Manchester to Kuwait on Kuwait AirwaysYou are here
Welcome to the first ever flight review of Kuwait Airways new Manchester-Kuwait service !
kuwait airways - since 1954
Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) is the flag carrier of Kuwait since 1954 and celebrated its 68th anniversary at the time of my first ever flights with the Airline in 2022 .
The country's Persian Gulf location has been both a liability (during the Iraq invasion ) and advantage for the airline. The Indian Subcontinent, the source of much of Kuwait's guest work population, is KAC's busiest market. Kuwait Airways has had a fair share of turmoil in it’s history, namely the loss of its entire fleet in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. But the Airline has not stopped progressing. Th determination of the State of Kuwait to keep their national flag carrier flying high is highly commendable. At the end of the year 2014, Kuwait Airways initiated the plan to upgrade it’s fleet. The entire fleet of 30 Kuwait Airways aircraft is no older than five years old, with additional modern fuel efficient aircraft on order. The Airbus A320neo and A330neos are among the world's most fuel efficient passenger aircraft – the A330neo becoming the first airliner to receive certification under the ICAO Co2 standard for emissions.
Probably one of the best Mannequin challenges from a few years ago was that by Kuwait Airways !
livery - past and present
A look at Kuwait Airways liveries from the past - the minor difference between livery 2 and 3 is the flowing Kuwaiti flag at the top of the tail as well as a Bluebird logo on the engines.
And while looking at the historic liveries, do enjoy seeing the past fleet which included the 747-200 and A300.
A new look for a new future
Kuwait Airways unveiled it's beautiful brand new livery, cabin crew uniforms, upgraded cabins and inflight products at the 777-300 launch in October 2016. The fresh new look features a stylised revision of the iconic BlueBird, taking off and covering most of of the tail and appearing on the tail as a logo, to preserve Kuwait Airways proud heritage.
The livery still has a blue and white base scheme, but the vertical fin and aft fuselage carry a sweeping version of the airline’s bird logo. The Bluebird is also seen on the engines which are half white with a half three tone blue curved design which also has dots and diamonds on the blue side. The three tone blues denote a meeting of the sea and sky, signifying the point at which new horizons will be crossed. The forward fuselage has large blue KUWAIT billboard titles accompanied by smaller Arabic stylised "Al Kuwaitiyah" titles in Sky Blue. The Kuwait flag is directly behind the cockpit window. Under the flag is the Aircraft's name in English and Arabic inspired by Kuwaiti locations.
KUWAIT in capital letters is also painted on the underbelly of the aircraft, easily identifying the operator after take off and inflight where visible from the ground. In 1958, acting CEO Mr Harry Pusey was inspired by a bird ready to leave a tree branch while at a cafe in Beirut. This is what he had to say about the logo: While designing the logo, I had to review the company’s image and develop a new logo and brand identity. Therefore the bird with its beak held high, reflecting my hope that to whichever destinations KU aircraft may fly, it must always be safe in the sky.
new vision,new directions
Terminal 4 Kuwait International
On July 4, 2018, Terminal 4 (T4) of Kuwait International Airport was inaugurated as Kuwait Airways’ dedicated terminal with an area of approximately seventy thousand square meters. Terminal 4, (T4) commenced operations on August 15th 2018.
Kuwait Airways - a caring citizen for the Global community
Kuwait Airways’ humanitarian project, 'BALSAM' in associations with the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (a member of the International Red Cross) is to provide relief for the less privileged. The 'BALSAM' initiative encourages passengers to donate currency, which is used for universal humanitarian and charitable causes. All aircraft carry special envelopes encouraging passengers to contribute towards the cause. Kuwait Airways also supports the Omniya Project for plastic bottle recycling and reducing environmental pollution by distributing recycling containers in different areas of Kuwait and raising awareness of plastic waste. Community initiatives include supporting educational settings with modern equipment and equipping medical facilities to the latest international certified standards, in accordance with the World Health Organization.
A CEO with a Powerful vision to transform Kuwait Airways "Beyond Excellence"
The CEO of Kuwait Airways, Engineer Maen Razouqi has very swiftly brought his extensive private sector experience to Kuwait Airways, kickstarting a transformation programme, dubbed “Beyond Excellence” that will restructure the carrier from top to bottom it moves forward to a prosperous future. In the words of Mr Razouqi, the mission is translated " To make Kuwait Airways the most efficient Airline in the world".
The Beyond Excellence programme has 4 pillars. The first is around creating a strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) platform in the business. The second is on improving the customer experience. The third is on improving the performance of the business including people development and succession planning, while the fourth focuses on growth.
Under the 2030 strategy, it will have a fleet of Airbus A320 narrowbodies, including the A321LR ; seven A330-900s and four A330-800s for mid-range widebody services; and 10 Boeing 777-300ERs for the long-haul routes. It will standardise its service classes to economy and business and is assessing the introduction of a Premium economy class on its A330s.
expanding higher and further
Kuwait Airways is constantly expanding it's Global presence !
MANCHESTER - A NEW ROUTE FOR KUWAIT AIRWAYS
Whilst Kuwait Airways operated one off repatriation flights with 777-300s to/from Manchester in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, it was later announced that Kuwait Airways would begin a brand new and 3 x weekly A330 service on a permanent basis.
It would be February 2022, when Kuwait Airways formally announced Manchester-Kuwait from 1st May 2022, in a move seen as a boost to the economies of both Kuwait and the north on England.
