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
As our bus pulled up to the remote stand, I was happy to see that our flight was actually operated by a 777-300ER. Kuwait Airways’ 777-200s are ancient, so I was worried we’d have a last minute swap. Fortunately that wasn’t the case, and I was excited to experience the “future” of Kuwait Airways.
Kuwait Airways 117
Kuwait (KWI) – New York (JFK)
Friday, March 17
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 9H (Business Class)
We boarded through door L2, where we were pointed right into the business class cabin.
Kuwait Airways has B/E Aerospace Diamond seats in business class on their 777-300ERs, which is a similar product to what’s available on Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air China, KLM, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, United, etc.
The rear business class cabin had a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows, in a 2-2-2 configuration.
There was also a forward business class cabin, in front of the second set of doors, and behind first class. It had two rows, for a total of 12 seats. That means the entire business class cabin had 36 seats.
We were in seats 9H & 9K, which were the aisle and window seat in the second to last row of the rear business class cabin.
B/E Aerospace Diamond seats aren’t really cutting edge, but at least they’re fully flat. The advantage of these over standard forward facing seats is that they have a bit more privacy, as the seats are slightly staggered. The downside is that they only have a small area where you can place your feet, so the seat isn’t that spacious in the fully reclined position.
There’s a nice permanent privacy partition between seats. It’s low enough so you can talk to the person seated next to you, but high enough so you have a bit of privacy when fully reclined.
Behind that is the storage area, which is exposed. It also has a headphone jack and power outlets.
On the center armrest are the seat controls, which are easy to use.
The tray table folded out of the center armrest, and you could use either the whole thing or half of it.
I really appreciate that Kuwait Airways has individual air nozzles on their 777s, which far too many airlines don’t.
Waiting at my seat on boarding was a scratchy fleece blanket and a pillow — c’mon Kuwait Airways, you can do better than this, especially for longhaul flights.
About 10 minutes after settling in, the crew came by our seats to offer us pre-departure beverages. The choice was between strawberry juice, orange juice, and water. We both had the strawberry juice, which was tasty, and served with mixed nuts.
The flight attendants working the flight were a combination of local men and women from other countries (the flight attendants serving us were Indian and Eastern European). The entire crew was very friendly. They were clearly very proud of their new plane, which was nice to see.
I knew first class was empty on this flight, so asked one of the flight attendants if I could get a picture of one of the seats. He checked with his supervisor, and said it was okay. So I quickly walked to the first class cabin to take a look. The cabin was in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a total of eight fully enclosed seats. The cabin looked pretty nice — I hope to fly it some day.
Once back at our seats we were presented with headphones. Rather hilariously, they came in a pouch that just said “Luxury” on it, with the Kuwait Airways logo. Hah.
The headphones were fine, though I’m not sure they lived up to the “Luxury” title.
After that we were offered warm towels.
Then we were offered Arabic coffee and dates. It’s impressive that they offer this, as many other carriers don’t in business class.
I also loved the cup this was offered in.
Our departure was delayed by a bit due to a passenger with a medical issue being loaded. There was a young boy who was badly bruised in the first row of the rear business class cabin. He was loaded onto the plane in what looked like a catering truck of sorts, and they had to lift him from the stretcher onto the seat, which they left fully reclined. There was a doctor traveling with him, along with his family.
Finally at around 9:20AM the door closed, with about two thirds of business class seats occupied. Moments later the prayer and safety video were screened. After that the lead flight attendant made an announcement informing us of our flight time of 7hr50min to Shannon. Yes, the flight to New York makes a stop in Shannon, though everyone on the plane goes to New York, and they don’t pick up any new passengers.
At 9:25AM we began our pushback, next to a Kuwait Airways 747-400.
As we pushed back we also saw the super sexy State of Kuwait 747-8. I can’t even imagine what that plane’s interior is like.
I loved the planes we saw enroute to the runway, including all the air force planes.
Kuwait’s 777 has a really great nose camera. While I prefer the tail camera on the A380 in terms of the perspective it offers, the clarity of the camera was incredible.
By 9:40AM we were holding short of the runway, and just waiting for a few planes to land and take off.
At 9:45AM we were cleared for takeoff.
Our takeoff roll wasn’t especially long, and our climb out was fairly steep.
We had great views as we flew out over the coast.
About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, I checked out the two lavatories located between the two business class cabins. They were fairly small, though nice enough. There were also some amenities, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
About 20 minutes after takeoff the crew distributed amenity kits. The kits were pretty nice, and primarily had Aigner amenities. There was body lotion, deodorant, lip balm, eyeshades, socks, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush, a mirror, etc. For business class it was a pretty solid kit, in my opinion.
We were also offered bottles of water.
About 30 minutes after takeoff tablecloths were distributed, and we were told we’d be offered “refreshments.”
