Kuwait Airways Europe Flights Now Use Terminal 4

Post by Mark

Just a quick update to my Kuwait Airport Terminal 4 post from last week. In addition to Kuwait Airways GCC and Middle East flights, Kuwait Airways flights to and from Europe (excluding London) now also use the new terminal.

If you missed my previous post check it out [Here]


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Using the Dubai Airport Smart Gate

Post by Mark

Earlier this year, Dubai started installing a new Smart Gate system at their terminals which I only found out about this past weekend. The new system allows you to go through passport control in around 10 seconds and it’s available to use by GCC nationals and biometric passport holders from 37 countries.

Signing up is super easy. On arrival, I went through the regular passport control and while getting my passport stamped I asked to be signed up to Smart Gate. And that was it really, passport control didn’t take longer than usual and I got a cute DXB Smart Gate sticker on the back of my passport letting me know I’ve been signed up to Smart Gate. There are no fees and you don’t need a special card like their previous e-gate system required you to use.

On departure, I skipped the long passport control line and headed straight through using the Smart Gate and it worked! Super simple, super quick and I really can’t wait till we get something similar here in Kuwait. It would make our old airport wayyyy more bearable!

Smart gates can be used by UAE citizens and residents, GCC nationals and passport holders from the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. For more information on the DXB smart gates, click [Here]


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Everything You Need to Know About the New Kuwait Airport Terminal 4

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I flew to Dubai with Kuwait Airways, and so got to fly in and out of the new Kuwait Airways terminal, terminal 4. The terminal still has a lot of work to be done to it and so a lot of changes are still happening, but as of October 15th, the below information is accurate.

Right now, only GCC and Middle East Kuwait Airway flights use the new terminal.

Departure

– The exit from highway 50 to terminal 4 is still closed and the terminal 4 sign has been covered. The only way to get to the new terminal is through the cargo terminal exit (there are signs).

– There is plenty of parking, all shaded and right now for free. They haven’t installed entry or exit gates so you could park your car there short term or long term and not pay anything. This is a huge plus.

– None of the self-check-in machines work. I tried the ones on the parking side, I tried the ones inside the main terminal, none of them worked.

– You only have one security checkpoint which is right after passport control. The security guys didn’t seem very confident but were wayyyy better than the Jazeera Airways terminal guys. They have the full-body scanners but they weren’t being used. I wonder if they will ever be used here? When the scanners were launched in the States, people had privacy concerns because you could see the shapes of private parts with these scanners, I think people in Kuwait will have an even bigger problem with this.

– There is no duty-free yet, there are no shops whatsoever at T4 right now.

– There are currently no restaurants at T4. Your only options for food and drinks at the moment are 2 Costa kiosks and 1 Kuwait Airport kiosk. Both kiosks sold coffee, water, sandwiches etc..

– There is a lounge (pictured above) but only for Kuwait Airways business class and first class passengers. So if you have a platinum Visa card, American Express or any other card that usually gives you entry to lounges at airports, you’re out of luck.

– One SUPER strange thing about the airport was the PA announcement chime. In airports before they make an announcement, you’d here like a ding dong like chime before the announcement. For some reason at T4 the chime they’re using is the same one used for The Undertaker’s walkout music. I’m not exaggerating, watch the video above and then watch the video below. Every time they made an announcement I was expecting the lights to go off and the Undertaker to make an appearance. Such a weird chime to use at an airport.

– There was plenty of seating around the airport spread out over two floors. All the seats have power sockets and USB ports although I had to try a few before I found working ones. I’m not sure if the seating will be enough when all Kuwait Airways flights start using the terminal, but for now, there is plenty.

Arriving at the airport, parking, checking in, going through passport control and then security was all a smooth and pleasant experience. There were some minor issues, but understandable for a newly opened airport.

Arrival

– This was super smooth. The plane was fairly empty so passport control was a breeze.

– Right after passport control is a carry-on baggage security check, this is the only time you scan your bags. The luggage that comes out on the conveyor belts already passed through a scanner before coming out so you just pick them up and walk out of the airport.

Overall a pretty positive experience. When I travel to Dubai I usually take FlyDubai but this time the Kuwait Airways ticket price was cheaper so figured I’d try them out. I’ll most likely fly out with Kuwait Airways again next time because of the new terminal and my positive experience. I could nitpick a lot of course but honestly, ANYTHING is better than our old airport, so I’m just glad we have this new terminal to keep us going until the new airport opens up in a few years.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Update: As of October 22, 2018 the new Terminal T4 is now open for services for all Kuwait Airways Flights To/From GCC, Middle East and Europe except for London.


