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Kuwait Airways Versus Air India  
User currently offlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1049 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3334 times:

Hi everyone, a general advice question:
I have to go to London (from New York) for a few days. I usuallly travel Virgin Atlantic, but my travel agent is offering me fares on both Kuwait Airways and Air India that are considerably cheaper.
I was wondering if anyone has flown on both airlines and strongly recommends one over the other (or recommends that I stay put on Virgin!). Both airlines seem to have convenient enough schedules to LHR. I am only slightly biased towards Kuwait Airways because they fly a 777ER where as Air India uses a 747, which I am told from friends is awfully configured.

Which would you pick?



34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBilly From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2000, 895 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3221 times:

No alcohol on KU, which may be a drawback for some. They try to make it up on catering.
I have only flown AI in business class in the upstairs section. Very comfortable with great Indian catering and loads of gifts (though the ptv did droop from excessive use in four of the seats that I tried). Indifferent service, though. If you have a TWA ff card, you get miles for the AI flight.

Biggest drawback is the potenital fro delays as you wait for the aircraft to route from India first. I think KU has a bette punctuality record. Avoid AI in the autumn as the weather delays in Delhi really foul up the schedules. I have heard that the cat 3 radar is still in its box.


User currently offlineAvion From Bouvet Island, joined May 1999, 2205 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3216 times:

Take AI. Kuwait might have the shiny 777 bit it is incredibly cramped and the onboard service is crap.

Avion


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3215 times:

It all depends what class you are travelling in.
Air India can be very good or incredibly awful. There appears to be no boring middle with them. IF the flight is delayed in Delhi or Bombay for whatever reason, you'll be at the tail end of that mess. KU are definitely better on punctuality. However, KU serve no alcohol but do have PTVs in Y class which AI does not. AI do ply you with alcohol though, and the food is good and plentiful. AI also fly daily (KU only fly 3X weekly) and your flight arrives in LHR early in the morning as opposed to KU's mid-day LHR arrival.


User currently offlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1049 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3210 times:


I will be flying Economy class.
And I dont' really drink, so Kuwait's lack of alcohol isn't a problem.

But I didn't realize Kuwait has PTVs in each seat. Is this an automatic feature on 777s ? I still haven't encountered a 777 without them.


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3193 times:

AI operates the B747-437B on the route, which is an excellent aircraft and comparable to the KU 777 in all aspects except PTV in economy.

The flight is not likely to be delayed since the aircraft now has a 5 hour buffer at JFK between flights. The on-time percentage for the route has increased to 91% since February this year.

Service on AI is probably one of the best in the world for economy class, especially if the flight is not full (and a quick scan of loads for the next couple month show very few oversolds).

As far as AI's CAT-III system is concerned, I will not even attempt to go into the politics of THAT deal, but suffice it to say that CAT-IIB is operational and that should be all that is needed for JFK and LHR ops (DEL is another story, but w/x there will be fine till mid-December).



User currently offlineCharles802 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 380 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3174 times:

This is a bit off topic, but I heard that a passenger on a KU flight between Bangkok and Kuwait had to stand for the entire trip. (I guess the flight was overbooked, but I don't know why they took off with an extra passenger).

Anyway, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so if anyone has any info on what actually happened, I would appreciate it.

Thanks.


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3162 times:

That sounds a bit like hearsay. I'm not sure any airline (outisde the old Soviet Union would be allowed to do that).

But back to the guy who's flying JFK-LHR, it seems like Kuwait may be the way to fly for you, especially if you want to fly a 777.


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 8, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3158 times:

From a safety point of view I´d definitely take KU. Plus in flight service is said to be excellent.
Daniel


User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3145 times:

All of Kuwaits A340s and 777 fleet have PTVs in economy except for their older aging 747-200 and 767-200ER. Air India has no plans that I've heard to install them in economy of their 747-400. KU has better on-time service and their JFK-LHR service is exquisite especially on their LHR-Kuwait-DEL and back is awsome.


"FUIMUS"
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3140 times:

Airsicknessbag wrote :
From a safety point of view I´d definitely take KU.

Umm... care to explain what you mean by this?


User currently offlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1049 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3133 times:


Pardon my ignorance, but what is a "CAT III system"?


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 12, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3127 times:

Sean/B747-437B,

sure, no problem:
Kuwait Airways total losses since 1945: 7 (including 4 due to shelling in Gulf War II),
Air India total losses since 1945: 17;
Kuwait Airways fatalities since 1945: 0,
Air India fatalities since 1945: 806.

