My Experience Flying Out of the New Jazeera Airways Terminal

Post by Mark

This past weekend I got to fly out of the new Jazeera Airways Terminal (T5) and I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s a brand new terminal and our current main terminal is a horrible mess so you would think flying out of this brand new terminal would be a far better experience, but, it really wasn’t that much better.

Parking & Check-in
Firstly, I used the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly service to check in. It’s a service they have where you park your car in their parking lot located away from the terminal, you then check in at the parking lot and take their shuttle back to the main airport. The reason I did that is the service costs KD2.5 a day while parking at the Jazeera Airways parking lot costs KD6 a day, so its a considerable amount of savings. I’m glad I checked in from their remote location since when I arrived to the main terminal, I noticed the check-in area was pretty packed, and they didn’t have their self-check-in machines installed yet either.

Passport Control & Security Check
Passport control wasn’t too bad, there weren’t a lot of people and so I didn’t spend too much time in line. The area did look a bit messy though, I don’t understand why the airport, both this one and the old one can’t get belt barriers set up in straight lines. Anyway the issues started right after passport control beginning with the security check. Between passport control and the security check there really isn’t enough space to set up a proper queueing system so we were standing a bit disorganized. The security machines were also pretty small without any prep space before it. By prep space, I mean an area before the machine to put your bag and start unpacking the laptop or removing your belt, watches etc. Also they didn’t have any bins to dispose of liquids in before the machine, you had to put your liquids in the machine and then dispose of them on the other side. Finally, not sure if its the same now in the main terminal, but the last time I flew out from the main terminal they were using the private security firm G4S for security control. At the Jazeera Terminal the Port Authority is in charge and I’m not exaggerating here, it looked like they were on their first day of the job. They were completely disorganized and looked like amateurs with very little confidence or experience to manage the security check. I’m 99% sure this must have been their first day in charge of security because I can’t imagine another reason why they were so all over the place.

The Terminal
Once I was done with the security check I decided to walk around and explore the terminal but there really wasn’t anything to explore. The duty-free section hadn’t been set up yet and there were no restaurants and very little seating. The terminal still looks unfinished, it was basically in the same state I had seen it in before they had opened. Thankfully, the Jazeera terminal is connected to the old main terminal so I just headed to the lounge there to kill some time and then passed by the newly opened Pick to grab a bite. When it was close to boarding time, I decided to head to my gate back in the Jazeera terminal to wait there, except it turns out there isn’t enough seating at the gate so you have to queue outside the gate until they’re ready to put you on the bus. Once you get into the gate you need to pass through another security check and like the first security check, it was a disorganized mess. This security check also lacked bins to dispose of liquids so people were just placing them on the floor around the security machine.

The Plane
Not related to the airport but still worth mentioning. Our plane was the brand new A320neo which they had just received like a week or so ago. It was very comfortable and not that noisy (engine sound). The thing I found odd was that the interior of the plane was a dark maroon color, both the carpets and the seats. It felt like I was on a Qatar Airways flight and not a Jazeera Airways one. Aren’t the interiors meant to be blue? I thought they were because of their press release photo (pictured above) so I found that odd. I kinda feel like this plane was possibly meant for Qatar Airways but was then taken by Jazeera? Can’t imagine why else it would be in this color. No screens, USB ports or any seat amenities of course, but that was ok with me since I carry everything I need with me anyway. I just wish they had screens somewhere with the live map so we knew how far into the trip we were but that’s the only issue I had with the plane.

Coming back into Kuwait was a far better experience. Passport control went pretty smooth and so did the carry-on security check right after. After the security check is the baggage conveyor belts area which felt small. Our baggage did take forever to come out but I’m not sure Jazeera have any control over that. The airport is small so the distance from passport control to baggage pick up to airport exit is very short so if you’re only with your carry on, then you could be out pretty quickly from the terminal. Once I was out there were no signs telling me where to go for the shuttle bus back to their Park & Fly area, I also couldn’t find a Jazeera Airways employee to ask so I asked a security guy who told me to go to the side of the building. The shuttle was just arriving so I didn’t end up waiting long and ended up back at my car fairly quickly.

