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Old Nov 17, 10, 5:56 am   #1
 
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Any Recent Kuwait/Bahrain (KWI/BAH-IAD) Experiences?

MissBumpMe! and I just booked this route on the way home from MLE (via DXB, too).

Does anyone have any recent experience/suggestions/advice for a pair of leisure travellers as the prepare for this unusual routing?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 17, 10, 6:48 am   #2
 
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I was on this flight twice in last month, expect very full flight with lots of members of military on the flight. It was old 777, nothing that great.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 7:19 am   #3
 
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I flew this route last month with no problems with United.

KWI is easily the worst airport I have ever transited through and I will avoid it in the future.

It may be the most unfriendly atmosphere I have encountered in a customer service driven industry.

My suggestion would be to be sure you have plenty of reading material with you and just plan to wait.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 9:47 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by freeflyin View Post
KWI is easily the worst airport I have ever transited through and I will avoid it in the future.
Why is KWI the worst airport for transit? Can you elaborate it? I will travel from Cairo to Bahrain via KWI in March. Egypt Air from Cairo will land at 12:55pm and my next UA flight to BAH will leave at 2:25pm. Do you think 90 mins is enough for connection at KWI? thank you very much!
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Old Nov 17, 10, 1:34 pm   #5
 
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I flew BAH-KWI-IAD last week. The flight from Bahrain stops in KWI for about 90 minutes. I had a business class ticket upgraded to first with a SWU. The 777 is the older configuration and looked tired. My entertainment system was not working and the food was mediocre at best. The FAs were very good and I was able to sleep most of the way. I found it interesting that our flight path took us just north of Stockholm, be we arrived an hour early. Customs was not ready for us at 5:00 am with only two lanes open. Fortunately I was near the front of a large line.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 2:49 pm   #6
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I flew in April on way to/from DXB (connecting to UL, from EK on way back)

E+ was empty both ways, had 5 seats to sleep in both directions. E- was jammed full. FAs in both directions very good about not letting people move up. Seemed like everyone on the plane was military.

Didnt really care much for KWI airport, the lounge was ok with an ok buffet and soft drink selection (dry)

90 mins is definitely enough to transfer, its a small airport, but a visit to the transit desk will likely be needed.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 3:18 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by freeflyin View Post
KWI is easily the worst airport I have ever transited through and I will avoid it in the future.

It may be the most unfriendly atmosphere I have encountered in a customer service driven industry.
Seriously? KWI is not that bad...

It reminds me some of MCI, where once you head into the actual gate, you're stuck. Outside the gate, the shops, duty free and cafes are fairly good.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 4:28 pm   #8
 
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Not that bad -really???

Ever try getting a VISA -- two hour wait and nothing but rude people.

The UA lounge is actually OK and there is some decent food. But of course no booze.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 4:54 pm   #9
 
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I have flown the IAD-KWI route three times this year and agree KWI is not bad at all. I work in Saudi though so nothing is tough when compared to RUH, JED, ABH, etc.

If you are checked in for the UA flight and only have carry-ons (or your bags are checked thru to IAD via *A carrier) you will NOT need to visit the transit desk to get a visa as long as you don't mind staying on the gate side of passport control.

If you have bags checked only to KWI that you need to retrieve and re-check on UA, or if you need to check-in for the UA flight, you will need to go to the transit desk and get an entry visa as soon as you land. You need local currency so first find the ATM which is directly across from the transit/visa desk next to the stairs that go to the lounge entrance if I remember right. The visas are cheap (like $10 USD equiv). I have never had to wait more than 15 mins to get a visa, but perhaps I have been lucky.

There is a McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and several duty free stores on the gate side of passport control, and the lounge is nice as others have said with decent hot food buffet, soft drinks, ice cream, free WiFi, and variety of newspapers.

There are a lot more shops and restaurants on the "Kuwait" side of passport control - all the big US fast food chains plus Starbucks, UK Pizza Express and some others I can't remember. Lots of shops too. If you have a long layover it is worth getting the visa and going "into Kuwait". You'll get the passport stamp as a cheap souvenir and have more to entertain you during your delay.

One important note is that the UA check-in desks don't open until around 2 to 2.5 hrs before departure (they are completely unstaffed all other times) so keep that in mind if you go "into Kuwait"...you won't be able to get back thru passport control without a boarding pass.

As for the flights, definitely 90+% US armed forces and DoD contractors as others have said. Flight attendants tend to be great on these flights in my experience.

One last note... when you go to the gate to board there will be a huge line for the gate side security check to get into the waiting area. If you have status you just walk to the front of the line and show them your boarding pass and they will let you cut thru. They are good about this although your conscious will take a bit of a jolt as you skip over 250+ service men and women!

Last edited by rmmcdaniel; Nov 17, 10 at 5:02 pm..
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Old Nov 17, 10, 5:20 pm   #10
 
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Wow, rmmcdaniel, thanks!
...excellent advice all around.

I'm hopeful EK (in MLE) can check us in for the UA flights. A year ago that was not a problem with EK and CO, so hopefully UA is no different.

We have eight hours in KWI, so we will do our best to stay on the gate side and try the lounge. It would also be nice to avoid the visa hurdle(s).

Again, thanks.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 5:28 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by BumpMe! View Post
Wow, rmmcdaniel, thanks!
...excellent advice all around.

I'm hopeful EK (in MLE) can check us in for the UA flights. A year ago that was not a problem with EK and CO, so hopefully UA is no different.

We have eight hours in KWI, so we will do our best to stay on the gate side and try the lounge. It would also be nice to avoid the visa hurdle(s).

Again, thanks.
8hrs? Why not go out and explore?
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Old Nov 17, 10, 6:07 pm   #12
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8hrs? Why not go out and explore?
I agree, 8 hours you should explore (unless its night time hours)

We had 7 hours, and took a cab into town (5 KWD), visited the towers and the corniche

Visa took 5 minutes, but there was not that many people. Change money into KWD besides McDonalds first.
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Old Nov 17, 10, 6:53 pm   #13
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This might be an interesting destination for a same-day run.. Would there be enough time to get the visa, go landside, and then check-in and come right back through?
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Old Nov 17, 10, 9:44 pm   #14
 
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I agree, 8 hours you should explore (unless its night time hours)
We're wheels down at 1645 and wheels up at 0045.
Too late, you think?
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Old Nov 17, 10, 10:45 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by FightingIlliniUAL View Post
Seriously? KWI is not that bad...

It reminds me some of MCI, where once you head into the actual gate, you're stuck. Outside the gate, the shops, duty free and cafes are fairly good.
MCI doesn't really have much in the way of food at all...especially for an airport it's size...even if they did decide to build a food court, the design is so narrow, I don't know where they would put it....weird airport.
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