Kuwait Airways Vs. Qatar Airways Business Class?

Filed Under: Travel

On Friday I wrote about how I’m soon headed to the Park Hyatt Maldives, despite not really having a great reason to do so.


The Maldives isn’t an easy destination to get to. First you have to fly to Male Airport, which is a bit of a haul, and then from there you have to take a prop plane and speedboat transfer to the actual hotel.

While I booked my hotel a while back, I’m just now trying to decide how to book my tickets to/from the Maldives. I’ve ultimately decided to fly into/out of Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is for a few reasons:


While I’ll be redeeming miles for the outbound (more on that in a subsequent post), I plan to book a paid ticket for the return. And I’ve narrowed it down to two options… I think:

Kuwait Airways business class


I’ve written in the past about Kuwait Airways’ cheap business class fares out of Colombo. They charge just ~$1,100 for one-way business class from Colombo to Kuwait City to London to New York.

They unarguably offer the worst business class product between London and New York, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything good about them. They also don’t have any useful mileage partners, so I couldn’t accrue any valuable miles for the trip (I don’t have any plans to go for Oasis Club elite status).

It’s one thing to be a horrible airline… it’s another thing to be a horrible dry airline…

Qatar Airways business class


The alternative is to fly Qatar Airways and connect to American:

  • I could earn American AAdvantage miles for the routing (and quite a few, given that it’s paid business class and I’d earn my elite bonus miles)
  • I could fly the all business class A319 between Doha and London, which looks like an interesting product
  • I, um, wouldn’t have to fly Kuwait Airways


Bottom line

I’m going back and forth between those options. On one hand I really do want to review Kuwait Airways, on the other hand I think the Qatar Airways A319 would be interesting as well, and I’d earn miles in the process.

What should I book?

  1. I would like to see your post on a plane in the 21st century that has hard product and service from the 20th century

  2. At that small of a price difference, it seems like a no brainer. But my vote is still for Kuwait. What a fun trip report to read!

  3. QR A319 definitely…with the miles you earn, a hard product you haven’t reviewed yet, etc. Will you be reviewing the seaplane (including the waiting area/lounge in MLE) and the speedboat to the hotel? I hope you do since we’re planning to do Maldives and Park Hyatt in the near future.

  4. Kuwait Airways is useless… While I love when you review different airlines, I doubt many of us have a use to fly Kuwait Airways especially since we can’t redeem points to fly them. I know you’ve reviewed a TON of Qatar Airways flights, but at least this is a bit different because of the all business class flight. I would fly Qatar!

  5. My sadistic streak says Kuwait, but I really do think QR will not only be a FAR better deal all around, but it will also be most useful for your blog audience.

  6. Go with QR. Really interested to know how the all-business A319 service compares to CWLCY (BA 001-4)

  7. When all those folks who want to fly Kuwait Airways business class google around and find your website think of all the traffic you’ll get…. oh wait never mind no one actually wants to fly Kuwait. Go with QR.

  8. Definitely QR, do you want to make an already pretty daunting trip for you even more horrible? And the likelyhood that you readers will fly Kuwait are pretty slim.

  9. If you fly QR, I think it would be more interesting to fly DOH-JFK and try its business class on a long-haul flight (with PJs, duvet and better meals) than DOH-LHR and LHR-DOH on AA. Kuwait may be a fun reading, but not very useful. For about the same price, flying EY J or a mix of EY and AB J is also interesting. Maybe you can check if there is enough food on EY J for a AUH-JFK flight and verify if the pre-clearance is better now.

  10. My vote is Kuwait! I am quite certain you’ll be back in India & Sri Lanka area with your mom someday. For that one, treat her on the Qatar flight! I’m ok with whichever one you choose though Kuwait would be interesting to read!

  11. I would wait to review Kuwait Airways, until they come out with a new biz or first class product. You’ll be flying an antique A300 & A340 and an old 777. Remember your Aerolineas Argentinas flight ? Just go for the Qatar Airways option.

