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Topic: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Abrelosojos
Posted 2007-11-29 22:16:58 and read 23860 times.

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 030
Flight Category: Y-ISR (See Report End)
Date: 25-Aug-07
SDT/SAT/Delay: 1400/1620/01:20 hrs
Flight: Rwanda Air Express WB 107, 471 miles
Routing: KGL-NBO
Aircraft: 733
Seat: Economy, 10F

I > Background:

Ok, I am back! After taking a sabbatical from trip reports for 5 months, here is the first installation from a series of trip reports. Mid-August to mid-November 2007 saw the craziest of my travel plans. 69 flights totalling 175,028 kms on 35 airlines, visiting 49 airports in 34 countries in all 6 continents. And, here is the best part ... all of them were part of a 4month break from life ... pure vacation, and pure food for the mind, body, and soul. Together, they mounted to 21/2 round-the-worlds that was truly insane. As usual, all long haul flights were on Business or First Class; short haul was on Economy Class.

As I have tried for A.Net audience in the past, several of the reports will be firsts on A.Net. These include either first time airline coverages, routes, airports, flights, or countries.

This report on Rwanda Air Express´ (WB) KGL-NBO will be the first for the segment, the first to feature reporting from the East Central African country of Rwanda, and the first for Rwanda Air Express ... at least, thats what preliminary searches indicate. The reason for the trip was to visit my friend who is the director of a certain international development bank. Please note that the quality of the pictures are poor. For those of you who have been to this land locked African country, you can appreciate how daunting security agents/police/informal secret service can be, and how they hate photography.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Rwanda Air Express is a relatively new airline that has been creating ripples amongst the established airlines (read: KQ) in the region by successful managing a decent operation in the face of ever-present operational adversity. They have slowly expanded and now fly to a around a dozen cities ... from EBB to JNB. They have this partnership with KQ, and is actively seeking more alliances. WB used to have M82s, but not use 733s on their operations.

Although they maintain a website, online bookings cannot be done. So I ventured to a travel agency in Kigali (EXCELLENT one called SATGURU) and had paper tickets issued. Interestingly, they were on KQ stock. Seat selections could not be done either through the agent, or by just going to the WB office. I love the feeling of going to airline offices, and miss it so much!

b) At Airport:
Thanks to my buddy's diplomatic status, we managed to park in the "VIP" lot and head straight to the terminal. It felt very 1970s French chic ... sort of like a calmer and smaller version of CDG 1. You go through security, scan your bags, and then line up to check-in. Check-in was very chaotic with 6 lines and 3 counters, and no apparent system of who went to what counter, or in what order. There was a women who was directing traffic ... and making a huge mess of it. So pointless. Thankfully, once I reached the counter, the woman was very quick and surprisingly (45 mins prior to departure) was able to give me my ideal exit row seat ... readers of my TRs would know how much I LOVE exit row in the older 737s. Anyways, I was super excited about the hand written boarding card, the old style baggage tag with individual destination codes (they should bring it back!), and finally a KQ luggage tag?! What is up with that? They have a partnership ... but it seems KQ runs WB! Anyways, after obtaining my boarding pass, I went with my friend for a quick buffet Rwandan lunch with panoramic views of the tarmac, and them with 30mins rushed to Immigration. After immigration you stay in this lounge, and then are called to board the bus which takes you to identify your checked bag which is then put in the hold.

Upon finally boarding, I was greeted by a surly WB flight crew. The 733 looked good, and was in top condition. Y class load was around 85%; J class at 10%.

Airport - External:

(Kigali Airport. Very 1970s)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/001-18.jpg

Check-In:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/002-18.jpg

Airport - Internal:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/003-18.jpg

Scenes of the tarmac:

(Any idea whose 707 this is? Cheatline makes me think Sudan Airways?)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/004-18.jpg

Lounge

NONE

Boarding:

NONE

III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
Meals and beverage service 20 minutes into the flight.


b) Aircraft + Seats:
The seats were clean and well padded ... actually pretty comfortable. Bathrooms were in great shape. Recline was below industry standards. Of course, E-row seat pitch was perfect ... a little on the cramped side on the regular rows.