As per reliable analytics, Currently 49,000 people from across Manchester Airport’s catchment area travel indirectly to Kuwait. These are a mix of those visiting family and friends and businesses that trade in the Middle East. A further 800,000 people from across the North travel to a range of Kuwait Airways’ onward destinations that are not currently served by Manchester Airport, including Bangkok, Mumbai, Delhi, and Manila.
The flights are also set to be popular with students, with universities championing the start of services, as currently 2,960 Kuwaiti students are studying across Manchester Airport’s catchment area. Tourism bodies are also heralding the route, which pre-pandemic saw more than 23,000 people a year from Kuwait visit the North West, spending more than £22 million.
Manchester Airport estimates that almost 50,000 people from its catchment area currently travel indirectly to Kuwait.
Flights from Kuwait International (KWI) to Manchester (MAN) are the sole nonstop service between the destinations.
As reported by RoutesOnline, the Airline previously scheduled two flights per week but now flies the 4,843 km route 3 x weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with A320neo aircrafts..
Figures provided by Sabre Market Intelligence show that O&D traffic between Manchester and Kuwait totallled about 23,800 passengers in 2019, but Manchester Airport believes about 49,000 people from across its catchment area currently travel indirectly to Kuwait. These are predominantly a mix of travelers visiting family and friends and businesses that trade in the Middle East.
A further 800,000 people from across the north of England also travel to a range of Kuwait Airways’ onward destinations that are not currently served from MAN, the airport has estimated. They include Lahore, Bangkok, Mumbai, Delhi and Manila.
In addition, the new route is expected to be popular with students as about 2,960 Kuwaiti nationals are studying across Manchester’s catchment area.
“Manchester as a destination is of great importance to Kuwait Airways’ customers,” the airline’s CEO Maen Razouqi said. “The selection came after an increased demand for it as a distinct destination for tourists, especially in the summer season, which is expected to witness an unprecedented boom in the tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors.”
Kuwait Airways currently serves one other destination in the UK, flying 12 x weekly to London Heathrow (LHR) using Boeing 777-300ERs. British Airways also operates LHR-KWI daily. Kuwait Airways is babysitting a slot for PIA at London Heathrow for 6 months at the time of this report. Jazeera Airways has also secured slots at Manchester for the summer 2022 season but the Kuwait based carrier is yet to confirm plans to launch a route to the city.
The original proposed schedule for the Kuwait Airways Manchester service looked like this ;
Kuwait-Manchester : Tuesdays and Saturdays, KU113, 22:45-04:00+1 next day Manchester-Kuwait : Wednesdays and Sundays, KU114, 05:00-13:40
Whilst an 0500am departure in the Middle East is nothing unusual, it would be very odd for a UK medium/longhaul route to operate at these times !
RESERVATION / Pre flight services
In mid July 2022, some 2 months after Kuwait Airways began service from Manchester to Kuwait, a chance visit to skyscanner made my heart skip a beat !
I was delighted to see a return fare of just GBP408.00 which includes seat assignment and 2 x 23kg baggage ! Although Kuwait Airways is a full service airline, the first few rows of Economy Class and exit rows are assigned with a fee.
Kuwait Airways really need to open a 24 hour Global Contact Centre in order to offer round the clock customer support. Over a period of around 3 months, I was unable to get through to the London Reservations line. I rang on different days and at different times and not once did I manage to speak to anyone. From the day I booked in July 2022, I pretty much had the same seats until a few weeks before departure. But a chance viewing of my booking on 31OCT22 revealed someone was playing tricks.
I was on Seat 24A for KWIMAN but suddenly someone booked themselves 24B. I reassigned myself and immediately 24AB were gone !
On 2nd August 2020 I received the following message about a schedule change. This would be the only text I would get about a schedule change.
Having been a fan of Kuwait Airways brand for 25 years, who would have thought that a chance contact with someone in Kuwait Airways on LinkedIn would lead to so much care and affection for the journey to come ! I definately would never have imagined how highly valued my custom would become when flying Kuwait Airways.
In the 5 weeks before departure, I underwent a lot of personal problems and just 12 days before my flight, my Beloved Father In Law sadly breathed his last in Pakistan. I wanted to go an support my wife in Pakistan at this sad time. I intended to land in Kuwait, remain airside and fly on flydubai a few hours later KWI-DXB-LYP and hopefully be met by a Kuwait Airways representative who would help me with formalities. Sadly such assistance never materialised, the Kuwait Embassy could not tell me if I stayed a night at KWI and then left Kuwait bound for Pakistan, if I could return again as a multiple entry. To date, as Kuwait is not a tourist destination, getting visa information is like trying to walk on water. I was very sad that no one even tried to help me and it would feel very upsetting to be so near to my wife yet be so far. I guess it wasn't meant to be. But I did try my utmost to take a side trip to Pakistan.
I do wonder,that if by paying for the Kuwait Airways Maraheb Service ( Meet and Greet,Lounge/Visa Assistance ) I would have got the helped I needed.
On 25th July 2022 I rang the Kuwait Cultural Attache for Kuwait brochures/maps – they said they have nothing and to ring the Embassy I rang the Embassy – they said and I quote " we have nothing to send as Kuwait is not classed as a tourist destination " !
A few weeks after making my booking, I decided to change my seat and was baffled by a text message which claimed that my seat had been changed due to an aircraft change. I would continue to get such texts every time I changed my seat ( and boy did I change my seat a lot !
The Kuwait Airways app only lets you start servicing your booking once you have saved personal details like mobile number,email address etc.
There is also a very handy 5 step checkin process.
I enrolled for membership of Oasis the Frequent Flyer programme. As Kuwait Airways is not in an Alliance,my points for this trip will stand alone.
