
    Auckland – Buenos Aires on Air New Zealand
    Buenos Aires – São Paulo on Turkish Airlines / Qatar
    São Paulo – Johannesburg on South African Airlines
    Johannesburg – Atlanta on Delta Airlines


    This last leg you could do it like JNB to DOH to JFK with Qatar Airlines lol

  13. Hang on a minute lucky.
    You have plastered all over the internet your homosexual and jewish, do you not have concerns that say egypt jordanian saudi or Kuwaiti airlines will make your trip unpleasant.
    Given your going to give them a bad review as you no doubt will as it isnt emirates i think you should reconsider and fly an airline that can accomodate your needs say El Al.
    Have you flown el al before, i hear its deplorable.

  14. Lucky,
    I wonder if you’ve considered the political and social statement you are making?
    Sure, these airlines are “cool.” But like was said before, Kuwait and Saudia Arabia are not countries you would (or should) feel comfortable in. These countries have third-world biblical practices concerning minorities that are both shameful and morally wrong. Not to mention Kuwait’s scandal with the Israeli passenger?

    I know your only intention is to get to fly a new airline, but I really hope you won’t fly either of these. And if you do, please don’t forget your morals. I’m sure you know what’s right and what’s wrong, so please don’t make it look like you’re supporting the blatant wrong.

  15. EgyptAir has some really good business class fares from Europe to Asia / Africa / Middle East. Reviewing EgyptAir will be useful to many of us living in Europe.

  16. you could try for
    CMB-JED-SIN on Saudia B777
    SIN-DUS on Singapore airlines A350
    DUS-JFK on Air Berlin A330

  17. Not that any middle eastern carrier is much better on this (and I personally prefer to avoid these) but Saudia is particularly abhorrent to me. Flying them would be supporting a regime that actively represses women and the LGBTQ community. To each their own, but I personally would be just fine never travelling on it. Jordan and Kuwait are only marginally better. I laud your effort to diversify the airlines list, but given your influence, I would appreciate it if you didn’t endorse Saudia in particular.

  18. Kuwait Airways are undergoing a huge fleet renewal, and within a year or two their old A340s and 777s will be gone, so I feel reviewing them would be a bit pointless. Wait until you can review their new A330 and 777s, with updated on-board products.

  19. I would choose Kuwait Airways for those reasons, 1: catch the A340-300 & 777-200 before their retirement later this year, 2 : Food is very good in KU, 3 : The price is unbeatable, 4 : KU is very exotic airline that you don’t fly everyday.

  20. As others have said, the Saudia flight will be on their old product, possibly even their very, very old 777-200ER product, which is terrible, and still makes up some of their long-haul flying, but is also not representative of the decent newer flat-bed products they now fly on many US and Europe routes. Food and service, both of which are very hit-or-miss, should be reasonably representative though.

    JED airport is also terrible, and is (hopefully) clsoing next year, so a review now would be good for posterity’s sake but hopefully not much else for much longer. RUH is significantly better if you happen to find a routing in that direction.

    If you do take Saudia, make sure to watch a movie on the IFE to take note of bleeped references (sometimes) to alcoholic beverages in dialogue, and blurred-out images of women wearing anything less than a fully covered torso.

  21. @ nick

    By the same logic, he shouldn’t be flying any American, Chinese or African, carrier and certainly not El Al. How about you keep your politics and prejudice out of a travel blog? Or at least get your facts straight?

  22. @cinti lingus
    Egypt & Jordanian definitely won’t care. Can’t say for sure about Saudi or Kuwait though.

    And yes, Lucky, hopefully you’ll give ELAL the chance you considered earlier this year. I would really love to see an industry leading review of them. I’m always too hesitant to spend miles on ELAL knowing that the miles can be used on Royal Jordanian for more or less the same routes.

  23. I agree with Paul, I think it’s better to wait KU until you can fly on newer A330 or A320. In the meanwhile, I flew Saudia’s B777-200 (as some say it’s outdated) Business twice but had pleasant experience with decent service, and great meals. Not the top-notch but good. Egypt Air’s JFK flight must also be quite exciting.

  24. Fly Saudia all the way to LA. SV42 is one of the longest routes on the planet and its a darn amazing route. Apart from that, try to fly their 787. Its newly built and pretty amazing hard product.

  25. Thank you for being the guinea pig. Now if you truly want to up the game, fly economy in those airlines.

  26. I thought Lucky/Ben and Matthew were brothers but it said he was just a friend in this article?

  27. @nick

    A little stoning of people is good to clean the (criminal) masses as well. Bravo to those countries that do not put up with any BS. Singapore still canes people–how is that not considered barbaric. These countries do somethings right…control the chaos.

  28. Kuwait all the way is the way to go. I would avoid CAI until alleged concerns related to airport security are addressed.

  29. I’m late to the game, but I’m sure CMB – SHJ – TBS on Air Arabia, then TBS – DXB – ASB on flydubai, then ASB – BKK on Turkmenistan, BKK – SIN – SYD on Scoot, then SYD – HNL on Jetstar, then HNL – CXI – NAN on Fiji Airways, then NAN – HIR – POM – NRT on Air Niugini, then NRT – KIX – HKG on Peach, then HKG – CJU on Hong Kong Express, then CJU – GMP on Jeju Air, GMP – PUS on Air Busan, PUS – PVG on Shanghai Airlines, PVG – HRG on Air Leisure, HRG – GVA on easyJet, GVA – IST – STN on Pegasus, STN – DUB – MAN on Ryanair, and MAN – LAX on Thomas Cook won’t hurt. Yes, you can cut legs.

    And unlike Richard Quest, premium cabins allowed.

  30. I flew the AMM-ORD route on RJ yesterday and it was actually a very pleasant experience. Would certainly recommend it.

  31. Why not through Mumbai or Delhi bro? Colombo to Mumbai on Srilankan or Jet Airways and Mumbai to New York on Air India or United Airlines or Air India to Delhi and Delhi to US on either AI or United or all the way AI.

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