On March 17th, I was going back to Kuwait from a three-day leisure trip to Beirut with my lady and Jana. This was our first trip to Lebanon all together. We really had fun and I will post much more about it later. Trying to brag about my travel status to my lady, I promised her to a treat in the MEA Cedar Lounge in Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport using my Priority Pass card. After a quick trip to the prayer room (very awful smell of feet, men getting undressed, a drape was used to separate between men and women, it was hell) and picked up a small box of baklava for our Thursday family gathering, we decided it was time to hit the lounge.
The MEA Cedar Lounge is located on the 2nd floor on the left of the electric scales. It’s a very big lounge, if not one of the biggest I’ve seen around. The food and beverages are on the left and most of the seats were tossed left and right, and there’s some small decorative trees and water fountains in the middle (Jana had to get a snap of that!). On the left side, there’s this big room with glass walls, for smokers and they get their orders delivered right up to them! Lucky bastards!
We stayed on the right hand side where the snack bar and the drinks are at. First of all, the snacks were pastries only. They were edible but not tasty at all. Very low grade type of food. I didn’t even try to go for desserts. The waiters were very friendly and showered my with a dozen of Al-Rifai mixed nuts packets. For hot and cold drinks, it was help yourself. Alcoholic beverages and drinks were on-site as well. The reception staff were very nice and offered immediate notifications to travelers about their flight updates. The lounge with filled with leather couches and seats but were very old and in need to be replaced. The men’s bathroom needs to be upgraded immediately. They didn’t have much of TV sets, there was only one visible to me and it was tuned to Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s main propaganda TV channel!! There was a kid’s playroom but it didn’t look safe for Jana to go in and it looked deserted. The main bonus about this lounge was the free Wi-Fi and the infinite cold drinks!
Since Wataniya Airways started almost a year ago, and I’ve been noting their progress in the market. They’ve been going steady in reaching out to everyone, amazingly getting more patrons with their one-year celebration price drops promo. Before that, being the 3rd local Kuwaiti airlines in Kuwait, Wataniya Airways is the 2nd after Kuwait Airways to introduce a frequent flyer program, Wataniya Diwan. Although their destination are still limited to some GCC countries and a part of the Middle East, I’ve heard that they’re planning for expansion and including more routes in the future. With their excellent treatment that I’ve received on my way to Beirut last week, a delicious Chicken Biryani dish that is the first meal in almost a century to be finished totally by me and their choice of chocolate offered after lunch. My wife loved it so much that she asked about where they got it and its labeled ”Gharawi” and is sold in the Avenues. A few minutes later, the air hostess came in with a little paper bag filled with that chocolate. I was in awe. I’ve never seen such care and dedication towards patrons in a very long time. Coming back from work, I was surprised to find this envelope containing my Wataniya Diwan card and their FFP guide and a welcoming letter.After a quick examination, their program is very straightforward and typical according to many global standards and rules for Frequent flyer programs. In a later post, I will talk about the 1st FFP in Kuwait and my experience with it.
Wataniya Airways and Wataniya Diwan, Wish you the best of luck and keep on the good work!!
I’ve been a huge fan of National Public Radio (NPR) since I’ve set foot in the USA in 1996. The descriptive and fair news coverage, the book reviews, the movie reviews, global and world news and stories and much more. I’ve even used to let it play while I was sleeping at nights, where our local NPR station switched to light classical, very soothing for comfortable sleep. I’ve been researching lately for the best internet-connected radio sets which would let me connect to NPR and more. I’ve come across this awesome product made by Livio which is specifically designed for all the NPR stations, NPR podcast, and internet-broadcasting radio stations which sum up to 10,000 stations more or less. I’ve got it for 48 KDs from J&R Music and Computer World plus all the hassle by DHL Borderlinx and the customs (see past post).
The design is very classic, the remote control is very handy. You can access the main site, search and add in radio stations as favorites, and it would be uploaded right into your radio set, which is cool. I’ve selected this unit because it has Wi-Fi connectivity aside from the LAN input which is a major feature. Updating the firmware can only be done through online connectivity.
OK, now here comes my personal points. As soon as I’ve connected the unit, I’ve upgraded its firmware. The remote control was kinda of stuck at some point, and the unit didn’t respond to it all. I’ve reset to factory defaults twice. Afterward, fetching the favorites menu took longer than it does or gets stuck. I’ve noted that in all of its settings, there’s no way to choose between either selecting Wi-Fi connection or LAN connection. More inspection around the unit, I’ve found that the Ethernet card of the radio set is not function at all. I’ve contacted the manufacture, Livio Radio LLC, and the wholesale seller, J&R Music and Computer World, which I bought from and it seemed that there’s a missing option in my unit which should display the choice of wireless or wired connection. Having that option unavailable at all means one thing which is the malfunction of the Ethernet card, as per the manufacturer sales rep. After contacting both sides, the wholesales seller thankfully offered me their 30-days return for replacement. I’ve re-sealed the whole thing and will be shipping it tomorrow afternoon and hope it things would work!
OK, I just picked up my NPR Radio by Livio after waiting for a while to get it and I have used DHL’s Borderlinx service here in Kuwait, the counterpart of Aramex’s Shop & Ship. I’ve used Borderlinx for like 3-4 times and I have to say that this is it! I’ve been scammed major time by these fellas! When we started using their services (I joined online, so I didn’t sign a damn paper!) as a getaway from Aramex crappy services for customs and long delays, Borderlinx was the savior for all of online shoppers here in Kuwait! Like any other shipping carrier, they charge you for customs finalizing works and papers aside from the actual weight of the received item. Lately, and without informing any of its customers, Borderlinx shifted their calculation from actual weight to volumetric weight, using damn stupid math formulas to calculate which is higher and be charged for it! My package was only 3.1 KGs and according to the large size of the box (10″x16″x14″, as a protection for the radio) I was charged 38 KDs using the volumetric weight! WTF?!!! Even for the customs, my radio only costs 169 dollars and they charged only 4 KDs, so all the paper works and the stamps and all that shits piles up to 15.5 KDs! The paperwork is much more than the tax itself? WTF? The whole total is 54KDs for a radio that costs 48 KDs! Can you imagine the horrendous crime? This is plain thievery! I had a long argument with the Indian worker down there in Khaleejiya office and promised him that I’d never use DHL nor Borderlinx again! He argued that he checks for the actual weight first, then takes the volumetric weight, and whichever is higher in price would be charged! I asked him to provide me with official paperwork from DHL to prove the procedure, and he said that nothing was available to support the claim, you either take it or leave it. It’s sad to say that I’ve been a customer of DHL since 2001, having all my Amazon shipments using their services but this is truly a scam of the century! Another tale of this is 2:48AM’s.
Update : I’ve posted more about this matter here and the newest update is right here .
This is really funny one, reminds me of how our Kuwaiti government has been running the past 4 years!