KUWAIT EMBASSY LONDON
I rang the Embassy on 10th November 2022 at 0930am.
I was transferred by Reception to a lady to give me advice on multiple entry. I told her that I am due to land in Kuwait around 2130pm and that I plan to take a flight to Pakistan via flydubai at 0035am. Bear in mind I would have to adjust my Kuwait hotel booking well in advance to avoid being a noshow. I then intended to fly back to Kuwait for the last few days of my trip, meaning I would be entering Kuwait multiple times (twice).
She asked which Passport I have and then told me that with a British Citizen Passport, I can get a free Visa on Arrival. She said that I may ask Immigration if I may only enter Kuwait once or I may enter twice. I advised that I needed to know this information now, so I may book onward tickets with peace of mind.
She then advised she cannot give her name and that she cannot put what she has advised, in writing but that as I have rung the Kuwait Embassy, her information is correct. She then claimed I am repeating things and wished me Good Luck and told me to Google the information.
Well guess what ? The reason I rang is due to this information not being available to begin with !
There is a definate and strong need to improve the Tourist Information side of Kuwait. The Kuwait Embassy London and Kuwait Consulate London do not even have a website. And so my plans to go and support my wife dissappeared as quickly as they had formed due to a lack of information.
CHECKin AT MANCHESTER
The new extension of Terminal is the centrepiece of a £1bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MANTP)
The extension to the terminal increases its size by 150%. More than 140 businesses, large and small, have contributed to building the extension, overseen by construction giant Laing O’Rourke
The construction has provided 1,500 jobs, including more than 150 apprentice opportunities. More than 8,000 tonnes of steel have been used to create the extension, which covers 81,000 square metres – large enough to accommodate Manchester United’s Old Trafford pitch 11 times over, with room to spare
Set over five floors with 844 glass panels installed to provide passengers with panoramic views of the airfield
Features include a honeycomb light installation with 16m possible combinations and a new 81 square metre digital screen
24 new retail and F&B units including a range of well known Northern/Manchester brands
Two luxurious, modern lounges (Escape & 1903)
The second phase of MANTP will include a redevelopment of the older part of Terminal Two, to bring its facilities in line with the new extension.
Just arrived for my trip to the Middle East !
Having entered Terminal 2 from the Skylink just before 0800am, I had to walk to the middle of the hall to find my checkin desk number as the usual information screen next to Ethiopian Airlines ticket desk, as soon as you enter the hall ,had been removed ( who comes up with these bright ideas ?! ). I was then not so happy to find checkin opens at………..0845am !!!!!
A few passengers had already gathered at the checkin area and I could see they had all availed the 2 piece baggage allowance. It was not at all clear on the Kuwait Airways website if checkin opens 3 or 4 hours before departure. I really feel that both Kuwait Airways and Manchester Airport need to make this information clear. From the Airline point of view to send an email/text advising of the checkin time. From the Airport point of view, to list the checkin desks on the website/app.
Despite being a brand new Airline with a brand new route at Manchester Airport, it was somewhat disappointing to have to checkin in at the old part of Terminal 2 which is still stuck in the 90s.
Around 0830am, the staff of the Handling Agent Menzies began to arrive to set up the checkin desks. It was nice to finally see the Kuwait Airways logo on the screens as it started to bring the trip alive !
Having been a Passenger Service Agent (check in staff) many times in my career, it is always a fine balance of remaining pleasant and answering passenger queries with a smile whilst trying to set up the checkin !
I politely approached a gentleman who looked like the Manager and found out his name is Imran and he is the Team Leader for the Kuwait Airways flights.
He smiled very genuinely when I asked about the passenger load and as I had a seat query. I was then approached by the sparkly smiling and friendly Duty Manager Alex, who came and shook my hand. I really felt like a superstar this morning ! I was then summoned over to checkin by the politest and most energetic gentleman ever who clearly enjoys his job. Thank You Filippo for treating me with such courtesy and respect. It is people like yourself that make travel experiences memorable for the right reasons ! I was even given seat 13K much closer to the front,which really made me very happy !
I observed Imran interacting with many passengers as well as managing the checkin with utmost efficiency. His grooming was immaculate and his smile did not slip once,during the whole time I was at checkin. It really made my day to meet someone so passionate about Passenger Service. What an excellent Ambassador for Kuwait Airways. I would not be surprised to see him as a dedicated Kuwait Airways Station Manager as his enthusiasm was very obvious for the Airline.
I love the stylish Bag Tag receipt card - my tags are on the other side.
Alex then brought me this gift bag ! Wow, I felt like a VIP receiving this ! What's inside ? You will find out another time ! Alex then took the trouble to escort me right upto Fastrak Checkin where she bode me farewell. But was this the end of my VIP experience this morning ?….read on !
KUWAIT AIRWAYS A320neo
As my Manchester-Kuwait v.v flights are operated by the A320neo, some useful Aircraft facts on these slides
MANCHESTER AIRPORT'S NEW T2
I had been given a lovely gift of Fastrak but……very sadly it was not very fast at all .
Thank You to the lady who had 2 kids and a partner carrying the world's belongings with them as well as the child's pushchair being full of so much stuff which they all had to put through security trays. And did I mention her Parents were with her too ?!
I entered the Security area at 0852am and minus a 5 minute diversion getting lost on my way to the Premium Lounge, it would take 33 minutes to clear security. Passengers were of course being vocal as to, if this is Fastrak,what is the normal channel like ?! Some people really do believe that they are the only ones travelling as per the lady above.
My first time seeing the new Departures Area of the new Manchester T2
Being in the new pier,one may easily forget they are at Manchester Airport ! The new Premium Lounges match the new standards of what will become the Flagship terminal at Manchester Airport.
