DISCLAIMER: tickets for these flight were offered to Aviacionline by Kuwait Airways (First class tickets are expensive!). However, our editorial independence is a non-negotiable value and all views expressed here are mine and mine alone, regardless of who paid for the ticket.
After arriving in Manila in Kuwait Airways’ Business class (read the report clicking here), we would connect back to Kuwait, so we didn’t want to get out of the airside.
As such, it took the guys in the airport some time to figure out what to do with us, but soon Kuwait Airways’ airport agents arrived and, after checking our documents, gave us our tickets. They were really polite and well-meaning as far as we could see, so that was good.
It took some time, but we still had time to do some planespotting during the last minutes of sunshine… while Thiago, who was helping with the photos, had already been in Asia, it was my first time so far East, so everything was so exotic. Hope to share the pics in a photogallery here eventually.
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Anyway, the international wing of Manila Airport was not nearly as crowded as I imagined it would, especially on our way to the lounge.
Before we got in the lounge, some last pics of the aircraft. I knew my poor Nikon D3100 wouldn’t handle any good photos in these light conditions, but it was so cool to see a Thai Airbus A350 from up-close. Sometimes as a planespotter you just have to forget the pictures and enjoy the moment.
Photo session over, it was time to try Manila’s «PAGGS» lounge, one that operates on behalf of a bunch of carriers. Naturally, as one would expect, there was no dedicated First class lounge (by no means a problem so far from the airline’s base), so this is what Kuwait Airways’ Business class passengers can expect in Manila.
The lounge was kinda crowded at times, but as the departures went on, it calmed down a bit. The overall atmosphere, though, was great, despite the limited space.
The food offering was a la carte only, and had to be ordered by our phones. I ordered some local beer, San Miguel, which tasted quite good, while I watched the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in my computer (so you can say wi-fi worked quite well).
One thing that positively impressed me through my short stay in Manila is how kind everyone was to us. Hope I can return to the Philippines with more time, it really seems like an awesome country to visit.
Before entering our gate, another visa check and safety screening. Boarding had already started and it didn’t seem to be any priority line.
On our way to the plane, this Philippines AirAsia logojet A320 sported the colors of Puregold, a major Filipino supermarket chain, although it was long-term stored and parked by a boarding bridge.
Registered RP-C8975, this is one of the 15 that, according to Planespotters.net, are stored. Apparently Philippines AirAsia’s having a hard time, with only eight active Airbus A320s.
Back to our plane, it would be the same of last flight, naturally: 9K-AOM, named «Dasman».
Boarding again was made by a single boarding bridge, and without any priority boarding.
We were directed to the left to the Triple Seven’s spectacular «Royal Class».
The cabin’s really impressive and exclusive, consisting of two rows only. Each of the eight seats have their own doors.
By our side, an Asiana A330 preparing for its flight to Seoul.
As for the space for bags, there was plenty (though there are no overhead bins directly over the window seats). Under the footrest across the suite, there is this storage space that easily handled my full bag.
See the seatbelt? Yeah, this is a three-in-one footrest: it can also become a seat for dining with a travel companion.
The headphones were the same offered in Business class.
And luckily I would have no seatmate(-ish) for this flight, which meant even more privacy.
But privacy wouldn’t have been a problem anyway. Since that was a red-eye flight, I took a seat in the center of the cabin.
The sensation of privacy was unparalleled, really. Closed cabins are definitely the gold standard of premium long-haul travel nowadays, as it does make all the difference.
Prayers played on the screen and we were on our way on-time; pushback was started at 22h54, eleven minutes before schedule.
A smooth take-off about ten minutes later followed.
As soon as the seat belt signs were off, the flight attendant brought us the menu for that evening.
The menu looked quite similar to what we’d seen in Business class, with the difference that there was a further option of food in the main course.
Photo by Thiago Trevisan
I chose the Beef Mechado option. While it didn’t arrive, I closed my door and started watching a German romantic movie from 2019, «The Space Between the Lines» (Gut gegen Nordwind), which I actually enjoyed a lot.
The table could be opened from the console on the left hand-side of the seat, and it was quite sizeable. It’s not for nothing that it can easily accommodate two people’s trays — just below the screen, the footrest serves as an additional seat for face-to-face dining, even counting with a seat belt.
The dinner arrived quite fast, and the presentation was practically the same as in Business class.
Nevertheless, the quantity was good and there were more options of bread than in Business, but apart from that, the differences weren’t that much. Overall, the main course tasted really good, so there’s nothing to complain on this side.
After the service was over, I asked if they did a turndown service. The FA said that they don’t use to do, but that she could do it, it wasn’t a problem.
Again I repeat, it’s not because of that, but in all flights we did with Kuwait Airways, the flight attendants were incredibly professional, showed plenty of goodwill and an overall will to get it right. While I think they don’t have the obsessive customer service training that some of their fellow Gulf carriers have, they really excelled in doing their best with the tools they were given, and that showed.
While the FA was preparing the bed, I went to the lavatory — the same as I saw in Business class.
This is how I found the bed, and she even brought another blanket to cover the seat.
The night of sleep was incredibly comfortable — at this point, I was already watching another movie, this time a French comedy released in 2020, «The Speech» (Le Discours), which was also really good.
Overall, I think they’ve offered a reasonable amount of content on their entertainment system.
