Kuwait Airways is the national airline of Kuwait. From its hub in Kuwait City, the airline operates its small fleet of 18 aircraft to 39 destinations.
The airline was founded in 1954 as a private airline, but it quickly became unprofitable, and the government took on 50 percent ownership of the company in 1956. The government later took full ownership of the airline. In the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, 42 of the airline's aircraft were destroyed or stolen, forcing the company to slowly restart from almost nothing in 1991. In 2010 and 2011 the airline was privatized in hopes that this would allow it to better compete with regional airlines.
Kuwait International Airport
Kuwait International Airport is a very busy, multi-cultural, modern airport. Just finding your way through the short-term parking lot is an adventure of avoiding men and women in their long gowns and a listening to a cacophony of honking cars...the poorly-designed pedestrian exit from the terminal dumps people right into the main road of the parking lot!
Inside you will find a clean, comfortable, very busy airport. Before the security checkpoint there are dozens of shops and restaurants including 2 Starbucks Coffee shops, KFC, a Japanese restaurant, a Middle Eastern restaurant, a local souvenir shop, sunglasses shops, pharmacies, and others.
Because many flights to Europe depart around 1 or 2 in the morning, the airport and its shops stay busy until the wee hours here. Sometimes you wonder if people come here as a destination in itself...maybe to shop and relax.
The airport itself is very small, with only about 12 gates and about 8 million passengers per year in 2012 (up significantly from about 5 million passengers in 2005). But this is also one of the more modern airports in the region.
I flew through Kuwait in 2012, and I was generally pleased with the inside of the airport beyond the security checkpoint. There are a large number of duty free shops, there are a few restaurants (like Chili Too, an Italian place, a coffee shop, and soon a Potbelly sandwich shop). It seemed like the VIP lounges took up a huige part of the area around the gates, and they have free wi-fi, so sit next to one of them if you need an internet signal! The airport is small, so it is easy to move from gate to gate.
The negatives: the construction makes the terminal cramped at the moment, but this is a temporary inconvenience. There really aren't enough chairs around the gate for all of the passengers, so there are people on top of people. Finding the transfer desk was surprisingly difficult despite a number of signs. There are no bars at Kuwait Airport (boo!).
In 2012 construction began on a 5-year project to expnad the capability of the airport to handle as many as 13 million passengers a year.Related to:
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Kuwait International Airport, The Arrival Hall
Kuwait International Airport is located in Farwaniya Area, 16kms south of Kuwait City.The building itself is having 2 stories, level 1 is the arrival area.The pleasant thing on the arrival time is you don`t have to get down from the plane stairs and ride on the bus.There will be a connecting tunnel to the arrival hall.You will reach the gate doors inside the building at the end of the tunnel and reach duty free area.You may see the sign where you have to go as a transit passenger or the arrival hall.The arrival hall will be on the level 1 so you have to go down.You will pass through the Immigration desk.DONT GO AT THE LINES WHERE THE HOUSEMAID RECRUITMENT GROUPS ARE.Usually they will be in groups with the same uniforms and head covers.Facing that desk on the way out you will see A CLINIC on your right.Toilets will be everywhere.SEE THE SIGN, they will be in ENGLISH AND ARABIC.After the immigration desk,you can claim your baggage.DON`T USE PORTERS WHEN YOU STILL CAN PUSH YOUR OWN TROLLEY.The trolley will be free.At the baggage security check,there will be porters to transfer your bags from and to your trolley.You just push your trolley.:-))After the scanning you may go out and meet many people.You may be surprised when you see some arabic women and kids screaming and singing and throwing candies everywhere.It is the local customs to welcome their relative honeymooners.You will see the food court at your right.Some small shops and good coffee stops at your left.You will see the information desk nearby the escalator.Near the exit gate,on your left turn you may get your cellphones lines in wataniya or MTC (Kuwait Mobile Companies) and money exchange (Al-Muzaini,good rate).On your right turn you will see some local bank counters.After the exit gate, you will see taxis,it is quite expensive,around 4KD to Kuwait City.You may walk to your left side and get a bus to the city and Mirqab stop bus, only 0.150fills.1KD=1000fills.For more information check the website.Related to:
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- Women's Travel
Use Taxis and Busses
Travel by foot, taxi or bus is the order of the day. Kuwait has one of the highest mortality rates in the world resulting from motor vehicle accidents. To better avoid contributing to this statistic, one is much safer to refrain from renting and driving a vehicle while visiting/living in Kuwait.Related to:
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The Airport: Plastic Wrapper Service
Each check in zone of Kuwait International Airport has its own plastic wrapper service. The price will be written there, around 500 to 750fills. They provide a 1KD box with the plastic wrapper service too in case you need an extra space for your baggage. It could just take less than 1 minute to wrap your luggage.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
Pimp My Ride!
