Kuwait Airways KU 621 from Kuwait (KWI) to Doha (DOH)

KU 621 Kuwait Airways route (Source: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Early morning….Still at 03:14 hours….Situation at Kuwait International Airport was so peaceful with melodious instrumental music. At first glance I felt like I was on a side of Changi International Airport, which often played the same music.

The ticket which I got from Bahrain International Airport.

I took a seat at the very end of waiting chair, feeling a runny nose which still left little bit flu. Weirdest flu I’ve ever had in my life. It was mid-January, while COVID-19 began to spread a month before I was in Kuwait….I even interacted closely with Mainland Chinese citizens who were going to work to Oman a few days earlier at Dubai International Airport….Ah, I didn’t know.

Me and 12Go….True partners.

The loudspeaker started to call my flight number. “Half an hour late”, I thought in response. I started queuing to enter the “Blue Bird” airline. This was my second flight with it after a day before I rode it on Bahrain to Kuwait route.

Crossing the aerobridge.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

I kept peeking atTerminal 4 building. All I could imagine was how cold it was outside when I saw the dew covering every inch of the fuselage. While on the right, an Airbus A330 was doing the same process.

Seat 13K, strange seat numbering (ABC-HJK).
Alburaq inflight magazine accompanied me to fly for about 568 kilometers.

After going through 30 minutes of boarding process, finally, I slowly left Kuwait and left its beauty out of the air. Kuwait Airways flied away from its mainhub.

Sunny morning with beautiful city lights.
Goodbye Kuwait.

This was a Kuwait Airways flight which I rescheduled in the previous story. Tickets cost for about 21 Kuwait Dinar which I have prepared since 9 months before the flight. One other thing that became my fad when ordering plane tickets was trying different types of food. This time I ordered the Diabetic Meal (DBML), a low-sugar food with a little salt along with fruits and vegetables rich in fiber.

I wasn’t a diabetic but just curious to taste it.
Watching “Gemini Man” during the flight.
Cabin situation for about 1 hour 40 minutes flight.

Sunny mornings along the Persian Gulf provide a comfortable flight into Qatar’s airspace. Kuwait Airways began to lower and exposed Doha’s face which was bright with the colors of earth’s light.

Preparing to tread in Doha.

I arrived at Hamad International Airport at exactly 04:45 hours. A giant yellow teddy bear stuck to a power pole was the first thing I recorded in my minds about this airport. I wanted to see it right away.

Dropping passengers at the airport apron.

On a cold morning, ground crews didn’t provide an aerobridge for this flight. Passengers have to get off in airport apron and took turns boarding in an apron shuttle bus. As soon as I left the plane door, my body was mercilessly pierced by cold air. Moreover, I had to wait for the next bus to go to the arrival hall.

Airbus A320-214.
Arriving at the arrival hall in 12 minutes.

I kept walking in search of the yellow Teddy Bear when other passengers queued at the toilet or scrambled for luggage on the conveyor belt. I finally found it, although I couldn’t get close because the doll was in the departure hall area.

It was okay, I would take a picture with it when I would go to home.

Welcome to Doha!

Kuwait International Airport Closer

Kuwait International Airport became the 30th airport outside of Indonesia which I visited. Precisely in Terminal 4, I started to introduce myself to a side of this beautiful airport. Terminal 4 itself is the official mainhub of Kuwait Airways, which in that time I chose as transportation mode to leave Bahrain.

Arrival Hall

Kuwait Airways KU 614 stopped at airport apron.

Smoothly landing in a runway on 13:35 hours, I couldn’t wait to reach airport ground floor.

Like a modern airport, exit from plane through aerobridge.
Terminal 4 building with three floors.

Turning to right from aerobridge, a carpeted corridor often featured the Emir face of Kuwait, i.e Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who waving his hand as if to say “Welcome to Kuwait“.

The next corridor led to arrival hall.

I was ready to entering the screening gate to reach transfer hall. My traveling habit which didn’t use a belt and usually put a passport, money, watch, camera, smartphone and mineral water bottle in a small folding bag, kept me from being as busy as other passengers who were always nervous when entering screening area with fast tempo.

I wasn’t against confiscation of my mineral water bottle, because I was sure it would be easy to find a free water station at an international airport which was almost a century old.

I started to entering duty free zone with camera in hand. Of course there wasn’t waiter who greeted me who just brought a backpack on my back. Yes, that was it. I didn’t bring anything for my 21 days adventure except 5 t-shirts, 2 trousers, 1 shorts and I even used disposable panties for my underware, practically disposable and then just threw it into rubbish bin after was used. I was very light backpacker. All of my friend called me “Crazy backpacker“.

Duty free zone.

Departure Hall

Still on the 1st floor, after duty free zone, I was faced directly to departure area with 5 departure gates coded B1 to B5.

Departure gate 1st floor.

On this floor was provided Al Mubarakiya Lounge for anyone who wanted to relax waiting for their flight. I myself only used gate B1 when waiting for airline shuttle bus to go to Safir Airport Hotel which was a free gift from Kuwait Airways to me during transit.

Gate B1.
Cafe Coco near gate B1.

