Kuwait Airways 777 First Class: Uncompetitive Yet Comfortable

Kuwait Airways 777 First Class: Uncompetitive Yet Comfortable

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Hello from Bangkok, as I’m currently in the middle of a review trip! After flying Kuwait Airways’ A330 first class and spending a night at the Waldorf Astoria Kuwait, I flew Kuwait Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER first class on the 6hr5min flight from Kuwait City (KWI) to Bangkok (BKK). As I explained previously, my motivation for taking this flight was simple — Kuwait Airways is the second to last airline in the world that I hadn’t flown in first class, and I wanted to finally check it off my list (for those curious, Starlux is the last).

I think “check it off my list” very much sums up the experience, because it’s something I don’t have to repeat. Truth be told, aspects of the experience were quite good — Kuwait Airways’ first class suites are comfortable, the flight attendants were friendly, and the food was abundant.

At the same time, nothing about the soft product felt first class. The food quality was “meh.” The milk frother was broken, limiting the coffee beverages that could be prepared (a bit more important on a dry airline!). The Wi-Fi was broken. The entertainment selection was awful. There were no amenity kits.

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, in this post I wanted to share some initial impressions of the experience.

Kuwait Airways’ 777 first class seats are comfortable

The most competitive aspect of the Kuwait Airways first class experience is the seats. The cabin has eight first class suites with doors, which are spacious.

Kuwait Airways 777-300ER first class cabin
Kuwait Airways 777-300ER first class cabin

Each seat has a large ottoman that doubles as a buddy seat, quite a bit of storage, and even a little minibar.

Kuwait Airways 777-300ER first class seat

Now, there are soft quirks. For example, all the seat functions have to be controlled by a panel next to the seat, yet every single time you want to use the panel, you have to first “start” the system and then select your language, which seems like something that could easily be simplified.

Kuwait Airways 777-300ER first class seat controls

Furthermore, while the bed is spacious, I found the seat padding to be lacking, and the bedding provided by the airline is more of a mattress sheet than a mattress pad, so I didn’t find the surface comfortable for sleeping.

Kuwait Airways 777-300ER first class bed

Kuwait Airways’ first class service was well intentioned

The crew on this flight exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. I was being served by a Moroccan woman who had been at the airline for 23 years (!!!!), as well as a Thai-Indian woman. They were both friendly and responsive, and did the best they could.

They were attentive during the meal service, but as you’d expect, training isn’t on the same level as on carriers like Emirates. Despite being one of two adult passengers (the other traveler was a mother with a young child), I was never addressed by name, or received any level of attentiveness I wouldn’t expect in business class.

Still, I appreciated their kind spirit, as they definitely made me feel welcome. Best I could tell, there were no Kuwaiti men working the cabin of this flight, which surprised me.

Kuwait Airways’ food is quantity over quality

The quantity of food on this flight was kind of unreal, though maybe the airline should focus on quality instead. The food was okay, but probably a step below Qatar Airways business class in terms of quality and variety.

Lunch was served after takeoff. For the appetizer, I was presented with the mezze, which included hummus, grapevine leaves, and lamb and beetroot kibbeh. There was also honey sriracha salmon with avocado cream. Lastly, there was a mesclun salad. I’m not sure if the airline always serves passengers both appetizers plus the salad, or if it’s because I was the only one eating.

Kuwait Airways first class meal service

I thought the mezze was rather unimpressive compared to what you’ll find on virtually any other airline in the region, the salmon was kind of chewy, and the salad was super unimaginative.

I was also served a cream of chicken soup with croutons, which was quite good.

Kuwait Airways first class meal service

I didn’t find the main course options to be very inspiring, and selected the Singapore chicken noodles. What I was served was… not like any Singapore inspired chicken noodles I’ve had before. There were two “scoops” of noodles, a chicken breast, and an overly sweet Thai chili sauce flooding the plate.

By the way, there were no Middle Eastern options on the menu for the main course. The other options were deep fried shrimp, penne pesto pasta, and Mongolian beef.

Kuwait Airways first class meal service

Lastly, for dessert I had a fruit plate, as well as a mango coconut entremet. The mango coconut dessert was the best part of the meal.