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How Powerful is Your Passport? (2018)

Post by Mark

Henley & Partners released their Visa Restrictions Index for 2018 and Kuwait ranked 55th with visa-free access to 93 destinations. UAE ranked the highest in the Gulf ranking 21st with visa-free access to 161 destinations. Here are how some other countries ranked:

1 – Japan (190)
5 – USA, UK (186)
6 – Canada (185)
21 – UAE (161)
55 – Kuwait (93)
60 – Qatar (85)
64 – Bahrain (81)
67 – Oman (78)
70 – Saudi Arabia (75)
75 – Philippines (66)
81 – India (60)
100 – Lebanon (41)
106 – Afghanistan (30)

How did your country rank? Check out the full list [Here]


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Filipino Workers are a Different Passenger Type

Post by Mark

Why is Kuwait Airways singling out “Overseas Filipino Workers” as a passenger type? Seems a bit odd…


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Wataniya Airways Gets Ultimatum

Post by Mark

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday addressed an ultimatum to Wataniya Airways to resolve problems such as recurring flights’ delay and cancellation.

The DGC warned in a statement that in case the company failed to fulfil its duties properly, its permit would be suspended, effective September 6 for three months as an initial penalty, while compelling it to fulfil its financial and legal liabilities toward passengers.

If Wataniya Airways fails again to tackle these problems, it will be stripped of the license permanently.

The directorate said several warnings had been given to the company to no avail. It assured passengers that it would do its best to ensure their safety and rights, vowing to follow up on Wataniya’s commitment to secure their comeback either on its aircraft or planes of other companies. [Source]

I knew they were having delays and flight cancellations for a few months now but didn’t think it was this severe of an issue even though someone had even sent me a video of the crew loading up supermarket bags of food on the plane because at one point they had lost their catering contract. I hate seeing the airline fail like this since I worked with the original Wataniya Airways on their launch many years ago so when the airline came back again from the dead last year, I had high hopes. And even though I had an average experience flying with them back in November, it was still good having an extra airline to choose from when planning trips. Maybe this will be their turning point…


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Jazeera Terminal No Longer Open to Main Terminal

Post by Mark

A few readers emailed me to let me know that access between the new Jazeera terminal and the main terminal has been closed off. Previously you could walk from one terminal to another which was convenient since the Jazeera Terminal didn’t have enough seating nor any duty-free shops or restaurants.

I don’t have any idea why they closed access but it sucks that they did. From what I have been told, the only thing open at the Jazeera Airways terminal right now is a Costa that has the longest queue in the world. Not fun.


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UK Electronic Visa Waiver for Kuwaitis

Post by Mark

Come Fly With Me

If you have a Kuwaiti passport you no longer need a visa to enter the UK, all you need is a visa waiver. A friend of mine recently got the waiver two hours after applying for one. It’s cheaper than getting a regular visa and pretty convenient if you’re planning an impulse trip.

The cost for an electronic visa waiver is £15 but it’s only valid for one entry. You can apply for the EVW by visiting the EVW website [Here]


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Tour the New Kuwait Airways Terminal (T4)

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I got a tour of the soon to open Kuwait Airways Terminal 4. I hadn’t seen that many photos of the terminal and so was really surprised at how beautiful it was. I took a ton of photos so I’ll take you on a quick tour of the airport starting from the entrance all the way into the plane, and then I’ll go the other way, from the plane all the way to the exit. Here are some interesting points first:

– The new terminal is located on the right just before arriving at the main airport. There are signs up now that point to terminal 4 and there is also a new exit that was constructed. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

– The new terminal is only for Kuwait Airways flights.

– In the photos, you’ll notice signs for E-Gates. Yes, it’s happening but I wasn’t able to get any information on it other than the fact they’re going to implement it. I was not given a timeline but it could be very soon which would explain the urgent move to new passports for Kuwaiti citizens and the voiding of old ones.

– The only area I wasn’t allowed to photograph was the business lounge. It’s located on the far right of the departures terminal and spans two floors. It has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the runway, and unlike the Kuwait Airways lounge in terminal 1, it didn’t look tacky.

– The security check area is going to be proper, similar to setups you see in large airports abroad and it will also have full body scanners.

– Terminal 4 will be managed by the South Korean Incheon International Airport. The Incheon airport holds the record of being ranked the Best Airport Worldwide for 11 consecutive years so it’s going to be in good hands.

– The boarding gate for US flights has an extra security check, the rest of the gates don’t.