1903 - THE RIGHT CHOICE OF LOUNGE !
And on the topic of Lounges, let's enjoy some time in the oh so elegant 1903 Lounge at Manchester Airport's Terminal 2. The Lounge access was also a gift. I really was being spoiled on this trip !
Named appropriately after the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903, the lounge aims to achieve the same great heights in innovation where Premium Lounges are concerned.
There were huge queues for walkin guests, so it was with great excitement when ( with my Kuwait Airways branded bag) that manager Matt called me over to a separate queue as he had been expecting me ! His Manager Sarah then personally escorted me to the 1903 lounge and asked how I was. Talk about VIP treatment for thejetflyer !
As my visit was at Breakfast time,plenty of hot bites were on offer. The lounge is self service and has the wow factor at every point ! There is a huge juice bar for non alcoholic drinks and Halal/Vegetarian options are offered.
Apron Views. I could see the Retro Gulf Air 787 at gate 32 at Terminal 1 ( far left of this view) but it was too far away to get a decent shot.
Always great to see Manchester in the list of Mega Cities !
A sign of the postcovid times. My Beloved Business Traveller magazine has gone to Printed Heaven !
Luxurious seats with power outlets
Having arrived into the lounge at 0935am, I was amazed that the inbound KU113 from Kuwait was arriving onto stand a full 45 minutes early at 1000am ! Which meant I had around 1 hour to relax in the 1903 lounge.
A nice light breakfast ahead of Kuwaiti delights in the sky over the next few hours !
The music in the lounge was subtle and very ambient. "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac played and wow…..this song remains timeless even decades later ! Duty Manager Matt personally came to tell me about my gate number and had a chat with me about my travels. His years in hospitality shone through and as did his attention to detail to look after a guest. Thanks Matt for a lovely chat !
Much as I would have loved longer in the lounge, it was soon time to start walking to the gate. Kuwait Airways tends to mainly use gates A1,A3,A5,A9,A11. Not sure of the reason why but hey
A massive thank you to Matt,Shabnam,Sharon and Sarah for giving me 5 Star hospitality and service and I really look forward to visiting again one day !
Time to head downstairs and to gate A11.
Archies - the burger Phenomena loved by celebrities and made in Manchester !
Burgers and Boeings !
Aer Lingus UK A330 G-EILA "Padraig/St.Patrick" being readied for Orlando.
Arriving at gate A11, the passenger profile did not seem to match what I expected for my Kuwait Airways flight. And I was right. The majority of passengers taking up seats were for TUI/Virgin Atlantic flights !
A month before departure, there was a week of entirely A330-200 service by Kuwait Airways, culminating in a treat for passengers flying on 30th October with an A330-800 which days earlier had operated it's first revenue flight to KU's new destination Kuala Lumpur ! But timekeeping is not the strong point of KU114 so far. KU113 landed 1009am 21 mins ahead of schedule but KU114 departed at1512pm, 3 hrs 27 mins late . Would we be late today ? Read on to find out. Having studied this flight since the day it started, rarely,if any, has any service has departed within 1 hour of schedule departure time. Whilst I had heard verified reports over many months that the cleaning of the inbound flight delays the departure, would I get confirmation of this ? Read on.
A lovely lady named Sabira arrived at the gate to get the gate ready for boarding. The very jolly dispatcher Sam was stood nearby and was also a very pleasant lady. The Airport's automated announcement called passengers forward for boarding and the tv screen even showed Final Call at one point,but Sabira made a polite and calm announcement advising of the delay and apologising for it which was a nice touch. Imran the Team Leader arrived once again and looked after the Aircraft turnaround and was again in many places at once and still his smile did not slip !
My ride to Kuwait !!
Some fast facts about my Aircraft
* A320neo * Delivered Nov 2022 * Seating 12 Business / 122 in Economy Class * Engines 2x CFMI * Registration 9K-AKO * Aircraft Name Al Kout ( Al Kout is Kuwait’s largest waterfront retail and leisure destination)
Previous flights in order for last 7 days before this Manchester-Kuwait service ;
Boarding began at 1135am and I was first on board and feeling super excited to be flying Kuwait Airways for the first time !
I was Welcomed Aboard by the Inflight Manager Ms Amirah and Business Class Steward Mr Khaled. I said Salaam Alaikum and that I was really excited to fly Kuwait Airways for the first time. Ms Amirah immediately said it was her pleasure to have me onboard and walked me to my seat ! The VIP service continues !
Kuwait Airways A320neo Business Class - at one point in history, this cabin was named Oasis Business Class. I love the mattress topper and the cute water bottles but do feel the pillow and headrest covers should be in a different colour to distinguish the exclusivity of this cabin.
Ms Amirah walked me to my seat and took my suit jacket to hang up. I still need to remind myself I am flying Economy Class today ! The cabin looked so chique and smelt beautifully new. I mentioned this to Ms Amirah and she told me this was one of Kuwait Airways' newest aircraft. Having joined the fleet in November 2020,indeed this aircraft was only 2 years old at the time of my flight. The pride with which Ms Amirah told me about this aircraft showed how proud she was to work for Kuwait Airways. Amazing fact about Ms Amirah coming up later in the Cabin Crew review !
The oversized headrest covers do not accentuate the cabin aesthetics whatsoever. I really think Kuwait Airways should have slightly smaller headrest covers with a large Bluebird logo or do away with the headrest covers altogether as the headrest is leather and easy to clean during turnarounds ( which includes the cabin cleaning ).