In Conclusion?
If you fly with Jazeera Airways right now you need to manage your expectations and treat their new terminal like it’s still in beta testing with a lot of bugs that need to be sorted out. Is it better than the main terminal? I mean I guess but marginally. Only the passport control area is an improvement but that’s about it. The conveyor belt area was a bit tight, there are two belts and the space around them is smaller than the number of people per flight so it gets crowded very quickly. If two planes land at the same time I can imagine it looking like a total mess but I think it would still be better off than the main terminal, but just slightly. The worst aspects of the new terminal are the unorganized and inexperienced security personnel along with the horrible gates that can’t hold passengers (at least Gate B3). I imagine things will get better but for now, don’t expect too much.

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Pick and Wendy’s Now Open at the Airport

Post by Mark

Last month Wendy’s opened up at the airport where Pinkberry used to be located, and a couple of weeks back, Pick opened up where Potbelly used to be. I especially like the fact that Pick opened up because at least we have a healthy option available at the airport now. Actually, the options for food now is pretty good with the addition of these two.

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Improvements to Airport for Upcoming Eid and Summer Traffic

Post by Mark

Here is another positive airport post, a variety of improvements have been made to the main terminal to accommodate the extra traffic for Eid and the summer. Below are some of the main points taken from an AlQabas article.

– 15% fewer passengers due to the opening of the Jazeera terminal
– Terminal 4 opening in July will also reduce load on main terminal
– Some budget airlines will be moved to Sheikh Saad Terminal (T3)
– New hall for transit passengers
– New hall for visa issuing
– Improvement of air conditioning performance in the airport
– Additional support workforce for the airport
– Luggage drop-off outside the main terminal for Kuwait Airways and Jazeera Airways
– Self check-in machines
– Installation of shade and cooling sprinklers in departure drop off area
– Additional seating in the arrivals area and the check-in areas
– Check-in areas Zone 2 and 3 will have their on carry-on baggage security checks bypassing the main security check area
– Carry-on security check machines have been increased from 5 to 9
– An increase from two to four immigration entrances on departure. The new entrances are now divided up as follows: First Class and Diplomat passengers, Kuwaiti and GCC citizens, expats and finally, aircraft crew.
– Arriving luggage will be security checked before hitting the conveyor belts speeding up the exit process
Luggage home delivery with Pearl Assist. They’ll pick your bags up from the conveyor belt and deliver them straight to your home.

There is no mention in the article if they improved immigration services on arrival since currently, that’s probably my least favorite part of the airport.

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Terminal 4 Opening Next Month

Post by Mark

The brand new Kuwait Airways terminal (T4) will be opening next month on July 25th [Source]. All Kuwait Airways flights will depart and arrive from the new terminal which should greatly reduce the traffic flow at the main terminal.

According to an article in AlQabas newspaper, the opening of the Jazeera Airways terminal has alone reduced the traffic at the main terminal by 15%, so I’d expect the opening of T4 to reduce that by at least another 30%.

For my previous post on Terminal 4, click [Here]

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First-Class Weirdness: Kuwait Airways

Post by Mark

The managing editor of the popular travel website The Points Guy recently flew with Kuwait Airways to JFK in First Class and wrote about his experience. Overall for the price he paid the experience was pretty decent, but the terrible airport and transit visa runaround were negatives that were too big to ignore.

Other issues included First Class not being up to First Class standards when it came to food (cellophane wrapped biscuits, cheese, and butter in supermarket wrappers etc). Check out his full post [Here]

Update: Turns out the managing editor and not the CEO of “The Points Guy” traveled with Kuwait Airways. Post was updated to reflect that.

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Official Airport Terminal Numbers

Post by Mark

Last month I posted a list of our terminal numbers that was put together using whatever information was available at that time, and a bit of common sense. But a few days ago, the Civil Aviation Authority released the official list of terminal numbers and the list I put together was pretty much on point.

When I posted my list there was a bit of a disagreement with the Terminal 3 name. I had used it for the Sheikh Saad Terminal but a reader noted that it was most likely reserved for the expansion of Terminal 2. I did a bit of research and turns out that was a possibility since the only time Terminal 3 was ever mentioned online was when they mentioned the Terminal 2 mirror expansion. Well now looks like that’s not the case and Sheikh Saad Terminal is actually going to use the Terminal 3 name.

Check out the official list of terminals below along with the descriptions by the Civil Aviation Authority:

Terminal 1 – Main Terminal
Terminal 2 – New Terminal (Under Construction)
Terminal 3 – Sheikh Saad Terminal (General Aviation)
Terminal 4 – Kuwait Airways Passenger Terminal
Terminal 5 – Jazeera Airways Passenger Terminal

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New Jazeera Airways Terminal Now Open

Post by Mark

Starting tomorrow May 22nd, all Jazeera Airways flights will be departing and arriving from their new terminal. For more information on the terminal, check out my previous post [Here]

Update: Sorry I messed up thinking today was the 22nd. I’ve updated the post to reflect this!

