Review: Kuwait Airways Lounge Kuwait Airport

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 Kuwait City to New York (via Shannon) was departing at 9AM, and we got to the airport plenty early, at around 6:15AM. We had already received our boarded passes all the way to New York in Dhaka, so could skip the check-in counters (which were deserted anyway).

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Kuwait Airport check-in hall

Kuwait Airport is pretty solid. While the finishes don’t come off as especially luxurious, the ceilings are high, and they have excellent concessions.

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Kuwait Airport departures hall

Starbucks and Pinkberry next to one another? Yes please!

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Kuwait Airport departures hall

We walked to the far end of the hall, where the immigration and security checkpoint were located. There was no line at immigration, so we were through in a matter of moments. The security checkpoint was quick as well.

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Kuwait Airport immigration & security

Past security we headed towards the Kuwait Airways lounge, which was located past security and to the right, about a two minute walk away.

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Kuwait Airport departures area

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Kuwait Airport departures area

The lounge was located up a level from the main concourse, and could be accessed either by stairs or elevator.

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Kuwait Airways lounge exterior

At the reception desk our boarding passes were scanned and we were invited into the lounge.

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Kuwait Airways lounge reception

First we headed to the left side of the lounge. There was a small business center with some computers to the left, and some seating and newspapers to the right.

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Kuwait Airways lounge entryway

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Kuwait Airways lounge business center

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

Past that was the main area of the lounge, which was pretty large. I appreciated all the partitions that they used in designing the lounge, which made it feel a bit more private than most other lounges.

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

Back near the entrance and to the right was another small sitting area, with some reclining seats and ottomans. This area seemed to be the emptiest part of the lounge, as there were just a couple of people there.

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

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Kuwait Airways lounge seating

Near the entrance to the lounge were some plane models. Oddly they had airplane models from MEA, Gulf Air, and Saudia, and only had one Kuwait model plane.

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Kuwait Airways lounge airplane models

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Kuwait Airways lounge airplane models

Back to the left and at the far end of the lounge was the dining area and buffet. There were lots of dining tables with four seats each, as well as two self serve buffets.

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge dining area

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

The food selection exceeded my expectations — I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge buffet

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Kuwait Airways lounge bread

The lounge also had juice and ice cream.

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Kuwait Airways lounge ice cream & juice

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Kuwait Airways lounge ice cream

Then there was a selection of self serve soft drinks and water — Kuwait Airways is a dry airline, including on the ground, so there was no alcohol.

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Kuwait Airways lounge soft drinks

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Kuwait Airways lounge bottled water

I appreciated that they had a proper espresso machine, so you could order an espresso, cappuccino, americano, etc.

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Kuwait Airways lounge espresso machine

Past the dining area were the bathrooms, which were decent enough. I didn’t see any shower rooms, however.

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Kuwait Airways lounge bathrooms

There was also a play area for kids.

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Kuwait Airways lounge kids area

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Kuwait Airways lounge kids area

Then there was a small smoking lounge.

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Kuwait Airways lounge smoking room

We didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, but I was saving my appetite for onboard. I just had an americano, and also one of the cups of vanilla ice cream (the ice cream was really light).

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Kuwait Airways lounge ice cream

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Kuwait Airways lounge coffee

Unfortunately the wifi in the lounge was slow, which was my only complaint about the place. Otherwise I thought it was a nice lounge, and it exceeded my expectations.

Our flight was scheduled to board at 8:15AM, so we headed to our departure gate at around 7:45AM. We were departing from gate 21, which was about a five minute walk from our gate.

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Walking to departure gate Kuwait Airport

As we approached the gate there was quite a line to enter the gate area. Fortunately they have a separate line for first & business class passengers, so we were able to jump to the front (though it was a bit awkward, since others thought we were cutting the line).

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Line at gate for flight to New York

I had an “SSSS” on my boarding pass (for a while this was a serious issue, though I’ve since gotten it resolved — however, sometimes you’ll still randomly be chosen for additional security based on having a “suspicious” one-way ticket). There was an additional security checkpoint at the gate, and then since I had the “SSSS” on my boarding pass, my bags were searched and I was given a pat down. It was a painless process, though.

The gate area was still pretty empty at this point — it seems we were among the first to arrive. However, I always make an effort to be among the first, so I could hopefully be among the first to board and get pictures.

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Departure gate to New York

As we arrived at the gate we saw one of Kuwait’s gorgeous new 777-300ERs taxi by.