The Economy Cabin looks very smart from this angle too. Arabic boarding music played whilst the tv screens had images of Kuwait being shown. I had been assigned 13K on the right side and as it was not a busy flight I had the 2 seats next to me.
For all the delays with the inbound cleaning, the actual cabin presentation is beautiful !
Boarding continued until around 1200pm and passengers were very quick to take their seats. Mr Imran then came and gave me some awesome news that I may sit in 11K, the very front row of Economy !
Now…..here is a surprise for me !!! Ms Amirah came to me with a tray of Business Class Arabic Sweets and explained the different varieties ! Look at her presentation of the tray ! Simply Wow !
And we all know that Arabic Sweets need Arabic Coffee..step forward Mr Khaled ! Talk about traditional Arabic Hospitality ! I truly am being spoiled ! Please note this is not the standard service in Kuwait Airways Economy Class ! This was a treat for me for my first ever flight with the Airline !
Gift of a water bottle. Kuwait Airways should give these to all Economy Passengers. The green lid reminded me of Saudia who give such bottles to all Economy passengers.
Doors closed and engines started at 1210pm but we stayed stationary.
At 1220pm the First Officer made an announcement about the proposed route/weather and apologised for the delay in departure due to Manchester Airport congestion and……………………………… inbound cleaning. ( and finally it was confirmed to me in that moment that the inbound cleaning is delaying every departure of Kuwait Airways from Manchester).
The First Officer advised that flying at 37,000 feet, we would be landing in Kuwait 6 hours after departure. I was asked by the Business Class Steward if I wanted more coffee but I politely declined.
Pushback was at 1232pm just shortly after the Arabic/English safety video had started playing and the Pre Travel Prayer before that.
Lovely legroom…but will I stay here for the whole flight ?!
TAP Air Portugal Embraer rotating for Lisbon just ahead of us.
1257pm saw us rotate from Runway 1. The Journey to the State of Kuwait begins !
Hi Manchester Airport…I mean….. bye and see you soon !
Somewhere over Yorkshire !
Downward Camera View. Despite being a savvy flyer, I really struggled to open out the Inseat Video Screen. But Mr Khaled from Business Class opened it in a few seconds !
Seat Pocket Content.
After take off,there was an announcement that today's crew speak Arabic,English and French.
For Economy Class it was announced there would be Beverages and lunch then a snack before landing. For Business Class they would have lunch and also enjoy Galley Snacks throughout the flight.
Ms Amirah then came to me personally to advise that I may ask her anytime for anything I may need. She also explained details of aircraft amenities/features
Our route today was to take us over The Netherlands,Germany,Austria,Hungary,Romania, Bulgaria,Turkey,Iraq before finally landing in Kuwait. Amazing that a nonstop journey from Manchester to Kuwait still takes in so many countries !
Emotional flying over my one time home in The Hague,The Netherlands !
Scotland, The Netherlands,Manchester - my life so far on one map !
Where is Manchester ?!
The Menucards were handed out just after take off but I have chosen to put the photo here to keep it together with the inflight catering photos.
The Menucard has a luxurious colour and feel and is rather dinky, as you see it fits in the palm of your hand ! The rear side is in Arabic. I do feel the Kuwait Towers should feature on the menucard. In the absence of an inflight magazine,maybe have a route map too but make the menucard larger ? Well done on having a menucard at all where even a giant like Singapore Airlines has removed these post pandemic.
Now then, as you avid readers of mine know, where there are 3 menu options I will always look to sample two !
Today I decided on the Chicken Dish and the Vegetable Lasagna.
Always an exciting time when the meal trolley arrives !
The tray size is more like Premium Economy than Economy ! I do strongly feel that Kuwait Airways should designate the first few rows of Economy on the A320neo as Premium Economy. This will bring in extra revenue and definately an upgraded experience for passengers with enhanced catering and amenities,if it goes ahead.
I swapped to 12K for the meal service and stayed there all flight as there was more space for the traytable.
The Radnor Water Carton takes up a lot of space almost knocking the dishes out of the tray. The salad had too many leaves and they were tasteless. The Chocolate Mousse cake was divine. The Bread Roll was just the right amount of soft with delicious butter and crackers with cheese. The Vegetable Lasagna was a disappointment and was rather watery. I wish I had chosen the Lamb Biryani instead !
The Chicken Option was a far more pleasurable dining experience and tasty too ! Kuwait Airways could save on packaging by having cutlery and tea/coffee creamer and salt/pepper packets and wet towel all in one package.
Mr Khaled was pouring me Coke when I asked for the whole can so I wouldn't have to ask twice and he charmingly gave me the whole can. True Kuwaiti Hospitality in the skies ! By the way this Mr Khaled was the Steward in Economy Class !
May I just say that Kuwait Airways has the most elegant Economy Class cutlery in the skies !
Once meals were served, a tea and coffee service commenced. I chose a coffee and had kept the cake for the tea/coffee service. I was even offered food from Business Class by Ms Amira which overwhelmed me with happiness but I genuinely had no space ! But wow to be offered !
Are we there yet ?! No,not quite !!
Precovid you had all these beautiful magazines in the seat pocket - credit to original photographer.
Whenever I used to be lucky to get a copy of AlBuraq Inflight Magazine in the past, I loved the fleet page of the magazine. It would be great to see AlBuraq return in sealed packaging for those who want to read a copy onboard and take it away. Otherwise Digital it is as is the norm these days !
There is a well positioned headset jack and USB port under the video screen.
But I will be to the point here about the IFE.
Kuwait Airways seriously needs to improve it's Inflight Entertainment offering for International Passengers. The Arabic selections seemed well thought out and with extensive content.