The level of privacy in these seats is really fantastic, especially once the doors are shut. From my perception, this is the main differential from Business to First when flying Kuwait Airways, because otherwise the differences are more subtle (though they still exist).
Last but not least, there was this «do not disturb» sign out of each seat, as is seen in most «closed» seats around.
I slept for a good number of hours, but still I managed to wake up (Manila to Kuwait is over eight hours long), so because breakfast service had not yet started, the FA offered me a small snack to pass the time. I accepted it along with an orange juice.
If the seat already gave a great sense of privacy, the cabin also managed to do it, as besides us, there was only another passenger there besides us — and another one was used for crew rest.
The seat could be controlled via this section of the armrest, and the options were various.
The seat itself could be controlled…
…but also other features of the cabin, such as the «do not disturb sign», the reading light and the minibar.
Loved by many (at least on Emirates’ A380s) for the over-the-top thinking behind its inception, this is a feature I really find fun. After flying so much we lose track of the small things, but this is a concept — having your own minibar over 12,000 meters over the Indic Ocean — that, at least personallly, was unimaginable some years ago.
At the same time, the screen had its own remote control. By the way; the entertainment system on First Class has not a touchscreen — it’s too far from the seat anyway. I think it’s because the footrest just underneath it serves as a seat, and people sat there would touch the screen by accident all the time.
Some time before we started descent, breakfast was served in Royal Class.
This time, I had breakfast together with Thiago — a fantastic feature of this First Class.
Again, the meal was quite large (especially for a breakfast dish) and tasty; meals with Kuwait Airways were consistently good, even if the presentation was not «gourmet» style. But personally, I’d rather have a full plate than a pretty plate.
The cheese platter was prettier than in the first flights, though.
Soon we were starting our descent into Kuwait.
As far as the news say, there was a sandstorm in Kuwait that day. Because of that, you couldn’t see a thing out of the nose camera. Only when were crossing the runway lights, the ground became visible. Still, the landing was very smooth.
We arrived on Kuwait International Airport at 03h31, 16 minutes late, even though we had left the gate, in Manila, eleven minutes before.
The connection in Kuwait was the same as I’d covered in the Business Class trip report and, because our flight was the only one arriving in the terminal that night, connecting was super easy.
Our connection was quite long, because Kuwait Airways’ main bank arrives between 6 and 8AM only, with flights leaving from 9 to 10h30.
Still, the terminal’s lounges run 24/7, and Royal Class passengers are eligible to the Bayan Lounge, which has two divisions; one, for Business Class customers, and another for Royal Class.
As expected, the First Class lounge was empty, since Royal Class is only sold in Kuwait Airways’ fleet of ten 777s, and even then they each have merely eight seats of the type.
The lounge entry was quite elegant…
…and so was the lounge itself, even though it was very small, given the very small number of passengers that pass by that room everyday. So in this regard, the connecting experience at Kuwait Airport might be lackluster compared to its Middle East hub peers.
To further accommodate the country’s expansion, a new terminal is expected to be finished this year.
Kuwait Airport’s terminal 4, by the way, is fully used by Kuwait Airways, so if you have to self-connect or to connect towards one of Kuwait Airways’ partners, you have to change buildings.
As soon as the sun rised, we went to the windows to get some photos of Kuwait Airways’ fleet.
For this flight, I would be filming for Aviacionline’s YouTube channel, but still I made some pics of the seat and the food.
Before we got into the gate, there was a passport screening.
Boarding was started on time: our flight would be practically full that day.
Today’s flight would be operated by 777-300ER 9K-AOL, named «Bayan» after a neighborhood of Kuwait City. According to Planespotters.net, it was delivered brand new to Kuwait Airways on July 2017.
The flight would be full today: Royal Class had all seats occupied after four upgrades, while 29 of the 36 Business Class seats were taken and 277 passengers filled the 290 Economy seats.
We left on-time and as soon as we took off, they played this nice message from the Chairman.
Dining again was face-to-face. Options of main course were four: middle eastern spiced chicken and shareya rice, braised lamb shank, harees and marag bamya.
While Thiago took the marag bamya, I took the spiced chicken. Both were really great; Kuwait Airways provided a thoroughly consistent catering in all flights we had.
While there wasn’t a second meal service, they gave us these small bites.
The flight went quite fast, and at 14h16, 29 minutes before schedule, we arrived in London Heathrow, finishing this great experience with Kuwait Airways.
A point I really stress when reviewing airlines is consistency. While it’s a matter of personal preference, ultimately I value it over product quality itself — in the sense that it’s worthless to have a good product if you can’t deliver it day in and day out.
Well, after four flights with Kuwait Airways, I can say that they managed to provide a very consistent product, aligned with their proposal.
As far as their Royal Class is concerned, in terms of hard product (the seat, the cabin, the entertainment screens…) to be up with the best products in the world. At least in a 777, you can’t do much more than that.
Soft product is also not bad, but the difference from Business Class was not exactly obvious, in the sense that what you’ve got in Business, you’ll get it in Royal Class, with some additional details. But all in all food was very good and the movie selection was also acceptable.
But I think the greatest point of Kuwait Airways’ soft product was their crew members. They would always go the extra mile to provide everyone a great experience, considering the tools they had.
After this experience, if the opportunity appears for your next trip, I would definitely reccommend Kuwait Airways’ premium products.