Aircraft:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/005-18.jpg

Views from Aircraft:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/006-18.jpg

Seat Leg-Room:

(Comfortable exit row – I LOVE these seats on 732, 733, 734, and 735)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/007-18.jpg

(Regular Seating Row)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/008-18.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/009-18.jpg

Seat Recline + Angle View:
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/010-17.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/011-17.jpg

Cabin:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/012-18.jpg

c) Meal + Beverage:

The meal service was all about doubles ... for some reason, I was given 2 glasses of water ... and my box came with 2 nasty cheese sandwiches. Oh, the cake was absolutely horrid. Interestingly, beverage service consisted of only tea or cafe. I did appreciate the gesture of the "meal" though when airlines elsewhere have cut back.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/013-18.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/014-18.jpg

d) Inflight Entertainment:
Only inflight magazine was available during the flight;although, Ikaze did make for an excellent read.

(In-flight magazines, Boarding Passes, etc. - note the Air Zimbabwe timetable I was able to snag from the travel agent in KGL. YAY. Small victories ... hehe.)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/015-18.jpg

e) Crew:

I seem to have got a very grumpy group of crew on this flight. It was more reminiscent of the type of service you receive on LH/SK Y ... curt and professional, but delivered not with smile or warmth. They served the meals, collected the trays, and quickly disappeared into the galleys. No smile on embarkation or disembarkation.

IV> Post-Flight:

JKIA is JKIA. Immigration cleared fast ... bag delivery took forever. As I wanted for my cab, I was amused at a bunch of Greek tourists who were confused to why there were no animals near the airport and were complaining to the guide  .

(Parked next to EK at NBO)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/016-18.jpg

V> Impressions + Scores:

Rwanda Air Express is a BLAH carrier. It got me from point A to B without much of an hassle. I appreciated the gesture of a meal service ... though, it could have been better. And of course, a warm smiling cabin crew would have lifted it from a BLAH to a respectable airline. Of course, I recommend this airline ... but would look at others when given a choice.

Reservation: 5.0
Check-In: 3.0
Lounge: N/A
Boarding: 7.0
Seat: 7.0
Aircraft Overall Ambience: 7.0
IFE: 5.0
Crew Service: 5.0
Food: 5.5
Beverages: 4.0
Amenity Kits + Others Freebies: 5.0
Disembarkation: 8.0
On-Time Record: 10.0
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5.96
(Pre-flight average of all-reviews: 6.32)

(Scores are based on comparison with other airlines in THAT class of service ... No comparison of Y vs. F for example)

VI> Other Trip Reports:

1/ Avianca: BOG-LIM: 07/06/06: 7.09pts: Y-IMR
2/ Air Tran: EWR-MDW: 08/02/06: 6.73pts: Y-DMR
3/ West Jet: YYC-YVR: 09/05/06: 7.14pts: Y-DMR
4/ Air Canada: YYZ-YVR: 09/02/06: 5.92pts: Y-DLR
5/ Air Canada: ALB-YYZ: 09/01/06: 5.88pts: Y-ISR
6/ Singapore Airlines: EWR-SIN: 09/20/06: 7.81pts: J-ILR
7/ Adam Air: SIN-CGK: 09/22/06: 6.04: Y-ISR
8/ Valuair: CGK-SIN: 09/22/06: 5.04: Y-ISR
9/ Spice Jet: CCU-DEL: 09/25/06: 6.67: Y-DMR
10/ Indian: DEL-CCU: 09/26/06: 7.25: Y-DMR
11/ Air Sahara: CCU-BOM: 09/28/06: 4.42: Y-DMR
12/ Air Deccan: IXZ-CCU: 10/07/06: 5.75: Y-DMR
13/ Alliance: CCU-IXA: 10/08/06: 7.54: Y-DSR
14/ Kingfisher: IXA-GAU: 10/08/06: 8.21: Y-DSR
15/ Indigo: GAU-CCU: 10/08/06: 6.54: Y-DSR
16/ Singapore Airlines: CCU-SIN: 10/11/06: 5.88: J-IMR
17/ Air Canada: ICN-YYZ: 10/12/06: 7.13: J-ILR
18/ Delta AirLines: SEA-JFK: 11/24/06: 7.17: F-DLR
19/ USA 3000: PUJ-BDL: 01/06/07: 5.96: Y-IMR
20/ Viva Aerobus: CUN-JFK: 02/20/07: 4.58: Y-DSR
21/ Jet Blue: CUN-JFK: 02/20/07: 5.96: Y-IMR
22/ SAS Norge/Braathens: OSL-AES: 05/26/07: 5.75: Y-DSR
23/ TAP Air Portugal: OSL-LIS: 05/29/07: 5.46: Y-IMR
24/ Delta Airlines: JFK-CDG: 08/09/07: 7.85: J-ILR
25/ Air France: CDG-JNB: 08/10/07: 5.33: J-ILR
26/ LAM Mozambique: JNB-MPM: 08/13/07: 5.67: Y-ISR
27/ Transairways Mozambique: INH-MPM: 08/17/07: 6.08: Y-DSR
28/ Air Link Swaziland: MTS-JNB: 08/18/07: 6.17: Y-ISR
29/ Kenya Airways: NBO-BJM: 08/19/07: 6.17: Y-ISR

(Note on Codes: Y - Economy, J - Business, F - First :: I/D - International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR -
Short/Medium/Long Haul :: I have designed these codes so people dont believe my scores are comparing apples with oranges)

VII> Other Pictures:

It has now become customary to share some images of the place I went to, and some other related aviation pictures. Hope everyone enjoys!