But I have rarely seen a more dull selection of IFE in all my years of travelling. From a 1993 Bollywood movie to supposed Pop Music artists that I, as an avid Popular music fan have never even heard of. I am a huge fan of 80s/90s/00s pop and dance music but did not find a single song by even 1 artist whom I have heard of. Olly Murs who you see here…I could not find whichever song of his that was meant to be playing on the IFE system !
No thanks ! I will be fine without WiFi for a few more hours !
No amenity kits are offered on this service and children are not even given fun packs. But in the past these were given exciting goodies like these ! I do feel these need to be brought back to excite,entertain and inspire KU's younger passengers.
By the way, of a flight of the same length from Manchester, Saudia do offer amenity kits in Economy Class. This is an area that KU should look at regards amenity kits and kidspacks.
Kuwait Airways Route Map.
Islamic IFE Content - on a much lower scale when compared with the likes of Saudia and Royal Jordanian.
Kuwait Airways should produce an Arrivals video for all flights into Kuwait to make the Passenger Experience easier. See my own Arrival review later on and you will see why such a video is important. A Kuwait Destination Video would also be nice.
Meanwhile look at this beautiful 2015 Destination video made exclusively for Kuwait Airways !
LOVE FROM KU
Another one for my avid readers - I am never shy to ask for Airline Memorabilia. And my God did Mis Amirah not disappoint ! Again look at the presentation of the nut bags by Ms Amirah ! I am now the proud owner of :
* Oasis Club membership form * Business Class menucard * Hygiene Kit * Cutlery Pack * Mixed Nuts bags * Velvet headset cover with Kuwait Airways logo * Dental Kit * Comb
I made a visit to the washroom as we cruised over Turkey.
Beautifully kept washrooms that smelt stunningly fresh !
After I came out of the washroom, I sat down at the two seats at the very back. Prayer information for those wanting to pray.
I spoke to an Airhostess, Ms Rasha from Lebanon, about her flights to Lahore and Islamabad,two major destinations for Kuwait Airways. I told her of my love for Lebanon and that I hoped to visit Beirut to show my support after the tough few years the city has had.
She offered me a Cappuccino from Business Class but I wanted a cold drink so opted for Fanta. I definately was not short of pampering on this Kuwait Airways flight !
From taxying and then take off at Manchester, I had noted the engines were making a most unusual sound. Over Turkey the engine sound was even more apparent and crew immediately did an announcement to return to seats as there was turbulence.
Making our way over Iraq.
PRE LANDING REFRESHMENT
Tea/Coffee and Walkers Shortbread - a strong nod to my Scottish roots ! I would have preferred a sandwich and cake…hmmm……now….maybe that is what will happen ?!
A water service then followed
Spot the Kuwait Airways logo !
Sandwiches and Cakes ?!! Quite some time before landing Ms Amirah brought me a fantastic array of Business Class Galley Snacks ! I was so grateful but had zero room so took them all to enjoy as nibbles in my hotel ( they were gone within an hour of being in my room ! )
ARE WE THERE YET ?!
Flying past Baghdad - a very sombre and humbling moment when looking at the history of Kuwait and Iraq.
A look at my home for the next week ! Kuwait I am on my way !
Kuwait is in sight…..Just moments away from a holiday that starts with an amazing Airline !
External Camera View of the Runway. Apologies for the blurry image.
SALAAM kuwait !
At 2200pm, we touched down in Kuwait ! The Arabic Instrumental music played throughout the cabin.
Always nice to be amongst family !
Beautiful Farewell Message on the seatback video screens.
Many passengers had onward connections - I felt relaxed in the knowledge that my hotel was only 15 minutes away from the Airport and I did not have a connecting flight !
After a souvenier photo with my lovely crew, I exited the Aircraft and cleaners were waiting to board the aircraft. I smiled and said Hi to them as I disembarked.
BLUEBIRD SERVICE - GOLDEN CABIN CREW
Before I end the review, it is vital that I tell you about the cabin crew on my first ever Kuwait Airways flight.
In total there were 4 cabin crew ;
2 Male Kuwaiti cabin crew (both named Khaled ! ) and 2 Airhostesses ( 1 from Lebanon and the Inflight Manager from Egypt ). Being asked if want to try food from Business Class, is something I have never had before so this was a delight !
Mr Khaled (Economy Class ) took time to look at my Kuwait “to see” list and make suggestions. I thought it was very humbling when he said it is a gift for him that I was flying with Kuwait Airways.
All crew were most professional, courteous,personable,well groomed,hospitable,friendly and really proud to work for Kuwait Airways. The Inflight Manager Ms Amirah is a famous crew member who appears in adverts and at promotional events ! Ms Amirah might just be in the below photo !
Even after this long-ish flight, the crew spoke to me at the end of the flight as if I was a close friend. That genuine charm of theirs was really something beautiful to witness. The Captain even said hi as he prepared to exit at the end of disembarkation. The uniform is ultra chique but I don’t agree with the Airhostess hat which looks like it is about to fall off. In the next uniform update, I recommend a new hat with a draping chest height scarf which has traditional designs by a reputable Kuwaiti designer. The grooming of all 4 of my cabin crew was outstanding.
But I must give a very special thank you to Ms Amirah ! I have always said that if the Inflight Manager is passionate about service, then the other crew members will take the lead. Ms Amirah is a true credit to Kuwait Airways and I genuinely hope I meet her on another Kuwait Airways flight one day. All 4 Cabin Crew received a Thank You card from me :)
WELCOME TO KUWAIT
Rest assured that if you fly with an amazing airline, the inflight service will be supreme and be a world apart from the ground experience.