– The plan is to eventually have US Border Control at the terminal similar to how it is in Abu Dhabi. This would be huge if it happens.

– All the waiting area seats throughout the terminal have both power ports and USB ports.

– The terminal is expected to start operating on July 25th, although I’ve also heard the date August 8th being thrown around. In both cases, the terminal will start operating with a limited number of flights with the first route being just Dubai. They will then continue to add other GCC flights before adding the rest of their destinations.

That’s some of the most important points I wanted to highlight. If you have any questions or things you’re curious about let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them for you. To check out pictures of the terminal as well as the full tour from start to finish, click [Here]


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The Lebanon Summer Guide for 2018

Post by Mark

Haven’t done this for a while but here is my Lebanon summer guide for 2018 in case you’re heading there in the next couple of months.

//////// FOOD ////////

Coara
Since I was with four vegans on my last trip, one of the places we really wanted to try was Coara. It had been on my todo list ever since I watched the video above. The food was incredibly delicious and the husband and wife that cook and run the place were extremely hospitable. I highly recommend it and it’s just an hour away up in the mountains from Beirut.

Onno
Originally a small Armenian restaurant in the poor neighborhood of Burj Hammoud, Onno became popular with the tourists after Anthony Bourdain fell in love with the place. The restaurant has now expanded with multiple locations around Lebanon, but the food is still great. My favorite location of theirs is in Badaro, it’s walking distance from the Smallville Hotel and it’s surrounded by some decent bars.

Kalei Coffee Co.
This is my favorite coffee spot in Lebanon. Not only is their coffee good but they’ve got a very chill garden area to just kick back in and take a break.

Hanna Mitri Ice Cream
I honestly have no idea what the place is called, I just know the name of the owner and I think that’s what most people go by. It’s a hole in the wall, literally, but he has the best Arabic ice cream you’ll ever have. All the ice cream is made fresh daily and depending on what time you pass by he might have sold out of specific flavors or even closed down early because he sold out of everything. There usually is a small queue outside the door but it’s never that bad. Oh and make sure you know what you want since the owner is the equivalent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. If there is a queue and you get to the front and are confused, don’t expect to get any ice cream. If you’re stuck, just ask for a mix of everything.

Smoking Bun
Still my favorite burger spot and that mostly because it’s located in Mar Mikhael near all the bars. This is the #1 burger place to stumble into half drunk at 2AM. They even have a vegan burger which wasn’t bad at all.

//////// BARS ////////

Internazionale
This has been my goto place for a few years now. It’s located right on Mar Mikhael street and its a very chill bar with good music and a small outdoor seating. This is a great place to sidewalk drink while watching people walk by and a great place to socialize with complete strangers.

Anise
This is a small bar also located on Mar Mikhael and a few stores behind Internazionale. Their super pro bartenders probably make the best cocktails on the strip and their smoked rosemary whiskey sour is insanely good. This is the place if you want to have a good cocktail.

People – Aishti Rooftop
If you’re in the downtown area and are looking for a mid-day break then this is a nice place to stop in for a glass of chilled white wine or Prosecco. It’s located on the rooftop of Aishti and it’s usually pretty quiet during the day.

//////// BEACH ////////

Colonel Beach
Located to the north of Lebanon in the beach town of Batroun, Colonel beach is part of the Colonel beer brewery and restaurant. It’s not that big but its cozy and obviously they’ve got a great selection of their own beer to choose from. Check their schedule if you’re interested in beach yoga since they take place pretty frequently during the summer time. There is no entry fee to access this beach.

Lazy B
While Colonel is located in the north, Lazy B is located in the south in the town of Jiyeh. They have multiple pools including one just for adults and they also have a pretty large sandy beach area. What I like about Lazy B is that they don’t have loud music blasting and they have lots of private shaded areas with hammocks scattered all around. Lazy B also has a good selection of poolside food to choose from and there is alcohol of course. The entry fee is $30.

//////// ACTIVITIES ////////

Hiking
One of my favorite things to do in Lebanon and I always recommend visitors to go on a day hike. The Tannourine Cedar Reserve is a place I recommend often since the location is incredible and the trail fairly organized. Check out my previous post on hiking in Lebanon [Here]

ATV Adventure

ATVing in Lebanon can be pretty fun and adventurous especially if you head up to Faraya and take one of their 6-hour excursions. I’ve done it three times with different friends and we’ve always had a blast. For more information on this check out my previous post [Here]

If there are any other places you want to recommend, let people know by leaving a comment below.


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