AT
Topic Author
Posts: 879
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 1:34 am

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?

 
Billy
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 1:40 am

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.
 
avion
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 1:44 am

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

Avion
 
jaysit
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 1:50 am

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
AT
Topic Author
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 1:55 am


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.
 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 7:52 am

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).

"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
Charles802
Posts: 365
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RE: Passenger Left Standing

Thu Sep 07, 2000 12:55 pm

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.
 
jaysit
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 5:34 pm

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 6:23 pm

From a safety point of view I´d definitely take KU. Plus in flight service is said to be excellent.
Daniel
 
VirginA340
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 8:13 pm

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"
 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 8:44 pm

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

Umm... care to explain what you mean by this?
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
AT
Topic Author
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 9:04 pm


Pardon my ignorance, but what is a "CAT III system"?
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: Air India Safety

Thu Sep 07, 2000 9:40 pm

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
 
jaysit
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Thu Sep 07, 2000 10:26 pm

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
VirginA340
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 2:04 am

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"
 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 8:42 am

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!  
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 8:46 am

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.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
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sammyk
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RE: Feedback Wanted?

Fri Sep 08, 2000 8:54 am

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

 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 9:56 am

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  
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
nycank
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 2:19 pm

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.
 
IndianGuy
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RE: NYCAnk

Fri Sep 08, 2000 2:43 pm

Now pleaase dont get personal yaar!
 
jaysit
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Fri Sep 08, 2000 7:14 pm

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
advancedkid
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747-437?

Fri Sep 08, 2000 8:01 pm

washed every d-check? are you serious? might take 5 to 7 years to wash a 747!
 
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sammyk
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RE: B747-437B

Fri Sep 08, 2000 8:07 pm

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

 
jaysit
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 12:01 am

I wasn't comparing it to Virgin.
I just offered tips on improving inflight service.
Sheesh !
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
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sammyk
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RE: Jaysit

Sat Sep 09, 2000 12:24 am

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) without a smile or being courteous still doesn't cut it.

Sorry guy, just a minor misunderstanding!

Sammy
 
nycank
Posts: 232
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RE: B747-437B

Sat Sep 09, 2000 2:32 am


You know guys, Sean is the the most important asset in conveying feedback
on AI ! Under normal Customer feedback procedures the changes would probably take eons.

Next time if I get a chance to visit BOM/DEL I might take AI and
pre-post it here so that I too get a little extra TLC.

BTW: Does AI plan to do GIG ? JFK-GIG-NRT-BOM/DEL something like that.
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 3:09 am

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 anything, they would introduce additional services to the US via LHR before they do anything else.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
B747-437B
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RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 7:45 am

>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.

Hehe - sounds like a number of F/As I know   If she is senior at AI, would you mind emailing me her name so I can see if I know her? I know that my dad almost definitely would, and if she was in the 1968-1976 hiring batches, my mom probably trained her!  


>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

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 the hotel "crew lounge" and slowly empty multiple bottles of Duty Free Scotch and proceed to dance around tables.  

"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 7:55 am

>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 that on ESN and ESO (don't quote me but I think its those two), the PTVs have been cannibalized for parts to keep the systems on the other 744s running.

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

This is actually being done already. I think the directive came out around June 1999.

>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.

Easier said than done. AI wins a lot of business by being the only airline to offer options like Jain meals and Gujarati thalis. It has been considered, but if anything AI will EXPAND the meal choices.

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

Ice cream bars are not served, but ice-cream CUPS are served on selected flights into DEL in summer (when the dairy ban is in effect).

>5. Get rid of the loutish F/As. I noticed that some of >the male F/As were a hooliganish lot.

Much easier said than done. As a government entity, AI cannot lay anyone off without wading through 60,000 pages of paperwork. Also, there is the SC/ST/OBC issue (Indian equivalent of affirmative action).
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:03 am

>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 typically uplifts almost 20% additional meals, considerably higher than most other carriers, because of the finnicky Indian palate. However, frequently meals are disposed of after a service is completed, or offered as seconds to pax. It would not be abnormal for no dinner meal tray to be left say at the end of the redeye JFK-LHR flight.

>Also, I can understand them not having a
>certain "type" of food such as vegetarian or non-
>vegetarian, but they should have something available.

Always the nut mix and the nasty "Special Farsan" packets available. If they don't give you any, go to the bar cart on the far right of the bulkhead by door 2L and check there. It has never failed me!

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

Yes, I was joking!   They wash them at C-Checks!!!!

>Any of them 744s been through a D-Check yet?
>Maybe just starting to?

I believe that ESM is scheduled for hers this coming fall, which is why AI is scrambling to acquire a 744 on dry-lease to fill the schedule. ESN, ESO and ESP will follow immediately after in that order. The others are still a few years away.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:06 am

>You know guys, Sean is the the most important asset
>in conveying feedback on AI ! Under normal Customer
>feedback procedures the changes would probably take
>eons.

Thanks for the compliment. My dad is always looking for feedback, and this is a pretty good forum to get it from.

>Next time if I get a chance to visit BOM/DEL I might
>take AI and pre-post it here so that I too get a little
>extra TLC.

Email me if you are doing this. I will try to have a special handling message put out for you.

>BTW: Does AI plan to do GIG ? JFK-GIG-NRT-BOM/DEL
>something like that.

No. Don't even DREAM about AI starting new routes in the near future. Micheal's strategy is consolidation and adding frequency on existing profitable routes, and so far he is doing a decent job.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
wingtip
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2000 8:49 am

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 10:37 am

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 which you receive on their flights two stickers which say "Please Wake Me up for a Meal" and "Do Not Wake Me Up For A Meal". You stick this onto your seat and it saves a lot of trouble for both the F/A and passenger. Its a good idea which other airlines could take note off.
 
Tg 747-300
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 1999 6:08 am

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 1:45 pm

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, but didn't realy know what it is, and how often it are done.

TG 747-300 (fly AI, because if a 777 is cramped, it is VERY cramped)

intentionally left blank
 
nycank
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 29, 2000 6:47 pm

RE: Kuwait Airways Versus Air India

Sat Sep 09, 2000 7:16 pm

>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 the hotel "crew lounge" and slowly empty >multiple bottles of Duty Free Scotch and proceed >to dance around tables.

Many years ago at a local pub here in NYC, the
owner threw out the whole LH crew because they were so drunk hours before flight. I could not
believe it could happen - That's when I started
shopping for LH replacement for my Germany trips.

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