Kuwait Airways first class meal service

Then there was a snack service before landing, with sandwiches that tasted like they were created in a culinary partnership with American Airlines.

Kuwait Airways first class snack service

Given that Kuwait Airways is a dry airline, you’d think the airline could invest in having an amazing non-alcoholic drink selection, with all kinds of smoothies, juices, etc. Heck, I’d settle for the milk frother working. Unfortunately that was broken on this flight, so it wasn’t even possible to have a cappuccino.

Kuwait Airways’ entertainment issues

Speaking of things that were broken, Wi-Fi was also broken on this flight, despite it theoretically being available on the 777s. You’d almost think that there’s a correlation between airlines being dry and Wi-Fi not working, since this was the second consecutive dry airline I flew (with the other one being EgyptAir), and also the second consecutive flight where Wi-Fi wasn’t working. Otherwise I don’t remember the last time I was on a flight where the Wi-Fi didn’t work.

Unfortunately Kuwait Airways’ entertainment selection didn’t really come to the rescue either. There were around 60 movies and around 40 TV shows, but that included options in both English and Arabic. For example, below was the extent of the TV shows in the comedy category…

Kuwait Airways first class entertainment selection

Bottom line

I’m happy I finally had the chance to check Kuwait Airways’ 777 first class off my list, given for long I’ve been meaning to fly it. I’d say the experience was the most basic version of what I could have anticipated. Kuwait Airways has spacious seats and I had a friendly crew, but other than that, there was nothing first class about this experience.

The food seemed to be more about quantity over quality, and there wasn’t much in the way of amenities. What I found most disappointing was the things that weren’t working, like the Wi-Fi and milk frother. C’mon, get the basics right. The flight was also just plain “boring” — this wasn’t like TAAG Angola first class, where the captain was about to take out his boxing gloves against me (to be clear, that’s probably a good thing!).

Look, here’s the thing, though. My takeaway isn’t “oh, Kuwait Airways should improve its first class.” No, the airline probably shouldn’t, because it won’t move the needle much with consumer demand. Kuwait Airways is a boutique carrier primarily serving a local market, and that’s fine. If you’re traveling to & from Kuwait, you’ll probably fly with the airline, because most consumers value a convenient schedule.

I do think the airline should probably discontinue first class, or at least scale it back, since it seems to be consistently empty on all but the New York and London routes.

What’s your take on Kuwait Airways’ 777 first class?

Conversations (30)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    I would have liked to see the ottoman that had a mini bar. Interesting a mini bar area for a dry airline. What you do not mention is the price. Relative to the price for other carriers you probably had a good experience for much less money.

  2. Likes-to-fly Member

    Ben you often mention how when in the plane you like to be addressed by name and if not, you categorise it as bad service. Personally I love anonymity when I travel, and if they do say "Hello Mr...", I hope they do it discreetly.
    SQ does this very well, the worst are those FA who carry their passenger list with them and they read your name in front of you. Speaking about personalised service...
    I wonder what is general opinion on this.

    1. Andrew Guest

      I agree, truthfully good service to me is if attendants are just nice and smile while serving the meal and refills if I ask. Otherwise please leave me alone so I can sleep/relax and so they are not overworked.

  3. Dwondermeant Guest

    Based on the American culinary partnership direction for the snack service you may wish to merge the thread with the proper poop procedures thread
    Same rules apply wipe away

  4. Lobster Guest

    "culinary partnership with american airlines" LMAO

  5. Miami305 Gold

    @LUCKY...

    "with sandwiches that tasted like they were created in a culinary partnership with American Airlines."

    THAT was funny. Laughed out loud!!

  6. Daniel from Finland Guest

    In culinary partnership with American Airlines? ROFLMAO!

  7. Larry Ruch Guest

    Oh my. It looks you finally found an airline worse than British Airways,, at least the soft product. I still think BA seats are the worst.

    At least on BA you get alcohol to help to forget the flight.