Even more than California, Kuwait is a car culture. Here, you are what you drive. I drive a Chevy Tahoe so I'm not sure what that tells a Kuwaiti about me but you can rest assured that I laugh my a$$ off when I see crap like this one.
It is bad enough that some knucklehead has paid twice what this is worth considering that it is not a real MMMWV and is built on a Tahoe chassis. It is even worse that is is that Big Bird Yellow color.Related to:
- Work Abroad
Rent a car
I know... you will read most folks pages and even in Lonely Planet (GOD I hate quoting L.P. after they SOOO mislead me! Snicker...) that the driving here is pretty bad. It is. We had two close calls. But don't forget - these are a Allah Fearing people. They pray. It's contagious. I pray right back at 'cha. No accidents for us.
Fact is, there isn't public transport to get you to the nooks and crannies, and after 4 hours in Kuwait city and you've seen everything, ahem, you'll want that car. You'll want to head South to S Arabia... West to Iraq... and North to Bubyan. Even if the Bridge IS closed.
It's something to do... even if it makes you begin to pray like a baby...
Seriously - don't let the hype fool you. If you've driven in the South of France, you can handle this! We picked up a car on the spot at Kuwait Int'l for about $35 a day included insurance option... They charged us extra because we didn't have our Int'l Driver license. About $30 extra. They could have been ripping off us on this. We didn't really care... but if you have a choice, bring your Int'l Drivers License! ; )
Oh - and petro is cheap. In case you missed it, it's .60 cent (USD) per gallon. Cost $6.00 to fill the bugger up.
To & From Via Air: Two Airlines of Note!
If you are coming from the US, consider United Airlines. The only airline that offers non-stop service between Washington Dulles (suburban Virginia) and Kuwait City Int'l. Three class service on a B-777. Good flight, good crew. Oh - it's a night flight as of now anyway. You depart at about 10PM and get in next day 5:00PM. Flight is only 2 times a week. www.united.com for more info.
If you wish to continue in the Gulf or even a bit further, consider using Air Arabia. I'm going to warn you, it's a tad "ghetto"... as in you getz what you payz for. But so what?! Mad crowds, no real boarding procedures (read: REAL cattle class!) and not too organized ground / gate crew. Not the nicest gate agents either... but the fact is, it cost $99 one way from Kuwait to Dubai. You can tolerate a lot for a $99 dollar fare considering the next alternative was Gulf Air and comparable that wanted to charge about $250 for the same one way flight. HOW GHETTO ARE THEY?! They charge for water. After the first 6 oz freebie, they charge a $1.00 for a bottle of water. www.airarabia.com
DRIVING TIPS IN KUWAIT
When you come here for a short visit, an international license or any GCC countries license will be valid in Kuwait. Getting a permanent driving license in Kuwait is quiet tricky for everybody, especially to the expats. Many great oil companies or some ministries will be helping the employees to get it instantly whilst others may need ridiculous wasta (recommended powerful man/note) to pass the driving test. The traffic department has a new rule too : YOU CAN NOT GET A NON-COMMERCIAL LICENSE IF YOUR SALARY IS LESS THAN 400KD. The appointment for driving test (ISTIMARAH) should be get ahead of time (at least one month before) and you have to go to the separated office for eye checking. When you want to get the driving lesson, YOU HAVE TO APPLY FOR ISTIMARAH FIRST.