Whilst I would not say my experience on arrival in Kuwait was terrible, it was at times unnecessary and demeaning.
Screenshot by my Manchester Airport former colleague. This is Timatic, the system that Airlines use to check Visa Regulations for all Countries. Note that a British Passport holder gets a Visa on Arrival.
After disembarking my aircraft at 2230pm, I walked down a long corridor and then took an Escalator downstairs to booths with Immigration Officers.
Here is where Kuwait Airport seriously needs to improve.
I queued a short while and went to Desk 15..where I was directed to Desk 9…where I was directed to Desk 1.
Desk 1 was staffed by a guy who cannot have been older than 22/23. Bear in mind he is dealing with International Passengers and those,like myself, visiting Kuwait for the first time.
He said something in Arabic. I smiled and said I only speak English ( I speak Urdu,Punjabi and Dutch too but doubt that would have applied in this moment ). He said " Civil ID". I advised I only have my Passport and that as a British Citizen I am to get a Visa on Arrival ? ( for FR readers It took me many months and several hours to find out about the Visa Requirement. Trying to get a straight answer is nigh on impossible).
This kid then starts signalling with his hand to his left. I asked what he meant. He did the hand signal again. At this point I got annoyed, having been to 3 counters already. I firmly told him that I am a visitor to Kuwait and this is no way to behave with a guest.
He grabbed my Passport and stormed off to another booth. I followed and waited in a short queue. At this booth, the gentleman spoke English and smiled and asked if I have a Visa ? I advised I am to get a Visa on Arrival. He directed to me to the counters behind the escalators I had come down from earlier. He advised I need to go to the counter and then go back to Desk 1 ( where Mr Smiler was sat).
It baffles me that Airports like DOH/IST/KWI, the homebases of top level Airlines with State of the art terminals are partnered with some Airport/Immigration staff who usually don't speak English and have not smiled since birth. What an odd combination and what a disrespectful first impression of a home country.
A sample photo but the actual Visa entry Card I had to fill out. I did this with a Sharpie and was told it is ok.
I also asked if it is ok to make photos of the following and was told it is ok.
Whilst my information here is related to having a British Passport, I have found this great article for those of other nationalities.
There was no one else queuing and from what I gathered they were soon about to close the counter. I filled out my form and was told to wait a few minutes.
I was then summoned to the counter by a Kuwaiti Officer who had a lovely smile and was very friendly.
The conversation went like this :
Immigration Officer "Where are you from ?" My Answer " I am from England of Pakistani origin" ( believing this is what he was referring to).
Immigration Officer "Where were you born ?" My Answer " ( I gave my town near Glasgow)"
Immigration Officer " Where have you flown in from? " My Answer " Manchester"
Thank God I didn't tell him I lived in The Netherlands once ! The joys of being a Global Citizen !
He stamped my Printed Visa and said " Welcome to Kuwait". It is only in my hotel that I would find out that the Visa has to be given back upon departure from Kuwait.
I got my hand luggage and had to make my way to Desk 1 again. As I approached, the "happy" guy from earlier waved me through saying " It's finished".
My Hand luggage was scanned and searched and my baggage was by a desk in the baggage hall.
Thank You for reading my Flight Report and I hope you loved it ! Please do see my Kuwait Tourist Guide below.
Bonus : Click here display hide
kuwait tourist guide
Whilst Kuwait has extensive work to to where attracting tourists is concerned, the actual visit to the State is truly a joy for the senses !
KUWAIT FAST FACTS
Friendly hospitable locals, the vast majority of whom speak English, are very generous and welcoming of tourists. From giving directions to letting me use WiFi hotspots, I only encountered the most amazing residents of thsis beautiful State.
Phone Code ; +965
Currency ; Kuwaiti Dinar ( KWD ). 1 KWD is approximately GBP3.00
GMT ; +3
Taxi Ordering App ; Careem
Food Ordering App ; Talabat
Places to Visit in Kuwait You can witness a lot of aspects from the Arabic culture and see magnificent places. Here is a list of places you must see while you’re there ;
Liberation Tower Completed in 1993, this almost 400 metre high communications tower symbolizes Kuwait's liberation from Iraq.
Souk Al Mubarakiya Souk Al Mubarakiya is a historical marketplace where you can do traditional Kuwaiti shopping.
Kuwait Towers Kuwait Towers are the icon of Kuwait and a sign of the State's progress, where you can enjoy stunning views and even enjoy the adjacent beach. There is WiFi in the Mcdonalds next door. When ordering a taxi Mcdonalds only appears in Arabic but most taxis stop at the Sheetona Juice Truck in the car park.
Kuwait National Museum Kuwait National Museum is where you can find evidence and information about the history of Kuwait.
Kuwait Museum of Science and Natural History Kuwait Museum of Science and Natural History is where you can obtain information about not only science and natural history, but also technological experiments. It has several divisions, such as natural history, space science, machine, planetarium, electronic, zoology, aviation and health.
Seif Palace The Palace was built in the 20th century by Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, who is one of the most important people of Kuwait, and today it is located right across the Grand Mosque.
Grand Mosque The Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Kuwait. Its area spans 45,000 square metres, out of which the building itself covers 20,000 square metres. The main prayer hall is 72 metres wide on all sides, and has teakwood doors. Guided tours are offered. Please be respectful with how you dress as in any place of worship.