  8. Raksiam Guest

    When they decided to cancel the IAD route before it even launched they really screwed me. Those of us who bought a ticket before the cancellation were treated very poorly. If I hadn't been proactive I wonder if they would have even notified me. Ended up having to spend a lot more to fly on Etihad instead. I wouldn't give them any business if they were last airline on earth

  9. Euro Gold

    The noodles with the chicken, it's almost as if they tried to inject some flair into the dish by plating it to look like a face expressing a sense of despair.

    1. henare Diamond

      Either that, or they were noodle boobs! Either way it was special...

  10. Paul Guest

    Agree totally with your review. Flew this a couple of times to JFK, connecting from DXB, back in 2022. The cash fares for KU first were about the same as Royal Jordanian and Egyptair business class as KU had only just relaunched the 777 service to NY and the fares were rock bottom.

    The seat is nice, if standard off the shelf first class, honestly surprised you're not raving about the seats having two individual...

    Agree totally with your review. Flew this a couple of times to JFK, connecting from DXB, back in 2022. The cash fares for KU first were about the same as Royal Jordanian and Egyptair business class as KU had only just relaunched the 777 service to NY and the fares were rock bottom.

    The seat is nice, if standard off the shelf first class, honestly surprised you're not raving about the seats having two individual air vents!
    All flights had friendly crew but terrible and rude cabin managers. Food was hit and miss, definitely not the lobster they were advertising on their website. Basically just business class with a couple of extra choices and dine on demand
    Entertainment limited and no maps or WiFi.
    The long haul flight did come with one of the most basic amenity kits I've ever seen, branded Christian Lacroix.
    Lounges terrible, and after coming off JFK-KWI we weren't even allowed access to the first lounge before the connection back to DXB.

    For the price I paid I wouldn't complain, but with normal demand and pricing restored I've never even considered it since.
    Honestly reminded me a little of United's old Global First, the actual seat is nice but everything else was a marginal improvement over business class, and the cabin really only serves frequent fliers and corporate clients.

  11. Antwerp Guest

    I am going to bet that Kuwait is very selective as to the routes they send Kuwaiti male flight attendants. They probably really don't want them laying over in Bangkok. And I'm being serious.

  12. Eli Guest

    Then there was a snack service before landing, with sandwiches that tasted like they were created in a culinary partnership with American Airlines.

    Omg did you make me laugh.

  13. Willem Guest

    Thank you, Ben, for flying this product. Now my curiosity is satiated and I don’t have to fly it myself LOL.

    (I stumbled across a $900 o/w fare to Dhaka of all places, which gets twice-daily 77W service on Kuwait… so there’s still a small chance for me LOL)

    1. W Diamond

      Where is the origin and dates for the $900 fare? I'm really interested.

  14. vlcnc Guest

    "If you’re traveling to & from Kuwait, you’ll probably fly with the airline, because most consumers value a convenient schedule."

    Actually most Kuwaiti's we know personally avoid their national airline like the plague preferring to do one stop itineraries with the likes of Qatar Airways or Emirates over flying them. It's a national airline with the prestige of a flag carrier and making money or being a business isn't its point.

  15. Juraj Member

    Ben, where would you rank this compared to the various business class products out there?
    In other words, if this were J and not F, where would it fit in that ranking? Above the old Lufthansa biz? MIAT Mongolian? Pakistan Intl?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Juraj -- That's a toughie, as it's very much a question of relative value placed on hard product vs. soft product, and also how much value someone places on alcohol.

      There's no denying that this offers way more space than any business class product out there. Still, I'd probably select most of the world's top business class products over this, thanks to the better food and drinks, entertainment, better odds of Wi-Fi working....

      @ Juraj -- That's a toughie, as it's very much a question of relative value placed on hard product vs. soft product, and also how much value someone places on alcohol.

      There's no denying that this offers way more space than any business class product out there. Still, I'd probably select most of the world's top business class products over this, thanks to the better food and drinks, entertainment, better odds of Wi-Fi working.

      I'd select this over average business class products, though, given the space.

  16. Lukas Diamond

    "...sandwiches that tasted like they were created in a culinary partnership with American Airlines."

    Best part of the article! :D

    1. hbilbao Guest

      Yeah, the best part for sure!

    2. yoloswag420 Guest

      I once got a frozen sandwich on a domestic F transcon flight. And the FA tried to gaslight me saying they were never frozen when there were literal ice crystals on the sandwich.

