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The worst Gulf carrier? KU on DXB-KWI + spotting (17 pics)

 
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Spiderguy252
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Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 4259
Location: Indian Ocean

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:10 am    Post subject: The worst Gulf carrier? KU on DXB-KWI + spotting (17 pics) Reply with quote



Just a short hop from DXB to KWI. This route is served by a number of carriers- KU, EK, UL, OA, KW and J9. You also have one stops via DOH on QR and BAH on GF. If you want to take an LCC, you have Air Arabia from SHJ or Bahrain Air from BAH, and even a Jazeera flight with the routing DXB-BAH-KWI.

Anyway, as I was booking my flight at the last minute I was shocked to discover that travellers had made merry of the various options on this route and left me the last crumb off the table- KU. Given the chance, I would have flown one of EK's 4 dailies to KWI but they were running full. KU were the last remaining option, thus.

Kuwait Airways
KU 674
DXB-KWI
Economy Class
Aircraft: Airbus A300B4-600R
Price: AED 1435


I arrived at DXB's old terminal and checked in in the early hours of the evening. This terminal used to serve only EK flights before they moved over to T3. However you do ocassionally see EK flights over here when the spots are full over at T3.

On the departure board past the security screening, KU 674 was "Delayed". Queing for check-in, I didn't think much of it expecting it to be a delay of 30 minutes max as check-in was going on.

Contrary to popular opinion that KU ground staff are the worst of the lot, I can tell you that the ones at DXB are probably the best KU have. Most of them are Filipino and they are super efficient and polite and probably should serve as role models for the rest of the airline. However, they were going to face a Biman like situation this evening.....

I checked in my bag and enquired about the delay. The agent replied that they hadn't received any information and the aircraft hadn't taken off from KWI yet. She also said that KU ground staff would keep pax informed in case of any development. I collected my boarding card and cleared immigration and security, the latter taking a long while due to fewer operational machines.

After security, I headed off to the nearest food court to have a bite. The departure boards were still showing KU 674 as being "Delayed" so I just took my backpack and camera and took a long walk through the terminal. The windows at DXB facing the apron are two, if not three layered glass and this virtually ruins a perfect photo-op for a spotter. However, near a Ladies toilet I spotted an airport employee going up a flight of stairs to an outdoor area. Keeping my fingers crossed, I followed him. It led me to a sort of a balcony slanting upwards from where I could see planes taking off from one of the runways. I knew this place was off limits for passengers so I just fired a couple of shots before heading back downstairs.

An Egyptair 332


Some prop


Once downstairs, I heard an announcement of my flight being further delayed and asking all pax to come in front of gate #33 to collect their food vouchers. Gate #33 was at the other end of the terminal and it took a while for me to get there. KU check-in staff were handing out food coupons worth AED 50 (=KD 5). They also announced that the flight hadn't arrived at DXB due to a technical issue. They expected it to land sometime at midnight. I hung around for a word with her but she was surrounded by a crowd of anxious travellers who were enquiring about their connections they would miss thanks to the delay. Apparently, many of them were connecting to TRV. The Filipino agent calmly listened to them and assured them that now that they were given a boarding card, KU would either put them on another flight to TRV from KWI, or on an EK flight from DXB itself. Most pax were not convinced and wandered off to "Santoor", a new Indian fast food chain in the Gulf which had recently opened in T1.

I found her free and asked her about the exact issue with the aircraft. She explained that the a/c was being serviced after doing LHR-KWI and then developed a technical issue before the DXB flight started boarding. She seemed to be very knowledgeable, and she even knew the aircraft type (A300-600) and even the registration. It was 9K-AMC. She explained that though KU 300s were maintained well, 9K-AMC, Wafra was a bit of a troublemaker in the fleet and kept going tech. KU management decided to fly the bird to only a few destinations in the winter- LHR, MAA and DXB.

She was right about 9K-AMC's ailments, the most recent one being in late Jan at Heathrow when it suffered a hard landing and had to be withdrawn from the fleet and serviced.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xQpQn3wtDg&feature=player_embedded

I also asked her about the progress about privatization of the airline. She replied that it will take at least a minimum of two years for the government to sell 33% of the assets to a private buyer. She couldn't figure out the purpose of privatization as at the end of the day, the government will still own two thirds of the carrier, which is a major portion.

After our long conversation, she had to leave. I thanked her and went over to have some dinner. I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing. I've flown KU enough times to not expect anything good out of them. Anything good that does happen though is merely a bonus, a fluke.

The delay went on through the night, and finally at around 3 in the morning, the agents came and rounded all the passengers for the flight and took us to the bus which would take us to the remote stand where 9K-AMC would be parked. The agent with whom I had a conversation with asked me if i was flying Y or J. When I said Y she looked at the passenger manifest to see if I could be bumped to J. However, the J cabin was full so that wasn't possible. I anyway thanked her and she in turn wished me a pleasant flight.

The ride took well over half an hour and we probably circuited the entire perimeter line of DXB before arriving at the stand.

We boarded through the front doors and I paused before I entered to take a shot.



Airline: Kuwait Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A300-600R
Registration: 9K-AMC
First flight date: 8/6/1994

Load in J: 100%
Load in Y: 40%

Scheduled Departure Time: 6:25 PM
Actual Departure Time: 4:30 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:30 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 5:45 AM

Flight Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes


The FAs at the door were brusque and didn't even bother giving a "hello". I was shown to my seat- 12 D, an aisle seat. Noticed the seat covers to be leather and gray, as opposed to the older green cloth ones.

