Kuwait Airways – Whats Left?

After Futoor on Wednesday I got text messages stating that another Kuwait Airways Plane had an emergency landing in Jeddah right after take off and Emergency Oxygen Masks were deployed in the plane. This is the second incident in the last month of a plane having a major mechanical failure, the one before this is when the engines went out on the plane but luckily the pilots knew how to handle the planes and themselves in these emergency situations. One thing that is or was good about Kuwait Airways is that they really trained their pilots, they are probably the best in the region if not the world but I don’t know how of those pilots are left because they are picked up by Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, and even GulfAir with better salaries and benefits.

Our national carrier was the pride of the country, landing points in every major airport across the world, in 2012 it isn’t even a shadow of what it used to be. Kuwait Airways have 15 aircrafts in their fleet and of them 5 have been grounded as of the last two to three weeks, the Airbus A310s & A300s. I don’t even know if they have anymore spare parts to fix these planes and get them airborne let alone safe.

In 2006 Kuwait Airways placed an order for 17 to 19 New Aircrafts, a combination of Airbus 320s & Boeing 787 Dreamliners which was approved by the Council of Ministers. The amount totaled $3 Billion and right after that was blocked by Parliament which they stated at the point would privatize Kuwait Airways giving the New Investors the choice of Aircraft, its now 2012 and still no steps have gone forward in the privatization direction. They were supposed to receive a third of their fleet by 2010 and the rest by the beginning of 2014 since they whole fleet had to be replaced because of their age. I think based on recent events their age is showing and its not a good sign.

Lets not even discuss the level of service or rudeness of the staff, that’s a whole different post but sometimes I can’t blame them because the people who are getting on the plane are even ruder. Kuwaitis act very badly on Kuwait Airways and get away with it, but they wouldn’t even think of trying that on any other airline because they know they would get kicked off. The staff feels like they are falling apart as well, even though there are still some good people there, they are the minority these days.

I believe in a National Carrier but in this case the risk of taking Kuwait Airways is not a risk I am willing to take. I wouldn’t even pay for a ticket on Kuwait Airways in the first place, I have flown Kuwait Airways twice in the past 10 years and both times have been a disaster of an experience but now its getting dangerous to fly on them.

Even if they wanted to get new planes there are three possible ways, they would lease it from one of these Plane Dealers at a very high rate to get it as early as possible, and even if they did they would get it before 2014. They can buy it from Boeing or Airbus but that won’t be available except until 2016 and even if someone cancels there order they would have to check if Kuwait Airways have the same plane requirements to see if they match so that they could get it sooner, or they just move up a bit in the que. In any case it doesn’t look like they can even get new planes any time soon.

There has to be less politics in Kuwait Airways and they need to clean it up, I don’t know how much longer it can survive limping from year to year.

Check out the video below: The 787 Dreamliner is a plane took time to come market while Boeing worked out all the kinks in it, but it has been worth it, its a wider plane with a higher ceiling making it more comfortable for people to fly in. It also has a steep take off and is a very dynamic plane which is very maneuverable, check out the video below at an airshow in the UK where Boeing showcases the new Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner.

Pearl Lounge Update

After years of use they finally decided to upgrade the place, I know they charge about 10 KD for entry if you don’t have a business class seat, I’m not sure what fees they get from the other airlines but I’m assuming its a lot of money at this point. You would think they would make improvements at least on a yearly basis but that isn’t the case. Luckily they do have free internet but honestly its so insanely slow it really kills, they should upgrade it since people are consistently using it. At least this time around the couches are relatively comfortable compared to the previous ones, those were falling apart and needed to be changed, but I think there are too many single couches around the whole place and only large couches on the side which are too few.

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The Pleasure Of Flying

Flatly I want Wataniya Airlines back!

For local travel within the region there wasn’t an airline that could beat its price for comfort package, and the airport was so convenient that every other factor was minimized in comparison. Many people including myself are sick of Kuwait Airport, its a jungle and its frustrating getting to the planes when at Wataniya Airlines it was so easy and enjoyable it didn’t feel like you were in an airport. I got my starbucks, went to the lounge, sat down and relaxed before the flight.

These days I dread having these impromptu meetings in all different areas. I have to check Emirates, Middle East Airlines, Gulf Air, Jazeera, Royal Jordanian and any other airline thats going in the direction that I am going. I got used to only being at the airport 30 to 45 minutes before the flight, and now we are back to leaving the home 2 hours before the flight just to be sure I make it or nothing stops us.

