Gulf Air Business Class KWI-BAH-DXB

On Sept. 30th, 2010, I’ve decided go for a mini-trip to Dubai, solo style. During the last days of Ramdan, Gulf Air announced their 30% online discount sale on all fares within the GCC region and some south eastern countries. I felt that I should go for it, regardless of whatever shows up later on. Gulf Air made some restrictions on applying the web discount code on the traveling classes and fares. So to apply this far, you couldn’t go for the promo fares because they are already discounted and the code wouldn’t apply. I had to choose the regular economy and applied the code. Upon checking out and purchasing the ticket, I was given the option of upgrading to Falcon Gold class. I upgraded it, then somehow though about re-applying the discount code again. It Worked!! I was discounted twice to a total of 60% off!!! The original ticket when upgraded should be around 162-165 KDs and know how much I paid for it? 117 KDs!! Talk about a real catch!!! I know some would wave off  it because to go to Dubai from Kuwait with Gulf Air, you would have to make a transit connection in Bahrain. I didn’t mind at all since I’ve wanted to try out the Gulf Air First/Business Class Lounge in BAH to review it, and this was a really good chance to.

After checking-in in KWI, I’ve headed to Damsan Lounge (my 2nd visit) since Gulf Air business class travelers and Gold/Silver members are entitled only to be admitted at Dasman Lounge. Upon call for boarding, I’ve headed to gate 20, which is by far the worst gate in KWI. It’s the last gate on the right hand side after the smoking room. A couple of seats for waiting and it was crowded as hell. I don’t know when KWI would start making special entrance for First/Business travelers for reach gate, which is the norm in every country on this planet. Upon boarding, the plane was packed!! Earlier, I have checked-in online to reserve my seat (2A) according to recommendations from SeatGuru and there it was. Most of the plane was packed with Kuwaiti students going to Bahrain to taking examinations for their suspicious commercial diplomas. I’ve turned down the offer of breakfast since I’ve had mine at the lounge. I didn’t bother taking snaps here because there was nothing remarkable about the plane to shoot. The typical large business seats, old and overused.

For connecting flights, it’s very normal in worldwide airports that the check-in counter would print you a boarding pass in case the amount of time between the flights is limited. In KWI, they did that for me. In DXB, it was something else that I would mention later on.

Upon arrival in BAH, I’ve wanted to lounge-hub the Gulf Air Lounge, but I only had one hour to board the plane. And there’s this stupid thing going on in BAH airport about banning all Gulf Air departures announcements in the lounge. A couple of months ago, lounge staff would walk around and gently announce the boarding announcement to lounge users. That has been discontinued in Dilmun Lounge and Gulf Air Lounge due to the large number of Gulf Air flights around the clock. And mainly, updates for flights in BAH is shitty as hell. One minute a flight gate is declared open, a couple of minutes later ”Last Call” is displayed for all travelers. I swear to God, the last two trips from BAH didn’t have any update at all, it started with “”Last Call” !!! So, summing all of the above mentioned reasons, I gave up and headed directly to my gate. Upon boarding, it was the same class of airplane A320, and no sleeper seats. We arrived in DXB safe and sound.

Here’s some snaps of the flight back from DXB

Now, let me talk about my return trip from DXB. Upon arrival to DXB terminal 1, I’ve searched for Gulf Air counter just to be told that it has been moved to Area F, which is located outside of the main counters area to the far left side of the terminal. I took my bag and dragged it outside just to find that Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudi Arabia Airlines and some I can’t remember have been tossed to a lonely area I’ve never seen before. Upon checking-in, I was told that I can’t receive my 2nd boarding pass for BAH-KWI because DXB pass system is not compatible with BAH and Gulf Air. So? it meant that I had to arrive in BAH and go to the transit counter and ask for my connecting boarding pass. I didn’t digest that one. I asked my bag to be shipped all the way to Kuwait. Leaving the security area, I headed to Gulf Air Lounge located near gate 122, which is the main gate for Gulf Air flights. The next post would be about my visit to this lounge.