Failaka Island 20 km off the Kuwaiti mainland lies Failaka Island. Prior to 1990, two thousand people inhabited the island, most living in or around Zoor (also spelt Zawr), the only town on the island. During the weeks leading up to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, most people fled to the mainland, and the few that remained behind were forcefully deported by Iraqi troops. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, most buildings on Failaka Island still lie abandoned, riddled with bullet holes, covered by a layer of sand and overgrown with the sturdiest indigenous vegetation. The ground is littered with cartridges, bomb casings, and other miscellaneous military items that have stood the test of time.
Shopping culture is lively in the city. Locals generally prefer shopping centres like The Avenues. However, markets with traditional vendors are also of interest. Shopping centres are also interesting for tourists. You can find many popular store branches here. In order to buy souvenirs for your friends and family, you can visit Souk Al Mubarakiya. Alcohol and Nightclubs are strictly forbidden in Kuwait. But you can visit restaurants and cafes during the nights near the sea. All food in Kuwait is Halal and there is a massive choice of cuisines for even the biggest foodie !
Essential Phone Numbers
In case of an emergency you can call 112 either for ambulance, police, or fire service. Airport: +965 2431 9829
5 Must Try Authentic Kuwaiti Dishes
Authentic Kuwaiti food is full of flavour and your cultural experience will not be complete without it ! Kuwait’s cuisine is basically a mixture of Arabic, Persian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines. The most popular dish of Kuwait is “machboos”, which is made of basmati with meat or chicken and seasonings. Also, you can try pita called “khubz”, which is generally served with a fish sauce called mahyawa. When people think of Kuwait, Kuwaiti cuisine probably isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind. In fact, people can live for many years in Kuwait without actually ever sampling traditional Kuwaiti dishes. This isn’t due to ignorance.
It is because there is such a wide variety of cuisines and eating options available that Kuwaiti cuisine often gets overlooked. One may even be forgiven for thinking that Lebanese or Turkish cuisine is native to Kuwait since it is available in such abundance, however it isn’t !
Kuwaiti food is very rich in its flavour and taste. Tabeekh is a famous cooking method that is used for preparing many Kuwaiti dishes. In this method, the entire meal is cooked over heat after being placed in a single container. Another Kuwaiti cooking method is known as marag, in which all the important ingredients are first fried and prepared and then added to the final meal and cooked over light heat.
Move past the hummus and falafel to try some food that originated in Kuwait. Kuwait has it very own dishes that are made and served in their own unique ways.
Here are five must try Kuwaiti dishes you need to sample next time you are in Kuwait.
Machboos You don’t get much more Kuwaiti than Machboos. This is Kuwait’s national dish and is similar to mansaf in Jordan. It is a dish made with mutton, chicken or fish (depending on preference) accompanied over fragrant rice that has been cooked in a chicken/mutton well-spiced broth. Often served with a red gravy/sauce called dakoos, which may or may not come with soft potatoes. The meat is slow cooked so it is amazingly tender when served.
This is a thick soup like dish consisting of wheat cooked with meat then mashed, usually topped with cinnamon sugar. Despite its unappealing appearance and texture, it is extremely filling and serves as a fantastic comfort food to keep you warm during those cold Kuwaiti winter nights
<u style="">Muttabaq Samak
This is fish served over rice cooked in well-spiced fish stock. Although variations of this dish are found around the gulf, what makes this dish pure Kuwaiti is when it is served with Zubaidi (pomfret) fish, which is the national fish of Kuwait. If prepared well, the fish will be fresh and the rice will be flavourful.
This is definitely one of my favourite dishes in Kuwait. Murabyan is another rice dish (Kuwaiti’s do love their rice!) but this time, it is full of shrimp. The dish is flavoured with sautéed onions, turmeric, coriander and dried loomi (a dried black lime). The result is a delicious combination of flavours that is sure to satisfy.
Although it may seem like your average sponge cake, this Kuwaiti cake is the perfect way to end of a heavy meal. It has strong elements of cardamom, saffron, rose water and sesame with a light and fluffy texture.
Manchester - MAN
Kuwait City - KWI
Kuwait Airways is really on the path to progress !
If it makes some small refinements, like better and relatable IFE, appropriate aircraft for the Manchester route and better connections to/from Manchester, then I see no reason why Kuwait Airways can't be THE new darling Airline of Manchester, flying 5 x weekly if not daily !
Servicewise, scented towels and boiled sweets before take off/landing would add elegance to Economy Class as well as making the first few rows of the A320neo curtained off and upgraded to a Premium Economy cabin. Eyeshades and dental kits should be offered to all passengers in the absence of amenity kits on this service.
The A320neo however is not at all appropriate for seat comfort on this medium to borderline long haul flight and I am sure there is plenty of demand to upgrade to a permanent A330. Amsterdam gets a Kuwait Airways 777-300 so I am not sure why Manchester passengers must make do with a babybus.
From 3 weeks after this flight there have been many A330 visits and even the A330-800neo has made multiple appearances at Manchester, so hopefully this will become a long term arrangement where Passenger Comfort is concerned.
As the turnaround is time sensitive for any airline, every second counts. Emirates manage to turn around and fully board an A380 at Manchester, on average in around 90 minutes. easyJet and SAS turn around their A320neos in 5 minutes !
To help Kuwait Airways' turnounds at Manchester Airport, I suggest the following time saving tips.
On the inbound KU113, crew should collect headsets and trash meaning less time is needed by the cleaners to clean when the aircraft arrives on stand.
For the outbound KU114, headsets should not have to be placed in the seatpockets by the crew. Instead, these should be given out by the crew during boarding or after take off.
Overall, it was a true joy to fly Kuwait Airways for the first time. But would the return flight be as good ? Or better ? Join me onboard KU 113 to find out !
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