Meanwhile, in early hours of next morning, when I was about to fly with Kuwait Airways KU 621 to Doha, I used facilities along departure gate D1-D8 on 2nd floor. I still remembered when I slept on a long green sofa a day before and was approached by a policeman dressed in white like an angel who escorted me on luck getting a free staying at Safir Airport Hotel.

Sofa on 2nd floor.
Flying to Qatar via gate D8.

Airport Apron and Cargo Area

Come on, let’s took a peek at airport outside. I managed to freely see it when I boarded airline shuttle bus to Safir Airport Hotel. Only 10 minutes long, I slowly crossed the cargo area. This was the first time to directly see cargo loading process when passing cargo planes.

Turkish Airlines Cargo.
Cargo area.

As a result of Air Force base development, Kuwait International Airport still shared space with Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base. The base itself was at east of the airport, next to Safir Airport Hotel where I stayed.

Alenia C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft.

Lounge

As an airport which had passenger capacity of more than nine million passengers per year, apart from providing 5 terminal areas, lounge facilities are a lucrative business. Besides Al Mubarakiya Lounge, Kuwait International Airport also provides Bayan Lounge on the 2nd floor.

Bayan Lounge near gate D8.

Toilet

Well, in the last section, let’s see how airport toilets look like. Here it is:

Clean and fragrant.
Toilet on 2nd floor.

That’s a brief overview of Kuwait International Airport, especially Terminal 4.

Okay….Time to flying to Doha.

Taken to Safir Airport Hotel, Kuwait

<—-Previous Story

I slowly walked to enjoy each arrival hall corridor in Terminal 4, Kuwait International Airport. There wasn’t rush, because my next flight was still fifteen hours away.

Moving to the transfer hall, my step rhythm became fast because aviation security officers arranged it in that way. Not long, I was in front of the screening gate after showing boarding pass to the female Kuwait Airways staff from Philippines. Damn, the screening process finally confiscated my mineral water.

Passing duty free zone in 1st floor, instinct directed me to find the most comfortable place to close my eyes. The trauma of being late has kept me awake at Bahrain Plaza Hotel since three o’clock in the morning. Now sleepiness overtaked me.

I went up to the 2nd floor via an elevator near gate B1. Excited, I caught fourteen long green sofas uninhabited right next to the departure gate D5-6. “Yeaaa….This is my bed”, the heart mumbled.

—-****—-

Police: “Hello, Sir?”, a man with white robe woke me up.

Me: “Yes, sir”, I was surprised because I suddenly woke up.

Police: “Can I see your ticket and passport?”

Me: “Sure, Sir”, I frantically looked for it which was somehow tucked away.

Police: “Ohh, long transit. What airline did you use before?”

Me: “Kuwait Airways, Sir”, I showed my boording pass fragment.

Police: “Follow me now!”, upss, I got a problem …..

My heart beated faster as I followed his steps. Arriving at screening gate area where I originally have arrived several minutes ago, through a special door I was directed to Kuwait Airways Customer Service desk. I didn’t know what he said to staffs, until he called me to come closer. “Come!”, he said.

Customer Service staff apologized for didn’t carefully check my ticket. Even though my two tickets were non-connecting flights. But because both using Kuwait Airways, I got a benefit of staying at Safir Airport Hotel. Considering my next flight had to wait more than eight hours.

Police: “Enjoy your trip”, he said without a smile.

Me: “thank you very much, Sir”.

Police: “Welcome”, he just walked away.

For me, he wasn’t the airport police, but he ws an angel who suddenly came to me.

Transit card as access to hotel.

Passing back through the screening gate, I headed to gate B1 as instructed. Two Filipino ground staff invited me to sit and wait for airline shuttle bus to pick up. Then, one of them was seen busy with a walkie talkie to calling the shuttle bus in question.

Picked me up with two female passengers from Qatar.

Lobby Area

The airline shuttle bus freely took me around the airport. The bustle of cargo area with large cargo planes background left me stunned.

Ten minutes later, I was dropped off right in front of hotel’s lobby. A policeman suddenly stood up from his relaxed seat at the screening gate. He was seriously observing my single backpack inside the Luggage Screening Device. “OK, clear”, his words ending the process.

Lobby gate.
Area with sofa.
Area without sofa.
Departure fight information.

Room Area

I walked down the corridor to room 113. It was a pleasure to be able to taste the hotel which fare abour for 54 Kuwait Dinar per night. It was just a shame, I couldn’t enjoy all its free luxurious facilities because of a severe flu attack since left Bahrain. I spent the entire room and toilet’s paper to fight clear mucus which kept uncontrollably flowing from my nose.

Corridor leading to the room.
Got a twin bed room.
Bathroom.
Poor sleeping.

Scenery

Suddenly I woke up because curious about view in the window. A service plane from the Kingdom of Kuwait was seen parked unaccompanied. Half an hour later, a military transport plane, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landed, it was the type of plane which was destroyed by Donatello in the film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

I even had time to enjoy a row of fighter jets at a side of airport. Indeed Kuwait International Airport was basically a development of Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base belonging to the Kuwait Air Force. Wow, lucky me.

Kuwaiti Royal Service Aircraft.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.