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List of All the New Airport Terminals

Post by Mark

It’s kinda crazy how overnight we basically doubled the number of airport terminals in Kuwait. Since its starting to get a bit complicated with the different namings, I figured I’d share the list below to help clear things up along with pictures.

Terminal 1
This is our current main terminal. It was opened in 1979 and was designed by one of the most significant architects of the 20th century, Kenzō Tange. The British architect and critic Stephen Gardiner wrote in 1985 that it was “the most beautiful airport in the world” because of its “breathtaking simplicity of color and shape.” It is “white sculptured space as cool as an ice-cube, as enormous as a vat intake of pure air, as light as a tent, as canvas hung from cables and sails.” The airport today no longer resembles the original one due to the amount of refurbishment it went through. There are no plans to demolish this airport, but once Terminal 2 opens up I hope someone decides to take it back to its original state. For more pictures of the airport, click [Here]

Terminal 2
This is the new and huge terminal that was designed by the British architecture studio Foster + Partners. It’s currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2021. This is going to be a world-class terminal that will be able to compete with the likes of Hamad International Airport in Qatar and the Emirates Airline Terminal 3 in Dubai. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 3
The Sheikh Saad terminal originally started off as a private planes terminal but later became the Wataniya Airways terminal. After Wataniya Airways shutdown, FlyDubai took it over. Until recently, flying with FlyDubai was the only way to avoid our horrible main terminal. But, now that the Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways terminals are opening up, Sheikh Saad terminal will no longer have an edge.

Terminal 4
This is the new Kuwait Airways terminal and is expected to be operational in June. The new terminal is located near the cargo terminal. Here is the location on [Google Maps]. This terminal will help ease congestion at the main terminal until Terminal 2 opens up in 2021. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 5
Finally, Terminal 5 is the Jazeera Airways terminal I posted about last week. This terminal is now basically complete and will be open at the end of this month. Right now the terminal will cater only to Jazeera Airways flights but there are talks about possibly hosting another airline as well, possibly Emirates. For a complete walkthrough and pictures of this terminal, click [Here]

Future Terminal Expansion
In case needed, there are plans in place that can expand Terminal 2 to double the size. My guess if that happens, either the terminal will still be called Terminal 2, or they might be renamed to Terminal 2a and Terminal 2b. After expansion the terminal will be able to handle 50 million passengers a year. In comparisson, our current main terminal handles 6.8 million a year.

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Tour of the New Jazeera Airways Terminal

Post by Mark

Yesterday I got a tour of the new Jazeera Airways terminal and I left impressed. Not only because the terminal is something we desperately need right now, but also because of the thought process behind a lot of the decisions as well as the initiatives Jazeera have taken to try and make the experience as smooth and quick for their passengers. There is a lot of information to cover so what I’m going to do is start off by walking you through the check-in and departures process first, and then take you through the arrivals process.

Terminal Location
If you’re standing facing our current airport, the Jazeera Airways terminal would be located to the left of it. There are two ways of getting to the new terminal, the first way is through our current airport, this is the longer and slower way since you’ll have to deal with our airport traffic. The second and much faster way is to take the exit before arriving to the airport. It’s the same road you take to get to the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly area as well as the same route you take to get to the VIP terminal. This route allows you to bypass all the traffic and mess at the main airport. Check the map above, red is how you get to the current airport, yellow is how you get to the new terminal. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Parking & Check-in
So this is where things get interesting. Jazeera Airways have their own parking lot right across from their new terminal. The parking lot has a bridge that connects to the main terminal but you can also access the terminal by crossing the street below. The multistory lot can hold 350 cars, but the cost of the parking will be similar to the short-term parking at the current airport which I think is KD6 a day. That’s pricy but, they have two other more affordable options:

– Curbside Check-in: With this option, you pull up into the multistory parking lot and head to the curbside check-in area. There you not only hand your car over to valet, but they’ll also take your luggage if any and check you in all while you’re still in the parking lot. You then get your boarding pass and head straight to passport control in the new terminal allowing you to skip the check-in process inside the terminal. The valet will take your car and park it in the Jazeera Airways Park & Fly lot down the street and you will be charged 2.5KD a day.

