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!
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.
Programs: UA GS MM, HHonors Diamond, SPG Platinum, AMEX Platinum
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!
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.