Kuwait has a unique road system : THE RING ROADS. The Ring Roads are connecting the west and east area of Kuwait.1st RING ROAD : Sheraton Hotel to Safir International Hotel, 2nd RING ROAD : Shamiya-Kefan area to Bneid Al Gar-Daiya. 3rd RING ROAD: Shuwaikh to Shaab, 4th RING ROAD : Andalus to East Hawali, 5th RING ROAD: Doha (other end branched to Jahra) to Salmiya-Rumathiya, 6the RRING ROAD : Jahra to Messila, 7th RING ROAD : Shadadiya to Fintas. AVOID 4TH RING ROAD ON THE WORKING DAYS, you will be trapped in the traffic.
The other roads, from north to south will be lying across the ring roads, WILL BE CALLED BY NUMBERS :40 , 50, 30 roads with their other names too (will be written in both). All the directions on the main street will be writeen in both arabic and english but for the smaller roads (Street to Block areas) the sign will be in arabic mostly.
The speed will be ranged from 40-120 km/hr but some roads will have their own speed limit too. You will be fined for speeding, passing the red light, not using your seatbelt, but I found that the fine will be applied when YOU ARE CAUGHT BY THE CAMERA (speeding) AND BY POLICE ONLY. see my warning and danger tip : CRAZY DRIVERS AND BIKERS.
My advice will be : DO PRAY BEFORE YOU START YOUR ENGINE.:-))Related to:
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Riding On A Bus In Kuwait? Why Not?
Bus services in Kuwait are much better compare to those in other Arab countries. For mean time the bus services are provided by KPTC, City Bus, and KGL. You have to know what bus number you are going to ride though you will see the bus destinations on the front side. Ask the driver soon after you step on the bus (or when the bus door open) if the bus is going to pass by your destinations. You may reach the northen and southern part of Kuwait by bus. The main bus terminal is located in Mirqab area (around Safat tower) and you may find other smaller terminals in many places. You have to get on and get off from the bus only at the bus stops. All the bus is fully air conditioned so they will be still comfortable during summer. Girls have to be seated on the front side and dont dress provacatively if you are going to ride on the bus. Women should be seated on the bus and the drivers will ask the men to stand and give the seats to the women on the front row. :-)) The bus fare will be 150 fills for most of the destinations and it will be 250fills for the longer ones (Fahaheel area). You have to hold your bus ticket while riding on the bus because you will be fined 10KD by the bus company if you cant show it on checking time. The drivers will refuse to stop when the bus is fully loaded. The busy hours for the bus will be at 0800AM and 0500PM. It will be fully loaded on Fridays too. If you face any harrassments by others, be rude and complain to the bus driver. Riding on the bus in Kuwait is generally safe.Related to:
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Kuwait International Airport, The Departure Hall
The Departure Hall is located on the level 2 (of 2 level halls) Kuwait International Airport. IT HAS 4 CHECK-IN ZONES.BEWARE OF YOUR AIRLINES CHECK IN LOCATION. ZONE 1 AND ZONE 4 ENTRANCES WILL BE FACING THE PARKING AREA, NEARBY TROLLEY SERVICE AREA. For zone 3 and zone 4, YOU HAVE TO ENTER THE BUILDING, THEY WILL BE LOCATED ON THE SIDES OF PASSPORT CONTROL/PASSENGERS AREA. The list of the airlines in each zone will be written on that check in zone sign. You can see in the website too. You will get the trolley at the sides of the entrance door. AVOID PORTERS IF POSSIBLE, THE TROLLEYS ARE FREE. The porters use to cheat and sometimes force you to use them. Tell them no straight into their eyes until they leave you. :-)) If you really have to use them and they will charge you for more, show the payment sign on the trolley. Give the exact amount for the payment, which is 500fills, you may not get your change.:-)) There will be plastic wrapping service inside the check in zone, less than 1KD. Be in the airport 2-3hours earlier if your departure time will be tuesday, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, and FRIDAY afternoon. It will be the time for the