Hope this clarifies my point.

Daniel


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

The comparisons are odious.
If you look at total hull losses and the body count since 1945, then British Airways (including its antecedent carriers Imperial Airways, BEA, BOAC etc) would be sunk. And you may as well forget about the major US carriers like TWA.

Air India is a much larger airline than KU with more flights and more passengers carried. I'm not even sure if KU had operations prior to 1960.

The last crash that AI had was in 1985 when a 747-200 was blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb resulting in the loss of 329 lives. They've had a trouble-free record after that - at least one involving no deaths !

AI are reputed to have excellent pilots and maintenance facilities. As a matter of fact, SIA are notorious for stealing AI's flight crew. And if you've ever flown AI you will know that the security pre-boarding protocols are exhaustive. So, I do not think that AI is unsafe to fly. The service standards are another issue.

THat having been said, go with KU for the PTVs and the 777.


User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3100 times:

AI securtiy measure have beeb beefed up since their 747-200 was blown up off of Ireland due to a terrorist bomb and since then there has been no casualties since. Let's not forget the hijacking of a Kuwait Airways 747-200 in the mid 80 when terrorists shot and killed 15 people( I think) and most were americans. AI hasn't had a hijacking unlike TWA (1 fatality 1986 and I think there were two 707 hijackings with one blown up after it was emptied of passengers and crew), KU mid 80s, PA (early 70s 747-100 no fatalities but the plane was blown up by terrorists on arrival in Cairo when it was empty thank god.) or KLM (early 70s no fatalities 747-200). AI's security is almost like EL-AL's minus missle chaffs on their planes


"FUIMUS"
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3088 times:

I won't even bother adding to the stuff that Jaysit and VirginA340 have posted above.

However I will say that AI's maintenance is one of the best in the world, and thats how they manage to keep the high-cycle 742s in operation. Jaysit is also right - I personally know at least 5 former AI 744 captains presently flying for Singapore Airlines.

As far as AI's inflight service goes, my opinion is very biased (my dad is Sr.Manager - Inflight Service Department, so I usually get the red carpet treatment) but he is always looking for feedback!  


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3084 times:

AT :

CAT III is the latest avionics package. AI has the kits installed on their 744s, but the pilots are not permitted to use them because of politics. However, as I mentioned, CAT IIB is more than sufficient for anything other than the worst fog at DEL. 90% of the ops on the JFK-LHR route are conducted in basic IFR or VFR conditions anyway.


User currently offlineSammyk From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1690 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3083 times:
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Sean, feedback for inflight service, I have a couple of suggestions. I have flown Air India several times. I try to avoid it. I know of their excellent maintenance and piloting, but the inflight service always deters me. Some of the things I hate, and while they may be petty, I think they are needed in a service industry such as this.

1. Could the FA's possibly smile?
2. If I'm sleeping, do they have to wake me up to eat?
3. If they don't wake me up, can they serve me my food later like other airlines? (actually, this doesn't bother me personally as I usually refuse to eat airline food)
4. Could they have a better personality/attitude? Too many times do they act as if its the end of the world that they have to get up off their asses to get me a blanket, or something to drink, as if they're doing me a favor. I mean it IS part of their job right?

Don't get me wrong, I know a large part of their job is safety, but so is being nice.

Well, just my opinion.

Oh, on a side note, just curious, how often does AI wash their aircraft?

Sammy



User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3074 times:

SammyK -

a) They always smile around me, but I guess thats just what they have to do to the son of the boss!  

b) Interesting point - I am not sure whether there is a written policy about this - will check with my dad on the issue.

c) If you miss a meal and ask for it later, they will serve you PROVIDED there is a meal available and time permitting.

d) Absolutely. If you have any specifics, please let me know and I will ensure that the person involved is politely advised to shape up.

I believe the aircraft are washed at every D-Check  


User currently offlineNycank From United States of America, joined May 2000, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3066 times:

SammyK said "1. Could the FA's possibly smile?"

to with Sean Replied -
"a) They always smile around me, but I guess thats just what they have to do to the son of the boss!"
[smiley included]

I guess that is what they care about   boss's son/daughter, politicians, and a few DotCOMs.

It has been over a decade since I flew AI, however
in the matters of FA, I have to chime in.
My ex-sister-in-law is/was AI F/A doing a trip to
NYC very so often, she always had a surley whiney
attitude - I at first ignored it, then once I mentioned if she had a so-called game-face   for pax during flights - Her comments about pax are unprintable.

