Kuwait International Airport is the eighth wonder of the world that has not yet been discovered by the Guinness Book of World Records, archeologists or UNESCO. It is the only airport with unrivalled characteristics hardly found at any other airport. It is the only airport where outbound passengers mingle with those arriving without any separation.
It is the only airport where you walk according to intuition unless you reside in Kuwait and are familiar with its ins and outs. It lacks any signs guiding passengers where to go, and they will have to act like herds and follow other passengers to the passport lounge.
I happened to be travelling out on the second day of the Eid holidays. The airport was relatively less crowded compared to the previous day, I was told. Policemen acted friendlily until I saw a passport officer insult an Asian passenger in the Kuwaiti dialect and looking at us in anticipation of laughs. I was shocked! What happened to professionalism and good manners?!
I could not help remembering my own experience with another passport officer, when he responded rudely to my inquiry if there was any queue, because I noticed that passengers jumped the line. He threw my passport at me in a rude manner, and when I asked if there was any problem, he told me ‘just go away’. So, imagine what non-Kuwaitis go through when such officers look down on them.
Having their passports stamped, passengers see others sitting or sleeping on the floor, because all seats and cafes are occupied simply because the airport is too small and cannot absorb too many passengers. We know that airport expansion project started years ago and know that it might remain in progress forever, just like all other projects in Kuwait. But, people, the airport is the country’s frontier and the continuation of this farce is disgraceful for Kuwait!
Kuwait is a humanitarian center and the world’s largest donor. It has built the most beautiful airports and playgrounds in friendly countries, but does not have a decent airport itself. Even when visiting the poorest countries on voluntary trips, I find airports far much better than ours.
Kuwait International Airport is not only a poor building, but some of its staff members, namely officers, need special training courses on how to deal with the public respectfully. It must have a channel through which passengers can file complaints in case they are bullied or abused by employees, so that they could be held accountable regardless of their ranks. This is the only way to develop airport services.
Finally, I would like to note that it would be unjust and unfair to compare Doha or UAE airports to Kuwait International Airport. We only hope we will be alive until Kuwait has a normal street and normal airport, but it seems that we stopped dreaming after so many setbacks and disappointments! – Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Jarida
By Arwa Al-Waqian