Restaurant

A call from receptionist woke me up, “Sir, please come down!”. I briefly answered “Wait for 10 minutes, Sir”. I packed my gears into backpack. Then hurry down. “Why do you bring your backpack and check-out, I just want to give you an information that it’s dinner time”, he said with a laugh. Suddenly, I returned to the room embarrassed. Then went down again for dinner.

Al-Dawarza Restaurant.
Restaurant terrace.

Hmmm….Unforgettable memories.

Kuwait Airways KU 614 from Bahrain to Kuwait

<—-Previous Story

KU 614 flight route (source: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Exactly on five in the morning I started to wash my body in the bathroom of Bahrain Plaza Hotel. That day, I would leave Bahrain and heading to Kuwait. After making sure all equipments wasn’t left behind, I went down to the first floor to hand over the key and headed to the nearest bus shelter. Not far, just three hundred meters at south of the hotel, right in front of Manama Cemetery.

Ten minutes later, the bus from MAN manufacturer numbered A1 arrived. Entering from its front door and tapping Go Card to pay the fare worth BHD 0.300, I drove to Bahrain International Airport for the next a hour.

Arriving at the airport on 07:45 hours, I went straight to 1st floor. Its check-in area wan’t better than the same counter owned by Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (second airport in Jakarta). The flight number which didn’t appeared yet on the Departure Hall LCD gave me time to exchange the remaining Bahraini Dinar (BHD). Apparently the money changer on the 1st floor didn’t want to accept small amount of Dinar, fortunately the Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) on the 0th floor was still willing to accept it.

On 9:30 hours, the check-in counter for Kuwait Airways flight KU 614 began to open. I briefly explained that I was going to Qatar with two non-connecting flights and would transit in Kuwait. The young male staff only once asked me about the Qatar Visa. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir“, I answered to ending the conversation and he gave two tickets with the blue bird logo at once. The ticket itself I ordered on nine months before departure.

Kuwait Airways was the 27th airline which I boarded.

Smoothly passing through the immigration counter, I immediately headed to Gate 15 which was located in the corner of departure waiting hall with a narrow hallway which connects to the aerobridge. Waiting for boarding time, I continued to observe the flow of Gulf Air, a well-known airline belonging to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Departure waiting room.

A little late, I started boarding on 11:51 hours. Couldn’t wait to experience the first time flying with Kuwait Airways, the airline belonging to the Kingdom of Kuwait.

Late for a hour.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Immediately took a seat as stated on the boarding pass and preparing for a short flight of 420 km which would be covered in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Seat number 17A was where I sat.
Thank you 12Go for being an Affiliate Partner for travelingpersecond.com.
Alburaq inflight magazine.

It appeared that some of the airline’s aircrew were from the Philippines and some from African region. During the flight, I noticed that alcohol bottles weren’t visible on food trolley, it looked like the Kuwait Airways flight was an alcohol-free flight…..It was cool.

Watching “The Martian“.
The Low Fat Meal (LFML) menu which I ordered together with the ticket order.

That afternoon the air on the southwest bank of Persian Gulf was clear. This made my flight felt very smooth, with no turbulence at all. Nice flight.

Sunny weather in early January.
How did the feel, flying with Middle East people?.

DIn the last quarter of flight, the plane began to lower and revealed the land of Kuwait which looked arid and hot. I myself couldn’t wait to get to know Kuwait International Airport which was the main hub of Kuwait Airways.

Middle East mainland which typical sandy brown.
Busyness at Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Kuwait city view.

The time was 13:35 hours. After the plane came to a perfect stop, I immediately left the fuselage for Transit Hall of Kuwait International Airport. I would patiently wait until four o’clock on the next morning to heading to Qatar.

A320-251N Neo Generation of Airbus

Next Story—->

Reschedule Kuwait Airways after Kuwait Tourist Visa Failed

Exactly thirty days before my backpacking departure to Middle East Region, I started to get busy in hunting all visas needed, it were tourist visas to visiting Kochi, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Among the six visas, I had a bitter experience when I finally failed to get a Kuwait Tourist Visa. This caused me to must satisfy to just enjoying Kuwait by transit, but of course it was better than nothing.

At the end of November, all information about Kuwait Tourist Visa which I got through internet (google, youtube and facebook) I recorded in detail. Until I phoned those contact numbers one by one. The best information which I have was that I could enter Kuwait by Visa on Arrival (VoA).

Conversation via Whatsapp with Kuwait Visa agency.

Calling several phone numbers which I got on internet, every ring which I sent was unanswered. So to immediately made sure, I rushed to Kuningan area in early December to directly ask at Kuwaiti Embassy.

It was quite difficult to find its location, because the address which was displayed by Google was never correct. I had to get lost in an unnamed embassy office in Patra Kuningan I Avenue . A large building which was guarded by a group of men in military helmets and armed with long barrels. The brake screech of my motorbike right in front of the entrance made them suddenly alert and raised their weapons to their chests.

Me: “Sir, is it the Kuwaiti Embassy, ​​is it?

Guard: “No sir, this is the Australian Embassy”.

Me: “How come google maps directs me here, sir?”.

Guard: “That’s wrong, Sir, a lot of people stray here like you“.

Me: “Do you know where the location is?”.

Guard: “Oh, I don’t know, Sir“.

Finally they lowered the position of weapon after knowing my aim. It’s just that I admits that I was impolite, asking something on a motorbike and right in front of the gate…. Hahahaha.

Address from other sources also led me to stray on Denpasar Raya Avenue. I didn’t know what office it was, fortunately its guard was able to give me clear direction to the Kuwait Embassy. Until finally I arrived at the Kuwait Embassy office on Mega Kuningan Barat III Avenue.

Pretty simple Kuwaiti Embassy office.

There were no visitors and only two security guarded it. They directed me to sit on a small terrace in left corner of the embassy. Until they called the staff who handled Visa application.

Finally my hope of exploring Kuwait were dashed after the beautiful embassy staff gave an explanation through a narrow slit in the visa counter.

For Indonesian citizens, Kuwait does not issue tourist visas, Sir. We only handle Working Visas and Diplomatic Visas. To be able to travel there, you have to get a Calling Visa from your friends or family in Kuwait,” She said.

Knowing my intention was gone then there wasn’t other way. I had to expedite the Kuwait-Doha departure ticket which I got since mid-April. After counting, rescheduling was more cheaper than buying a Bahrain-Doha direct flight ticket.

So from Bahrain, I was going to Doha with a transit in Kuwait.

Kuwait-Doha ticket.

I immediately contacted Kuwait Airways via Whatsapp in the first weekend of December.

Conversation with Kuwait Airways Customer Service.   
After fixed reschedule the flight, they gave me a payment link via email.
Link was two hours old. I needed to quickly make a payment via credit card.

In addition to rescheduling flights, of course I had to cancel hotel reservations on Booking.com.

Vera House & Hotel for 14.4 Kuwait Dollar per night.

This means, in the middle of my trip later, I wouldl visit Doha longer. From the previous plan, i.e three visiting days became five visiting days. And my exploration to Kuwait was only limited to transit. But this transit period had provided an unforgettable experience.

What kind of experience?….Hahaha, just read on next story!

Kuwait Airways KU 621 dari Kuwait (KWI) ke Doha (DOH)

Rute Kuwait Airways KU 621 (Sumber: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Dini hari….Masih jam 03:14….Suasana di Kuwait International Airport begitu damai dengan alunan musik instrumental yang mendayu-dayu. Sepintas aku merasa berada di suatu sisi Changi International Airport yang kerap memainkan musik yang sama.

Tiket yang kudapat sejak di Bahrain International Airport.

Aku mengambil duduk di kursi tunggu paling ujung, merasakan pengar hidung yang masih menyisakan flu. Flu teraneh yang pernah kualami seumur hidup. Kala itu pertengahan Januari, sedangkan COVID-19 mulai merebak sebulan sebelum aku berada di Kuwait….Bahkan aku berinteraksi akrab dengan warga Tiongkok Daratan yang sedang berangkat kerja menuju Oman beberapa hari sebelumnya di Dubai International Airport….Ah entahlah!

Aku dan 12Go….Partner sejati.

Pengeras suara mulai memanggil nomor penerbanganku. “Terlambat setengah jam”, batinku merespon. Aku mulai mengantri untuk memasuki maskapai “Burung Biru” itu. Ini adalah penerbangan keduaku bersamanya setelah sehari sebelumnya aku menungganginya di rute Bahrain-Kuwait.

Melintasi aerobridge.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Aku terus mengintip ke arah bangunan Terminal 4. Yang terbayang adalah betapa dinginnya di luar sana ketika melihat embun melapisi setiap inchi badan pesawat. Sementara di sebelah kanan tampak Airbus A330 sedang melakukan proses yang sama.

Bangku 13K, penamaan bangku yang aneh (ABC-HJK).
Alburaq inflight magazine menemaniku terbang sejauh 568 kilometer.

Setelah melalui 30 menit proses boarding, akhirnya perlahan aku meninggalkan Kuwait dan menyisakan keindahannya dari udara. Kuwait Airways terbang meninggalkan mainhub nya.

Pagi yang cerah dengan indahnya lampu kota.
Selamat tinggal Kuwait.

Inilah penerbangan Kuwait Airways yang ku reschedule pada kisah sebelumnya.  Tiket seharga Rp. 957.500 yang sudah kupersiapkan sejak 9 bulan sebelum penerbangan. Satu hal lain yang menjadi keisenganku saat memesan tiket pesawat adalah mencoba berbagai jenis makanan. Kali ini aku memesan Diabetic Meal (DBML),  makanan rendah gula dengan sedikit garam beserta buah dan sayur kaya serat.

Aku bukan penderita diabetes tetapi penasaran ingin merasakannya saja….Hahaha.
Menonton Gemini Man selama terbang.
Suasana kabin selama 1 jam 40 menit penerbangan.

Pagi yang cerah di sepanjang Teluk Persia memberikan penerbangan yang nyaman hingga memasuki wilayah udara Qatar. Kuwait Airways mulai merendah dan menyibak muka Doha yang terang dengan warna-warni cahaya bumi.

Bersiap menapak di Doha.

Aku tiba di Hamad International Airport tepat pukul 04:45. Pahatan Teddy Bear raksasa berwarna kuning yang tertancap di tiang listrik adalah hal pertama yang kurekam tentang bandara ini. Aku ingin segera melihatnya.

Merapat di parking lot.

Di pagi yang dingin, para ground crew tidak menyediakan aerobridge untuk penerbangan ini. Penumpang harus turun ke apron bandara dan bergiliran menaiki apron shuttle bus. Begitu keluar pintu pesawat, badan terasa ditusuk udara dingin tanpa ampun. Apalagi aku harus menunggu bus berikutnya demi menuju arrival hall.

Airbus A320-214.
Tiba di arrival hall dalam 12 menit.

Aku terus melangkah mencari Teddy Bear kuning itu ketika sebagian besar penumpang mengantri di toilet atau berebut bagasi di conveyor belt. Akhirnya aku menemukannya, walaupun tidak bisa mendekat karena boneka itu berada di area departure hall.

Tak mengapa, aku akan berfoto dengannya saat pulang nanti.

Selamat Datang Doha!

Kuwait International Airport Lebih Dekat

Kuwait International Airport menjadi bandara di luar Indonesia ke-30 yang ku kunjungi . Tepatnya di Terminal 4, aku mulai mengenalkan diri dengan salah satu sisi bandara apik ini. Terminal 4 sendiri merupakan mainhub resmi milik Kuwait Airways yang kali ini kupilih sebagai moda trasportasi untuk meninggalkan Bahrain.

Arrival Hall

Kuwait Airways KU 614 merapat di parking lot.

Mendarat dengan mulus di salah satu runway pada pukul 13:35, aku sudah tak sabar ingin menjejak langkah di lantai bandara.

Layaknya bandara modern, keluar pesawat melalui aerobridge.
Tampak bangunan Terminal 4 dengan tiga lantai.

Berbelok ke kanan dari aerobridge, koridor tak berkarpet itu dengan seringnya menampilkan wajah Emir Kuwait Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yang tampak melambaikan tangan seakan mengucap “Selamat Datang di Kuwait”.

Koridor berkutnya menuju Arrival Hall.

Aku sudah siap memasuki screening gate menuju Transfer Hall. Kebiasaanku bertraveling tanpa ikat pinggang dan meletakkan passport, uang, jam tangan, kamera, handphone dan sebotol air mineral pada folding bag kecil, membuatku tak sesibuk penumpang lain yang selalu gelagapan ketika memasuki area screening dengan tempo cepat.

Aku tak melawan penyitaan botol air mineralku, karena aku yakin akan mudah menemukan free water station di bandara berusia hampir seabad ini.

Aku mulai memasuki duty free zone dengan kamera di tangan. Tentu tak ada pelayan yang menyapaku yang berpenampilan dengan satu backpack di punggung. Ya, itu saja. Aku tak membawa apapun untuk 21 hari petualanganku kecuali  5 t-shirt, 2 celana panjang, 1 celana pendek bahkan aku menggunakan dispossable panties untuk urusan dalaman, praktis sekali pakai langsung buang. I’m very light backpacker. Orang inggris menyebutku “Wong Edan”.

Duty free zone.

Departure Hall

Masih di lantai 1, selepas duty free zone, aku dihadapkan langsung pada departure area dengan 5 gerbang pemberangkatan berkode B1 hingga B5.

Departure gate lantai 1.

Di lantai ini disediakan Al Mubarakiya Lounge bagi siapa saja yang ingin bersantai menunggu penerbangan. Aku sendiri hanya menggunakan gate B1 ketika menunggu airline van untuk menuju Safir Aiport Hotel yang dihadiahkan gratis oleh Kuwait Airways kepadaku semasa transit.

Gate B1.
Cafe Coco di dekat gate B1.

Sementara di dini hari berikutnya ketika hendak terbang bersama Kuwait Airways KU 621 menuju Doha, aku menggunakan fasilitas di sepanjang departure gate D1-D8 di lantai 2. Masih teringat ketika sehari sebelumnya tidur di sofa hijau panjang dan didatangi seorang polisi bergamis putih bak malaikat yang mengantarkanku pada keberuntungan mendapatkan free staying di Safir Airport Hotel.

Sofa di lantai 2.
Terbang ke Qatar melalui gate D8.

Parking Lot dan Area Kargo

Yuk, sekarang kita intip bagian luar bandara. Aku berhasil melihatnya dengan leluasa ketika menaiki airline van menuju Safir Airport Hotel. Hanya berdurasi 10 menit, aku perlahan melintasi area kargo. Baru kali ini melihat proses loading kargo secara langsung ketika melewati beberapa kaki pesawat kargo.

Turkish Airlines Cargo.
Area kargo.

Sebagai hasil dari pengembangan sebuah pangkalan Angkatan Udara, maka Kuwait International Airport masih berbagi tempat dengan Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base. Pangkalan ini sendiri berada di timur bandara, bersebelahan dengan Safir Airport Hotel tempatku menginap.

Pesawat angkut militer Alenia C-27J Spartan.

Lounge

Sebagai bandara yang memiliki kapastitas penumpang lebih dari sembilan juta penumpang per tahun maka selain menyediakan 5 area terminal maka fasilitas lounge menjadi bisnis yang menggiurkan. Selain Al Mubarakiya Lounge, Kuwait International Airport juga menyediakan Bayan Lounge di lantai 2.

Bayan Lounge dekat gate D8.

Toilet

Nah, dibagian terakhir mari kita lihat bagaimana penampakan toilet bandara. Ini dia:

Bersih dan wangi.
Toilet di lantai 2.

Itulah gambaran singkat dari Kuwait International Airport, khususnya Terminal 4.

Sudah dulu ya….Saatnya terbang ke Doha.

Digelandang Menuju Safir Airport Hotel, Kuwait

Aku berjalan pelan untuk menikmati setiap koridor Arrival Hall di Terminal 4, Kuwait International Airport. Tak diburu waktu, karena waktu terbang berikutnya masih lima belas jam lagi.

Berpindah di Transfer Hall, ritme langkah menjadi cepat karena petugas aviation security mengaturnya demikian. Belum semenit, aku sudah di depan screening gate setelah menunjukkan tiket terusan pada staff wanita Kuwait Airways asal Philippina. Sial, proses screening akhirnya menyita mineral waterku.

Melewati duty free zone di lantai 1, insting mengarahkanku untuk mencari tempat ternyaman demi memejamkan mata. Trauma keterlambatan, membuatku terjaga di Bahrain Plaza Hotel sejak jam tiga pagi. Kini kantuk menggelayutiku.

Aku naik ke lantai 2 melalui sebuah lift dekat gate B1. Girang hati, memergoki empat belas sofa panjang berwarna hijau tak berpenghuni tepat di sebelah departure gate D5-6. “Yeaaa….Inilah tempat tidurku”, hati bergumam.

—-****—-

Polisi: “Hello, Sir?”, seorang bergamis putih membangunkanku.

Aku: “Yes, Sir”, aku terperanjat karena terbangun mendadak.

Polisi: “Can me see your ticket and passport?

Aku: “Sure, Sir”, gelagapan mencarinya yang entah terselip dimana.

Polisi: ”Ohh, long transit. What airline did you use before?”

Aku: ”Kuwait Airways, Sir”, kutunjukkan penggalan tiket itu.

Polisi: “Follow me now!”, wah masalah …..

Jantung berdegup lebih cepat ketika mengikuti langkahnya. Tiba di area screening gate semula tiba, melalui pintu khusus aku diarahkan ke meja Customer Service Kuwait Airways. Entah dia bicara apa kepada staff itu, hingga dia memanggilku untuk mendekat. “Come!”, katanya.

Staff Customer Service meminta maaf karena kurang teliti memeriksa tiketku. Walaupun dua tiketku adalah non-connecting flight, karena keduanya menggunakan Kuwait Airways, maka aku mendapatkan benefit menginap di Safir Airport Hotel. Mengingat  penerbangan berikutnya harus menunggu lebih dari delapan jam.

Polisi: “Enjoy your trip”, ucapnya tanpa senyum.

Aku: ”thank you very much, Sir”.

Polisi: ”Welcome”, dia berlalu begitu saja.

Bagiku di bukan polisi bandara melainkan malaikat yang mendadak datang menghampiriku.

Transit card sebagai akses menuju hotel.

Melewati kembali screening gate, aku menuju ke gate B1 seperti yang diperintahkan. Dua ground staff berkebangsaan Philippina mempersilahkan duduk untuk menunggu airline van penjemput. Kemudian, satu diantaranya terlihat sibuk dengan handy talkie memanggil van yang dimaksud.

Dijemput bersama dua penumpang wanita asal Qatar.

Area Lobby

Airline van mengajakku berkeliling bandara dengan leluasa. Kesibukan di area kargo dengan latar pesawat kargo berbadan besar membuatku terpana.

Sepuluh menit kemudian, aku diturunkan tepat di depan lobby. Seorang polisi mendadak berdiri dari duduk santainya di screening gate. Dia begitu serius mengamati backpack tunggalku di dalam Luggage Screening Device. “OK, clear”, sahutnya mengakhiri proses.

Pintu lobby.
Area bersofa.
Area lesehan.
Departure fight information.

Area Kamar

Aku menyusuri koridor menuju ke kamar 113. Senangnya hati bisa mencicipi hotel berharga Rp. 2.500.000 per malam itu. Hanya sayang, aku tak bisa menikmati seluruh fasilitas mewahnya karena serangan flu berat bawaan dari Bahrain. Seluruh tisu kamar dan toilet kuhabiskan untuk melawan ingus bening yang terus mengalir tak terkendali dari hidung.

Koridor menuju ke kamar.
Mendapat twin bed room.
Kamar mandi.
idur yang tak nyenyak.

Pemandangan

Sebentar-bentar terbangun karena penasaran dengan pemandangan di jendela. Tampak pesawat dinas Kerajaan Kuwait yang terparkir tanpa kawalan, setengah jam kemudian mendaratlah pesawat angkut militer Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, jenis pesawat yang dihancurkan Donatello dalam film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows….Keren.

Bahkan aku sempat menikmati deretan jet tempur di salah satu sisi. Memang Kuwait International Airport pada dasarnya adalah pengembangan dari Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base milik Angkatan Udara Kuwait. Wah, beruntungnya diriku.

Pesawat Dinas Kerajaan Kuwait.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.

Restoran

Telepon dari resepsionis membangunkanku, “Sir, please come down!”. Kujawab singkat “Wait for 10 minutes, Sir”. Aku mengepak perlengkapanku ke dalam backpack. Kemudian bergegas turun. “Why do you bring your backpack and check-out, I just want to give you an information that it’s dinner time”, ungkapnya sambil tertawa. Sontak, aku kembali ke kamar dengan malunya. Kemudian turun lagi untuk bersantap malam.

Al-Dawarza Restaurant.
Teras restoran

Hmmh….Kenangan tak terlupakan.

Kuwait Airways KU 614 dari Bahrain Ke Kuwait

Rute penerbangan KU 614 (sumber: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Tepat jam lima pagi aku mulai mengguyur badan di kamar mandi Bahrain Plaza Hotel. Hari itu juga, aku akan meninggalkan Bahrain dan menuju ke Kuwait. Setelah memastikan segenap perlengkapan tak tertinggal, aku turun ke lantai satu untuk menyerahkan kunci dan menuju ke shelter bus terdekat. Tak jauh, cuma tiga ratus meter di selatan hotel, tepat di depan Manama Cemetery.

Sepuluh menit kemudian Bus asal pabrikan MAN bernomor A1 tiba. Masuk dari pintu depan dan men-tap Go Card untuk membayar tarif senilai Rp 12.000, aku meluncur menuju Bahrain International Airport selama satu jam ke depan.

Tiba di airport pada jam 07:45, aku langsung menuju ke lantai 1. Area check-in yang tak lebih elok dari konter yang sama milik Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. Nomor penerbangan yang tak kunjung muncul di LCD Departure Hall, membuatku memiliki waktu untuk menukar Bahraini Dinar (BHD) tersisa. Rupanya money changer di lantai 1 tak mau menerima Dinar dalam jumlah kecil, beruntung Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) di lantai 0 masih mau menerimanya.

Jam 9:30, konter check-in untuk penerbangan Kuwait Airways KU 614 mulai dibuka. Kujelaskan singkat bahwa aku akan menuju Qatar dengan dua non-connecting flight dan akan transit di Kuwait. Staff pria muda itu hanya sekali bertanya kepadaku perihal Visa Qatar. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir”, jawabku mengakhiri percakapan dan dia memberikan dua tiket berlogo burung biru sekaligus. Tiker sendiri aku pesan 9 bulan sebelum keberangkatan.

Kuwait Airways adalah maskapai ke-27 yang kunaiki.

Melewati konter imigrasi dengan mulus, aku segera menuju ke Gate 15 yang berlokasi di pojok ruangan dengan selasar sempit yang terhubung ke jalur aerobridge. Menunggu waktu boarding, aku terus mengamati lalu-lalang Gulf Air, maskapai kenamaan milik Kerajaan Bahrain.

Ruang tunggu keberangkatan.

Sedikit terlambat, aku mulai boarding pada jam 11:51. Rasa tak sabar menggelayuti hati untuk merasakan pertama kalinya penerbangan Kuwait Airways, maskapai milik Kerajaan Kuwait.

Satu jam terlambat.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Segera mengambil tempat duduk sesuai yang tertera di boarding pass dan mempersiapkan diri untuk penerbangan pendek sejauh 420 km yang akan ditempuh dalam waktu  1 jam 10 menit.

Bangku nomor 17A yang kududuki.
Terima kasih 12Go sudah menjadi Affiliate Parner untuk travelingpersecond.com.
Alburaq inflight magazine.

Tampak bahwa beberapa aircrew maskapai ini berkebangsaan Philippines dan beberapa dari kawasan Afrika. Selama penerbangan, kuperhatikan botol-botol minuman beralkohol tak nampak pada food trolley, sepertinya penerbangan Kuwait Airways adalah penerbangan bebas alkohol….. Keren.

Menonton “The Martian”.
Menu Low Fat Meal (LFML) yang kupesan bebarengan dengan pemesanan tiket.

Siang itu udara di tepian barat daya Teluk Persia tampak cerah. Hal ini menjadikan penerbanganku terasa sangat mulus, tanpa turbulensi sama sekali. Penerbangan yang menyenangkan.

Cuaca cerah di awal Januari.
Berasa gimana gitu, terbang bersama warga Timur Tengah.

Di seperempat terakhir mengudara, pesawat mulai merendah dan menampakkan daratan Kuwait yang tampak gersang dan panas. Aku sendiri tak sabar ingin segera mengenal Kuwait International Airport yang menjadi mainhub Kuwait Airways.

Daratan Timur tengah yang khas coklat berpasir.
Kesibukan di Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Penampakan kota Kuwait.

Waktu menunjukkan jam 13:35. Selepas pesawat berhenti sempurna, aku segera meninggalkan badan pesawat menuju ke Transit Hall Kuwait International Airport. Aku akan bersabar menunggu hingga pukul empat pagi di keesokan harinya untuk menuju Qatar.

Airbus generasi Neo A320-251N

Reschedule Kuwait Airways Setelah Visa Turis Kuwait Gagal

Tepat tiga puluh hari sebelum keberangkatan backpacking ke Timur Tengah, aku mulai sibuk mengurus segenap visa yang dibutuhkan yaitu visa turis untuk mengunjugi Kochi, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait dan Qatar.

Diantara keenam visa itu, aku menyimpan pengalaman pahit ketika akhirnya tidak berhasil mendapatkan Visa Turis Kuwait. Hal inilah yang menyebabkan diriku harus puas untuk sekedar menikmati Kuwait dengan cara transit, tapi tentu lebih baik daripada tidak sama sekali.

Akhir November, semua informasi perihal Visa Turis Kuwait yang kudapat melalui internet (google, youtube dan facebook) kucatat dengan detail. Hingga kuhubungi satu persatu kontak  tersebut. Informasi terbaik yang kudapatkan adalah aku bisa memasuki Kuwait melalui Visa on Arrival (VoA).

Tetapi pada laman General Department of Residency, kubaca bahwa Indonesia tak termasuk dalam daftar negara yang warganya bisa mendapat VoA.

Percakapan melalui Whatsapp dengan agen pembuat Visa Kuwait.

Menghubungi nomor telepon yang kudapatkan di internet,  setiap dering yang kukirimkan tak kunjung terespon. Maka untuk memastikan segera, aku merangsek  ke daerah Kuningan di awal Desember untuk bertanya langsung ke Kedutaan Kuwait.

Cukup sulit mencari lokasinya, karena alamat yang ditampilkan google tak pernah tepat. Aku harus tersasar di sebuah kantor kedutaan tanpa nama di Jalan Patra Kuningan I . Gedung luas dengan penjagaan sekelompok pria berhelm militer dan bersenjata laras panjang. Decitan Beat Pop tepat di depan pintu masuk sontak membuat mereka mendadak waspada dan menaikkan senjata mereka ke dada.

Aku : “Pak, ini bukan Keduataan Kuwait ya?”

Penjaga: “Bukan mas, Ini Kedutaan Australia”.

Aku: “Kok google maps mengarahkan saya ke sini ya pak?”.

Penjaga: “Itu salah mas, banyak orang pada nyasar ke sini”.

Aku: “Bapak tahu lokasinya dimana?”.

Penjaga: “Wah saya kurang ngerti mas”.

Akhirnya mereka merendahkan posisi senjata setelah mengetahui tujuanku. Emang dasar akunya saja yang kurang sopan, bertanya di atas motor tepat di depan pintu gerbang….Hahahaha.

Alamat dari sumber  lain juga membuatku tersasar di Jalan Denpasar Raya. Entah kantor apakah itu, beruntung penjaganya bisa memberikanku arah yang jelas menuju Kedutaan Kuwait. Hingga akhirnya aku tiba di kantor Kedutaan Kuwait di Jalan Mega Kuningan Barat III.

Kantor Kedutaan Besar Kuwait yang cukup sederhana.

Sepi pengunjung dan hanya dijaga oleh dua orang Satpam. Mereka mempersilahkanku duduk di sebuah teras kecil di pojok kiri Kedutaan. Hingga mereka memanggilkanku staff yang mengurusi masalah Visa.

Akhirnya harapanku mengeksplore Kuwait pupus setelah staff cantik kedutaan itu memberi penjelasan melalui sebuah celah sempit sambil menunduk.

Untuk warga negara Indonesia, Kuwait tidak mengeluarkan Visa Turis, mas. Kami hanya mengurus Visa Kerja dan Visa Diplomatik saja. Untuk bisa berwisata, mas harus mendapatkan Calling Visa dari teman atau keluarga di Kuwait”, Ujarnya.

Mengetahui niatanku pupus maka tak ada cara lain. Aku harus mempercepat tiket keberangkatan Kuwait-Doha yang sudah kumiliki sejak pertengahan April. Setelah berhitung, mereschedule lebih hemat daripada membeli tiket direct filght Bahrain-Doha.

Jadi dari Bahrain, aku akan menuju Doha dengan bertransit di Kuwait.

Tiket awal Kuwait-Doha.

Aku segera menghubungi Kuwait Airways melalui Whatssapp di akhir pekan pertama Desember.

Percakapan dengan Customer Service Kuwait Airways.    
Setelah fixed mengatur ulang jadwal terbang, mereka memberiku sebuah link pembayaran via email.
Link berumur 2 jam. Aku harus cepat melakukan pembayaran melalui kartu Kredit.

Selain mereschedule penerbangan, tentu pemesanan hotel di Booking.com juga harus kubatalkan.

Vera House & Hotel seharga Rp. 670.000 per malam.

Ini berarti, ditengah perjalananku nanti, aku akan lebih lama mengunjugi Doha. Dari rencana semul 3 hari menjadi 5 hari. Dan eksplorasiku ke Kuwait hanya sebatas transit. Tapi justru masa transit ini telah memberikan pengalaman yang tak terlupa.

Pengalaman apa itu?….Hahaha, baca saja sebentar lagi!