foreign workers who are going for leave departures, the airport will be crowded. You may spend long time in MANY Lines : SECURITY CHECKING IN EACH CHECK IN ZONE, CHECKING IN DESK, SECURITY CHECKING IN THE ENTRANCE OF THE DUTY FREE, IMMIGRATION DESK, BOARDING IN GATE ENTRANCE AND BOARDING IN LINE. There will be a separated security checking of duty free area for the bussiness class and the crew on the left of the common one.In case you have more time to spend in the airport, you can spend your time in DEBENHAMS store or other stores, drink coffee in starbuck, or eat something at the food court on the ground floor (arrival area). The rest will be the same as the other airports` rules.Related to:
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Bargain Your Taxi Fare and Be Careful
You have to bargain your taxi fare before you ride on it.Just ask the fare for your destination and try to bargain with the fare they will charge you.If you know how to get to your destinations, ASK THE DRIVER TO USE THE METER AND TELL THE DRIVER THAT THE FARE WILL DEPEND ON THE METER BEFORE YOU RIDE IN THE TAXI.They tend to charge more if you are white.You may find the most expensive fare at the back of Marina Mall, some taxi terminals and in front of fancy malls here.If you are not in the hurry, just take a walk for some steps and stop the empty taxies on the road.I would not recommend an arabic taxi drivers if you can not speak Arabic.Arabic taxi drivers are really inconvinient for female passengers.Do not try to ride on a car when a stranger or `taxis` without the yellow plat number and name on the doors offer a ride for you.When you ask for the fare, take a look or open the taxi door so you can see how clean it is and how pleasant the odor you can tolerate.Many taxi drivers have very bad body odors.You may say no when u find so and go away from that taxi.I recommend asia call taxi for your safety.They know all the public places in Kuwait and the drivers can speak English.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
Driving in Kuwait
Like other places I have been, driving in Kuwait is different from driving in the US. Though the speed limit is around 120 kph, you will find cars going as slow as 60 kph and others speeding by at 180 kkph. Cars drive with no headlights at dawn and dusk, trucks have unsecured, bulky cargo. Sand blows across the roads, and camels run free. You will see more cars pulled over on the berm than anywhere else I have traveled.
Good luck!Related to:
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Kuwait International Airport...
Kuwait International Airport is 16km (10mi) south of Kuwait City. Kuwait is not a particularly cheap place to fly to or from. The airlines and travel agents tightly control prices, and few discounted fares are available. There's an airport departure tax of about US$7. From the airport, taxis charge a flat fee of about US$15 to the city; buses make the trip a lot cheaper.
Buses operate between Kuwait and Cairo via Aqaba in Jordan and Nuweiba in Egypt. There are also international bus services to Dammam in Saudi Arabia.
The best time to visit Kuwait is in May or October - right before or right after summer, when the temperatures are civilised. the Kuwait Towers have become Kuwait's main landmark. The largest of the three rises to a height of 187m (615ft). The upper globe houses a two-level observation deck, which is open daily and overlook the emir's Sief Palace. The largest tower's lower globe has a restaurant, coffee shop and banquet rooms. Designed by a Swedish architectural firm and opened in 1979
Kuwait has a very cheap and extensive system of both local and intercity buses. You can also use local taxis to get around, though these have no meters, so get a firm price before starting out.
Renting a car in Kuwait will cost about US$20 a day. If you hold a driving licence and residence permit from another Gulf country, you can drive in Kuwait without any further paperwork. Otherwise you can drive on an International Driving Permit or a local licence from any western country, but you'll also be required to purchase insurance for your licence, which will cost about US$35.