– Park & Fly: Another option in case you don’t want to give your car to valet is to park your car yourself in the Park & Fly lot near the new terminal. You can hand over your luggage there and check-in before taking the shuttle bus down to the terminal. Since you would have already checked in this way, you just head straight to passport control. This will also cost you 2.5KD a day.

If you are dropped off at the new terminal or you decide to park your car in the lot across the street and walk into the terminal, then you have different check-in options available for you. The first is self check-in, but when I was there yesterday the machines were still not installed. The other option to check-in is with the regular check-in desks which there will be ten of.

Duty Free & Passport Control
Once you’re done with the check-in process you’ll have to head upstairs for passport control which is pictured below.

You’ll have a duty free section before and after passport control although when I was there yesterday those areas were still empty. There will be food options but not sure if they will be ready by the time the new terminal opens.

Security & Old Airport Access
Although the Jazeera Airways terminal is a new structure, it actually is connected to our current airport and they will continue to use their current gates which are B1, B2 and B3. But, they’re completely refurbishing the gates to match their new terminal and when I was there yesterday they were starting work on it which should be completed by the time the terminal opens. One of the things Jazeera wants to do is NOT have you go through two different security checks before boarding the flight like you do in the current airport. So they’re reworking the design of their gates so that the arrival passengers and departure passengers don’t use the same space (which is what requires the extra security check at our current airport). B1 and B2 use air bridges to board passengers onto the plane while their B3 gate uses buses.

Past their boarding gates you’ll find access to the current main airport. You’ll be able to enter the airport normally but to re-enter the Jazeera Terminal you need to go through a security check again.

Arriving at the New Terminal
When you exit the plane you’ll head to passport control first. Jazeera Airways want your arrival process to be quick so the next step is slightly different from the main airport as well as Sheikh Saad terminal. Once you’re done with passport control you’ll go through a quick security check where you put your carry-on bags in an xray machine before going to pick up your luggage from the conveyor belts. Once you pick up your luggage you do NOT have to go through security. All luggage will be security checked BEFORE coming out on the conveyor belts.

I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but I was given a behind the scenes tour and basically, once the bags arrive into the Jazeera Airways terminal they will be placed on a conveyor belt and go through a security screening before the bags head out to the passengers. So when you pick up your bag it has already been checked and you just walk out of the airport.

The Jazeera Airways VIP Experience
So this is something new Jazeera will be offering, it’s a VIP addon to your ticket which you can purchase separately. This is an add-on for both economy and business class passengers. What the VIP add-on will give you is access to a separate VIP parking located on the side of the airport, a separate VIP check-in area, and access to the VIP lounge. I got a tour of the lounge but didn’t take any pictures because it was still being worked on but it will have different seating areas including a meeting room. Now here is the cool part, you don’t need to be a passenger to access the VIP lounge, you just need to buy a pass. So say you’re in town for a business meeting and the meeting is running long but you have a flight to catch. You and whomever you’re meeting with could continue the meeting at the airport. You could check-in to your flight and then continue the meeting in one of the rooms and when its time to board your flight you could end the meeting and head to the plane. This could also work if your wife and kids are traveling and you want to stay with them until they board their flight, you could get a VIP pass for you and your family and then hang out with them in the lounge until they have to board the plane. No idea how much this addon will cost since they haven’t finalized the price yet.

So thats basically a full walk-through of the new terminal. I don’t think I left anything out but if you have any questions just let me know. The terminal is expected to open and be operational by the end of this month which is in 20 days!

For more pictures or higher resolution ones, click [Here]

Update: The Jazeera Airways terminal is going to be called Terminal 5.

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Pictures of the New Kuwait Airways Terminal

Post by Mark

Construction of the new Kuwait Airways terminal (Terminal 4) is now over 85% complete and is expected to be ready by June. The Kuwait Airways terminal is a temporary terminal being constructed to alleviate the pressure from our current airport until the new main and huge terminal 2 is completed.

So just to clarify things, we will have the following amount of airports/terminals:

– Kuwait International Airport (our current old airport)
– Sheikh Saad Airport (FlyDubai)
– Jazeera Airways Terminal (Opening May)
– Kuwait Airways Terminal (Terminal 4)
– Kuwait International Airport Terminal 2 (New huge one opening 2020)

To check out more pictures of the Kuwait Airways Terminal, click [Here]

Update: Here are some updated pictures of the interior [Link]

Thanks Ahmad

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