  17. yoloswag420 Guest

    Pretty expected outcome. Food looked very mediocre, but at least they tried. How close to the bottom does this rank?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ yoloswag420 -- TAAG Angola is at the bottom, then probably a couple of mainland Chinese carriers, like Xiamen Air. But I'd say this probably ranks a bit below American, since at least on American you have great entertainment and reasonably reliable Wi-Fi.

    2. JN Guest

      @Ben Schlappig

      I think it's a bit too harsh to rate KU first class as a "bit below American". The entertainment is sure better on American, but American first class service is nothing "first class", possibly unacceptable for even a business class (and it doesn't seem like they improved a lot since the last time you tried it) And you described KU first class as "well-intended service". To sum up... AA first class has mediocre...

      @Ben Schlappig

      I think it's a bit too harsh to rate KU first class as a "bit below American". The entertainment is sure better on American, but American first class service is nothing "first class", possibly unacceptable for even a business class (and it doesn't seem like they improved a lot since the last time you tried it) And you described KU first class as "well-intended service". To sum up... AA first class has mediocre to below average seats, bad service and food and good entertainment while KU first class has competitive seats, good service, no good food and bad entertainment.

      So I don't think that KU first class is a bit worse than AA first class, but rather it is a bit better than AA first class. Or maybe it's just because I prioritise the service over everything when it comes to a premium class travelling, tho.

    3. Willem Guest

      I flew AA First on the 77W last weekend and the dinner I got was way better than what this looks like. The sleeping surface is actually enormous & Casper bedding is great, the chair swivels if you want to work on a daytime flight while looking out the window, etc…

      In no world is AA 77W first a worse all around product than what’s depicted here.

      Did Kuwait Airways have a dedicated First Class lounge in KWI?

    4. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Willem -- So Kuwait Airways does have an "Elite Lounge" for first class passengers. It's nice and quiet and it's a modern space, much better than the other lounge. However, once again, the soft product isn't good at all.

      It's funny, because the lounge has a dining area with a QR code that has a menu, so you'd assume there's cooked to order meals. However, instead the food is then "prepared" by the lounge...

      @ Willem -- So Kuwait Airways does have an "Elite Lounge" for first class passengers. It's nice and quiet and it's a modern space, much better than the other lounge. However, once again, the soft product isn't good at all.

      It's funny, because the lounge has a dining area with a QR code that has a menu, so you'd assume there's cooked to order meals. However, instead the food is then "prepared" by the lounge attendant from the buffet, which has food that sits there for hours, given the lack of traffic.

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JN -- Your perspective is fair. The Kuwait Airways seat is more comfortable and spacious, but American has reliable Wi-Fi and entertainment, alcohol (which I don't value much, but others do), and I don't necessarily think the food is worse than on Kuwait Airways. Furthermore, American's bedding is at least quite good.

      As you probably know, I'm by no means a cheerleader of American's first class product, but I do think it's the closest...

      @ JN -- Your perspective is fair. The Kuwait Airways seat is more comfortable and spacious, but American has reliable Wi-Fi and entertainment, alcohol (which I don't value much, but others do), and I don't necessarily think the food is worse than on Kuwait Airways. Furthermore, American's bedding is at least quite good.

      As you probably know, I'm by no means a cheerleader of American's first class product, but I do think it's the closest comparison to this in terms of overall quality (with each airline having different pros and cons).

  18. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Thank you for the review-cum-warning.

    No thanks, Kuwait.

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Miami305 Gold

@LUCKY... "with sandwiches that tasted like they were created in a culinary partnership with American Airlines." THAT was funny. Laughed out loud!!

4
Daniel from Finland Guest

In culinary partnership with American Airlines? ROFLMAO!

2
Willem Guest

I flew AA First on the 77W last weekend and the dinner I got was way better than what this looks like. The sleeping surface is actually enormous & Casper bedding is great, the chair swivels if you want to work on a daytime flight while looking out the window, etc… In no world is AA 77W first a worse all around product than what’s depicted here. Did Kuwait Airways have a dedicated First Class lounge in KWI?

2
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