Introduction: Journey To Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, And Kuwait
Review: Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Korean Air Business Class 747-8 San Francisco To Seoul
Review: Korean Air Business Class 777 Seoul To Kathmandu
Review: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
Review: Kathmandu Airport Lounge
Review: Drukair Business Class A319 Kathmandu To Paro
Review: Le Meridien Thimphu
Review: Le Meridien Paro
Hiking To The Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
How We Spent Our Time In Bhutan
Review: Drukair Economy ATR42 Paro To Dhaka
Review: Presidential Suite At The Le Meridien Dhaka
Review: Dhaka Airport Lounge
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class A330 Dhaka To Kuwait
Review: Sheraton Kuwait
Review: Kuwait Airways Lounge Kuwait Airport
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class 777 Kuwait To Shannon
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class 777 Shannon To New York
Our flight from Dhaka to Kuwait City was operated by one of Kuwait Airways’ new A330 aircraft, which are in a three class configuration. There’s first class, business class, and economy class. However, on the Dhaka to Kuwait flight, the airline doesn’t actually sell the first class cabin (I guess because the premium cabin demand isn’t there).
So on our flight, business class passengers got seated in first class, and then economy class passengers partly got seated in business class. As a result, service in first class was the same you’d usually get in business class, while business class had the standard economy service.
Kuwait Airways 286
Dhaka (DAC) – Kuwait City (KWI)
Thursday, March 16
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 3K (Business Class)
We boarded through the forward left door, where we were greeted by the crew and pointed to the far aisle, where our seats were located. Kuwait Airways’ A330 first class cabin consists of reverse herringbone seats that are in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are a total of 17 seats, meaning there are four full rows, and then in the back there’s a single seat on the left side of the cabin.
The cabin reminded me a lot of American’s A330 business class, in terms of the seats themselves, the finishes, etc.
Since the cabin was still empty, I quickly ran to business class, which was located behind the second set of doors. Kuwait Airways’ A330 business class cabin consists of a total of 30 seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The seats are pretty standard angled flat seats. It’s unfortunate the don’t have fully flat seats, but then again, they don’t really use these planes for any “true” longhaul flights.
Then I headed back to my seat. I assigned myself seat 3J, while Ford was in front of me, in seat 2J.
This was a pretty standard reverse herringbone configuration, with good legroom and privacy. The entertainment screen “swings” out from the seat in front.
To the right of the seat was a reading light, entertainment controller, seat controller, power outlets, and headphone jack. Everything was pretty easy to use, including the seat controls.
The tray table folded out of the right-side armrest. The tray could be folded in half, though not in the usual way (which is that the left side folds onto the right side).
The seat didn’t have the storage compartment that some airlines place in the console of the reverse herringbone seat, though there was an exposed storage compartment at the bottom right of the seat.
I also really appreciated that Kuwait Airways has individual air vents on their A330s, which far too many airlines don’t have.
Waiting at my seat on boarding were a pillow and blanket, which weren’t especially comfortable. I think bedding is a lost opportunity for many airlines, and unfortunately it’s not an area where Kuwait Airways excels. The pillow was thin and blanket scratchy.
Boarding was pretty hectic, especially since many of the people onboard clearly weren’t frequent flyers, so had trouble finding their seats (many just sat down around us, thinking it was open seating). So there was no service initially, though once boarding was complete, the crew came around with pre-departure beverages.
The choice was between pineapple juice, mango juice, guava juice, and water. I chose the mango juice, and was offered some snack mix to go along with it. Keep in mind Kuwait Airways is a dry airline, so they don’t serve alcohol at any point in the flight.
Shortly thereafter I was offered a hot towel.
I was also offered a set of headphones, which weren’t especially high quality.
My initial impressions of the flight attendants was favorable. A majority of the crew seemed to be Kuwaiti men, while the entire female crew was from other countries. Our flight attendant was from Tunisia, and she seemed well intentioned.
Kuwait Airways has interesting boarding music, which consisted of acoustic versions of popular songs by Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Sia, etc. Not what you’d necessarily expect on Kuwait Airways!
By around 8:30AM we were mostly ready for departure, and only one other first class seat was taken. It was pretty clear that the guy was a Kuwaiti air marshal. There were a couple of them in economy as well, and they walked between cabins, switched seats every so often, etc.
At 8:40AM the door was closed, and shortly thereafter we began our pushback. The lead flight attendant announced our flight time of 6hr20min, and moments later screened the prayer and safety video.
By 8:45AM our engines were started up and we began our taxi to the runway. We taxied past some cool planes, including a Biman 777, Regent 737, US-Bangla 737, etc.
There were even some older Biman planes, which I believe are now out of service.
The most interesting thing, though, was the aircraft storage facility. There were tons of planes with their engines covered, etc. Many of them didn’t even have engines. I’m a bit surprised they’d permanently store planes at a pretty major international airport — you’d think there would be a more practical place for that.