I’m not the biggest fan of Jazeera since they treat their customers like cattle and if they could charge you extra for being a big guy then they would. Surprisingly Jazeera increased their prices from 20 to 60% for many of the desitionations right after Wataniya Airways made their anouncement. They still have their deals but it isn’t what it used to be, and its not like they aren’t making a lot of money with all the ridiculous amount of extra fees.

There is still hope for Wataniya Airways yet, and this is just a rumor that Wataniya Airywas will be coming back in different form. A lot of employees have found new jobs after leaving Wataniya because they didn’t know what their job status was and I’m assuming there is going to be a lot of legal issues going on with them. Wataniya Airways is now a nonoperating Airline but they aren’t going to be bought out, what they are trying to do is bid to buy Kuwait Airways. Wataniya Airways have 7 planes, 3 or 4 parked in Kuwait at Sheikh Saad Airport and the rest in Amaan Jordan, and they will have to pay $70 Million to Alafco as part of their lease payments for these planes, and that doesn’t include the other incuring expenses. The rule that has been stipulated in the bid for Kuwait Airways is that who ever bids for Kuwait Airways can’t be an operating airlines, and the government is reaching the final stages to put Kuwait Airways for a bid. So the step Wataniya Airways took is so they would be in prime position to buy out Kuwait Airways, and if they do take over then it would be a fantastic development. I really don’t have a clue how this is going to work out or how long it takes, but I hope it happens soon and I do hope that they take over Kuwait Airways.

Our Lovely Customs

I ordered the Norco DS-1500 Sata Storage to incorporate into my Rack Server, planning a very interesting build. I have had it in my Amazon Cart for about 6 months, and I at last decided to buy it as of three weeks ago. Around the 20th of June it came into Kuwait and there was a problem at customs, I knew something was going to happen just wasn’t sure what. The smart people at Aramex listed this Sata Storage device as a sporting goods on the manifest, so how surprised were the customs guys when it looked like a box with a bunch of wires. So automatically they held the box so Aramex contacted me asking for the invoice, I told them the invoice is inside the box and I decided to finish the paperwork myself.

Went to the customs guy and finished all the paper work necessary, they just asked for the MOC clearance for the product. I know that usually they will clear it quickly. The box was opened one day so the next morning I went to the MOC and that took sometime, more then I thought was necessary since I had to find the head of the MOC clearance department and he was taking a longer break then usual, as the secretary said. I didn’t have time to go to the customs so I thought I would go the next day. When I went the next day they couldn’t find the box, I went to Kuwait Airways and they said they returned the box to Global Logisitics for storage. It has been over four days now and I have sent formal letters to both Kuwait Airways and Global Logistics regarding my Sata Storage and nobody seems to be giving me the time of day, I’m bouncing back and forth between the two and they are both denying that any of them had kept it or the other received even though I was with the customs guys when they returned and it has been over a week and I’m asking for financial damages to paid for the item as well as the shipping that I paid for it. Lets see how this all works out and how long it will take, and the customs guys are saying that Kuwait Airways and Global Logistics are responsible for holding the items.

Another Kuwait Airways Flight

It really is a story every time I go on Kuwait Airways. This time around I really didn’t a choice in the matter, it was due to the availabiliity of flights and timing with my meetings.

The Lounge
I haven’t used to the Lounge for Kuwait Airways before since I try to avoid taking this airline. Surprisingly the lounge is large and comfortable, big leather seats and the food seemed good. The wireless connection was very strong, and its the first time I see something good from Kuwait Airways. The only problem was that the staff were anouncing the flights wrong, and so I wasn’t being updated on my flight.

The Flight
It said gate 23 on my ticket, but turned out to be gate 22 which means you have to take a bus to the plane. There was nobody to organize the bus ride so the driver came and told us to get in, it is hot as hell outside and the A/C wasn’t working on the bus. We waited about 15 minutes for other people for no reason, it was ridiculous.

We got to the plane, it was an Airbus A320, I really don’t like those planes because of their configuration for any airline. When I walked in, it reminded me of 1988 and I don’t it was upgraded since then. I sat down in what was supposedly in business class and the seats were manual, I didn’t know their were still manual seats in these planes. As things progressed I had an assumption of the amount of time needed before take off. We were on the plane by 11:15 pm, the plane didn’t take off until 12:05 pm which cut things very close for the meeting. The worst part was the plane smelt like stale food throughout the flight, that was just disgusting. When the plane took off it made the weirdest noises and you never know when the plane is going to fall apart.