  12. I’m also booking a return from the Maldives/Sri Lanka for next January. Did you find any great first class airfare deals on Etihad or Emirates or Singapore or Cathay?

  13. If you want to torture yourself, go all in: Kuwait Economy class. It’s been a while since you’ve reviewed the back of the bus.

  14. Although I’m sure Kuwait would be an entertaining report, I’d rather hear about the Qatar business class. Given that there are no ,mileage partners for Kuwait, I can’t imagine any of us ever planing to fly on Kuwait – except in some rare case where there was actually no choice. So a review there is less useful than a review of a business class product that we might use.

  15. Lucky, what kind of question is this. You have to fly kuwait to nyc then use miles back to colombo and take qatar back!! All for the amusement of your readers lol

  16. Another spoiled first world view. I thought your whole argument about traveling only in first and business was that you do it as a service to your readers? Is Kuwait really THAT bad that you can’t sit in business class on it?

    Do yourself a favor and fly economy. Then Kuwait won’t sound bad at all.

  17. This is a tough one – on one hand, I would love to know what Kuwait Air is like. But on the other, I would actually fly Qatar, so it would be more useful for future reference. Since not many people go for Kuwait, it gets the edge.

  18. I would be fine with either review. However, you will probably take your mom to the Maldives at a different time and will want to treat her with the Qatar flight (or any other airline than Kuwait) so you should take the Kuwait flight now so you can try it as well as fly on a rare plane that is not with many if any other airlines. (A300) Besides we ALL know the #AVGEEK in you really wants to try it.

  19. Either take Kuwait now, or do it some other time and invite me along! I only drink when I’m in Disney World, so dry airlines don’t bother me.

  20. Just out of curiosity, the taxes and fees for one-way from CMB to MLE is $90 and 4.5k Avios while a paid way a $150, would you still redeem Avios? Flying the other way, it would require $30 in taxes/fees while a paid flight is $140. I guess you could be swimming in Avios from the 40% transfer bonus.

    Whether you fly KU or QR, you’re going to have to overnight in CMB after you depart from the PH. I guess the overnight isn’t so much of a hassle since one is allowed a 2 day transit visa for free.

    Did you entertain the thought of burning some AA miles to fly EY to IAD via AUH on their 787?

  21. I have certainly been an advocate for trip reports of the more unique airlines’ premium offerings.

    But not Kuwait’s. Flying in a putrid business class can only be fun if there’s plenty of alcohol. I speak from experience; flying Saudia’s J class while sober is like having surgery without anesthesia.

    Go with QR.

  22. Lucky.. y not saudia or even sri lankan airlines itself? UL flies to london.

    Air india or jetairways are other possibilities fr cmb.

  23. What Iranian and North Korea don’t have any options 🙂 or course pick quatar unless Kuwait is so much cheaper.

  24. Id fly Qatar, but Id like to read about Kuwait. (but Id try to find a route with as many Boeing legs as possible).
    BTW, Qatar just started another 5 day global sale, with 30% off. I see you already found promo fare, but now it may be even better?

  25. make us happy dude.
    you promised before, quait it is, plus u will save tons of cash. screw the miles we all know you have billions of them, do it for the adventure and for all of us.
    we have all read all 100 reviews of qatar but not a single one of kuwait…

  26. Kuwait please. Also, please BYOB Krug. 🙂
    I am also waiting patiently for you to review El Al “new” (long-haul) first class. (and El Al is most definitely NOT “dry.”)

  27. @Lucky/ben,
    I was just wondering why dont you fly kuwait for the new York-london route and the fly oman air LHR-MCT as you’ve never flown oman aor before and we all would be more interested in tge Oman Air than Kuwait. You always told you wanted to try out Oman Air, perhaps thus is the best opportunity!