By shortly before 9AM we started our takeoff roll, which was pretty quick.
Kuwait Airways has a nose camera on the A330, so I kept that on as we rocketed down the runway.
I looked out the window for the first five minutes of our climb, and then closed the window shade.
As we continued our climb out I checked out the entertainment system.
I started with the airshow.
After that I checked out the TV & movie selection. The quantity of the selection seemed to be pretty good, though the focus was definitely on Bollywood over Hollywood.
The TV show selection had a few more options I was used to seeing.
Kuwait Airways also offers wifi on their A330s, and they charge based on how long you connect (with no data limits). There’s no option to buy a pass lasting the entire flight, so the cost is as follows:
- 30 minutes for $10
- 60 minutes for $20
- 180 minutes for $40
The time is measured from when you initially connect, so there’s no way to stop the “counter” once you start it.
After takeoff the crew came through and closed all the window shades in the first class cabin, and turned on the mood lighting.
I checked out the lavatory, located at the very front of the cabin. It was on the small side, and only had basic amenities.
At 9:30AM the flight attendant placed tablecloths on our tray. She explained the three breakfast options — chicken kofta, spinach paratha, or an omelet. There were no menus on the flight, and also no amenity kits, for that matter.
The entire breakfast was served on a single tray. Ford ordered the chicken kofta, which he enjoyed.
I ordered the spinach paratha, which was excellent.
Like, it was really good.
It was served with a side of fresh fruit, and also a selection of pastries and bread.
So while the food quality was excellent, you’d think they could serve a more elaborate meal on a 6hr20min flight. There was no other meal on the flight, so everything was just on a single tray.
As far as the service goes, the flight attendant serving us seemed friendly, though also wasn’t attentive or polished. That’s to say that she didn’t really check on us often, but when I asked for something she always gladly got it.
After breakfast I decided to nap for a bit, and managed to get about two hours of sleep. When I woke up I ordered an English breakfast tea. It was brought to me a few minutes later, along with some pound cake. Kuwait Airways uses Lipton tea — c’mon, they should be able to do better than that.
I then decided to watch a couple of TV shows, including Parks & Recreation.
I then watched an Indian travel show about Dubai.
One annoying thing was that before every program there was a lengthy Kuwait Airways commercial, and there was no easy way to fast forward through it.
I then connected to the wifi and worked for a bit (the wifi was pretty fast, but pricey), and before I knew it we were about 90 minutes out.
The flight attendant asked if I wanted anything else to drink, so I ordered a coffee. That was served with a big plate of carbs, which I guess was the pre-arrival snack. I was expecting a more substantial pre-landing snack…
At about 11:50AM local time we began our descent into Kuwait, and the seatbelt sign was turned back on. There were no announcements from the cockpit the whole flight, though the seatbelt sign was on for much of the flight, despite it being mostly smooth.
We had a nice view of the Kuwait waterfront as we descended.
At 12:20PM we had a smooth touchdown at Kuwait Airport.
The planes at the airport were interesting, including the Kuwait Airways 747, as well as Kuwait’s 747-8 (the tail of which you can see in the background in the below picture). There were also many military planes.
After taxiing for about 10 minutes we arrived at a remote stand, and parked between a Kuwait A340 and a Philippine Airlines A330.
There were three buses waiting for passengers.
After dozens of people piled onto our bus, we were driven to the terminal, which took about five minutes
Kuwait offers visas on arrival for US passport holders, though this requires going to a separate area of the terminal. So we had to take the escalator up a level, and fill our visa on arrival forms. The officers were a bit rude at first, but when they saw our US passports suddenly very friendly and welcomed us.
The process took about 10 minutes, and there was no cost for the visa. However, by the time we got back to immigration, the entire plane was ahead of us in line. This was exactly the same time our crew arrived in the terminal. They saw us, motioned for us to get out of line, and explained we didn’t have to wait but could go right through, since our visa on arrival already counts as being “stamped” into the country. They literally walked us through the crew channel, which was very nice of them.
Outside we were met by a representative from the Sheraton, for our brief layover in the city.
Kuwait Airways A330 business class bottom line
There’s no doubt that Kuwait Airways is trying to improve, at least in terms of their hard product. The A330 is a solid plane, though in fairness, I got a first class seat at a business class price due to how they sell their plane to Dhaka. This isn’t a plane with an industry leading hard product, but is a massive improvement over what they used to offer.
There’s still some room for improvement on their soft product, though. While the food quality was excellent, I got a single tray of food on a 6hr20min flight. You’d think they could draw out the meal service more, or have a proper snack. Furthermore, some better bedding would go a long way.
Nonetheless I found it to be an all around solid experience, and it exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations.