Bahrain International Airport is and feels old. A new terminal building is however being built now.
I booked Kuwait Airways for this short flight – an airline I’ve never tried before. On-line check-in was not possible so I simply checked in at the desk. While there were only a few people ahead of me, all of them had several large pieces of baggage, and check-in was chaotic and it took time. My onward ticket from Kuwait was asked to be shown. I asked for an emergency exit row seat which I got at no extra charge.
I took a few photos of the check-in area but when I go near to the passport control a police officer asked me why I was taking photos and told me to delete my last few photos. But anyway I was trough immigration and security quickly although I can imagine there are longer queues when larger aircrafts depart as the whole area is quite tight.
There are a few nice shops airside.
But otherwise there is just a large crowded plain seating area near the gates with an insufficient number of seats. Not much to do and you certainly feel you’re not at a modern airport. This picture was taken when most people were already queuing to board.
As you can see most flights are by Gulf Air.
Boarding started at about 18.45 instead of 18.30. The aircraft interior looked much better than the waiting area at the terminal. The business class cabin (not for me on this flight – the price difference would have been too big) is in a 2+2 configuration with comfortable-looking leather seats. Economy class has a standard 3+3 configuration. Sorry, there are no photos as the plane was already full when I boarded. Oh, and boarding music was the piano version of Despacito – not the music you typically associate with Kuwait. Legroom was good at the emergency exit row.
A headphone was waiting on the seat.
The inflight magazine shows Kuwait Airway’s fleet and destinations.
There is a built-in screen with around 130 movies, 82 tv shows plus a smaller choice of mostly arabic music. The sound didn't work for me but I guess it does most of the time.
The best things about this flight were the very good flight map and flight information.
I prebooked a seafood meal and I had a good salmon sandwich with orange juice, water, chocolate. Very good catering for such a short flight, much better than what you would get in economy in Europe or in the US, although the price of the flight was also a little bit higher.
More of the airshow as we approached Kuwait
Our cruising altitude was 24,000 feet. Start of descent was at 19.29, only 20 minutes after take-off. Spectacular night views left on Kuwait City before landing
A few minutes before landing
Total flight time was 47 minutes. We landed at 19.53 and had a long taxi of 15 minutes followed by an also long bus transfer.
A Kuwaiti visa is available at the border for citizens of most European countries. While you don’t need any pre-departure paperwork it’s bureaucracy at it’s best. Fist you’ll be sent to a counter marked “visa” on the arrival level, from where you’ll be sent upstairs to the departure area where there is a large room for visa on arrival. A first counter makes a photocopy of your passport. You can fill out your form at a second counter from where you’ll be sent to buy duty stamp (3 KWD only for transit visas) from a machine for which you need to withdraw cash from an ATM (unless you already have KWD). You need then to go a third counter where they check your duty stamp so you can go back to the second counter to collect your passport and your visa which is on a separate A4 paper. You can then go back down to queue at immigration control to be told than you don’t need to wait, you can go directly towards to exit. Easy, no? But the whole thing didn’t take more than 20 minutes and it’s so much better than having to go a consulate for a visa.
Kuwait is a large city-state with a population of 4,5 million and is definitely worth to visit. A larger part of the population (about one third against around 11% only in Dubai) is local and many of them work actively. Kuwait is and feels like a huge, modern city. The skyline is very impressive both during day and night.
The fish market in one my favourite places.
The Kuwait Towers are an architecture masterpiece with nice views over the city.
The Maritime Museum was closed but there is a traditional boat in front of it.
There’s an absolutely outstanding car museum. Some of the exhibits include a car from a James Bond movie, rare Rolls-Royces, American and Soviet presidential cars, and many other fantastic cars.
Thank you for reading my flight review.
Manama - BAH
Kuwait City - KWI
Bahrain International Airport is decades behind its competitors In the Gulf but the new airport will probably be much better. Kuwait Airway’s offers very good catering and in-flight entertainment for such a short flight, although the price is higher than you would pay to fly this distance in Europe.
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