Upon entering the gate, a security personnel asked to keep my stump of boarding pass because he was trying to print me the 2nd connecting pass and I thanked him for the effort. After waiting for 30 minutes, I’ve checked again with him just to find out that it was impossible. I gave up and headed to the plane entrance. Now here comes the best part of this trip. We got the sleeper seats. I sat down and started screwing around with the mechanism of the seat, trying to see how long it can stand my continuous changes. It was alright. Again, I turned down the food because I had a good mini-meal at the lounge. Upon arrival in BAH, I went around and started asking about how to get a connecting pass since all of the provided counters for other airlines. After here and there, I was ”sneaked” into the first of the line just to get my boarding printed. There, I headed down to Gulf Air Lounge for short time before departure of my flight back to Kuwait. On my last flight, we also got the sleeper seats and the bad luck to be seated next to a horny-swinger-married lady who kept making phone calls and messages to multiple dudes, one after the other. Thank God she changed her seat afterward.

The whole experience here was ruined when we arrived at KWI. Multiple planes arrived at the same time. My bag, along with some others, is nowhere to be found. The shutter for the baggage belt shutdown and all airport staff announced that ”that’s it”! I went crazy. My buddies are waiting outside to pick me up. I went from one baggage lane to another searching for my one and only bag. Its tagged with ”Golden Falcon” priority strap, meaning it should be handled among the first with care. No bag in sight. I was told to go the missing baggage claim office where I filed for it. The whole filing process took me like 30 minutes due to the retarded way the airport staff are dealing with travelers. I was called in the next day and been notified to come and pick it up at the Civil Aviation Main Building. It turns out that Gulf Air didn’t ship it along with us upon departure to Kuwait. So, they sent it on the first early flight from BAH. I swore at that time that I would never check-in my small luggage if it’s a transit connection in BAH!

Dasman Lounge, KWI — 2nd Visit

Hello there. Since my last post about this lounge, I was unsatisfied with the posted pictures since I was traveling with my family and couldn’t get clear shots of what’s around there. On my last trip to Dubai (my next post!), I had the chance to visit lounge again and took some more pictures (unfortunately, with my iPhone!) since it was really early in the morning and I shared the lounge with another English gentleman. The breakfast was really good, made two trips to the buffet as you can see here.

And when heading to the smoking room in the far end of the lounge, I’ve noticed that the staff here showed facial displeasure at me taking snaps, so I ended up with lousy shot trying to the show the main lengthy entrance of it.

In memory of Street Fighter 2: World Warrior

This snap is taken at Al-Awqaf Complex in Murgab, Kuwait. This place here and those old and left-out arcades has an ever-lasting memory in my heart. This is the first place that had the Street Fighter 2: World Warrior arcade in Kuwait as per my knowledge. I remember playing it for the first time here. Of Course, I knew Street Fighter from the first part where I used to play at Khaleejia Complex.

I still remember my first match ever. I chose Ryu and faced Blanka. He kicked my ass! Then, it started getting famous and was brought to many places, especially when Champion Edition was released. Showbiz at Salmiya had the arcade installed on a huge display monitor with a stand-up joystick panel 2-3 feet away from the screen. That was awesome.

Back to those arcades in Al-Awqaf Complex. I’ve passed by the other day and when I saw the miserable state those arcades were in, I felt pain in my heart. We’re talking about something that was part of us on a weekly basis and instead of preserving them, they’re tossed here like trash. All dusty, rusty and left to no one. If I had the money, I would buy them machines, including the SNK ones, and clean them up and maintain them. If I had a house, I would surly make a place for them there. This post is in the memory of the first place I’ve played Street Fighter 2 here in Kuwait. Thank you Al-Awqaf Complex and thank you Capcom.

Crowne Plaza Diplomatic Area, Bahrain

After my arrival in Bahrain on Sept. 19th, I’ve headed straight to Gulf Hotel where my meeting is taking place. Of course, I’ve stopped by Sixt to pick up my reserved car and I was upgraded (I’m a gold status renter) from a Chevrolet Optra to a Kia Soul, a deformed version of Mini Copper. It looked funny but the car was equipped with blue-tooth, USB connection for iPod and etc. I didn’t mind it since I was only using it for my short transportation between the meeting, my hotel and the airport. After the meeting, went straight ahead to Crowne Plaza in the diplomatic area in Manama, a very prestigious area full of governmental buildings and located across from the main cornich road. I’ve checked in the Priority Club  cue line since I’m a platinum member. I’ve called ealier before arrival to make sure I get upgraded since platinum members receive complimentary upgrade according to availability and I didn’t want to miss on that! I was greeted with a cold cup of orange juice and been upgraded from standard room to Club floor room.