  28. Geez Lucky, some people here are keen to make you miserable. Sure you’ve been on Qatar before, but people generally only fly Kuwait when they don’t have any other choice (and that rarely happens). And the price difference is minimal, so that makes Qatar the easy choice (unless you are into masochism).

    I flew Kuwait out of necessity a couple of times, and I was shocked by the amount of problems. Nothing much has changed judging from commentary online.

    I mean what’s next? Forcing Lucky to fly on some fly by night(mare) chicken run in
    all coach just so we can have some schadenfreude… 🙂

  29. Try to engineer a >9hr layover in Doha. Qatar provides free accommodation on business class fares.

  30. Clearly QR. Not only will it be not enjoyable, but also _more_ useful to your readers because nobody wants to fly Kuwait.

    Although it would certainly have entertainment value 😉

  31. Why not just split the difference, and fly Kuwait Airways between LHR and JFK, and fly Qatar from DOH to LHR? It might cost more, sure, but it would be a good way to review 2 products you haven’t already in one trip. You can afford it…and if not, there is always Kickstarter 😉

  32. Since there aren’t any Teddies in Alsougha to add to your collection, Qatar may be more compelling. The A319 flight from LHR has an abbreviated meal selection though. The flight caters to travelers looking to maximize sleep. Service is minimal to avoid making noise. Not conducive to a review.

  33. I am one for fun, but at the same time I really want to know what the A319 product looks like.

    Up to you but my vote is Qatar.

  34. I hope you have the QR fare locked in Lucky, because I fare tickets for those flight seems to be gone from QR website?

    Of course the solution to your problem is easy, do both!

    Book a return ticket from CMB to JFK and a few weeks later and then do Kuwait CMB-JFK one way.

    Not sure if you get the A319 this way, does not seem to show up when searching for return tickets on QR website.

  35. @ No Name — The fare was only for demonstrative purposes. My dates are a bit different. 🙂

  36. @ wwk5d — Because it costs a LOT more, and part of the point is to get a good value, or else I would have redeemed miles.

  37. @ MarkM — I could be mistaken, but I believe they don’t offer that if you voluntarily take a later flight, no? Given that they have six flights a day between Doha and London, there would be earlier connection options.

  38. @ Chandan — I would indeed love to fly Oman Air, but the fare is extremely expensive. The reason for the above routings is that they’re a great value.

  39. @ Mike — Didn’t realize fees were so high. In that case a paid ticket does indeed make more sense. Etihad’s 787 is another fun idea. Hmmm!

  40. @ beachfan — Didn’t find anything especially compelling. Business class seems to be a better value for the most part.

  41. Air China has pretty good MLE to CTU fares, and you could fly from there.

  42. Obviously if I was flying this myself I would take QR, but what I really want to read about is Kuwait airlines!

  43. @Lucky, Mike: yeah, UL and Sri Lanka slap some fees on things.

    OTOH, EK flies CMB-MLE. The C fare’s $287 round trip, and gets you double miles on AS.

    As for complaints about dry airlines… ah, to think back to the days on this blog where wine lists were something you took pictures of to satisfy readers, along with Diet Cokes with lemon or lime slices… 😉

  44. Whoops, misread that promo, route doesn’t touch USA or DXB, so no double miles… still a nice fare for a C fare.

  45. I don’t really care which airline you fly but do take a day or two and stop in Colombo — it’s not a huge city but it is worth a visit. If you have the time, there is cool stuff to do in Sri Lanka but requires getting out of Colombo for more than a day trip.

  46. My vote goes with Qatar. For the A319 and another pass through the new lounge in Doha.

    And because I like this blog and we all know that after a trek back to the US without any champagne in a mediocre seat, you probably wouldn’t survive to write a trip report about it!

  47. Qatar Airways is undoubtedly the better airline by a long shot. Kuwait Airways is not safe at all, and their premium cabins are behind in the world of aviation. Not even us Kuwaitis take the airline seriously, but it’s been upgrading their fleet so that’s an improvement. But it would be an interesting experience and one more airline to review that you already have not.

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