Sadu House is a museum and cultural foundation dedicated to preserving Bedouin arts and crafts. It's also the best place in Kuwait to buy Bedouin goods. The house itself is built of gypsum and coral, and there's some beautiful decorative carving around the courtyard. More impressive to the country's Muslims is the huge, modern
Driving (always) and navigating (at first) can be quite dispiriting and the kamikaze nature of Kuwaiti driving standards should never be underestimated. The good, wide roads look deceptively easy to the novice until he has his first near miss (within five minutes of taking the wheel) and his first crunch (probably within his first month). It’s a strange day when you don’t see the aftermath of at least one accident). Road signs are in Arabic but most have English subtitles, however most of these do tend to be located at turn offs, rather than just before them, making last minute maneuver an everyday occurrence. The 'slow' lane on a three-lane road is the middle one, also making for interesting negotiations as traffic merging from the right immediately crosses two lanes of faster moving traffic. Unlike Saudi, women are granted the privilege of mobility but they still value lives very lowly and regular sightings of children on the dashboard are the norm (we call them 'interactive airbags'). Seat belts are compulsory, though few locals wear them as can be seen by the huge number of wrecks along the major roads with holes in the windscreen. All cars here are air conditioned, most with automatic transmission, rental cars tending to be Japanese compacts or American tanks, the only exception apparently being Avis who offer Opel Vectras. For long term lease cars try: Al Sayer (Toyota agent) on 243 4325, Autolease (Mazda agent) on 484 6999, Rent-A-Honda on 484 8470, Al Mulla (Mitsubishi/Dodge) on 243 1434 or Mustafa Karam (various) on 240 8168. There is no restriction on purchasing your own vehicle, new or second hand, and prices are extremely cheap but remember to get fully comprehensive insurance. Cars over three years old require an MOT which an absolute farce. As in most middle eastern countries there is a pecking order when it comes to apportioning the blame of an accident, i.e., A Kuwaiti is never to blame, even if he/she rear ends you! However if a westerner runs into the rear of say, an Indian, then the Indian is at fault - totally unfair, but true. Petrol stations
are open 24 hours to provide the local boy racers all night entertainment. The price of petrol is a laughable 60/65 fils per litre. The road system is fairly Americanized, being based around blocks and it is difficult to get lost with the exception of Ahmedi - an oil town that looks like American suburbia. The motorways are numbered in intervals of 5s, radiating South from the city centre, which is on a Northerly point on the coast, and are intersected by ring roads, of which there are seven (the fourth should be avoided in rush hour). Areas bounded by these main roads are subdivided numerically with major streets being named and smaller ones numbered, thus a residential address might be 'Salwa, Block 4, Street 3, Building 987, Floor 3, Apartment 6'. Speed camera housings are in abundance, however the cameras and film are not, so you will often see cameras moved around each week, sometimes turned on without film, so they flash, but do not take a picture - beware of 'Traffic Week' though - this is usually announced the week the film arrives! A new idea has just arrived in Kuwait - mobile speed cameras. These are mounted in the back of small Suzuki Jeeps, pointing out of the rear window. The advantage of these over fixed cameras, is that the driver stays with the camera to ensure it is not shot at (I kid you not - the locals don't like them one bit)
Public transport is good here, consisting of pickup trucks for the desperate or tight fisted, taxis, of which there are two types; orange cabs (for emergencies only, as they will often stop and pick up further passengers en route) and limousines (these will pick up from home etc. or can be hired from an office), and a good bus service, sometimes with, but often without air conditioning, which will get you from outlying areas into the city centre for about 400 fils (or 500 fils with a/c), for women there is some segregation in that the front two rows of seats are allocated ladies only. Taxi fares are extremely variable and should always be agreed before a journey; meters are nonexistent. All public transport and goods vehicles have orange license plates, private cars have white, and Government vehicles blue.
Very nice place, highly recommended place. I had a good time for a week. Helpful staff, clean rooms.more
Well, I can't really complain about this place because I was able to stay here for free several...more
This hotel is located very near Kuwait City Intl Airport. It is a short ride to Salmiya and Marina...more
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