Last Nov I had an opportunity to attend a wedding
in Bombay of very charming AI FA and an AI pilot/capt. whatever - Here I met a bunch of really uncool F/A types - loud,drunk,uncool - maybe these Airline types do get hat way at wedding parties (gee! three wedding receptions)

Anyway, this is my observation based on a somewhat limited exposure in the past decade. In all fairness the attitude and preceived roles of FAs have changed from way back in the late 60s (that's when I began noticing FAs) and now.
LH OTOH, have been consistently stern and surely :-( through the decades.


User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3063 times:

Now pleaase dont get personal yaar!

User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3054 times:

Tips:

1. Get PTVs !! On those endless 18 hour flights they're a god-send, especially if you're stuck in Zone E watching a silly song&dance Bollywood spectacle that you have no inclination to watch. Also, passengers, who don't know the difference between a 747 and a 707, can tell the presence or absence of a PTV, and they equate PTVs with modernity.

2. Come through the cabin often with cold water to offer passengers.

3. The last time I flew AI, it appeared that there were 100 different meal options that passengers had ordered, and it was total chaos. And this is not meant to offend anyone but Indian passengers on AI appear to be incredibly pushy and obnoxious, and the F/As looked exasperated. So, do away with the gazillion meal options !!

4. Serve ice cream bars like Virgin do. Again, its amazing how much goodwill an ice cream bar will produce.

5. Get rid of the loutish F/As. I noticed that some of the male F/As were a hooliganish lot, were rude - especially to some of the older indian passengers who appeared to be flying for the first or second time.


User currently offlineAdvancedkid From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 762 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3047 times:

washed every d-check? are you serious? might take 5 to 7 years to wash a 747!

User currently offlineSammyk From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1690 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3047 times:
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Sean,

Well, I don't think AI needs to go to the extent of serving ice cream, and comparing it to Virgin seems silly.

As far as a specific FA that was being rude, I couldn't tell you, it was 4 years ago. Also, it was a general attitude among them, and I personally don't care, but my family members seemed to have.

Personally I don't have a problem if they don't serve me a meal, in fact, that is my preference. I just hate it when they wake me up to serve me. If I'm sleeping, leave me be, other airlines do it, so can they.

However, shouldn't they have a meal available for all passengers on board? Do they assume a certain amount will not want to eat? Also, I can understand them not having a certain "type" of food such as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, but they should have something available. And I agree with you about the time thing, not like I would expect to be fed if I woke up minutes before final decent  

Oh, and I hope you were joking about the washing schedule, but then again, I'm not surprised.  

Any of them 744s been through a D-Check yet? Maybe just starting to? Such a shame, AI has such a beautiful livery, just wish they would keep it clean.

Sammy



User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (14 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3035 times:

I wasn't comparing it to Virgin.
I just offered tips on improving inflight service.
Sheesh !


25 Sammyk : I was just using your example to make a point where AI doesn't have to go that far to make themselves better, since handing out ice cream (or whatever
26 Nycank : You know guys, Sean is the the most important asset in conveying feedback on AI ! Under normal Customer feedback procedures the changes would probabl
27 Jaysit : GIG? You're being facetious, right? They barely have the aircraft to add services to London and Hong Kong, or to beef up their services to the US. If
28 Post contains images B747-437B : >My ex-sister-in-law is/was AI F/A doing a trip to >NYC very so often, she always had a surley whiney >attitude - I at first ignored it, then once I m
29 B747-437B : >1. Get PTVs !! Not gonna happen as long as the financial crunch continues. If you have flown in First or Exec recently, you will also have noticed th
30 Post contains images B747-437B : >However, shouldn't they have a meal available for all >passengers on board? Do they assume a certain >amount will not want to eat? Au contraire. AI t
31 B747-437B : >You know guys, Sean is the the most important asset >in conveying feedback on AI ! Under normal Customer >feedback procedures the changes would proba
32 Wingtip : To follow up a point SammyK mentioned about being woken up for a meal while you're sleeping. Ansett International includes as part of the amenity kit
33 Tg 747-300 : What is a D-check? Is it thath check where almost the whole plane are taken apart, and painted with new paint etc.? I have only heard about D-check, b
34 Nycank : >Dude - you don't know the half of it. It is >REALLY scary to come in off a 10 hr flight and >then spend the next few hours watching the crew >sit in
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