Kuwait Airways’ New 777-300s Might Actually Be Competitive

Filed Under: Kuwait Airways

Yesterday I wrote about how Kuwait Airways is going through a “once in a generation” rebranding, which includes a new logo and livery. While that’s nice, my big question has been whether they’ll actually substantially change their offerings, given that Kuwait has among the worst first & business class hard products of any airline on their fleet of two 777 aircraft.

Kuwait Airways’ CEO claims that they’re hoping to transform their product:

While the outward change to our aircraft will be obvious, we also hope to demonstrate that a much deeper and thorough transformation process is underway; one that will reassert our pioneering legacy in the region’s aviation industry and restore a sense of pride in the national carrier of Kuwait. Ultimately, such changes will be in pursuit of asserting our position as the preferred choice for passengers, linking Kuwait to the world.

Personally I was somewhat skeptical, given that they recently introduced some A330s to their fleet with an outdated hard product. It’s one thing to just have old planes with outdated products, but to me taking delivery of a new plane with a bad hard product is a pretty clear statement of intent.

Kuwait Airways is about to take delivery of 10 new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which will represent a big overhaul of their fleet. As of now the only plane they’re using for their true longhaul routes are two roughly 18 year old Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

While Kuwait Airways has revealed the exterior of these new 777s, they haven’t yet revealed the interiors. However, reader Alvin shares what’s rumored to be the seatmap for these new planes.

Based on there being just eight first class seats with 84″ of pitch, it sure seems like Kuwait may be introducing fully enclosed suites, similar to what Saudia is in the process of installing on their 777-300ER aircraft.

Saudia’s new first class

Saudia’s new first class

Heck, even if their first class doesn’t consist of fully enclosed suites, it will still represent a huge improvement over their old product.

Furthermore, it looks like the airline will be going fully flat in business class for the first time, given that the seat will have 62″ of pitch. I suspect they’re going with the B/E Aerospace Diamond seat, similar to what you’ll find in business class on Aeromexico, Saudia, United, etc.

Saudia’s new business class

In economy it looks like they’ll have just nine seats per row, making them one of the few airlines to not have 10 seats per row in 777 economy.

Of course this is all speculation, given that as of now they’ve only revealed the exterior of their new 777s. It’s only a matter of time until these new 777-300ER aircraft are in service, so I suspect we’ll find out more details soon. Given that New York is the main destination served by Kuwait’s 777s, I imagine that will also be the first route to get the new 777s. Once that’s confirmed, you can bet I’ll be booking a flight to review their product.

Would you consider flying Kuwait Airways once they install these new cabins?

  1. Israel is Land grabbing Palestine land and not listening to American administration. Wtf should we care about Israel?

    I want see Kuwait airlines review. Sounds interesting. Lucky you want to do it.

  2. But it’s NOT competitive. Maybe in F. But taking delivery of new aircraft with that J product is punting it. Not having direct aisle access for all J is a pretty lame move, even if it IS an improvement over their last J product. It’s all relative, in theory, but it’s bogus to claim it’s competitive when way more airlines has a better configuration.

  3. @Adam
    It’s reasonably up-to-date. Not all of us care about all-aisle access, and given that Kuwait isn’t the most premium carrier it will serve their needs reasonably well.

    Meanwhile Emirates is now taking delivery of new 777s with the new business class, which still has a middle seat of a 2-3-2 config.

  4. If its dry..i wont fly….

    Im adopting this mantra from now on! Forgive my ignorance but is Kuwait a dry airline?

    But in all honesty, I couldn’t imagine paying a J/F class fare and there’s no bubbles 🙁

  5. I dont think it really matters one way or the other.
    The vast majority of people are either going to Kuwait or looking for cheap tickets via Kuwait to India or Southeast Asia.
    The premium market to Kuwait isn’t large and it isn’t especially competitive.
    There really isn’t that much competition to Kuwait form the US or Europe – those looking for business class will likely take this as it’s nonstop. Those who MUST have alcohol will choose another carrier, but the vast majority will take the nonstop for the convenience factor. The product doesn’t have to be the nicest or the best to get people to fly it. It will work for those who need it.
    Those in the back will simply be looking for the cheapest fare on their way to Manila or to India or where have you. They wont care.
    Yes I’m cynical, but I do think this is the right product for this market

  6. No thanks. I fly J and there are better options. No direct aisle access in all seats along with the dry-ness of a long flight. And are these seats really flat?

  7. Same as a few comments above. For me being in Business or First class, some of the joy for me is having some Alcoholic beverages, so it would be rather boring to fly an airline which serves no Alcohol.

  8. “I would not consider flying them, since they discriminate against Israeli nationals”

    In my most sarcastic Helen Lovejoy-esque voice: “Won’t someone PLEASE think of the Israeli nationals!”

  9. @W:

    Reasonably up to date =! competitive. Maybe for the specific routes they fly, perhaps. But in general, no, it’s not, and that’s the point of this blog.

    As for EK and their 2-3-2 abomination…I don’t even know where to begin. You’re right, though; that isn’t competitive either.

  10. @Aaron

    The one where alcoholics united in the face of going a few hours without a drink.

    AA is Alcoholics Anonymous by the way, not American Airlines.

  11. Compared to the seating that BA, KLM, Lufthansa and Turkish send to Kuwait, I’d say this layout is competitive for the European market. If travelling from North America, the non stop factor will be an added bonus. Premium hard product is no worse than what you’ll find on Emirates, Qatar, or Saudia 777s from the USA. Therefore I don’t think this product deserves quite so much negativity. Sure, direct aisle access would be much nicer, but there are still a huge number of carriers out there without this feature.

    Flew business on one of their new A320s recently, on-board seat and service definitely competitive compared to Etihad or Gulf Air short haul products. If the same service and catering standards are found on the long haul routes I’d consider them if the price was very good.

  12. Well, I don’t know how they’ll be able to cram 290 economy seats in there.

  13. KU will have a dedicated 5 Star Terminal fully operational by Fall 2017 only by then you can give them a fair review.

  14. KU actually plans to deploy their 777-300ER to MNL first, then LHR, then JFK is next. Because many Filipino workers work in KWI and mainly choose KU over PR and 5J due to cheaper prices, although KU has a codeshare with PR, and KU offers IFE unlike PR and 5J. They have seven weekly flights, five KWI-BKK-MNL flights using A330-200 (with newer products) and two nonstop KWI-MNL flights using 777-200ER (outdated products). It remains to be seen which of the two flights will the 777-300ER replace. And it is most likely that the first class cabin will be sold as business class, because there is no first class demand out of KWI or MNL. In their old 777-200ER for example KWI-MNL, since they are all recliner seats, first class is sold as business class, and business class is sold as economy. This was also the case when your friend Sam Chui tried it on BOM-KWI.

    KU is a dry airline, yes. But they have topnotch catering out of KWI, by KASCO catering. If you could recall, Sam Chui was able to try 747-400 first class KWI-LHR, describing the meal service as a ‘grand affair,’ a relic of the 90’s when they still roll a cart and you choose what you want and they plate it for you. I can also personally attest to their excellent catering, as I was able to try some samples, and I especially loved their lamb shawarma sandwich.

  15. @Aziz

    FYI, AA stands for American Airlines too. And considering that this is a blog about airlines, and American Airlines’ IATA designation is AA, and most people are here to discuss airlines…etc etc/ So it is beyond reasonable that most people would assume you were referring to the airline.

  16. Why kuwait airways not allowing thir passengers using mibiles or ipad during flights? Even on airplane mode and i only use it for music, because its so bring 9-10hrs from manila!

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