(The famous HOTEL DES MILLES COLLINES - where Hotel Rwanda is based - only for A.Net member SEMSEM)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/017-17.jpg

(Scenes of rural Rwanda)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/018-14.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/019-14.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/020-14.jpg

[Edited 2007-11-29 22:19:24]

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Davescj
Posted 2007-11-29 22:59:16 and read 23837 times.

Thanks for another great TR! I look forward to reading more of your adventures soon!


Dave

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: PlunaCRJ
Posted 2007-11-30 03:27:26 and read 23687 times.

Very nice!
Thanks for posting here these Trip Reports about the seldomly heard airlines.
I am enjoying every one of them!

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Ca
Username: Jrfspa320
Posted 2007-11-30 03:28:50 and read 23686 times.

Geat report, very interesting, its was a -500 series though not -300.

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Debonair
Posted 2007-11-30 05:09:26 and read 23579 times.



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Rwanda Air Express is a BLAH carrier

Hopefully it will change... The company will see investments soon from "GROUPE CELESTAIR"; member of AKDN- The Aga Khan Development Network.

Quoting Jrfspa320 (Reply 3):
its was a -500 series though not -300.

 checkmark , btw. as you can see the registration (7Q-), the a/c belongs to AIR MALAWI.

"10th April 2007
Air Malawi has leased out its second biggest air craft to Rwandair Express. The one year lease agreement of the 110 seater 737 500 Sapitwa is expected to benefit both Air Malawi and Rwandair Express. ..."


More info on this story is available under: http://www.airmalawi.com/

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Abrelosojos
Posted 2007-11-30 07:44:36 and read 23434 times.



Quoting Davescj (Reply 1):
Thanks for another great TR! I look forward to reading more of your adventures soon!



Quoting Davescj (Reply 1):
Thanks for posting here these Trip Reports about the seldomly heard airlines.



Quoting Jrfspa320 (Reply 3):
Geat report, very interesting,

= Thanks all.

Quoting Jrfspa320 (Reply 3):
its was a -500 series though not -300.



Quoting Debonair (Reply 4):
, btw. as you can see the registration (7Q-), the a/c belongs to AIR MALAWI

= Yes. It was indeed a 735. I was very tired and on 5 glasses of whiskey on the rocks when I wrote it last night. Apologies. But then again, I knew astute A.Netters would catch this immediately  Smile.

Cheers,
A.

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2007-11-30 07:52:26 and read 23422 times.

Great TR as always, many thanks.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
For those of you who have been to this land locked African country, you can appreciate how daunting security agents/police/informal secret service can be, and how they hate photography.

- Better safe than locke dup in some nasty prison!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Kigali Airport. Very 1970s

- Yes, quite a classic.

Quoting Jrfspa320 (Reply 3):
its was a -500 series though not -300.

- I thought that too.

Regards

Mark

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Ca
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2007-11-30 23:21:06 and read 23047 times.

Great - and exotic- trip report, enjoyed reading a lot!

Nice to see the the ex-United seats in the 733, once active as N917UA.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Daniel Wojdylo



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Any idea whose 707 this is? Cheatline makes me think Sudan Airways?)

The bird is a 707-330B, delivered to Lufthansa as D-ABUH in 01/66. More than 18 years later (in 04/82 to be exact) it was transferred to Air Zimbabwe as VP-WKU (later Z-WKU) - and that's where the cheatline comes from.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Wingnut



Air Zimbabwe phased out the bird in 11/97 and Interflight of Swaziland became the next operator between 04/98 and 1999 (registration changed to 3D-WKU). After being used by Inter Air Airlines (South Africa) as 3D-AKU for a an indefinite time it ended up with Air Grand Lucs of Swaziland (temporarily operated for Inter Petrol) and was scrapped at KGL this year.