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Kuwait Airways 777-300ER

Unfortunately that wasn’t our plane, and instead we had to take buses to our plane. While I’m used to remote stands, the puzzling thing was that we actually had a gate, they just weren’t using it. Something about the below picture doesn’t look especially efficient. 😉

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Remote boarding at Kuwait Airport

While boarding was supposed to start at 8:15AM, it only started at 8:35AM. There was a lot of frustration among passengers, since they felt like there wasn’t much communication from the staff.

Finally at 8:35AM our boarding passes were scanned, and we were among the first down the jet bridge. However, as they scanned the boarding passes they handed us new ones. They explained that our seats that we had reserved in row six were “broken,” and instead assigned us new seats in row nine.

As I walked onto the tarmac I noticed they were using what looked like a catering truck to load a passenger. As I later found out, there was a passenger with a serious medical condition onboard, and he was traveling in business class, along with a doctor, his family, etc., so that’s how he was transported.

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Remote boarding at Kuwait Airport

We waited about five minutes for the bus to fill up, and then started the long drive to the plane. We drove past an Emirates 777 and all kinds of Kuwait Airways planes.

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Emirates 777 Kuwait Airport

Eventually we got to a security checkpoint where they checked for explosives underneath the bus.

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Security check heading to the plane

Eventually we got to an area where a few “heavies” were parked, including a Kuwait Airways 747 (which has an interesting story).

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Kuwait Airways 747 Kuwait Airport

And then there was our beautiful Kuwait Airways 777-300ER.

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Kuwait Airways 777 Kuwait Airport

No matter how you feel about Kuwait Airways as such, I think there’s no denying that they have a beautiful new livery.

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Kuwait Airways 777 Kuwait Airport

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Kuwait Airways 777 Kuwait Airport

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Kuwait Airways 777 Kuwait Airport

Kuwait Airways Lounge bottom line

Kuwait Airport as such is a solid airport. It’s easy to use, with short lines at immigration and security. Beyond that, the food and dining options were pretty great. The Kuwait Airways lounge was nicer than I was expecting, though in fairness, I had pretty low expectations (given the overall reputation that Kuwait Airways has). Overall it was a perfectly nice place to pass time.

The boarding process was a bit chaotic, due to the use of a remote stand despite having a vacant gate, and also the delayed boarding.

I was curious to see what the onboard experience would be like.

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. “Kuwait Airways is a dry airline, including on the ground, so there was no alcohol.”

    Well, it is a dry country too (in theory)…

  2. As KWI is currently my home airport I agree with most said about the lounge. However the lines at immigration and security can stretch to a 2 hour wait if leaving during a peak time during the week.

    Lucky must have been flying out during an off peak time.

  3. So Lucky..to give you a bit of insight into Kuwait…

    Yes..the country is really a foodie capital (or trying to be) in the Middle East, but of course with it being a dry country, that tends to be a problem.

    Also..the peak times for the airporrt are normally Thursday night and Saturday nights (this is when people leave and come back from Kuwait to going to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, etc)

  4. Lucky, Did you have to give a DNA swab on arrival? I read that Kuwait was implementing that last year. How was that done?

  5. @Drew/@Essam,

    What was the purpose of the proposed DNA swab? to check for religious blood lineage?

  6. The small terminal at KWI can be overcrowded most of the time. Although there is a new and bigger terminal under construction. My understanding is that KU might soon use this terminal exclusively once the new terminal is completed.

  7. Personally I wish, hope, and pray that all measures taken seriously in order to kick back out all non-Kuwaitis who sneaked in our society during the last 3 decades by all ways of unlegitimate gaining of our national IDs and humped our backs by misusing the rights nationals are given, which according to some it could reach nearly half a million population mainly from Saudi origins. We hope our leadership cleans our little community from those outsiders as soon as possible.

  8. “We were departing from gate 21, which was about a five minute walk from our gate.”

    I think you meant to say it was a five minute walk from the lounge, no?

  9. The ‘Catering Truck’ is used in most European airports to load infirm and disabled passengers to remote gates or to gates without a jetbridge (Ryanair for example), very common

  10. KWI is my home airport as well. Both of the lounges next to security/immigration our priority pass/lounge club lounges which helps. The Dasan lounge you were is the second best lounge at that terminal in my opinion. The best lounge is the dedicated Emirates lounge close to gate 21 I believe.

  11. The lounge is great. The airport is the worst airport I have ever been in getting through passport control. Too many people too small a space. You got Lucky. It is usually absolute chaos.

  12. We found KU to be good & reliable, Even KWI has decent lounges and good dining options ‘s Starbucks, Shake Shake, Potbelly, Pinkcberry We were impressed! Flying KU next July Frankfort to Bangkok and back.

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