They rolled a trolly down the aisle that had coffee, tea, and small plates with snacks.
The below was the extent of the snack. Everything tasted decent, though it was small.
We were informed that we’d be offered a full meal about three hours before landing.
I find this to be sort of annoying on a couple of levels:
- The flight left at 9AM, so most people would have to leave their home/hotel by 6AM to get to the airport, and probably wouldn’t have breakfast; you’d think you’d serve a full meal right after takeoff, since most people would be hungry
- The nonstop flight would be about 14 hours, though they break it up into two flights of roughly seven hours, which limits the amount of sleep you can get; on top of that, they then serve the meals a bit over halfway into the flight, which even further limits the sleep you can get
The snack itself was fine, though we hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I was still hungry. The flight attendants were friendly and offered drink refills, and upon my request also gave me some packaged nuts.
At that point the cabin lights and window shades were all lowered.
After the snack was finished I connected to Kuwait’s inflgiht wifi. The available packages were similar to those on my previous Kuwait Airways flight:
- 30 minutes for $10
- 60 minutes for $20
- 180 minutes for $40
That pricing is definitely on the high side. Other airlines offer 24 hour wifi passes for ~$20, with no data caps. However, I will say that it wasn’t so obscenely priced that it was unusable. Paying ~$13 per hour for fast wifi while flying isn’t terrible. Especially in comparison to airlines that charge based on data, where you could find yourself paying over $1,000 for all the data you’d use.
So Kuwait Airways doesn’t have my favorite wifi, but it’s not so unreasonably priced that it’s not worth using if you’re trying to work, in my opinion. While you could switch between devices, there was no option to stop the “clock,” so the three hours was calculated from when you started your connection, rather than based on continuous use.
I also checked out the on-demand entertainment system.
I started by taking a look at the airshow — we were flying over Iran at the time.
I then browsed the movie and TV selection. The selection was solid, better than I was expecting for sure. There were dozens of Hollywood movies, lots of sitcoms, etc. No, it wasn’t Emirates’ great ICE system, but was still good.
Since I had paid for the wifi, I worked for a few hours, and before I knew it we were over Eastern Europe. During this time the crew stayed in the galley and didn’t come through the cabin much, though when I pushed the call button they quickly appeared without seeming ticked off, so I have no complaints about the service.
Just under three hours before landing the meal service began.
The crew distributed menus — unlike the last flight, at least they had menus this time around.
The menu read as follows:
The drink list read as follows (as you can see, Kuwait Airways is a dry airline):
Tablecloths were distributed, and then trays with the salad and appetizer were served.
The appetizer consisted of smoked turkey with fig jam on toast, smoked salmon with capers on pumpernickel bread, and hummus. It was tasty.
The side salad was small, but at least had some tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, quinoa, etc.
I was also offered a selection of bread.
The crew rolled a trolley down the aisle with all the main courses, so you could see the dishes before you selected them.
I ordered the “fisherman’s delight,” which had skewers containing diced salmon, prawns, and scallops, with a curry cream sauce. The dish was exceptional.
Ford had the chicken stuffed with spinach and ricotta, which was served with rice and grilled vegetables. He enjoyed his dish as well.
The crew offered us Tabasco to go along with the dish, which I thought was a nice touch.
Once the mains were cleared, the crew rolled a dessert trolley down the aisle.
I ordered the cheese and cake, while Ford had the fruit and ice cream. The dessert was excellent as well — Ford enjoyed the ice cream, and the butter cake with raspberry was delicious.
After lunch I watched a couple of sitcoms. About 45 minutes before landing the crew came through the cabin to offer Arabic coffee or mint tea. We requested some mint tea, which was served in cute glasses.
A few minutes later we began our descent into Shannon.
While the descent was smooth at first, we hit some turbulence on our approach, and there was very limited visibility.
We finally broke out of the clouds at a low altitude (I’d say at around 1,000 feet), just a minute or two before touching down.
The nose camera was high resolution, so it was cool to see the runway as we were about to land.
We had a smooth touchdown in Shannon at 1:55PM.
From there we had a short five minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we arrived at 2PM.
All passengers were advised that they had to deplane, as there was a crew change in Shannon.
Kuwait Airways business class bottom line
Overall Kuwait Airways business class is reasonably solid, especially compared to what they used to be. They have a lot of things going for them — the fully flat seats were comfortable (though there are better products out there for longhaul flights), the food was excellent (though could be better presented), and the crew was friendlier than I was expecting.
At the same time, there are so many areas where a bit of effort would go a long way. The meal service on the flight was poorly timed, as a meal after takeoff would seem logical, and their system minimized the amount of rest passengers were able to get. Better bedding would also help.
But overall Kuwait Airways exceeded my expectations, and at a good price, I’d recommend them.