PH

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Avianca
Posted 2007-12-01 06:49:14 and read 22904 times.

great report... as usal!

thank you very much !

cheers
Avianca

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: B747forever
Posted 2007-12-01 06:50:45 and read 22902 times.

What a great TR.

Always enjoy reading your TR.

The pics are really good.

As I have stated before I am a fan of your rate system, it is just great. Would like to see more TRs that is so good one as yours.


Thank you for sharing .

B747forever.

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: StevenG
Posted 2007-12-02 10:13:07 and read 22649 times.

Once again, a nice trip report!

I have made three flights wits Rwandair Express so far and in my opinion the airline is reasonably well operated.
It seems you were not so lucky with the cabin crew as I had some very gentle and professional staff members.
Their office in Kigali itself is well run.
Although there isn't much to see and to do at KGL. The airport has a typically atmosphere from decades ago, maybe even nice than al those high-tech concrete, steel and glass designed terminals these days.

Indeed, they operate a 737-500 at the moment and a DHC-8 which is on lease from TransNation Airways (Ethiopia). Something to be found out by checking the safety-cards on board.

Exactly one month ago, the 707 wasn't there any longer just as PlaneHunter stated before.
The DC-8 from Silverback Cargo Airlines however was still on the tarmac. Just at the same position as a year ago but it still looked clean and ready to go. I don't know if this airline is still operating. Two C-17's from the USAF were on the scene as well. Maybe it had something to do with the visit of one of George W. Bush's daughters to Rwanda in that same period.

Kind regards
Steven

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: StevenG
Posted 2007-12-02 10:41:27 and read 22646 times.

Oh, and before I forget, thank you for mentioning Hotel des Milles Collines as you promised in your previous TR!  Smile
I did not choose to stay there last time. It has become a bit too expensive. Must have been the result of the success of Hotel Rwanda. I chose a smaller hotel just nearby also with courtyard and swimmingpool but about half the price.

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Ca
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2007-12-02 12:16:27 and read 22635 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):

Nice to see the the ex-United seats in the 733, once active as N917UA.

What a slip - 735 of course!


PH

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: Abrelosojos
Posted 2007-12-03 07:28:36 and read 22534 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
The bird is a 707-330B, delivered to Lufthansa as D-ABUH in 01/66. More than 18 years later (in 04/82 to be exact) it was transferred to Air Zimbabwe as VP-WKU (later Z-WKU) - and that's where the cheatline comes from.

= Thanks PH. I knew I could trace down the ancestry from you  Smile.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 8):
great report... as usal!

thank you very much !



Quoting B747forever (Reply 9):
What a great TR.

Always enjoy reading your TR.

= Thanks all.

Quoting StevenG (Reply 10):
I have made three flights wits Rwandair Express so far and in my opinion the airline is reasonably well operated.
It seems you were not so lucky with the cabin crew as I had some very gentle and professional staff members.
Their office in Kigali itself is well run.
Although there isn't much to see and to do at KGL. The airport has a typically atmosphere from decades ago, maybe even nice than al those high-tech concrete, steel and glass designed terminals these days.

= Funny thing is - everyone in the diplo/NGO/expat community in Kigali raves about WB while putting down KQ. I dont know if its some kind of Rwanda/small country pride thing, but its funny. WB was good - the crew just looked tired on my flight. Again, its only a sample of one.

Quoting StevenG (Reply 11):
Oh, and before I forget, thank you for mentioning Hotel des Milles Collines as you promised in your previous TR!
I did not choose to stay there last time. It has become a bit too expensive. Must have been the result of the success of Hotel Rwanda. I chose a smaller hotel just nearby also with courtyard and swimmingpool but about half the price.

= I stayed there just for a night to experience it - way too overpriced for what you get. Funny thing is that most do not get that HOTEL RWANDA was shot in South Africa and not in Kigali. I think I know the hotel you are talking about ... you get out of HTMC and turn left right? Its like small apartment-hotel or something?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):
What a slip - 735 of course!

= Hehe. Good you caught it yourself  Smile.

Cheers,
A.

Topic: RE: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin
Username: StevenG
Posted 2007-12-04 09:25:22 and read 22332 times.



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 13):
= I stayed there just for a night to experience it - way too overpriced for what you get. Funny thing is that most do not get that HOTEL RWANDA was shot in South Africa and not in Kigali. I think I know the hotel you are talking about ... you get out of HTMC and turn left right? Its like small apartment-hotel or something?

You are right. It's not a big hotel. I forget the name and I cannot check it at this moment as I am abroad once again this week.
By the way, did you receive my instant message last week?

Kind regards

Steven


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