9.5 Hours In Dubai

Got up around 6:30 am, got to work around 7:30 am. I had a few reports and emails to finish up before taking off to the airport. I had the 10:45 am Kuwait Airways flight to Dubai, I didn’t have any luggage to check in, I just had my brief case with me. Left work around 9:50 am, got to the airport by 10:15 am to find the flight had been delayed to 11:15 am which worked fine for me. As for the flight details I will be discussing that in another point.

The meeting was starting around 3:00 pm and I finished around 7:00 pm Dubai time. My flight was at 8:35 pm on Emirates, so I was flying to the airport. I had no choice in the matter, the next flight to Kuwait was around 1:35 am which is nuts. Luckily for me the driver took a back way to the airport which was a first time for me, we pass three or four very large round abouts and I got to the airport by 7:40 pm. If I took Sheikh Zayed road as the usual route then I wouldn’t have made the plane due to the rush hour traffic. Got home around 9:40 pm, and hungry as hell didn’t have a chance to eat anything all day and the airplane food wasn’t that appetizing.

I really do hate these one day flights, got a lot of work done but still really tiring.

Kuwait Airways – No Water For You!

What can be said about Kuwait Airways that hasn’t already been said. They have an abysmal record for customer service and I doubt its going to improve any time soon. There is a lot that can be said for Kuwait Airways, but I’m going to break it down by flights just to give people an idea of what happens on a Kuwait Airways flight.

KA to Dubai:

  • The plane was about 85% full, but in economy there were a few empty seats. We were six guys and had a full row to ourselves which made things a bit easier.
  • They loaded us into the planes but A/C wasn’t really working so it was getting hot and damp in the plane.
  • The seats need to be reupholstered, out flight had no screens on the way to Dubai which is odd for a plane in 2008.
  • They served us food which looked like fish but was really chicken.
  • We asked for water the first time they passed by, she said “ok” and didn’t come back for 20 minutes.
  • We asked for water again, and then again, nothing, they just said yes and passed by.
  • 45 minutes later still no water and we were pretty much almost to Dubai.
  • The staff didn’t give a damn about the people they were either rude or indifferent towards everyone in economy.
  • The seats are relatively tight, it wasn’t comfortable at all, and to recline the seat there are strange buttons
  • The A/C was barely working on a plane that is at full altitude, they might as well have opened a door to let some cool air in at that height and speed.
  • The plane was 45 minutes late

KA to Kuwait:

  • I’m going to start off with the plane being 1.5 hours late.
  • A fight almost broke out in the bank from three drunk Kuwaitis who were rude to the stewardess and the whole crew were in the back of the plane. It took them over 45 minutes to get them off the plane. That was rather entertaining for keeping us delayed, but in reality it was originally delayed but taking the passengers bags of the plane was taking some time as well.
  • There was a level of excitement on the plane at this point.
  • There were screens on this plane but I think the screen on my Sony Ericsson is bigger then the ones they had on the plane. Upgrading their equipment is not going to happen any time soon.
  • The stewardess was very rude to an Indian gentlemen, and it was really getting on my nerves, he was very polite and asking to move he seat around to sit next to his wife and daughter, but she was acting like a complete bitch which really pissed me off. Again some of them were very indifferent to our requests.
  • I decided to sleep most of the plane ride to not waste any time being awake on this plane.
  • The landing was decent but the staff is lacking any level of customer service, the plane feels like its falling apart, and they are habitually late.
  • If you can, really do avoid flying Kuwait Airways.

Just a Few Days

Its always fun to get these types of trips together, some of the guys proposed a quick trip to Dubai to get a few things done. That was last week and it tumbled into a movie filled weekend and a change of scenery. I think it will do some good to get a quick break from the usual trend of things.

I want to see two movies while I’m there:

  • Indiana Jones
  • Speed Racer

And probably what ever else is going to be out. One thing I am really looking forward to is the riblets from The Meat Company, it tastes really good and it gets really messy. The funny part is that we are flying Kuwait Airways most probably so there is no clue exactly when or if the plane is going to fly, KA doesn’t have the best track record.