These rooms are newly renovated with parquet floor, large bathrooms, LCD TV screens and some extras on the side such as bathroom amnesties and free treat. I’ve arrived and found complimentary cookies, fruits, a bottle of mineral water and fresh orange juice, a pack of Oreo and a KDD mini orange juice pack. Now, that’s a treat. Here you can see the first shot of this room!

And this is the bathroom here, where it’s truly renovated with an installed shower-box.

After praying and settling down, I’ve connected my laptop to the offered LAN for the rooms and started browsing and doing some work. Over the past two hours, I’ve realized that I’m sweating! I’ve checked the A/C and it was set on around 15 and the fan was full!! I stopped right below the ceiling vent and noticed that there was some air draft coming out only when you’re standing below it!! Otherwise, it’s not reaching across the room. A quick call to the front desk and the maintenance guys came over and started working on for almost 45 minutes and this was around 5 PM now. I was tired, I was awake since like 4:45 AM in the morning to catch on the flight and attend the meeting at 09:30 and these guys wouldn’t finish! To cut the story short, the A/C is busted and I was moved to another room.

I’ve requested to placed in the same class and of smoking preference. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a smoking room at that time but told me to smoke in it anyway ! I had a fine stay there and I would love to check in there again! Can’t wait till Intercontinental re-opens its doors next year after the total renovation.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, BAH

When will I ever see this lounge open? As per my research on the internet and according to Cathay Pacific’s website, this lounge is only open when there’s an operating flight of Cathay Pacific is about to depart/arrive in BAH. I think I’ve only seen it open once or twice. To be admitted there, you have to be at least of silver status in Marco Polo Club or Sapphire status in OneWorld Alliance or holding a business/first class ticket. This lounge is located at the upper level right next to Dilmun Lounge. I can’t wait till I get my business class ticket on Cathay Pacific next year when traveling to Asia to try out this lounge!!

Wataniya Airways First Class & Lounge

On my last trip for GCCIA meeting in Bahrain on Sept.19th, 2010 I’ve decided to try the first class at Wataniya Airways since I’m a fan of its local services here in Kuwait. After making a ticket purchase on their website, I’ve received my itinerary on my e-mail account aside from given the privilege of using their limousine service for departure/arrival to Sheikh Saad Airport under the condition to fill a Word format form and to be submitted to their e-mail 48 hours in advance for the limousine reservation. I’ve checked in online and got the driver to pick me up at 05:30 AM since my flights is at 07:50 AM to BAH. The car was waiting outside on time and it was a Mazda CX-7. All leather and full options from the inside.  15 Minutes and I was in Sheikh Saad Airport (I live in Bayan!) and I was greeted by friendly check-in staff. I showed them my printed boarding pass and I was admitted to the 1st Class lounge. Now, to enter this lounge you either have to be a silver/Gold Wataniya Diwan member or holding a 1st class ticket (This post is before the recent re-branding of classes by Wataniya). The whole furniture and design of the lounge reflects the Wataniya colors of purple and gray. The seating area is very neat and well maintained. The huge glass wall to the back is the designated smoking area.A good snacks and light meals buffet was offered with hot/cold drinks and juices, as you can see from this shot. The glass doors here are the rest rooms with a designated prayer room.

And here in the back you can see the business center set for checking the internet, faxes, newspapers and other services as per the patron’s need. After being personally notified of the departure, we were escorted to the airplane in a Mercedes-Benz van which is only offered for 1st class travelers. There’s a private mini-lounge inside this lounge, but is dedicated for those traveling on private planes and jets. It was closed and I didn’t get a chance to take a snap or two.

 

After being seated in those fine leather seats here, we were treated to arabic dates and strong arabic coffee. A breakfast menu was handed and I turned it down since I’ve had mine at the lounge earlier. The seats were really comfortable as well as the service. I know for sure that I’m flying with Wataniya Airways 1st class again!!

Insider Tip: I’ve learned from the plane crew that the Rome route has been scrapped off due to poor sales. My suggestion for Wataniya is tackle new Asian routes for better sales.