A.net shot featuring old seat covers.



I was among the first to board so I expected the cabin to slowly fill up around me. However, it was only around 40% full after all the pax arrived. Probably the pax on the TRV flight had been put on the EK flight(s) (332?).

The FAs came around with the cold towel service before the safety demo played- just the audio since none of the main screens were working and only one in around 50 PTVs were. Mine wasn't but I never expected it to. But this is definitely a serious security violation.

The captain came on line and announced our flight details. In all of this, there was not one word of apology for the delay.

A few minutes later, the engine hummed and we pushed back and taxied towards DXB's runway. On the way, we passed one whole side of T3 where there was some contrastingly new metal in the form of EK 777s and 330s. I even caught a 345 and a 380 but since I was sitting at an aisle seat, I couldn't capture a good photo of the latter.

We waited for an EK twin to come in and land (332 I think, it was dark) before turning into the runway and beginning take-off. We were up in the dawn sky in no time and as soon as we reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt signs were switched off, I went to the back of the cabin to look for a free window seat. When I entered the rear economy cabin, I was surprised to see it completely bereft of any passengers and I made a beeline for 23A- a window seat in the emergency exit row. However, just as I was getting seated, an FA came over and said that the rear economy cabin was not open for pax today. When I tried to post a feeble argument, she said that it was 'not her decision' and asked me to get back to my seat. Evil or Very Mad

In any case, the seats in the Y cabin were quite uncomfortable with the new seat covers. Since it was made of leather, it collected a lot of heat and even with the aircon on, it did get quite warm. Moreover, my footrest was stuck in the forward position and there was no way I could stretch my legs out. The seat wouldn't recline at all either, but that is standard KU fare.

The food cart then rolled past me and the FAs just threw the snack boxes at our faces. They wanted to get it over with.....and quick! The snack itself wasn't great- it was a tiny chocolate pastry which I finished in one swallow. The drink cart came up next and I took the orange juice.

The Y cabin with the only functional PTV on the left; you can see the J cabin up front, notice the non functioning main screen and the presence of ashtrays on the armrest.


An hour later, we began preparations for landing. The sun was beaming brightly and passengers sitting on the left side of the aircraft could get a magnificent view of the Arabian....or should I say Persian Gulf as we banked left at the Kuwait Towers and the Liberation Tower before coming in for a very bumpy landing at one of KWI's 2 runways. We taxied past the terminal and parked at a remote stand. The bus was already waiting for us and deboarding was quick. The bus, also owned by KU was spotless unlike their airplane cabins. I fired a few shots on our ride to the terminal.

View of the nose section of 9K-AMC


A KU 343 from MNL/BKK


Jumbo in the desert. A Cargolux 744 from Luxembourg.


Immigration and Security went fast enough. KWI was fully staffed and bracing itself for the usual Indian morning arrivals a couple of hours from then. We had landed right next to an EK flight, and those blessed passengers had their baggage come to them faster. Smile Ours took a while but after it did come, I collected it and headed upstairs for some breakfast.

I hurried out of the airport soon after, and would return later that evening to spot some planes with an Assamese-Kuwaiti friend of mine who works at the airport, Danny.

Scores:

Punctuality: 0/10
Seat: 1/10
Catering: 1/10
Aircraft Condition: 0/10
Entertainment: 0/10

Total: 2/50 = 4% = One star out of Five.


Here are the KWI spotting pictures taken by myself and Danny.

KWI's packed terminal during evening rush hour


A harley Davidson at Kuwait Duty Free, only KD 2500/- Wink


KWI's terminal view from afar


Gates 24, 25 and 26


A KU A310, 9K-ALA


KU AB6, 313 and an EK 77W


UL 332, KL 332, EK 772


IX 738, Shaheen 732, MS 738


Thank you for reading this TR and this was also my first attempt at spotting. Wink I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Varun
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Last edited by Spiderguy252 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:19 pm; edited 4 times in total
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yash777
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the last two pictures! They can make it to JP/a.net IMO.
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rutvij
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a pleasant write-up of an Unpleasant Experience! Smile

And nice pics to go along with it. Keep TRing!
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Nimish
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree - those last 2 pictures are beautiful - how come it seems like the ground is wet?

Great TR, and kind of sad to see KU is in this state.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR again love to read these on middle east carriers. At least Kuwait has aerobridges, I was surprised to read on your previous report that Muscat does not have one,now that is educational for us.

You managed to capture some lovely snaps specially the A310 and the night shots.

Which camera you using, as my night shots always comes horrible.
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rutvij
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:

Great TR, and kind of sad to see KU is in this state.


Atleast now its in a better state as the Gov. has agreed to partly privatise it. Some 1 year back, i remember the whole KU Board resigning and felt sad then!
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yash, I'm not too sure about the motives. Maybe the KU 310 stands a chance if properly edited.

Thanks Rutvij and Nimish, the ground had a small puddle of water near the IX aircraft, hence the reflection.

sri_bom, thanks for your comment. MCT is getting a new terminal in 2012 with 32 aerobridges. Until then it's all buses over there.
We just used a point and shoot - the Nikon coolpix S8000. The ISO settings are like magic though! Smile
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR thanks for the effort
nice pics as well!!
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AirIndia0001
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR there.. Varun. Loved the spotting pics esp. the night shots.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot and AI1, thanks a ton! Wink
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saif.747
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice spotting pix..
esp the kuwait A310 head on ... Very Happy
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Saif,

Varun
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