Henkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4 Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 23711 times:
Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder
This trip report will be pictures mostly, since I have little time to write. Last week I took my mother on a safari trip in Kenya. We flew AMS-NBO-AMS with KL and KQ (on KL metal) and Wilson to Masai Mara on Kenya Air.
August 25th 2009
Seats: Row 13 and 14 (low loads)
This was my first Y flight in a long time and I was not looking forward to it. I had a broken toe (almost healed but still painful) and had to use a crutch as well as be the tour guide and porter for my 71 year old mother. It all turned out to be not even half as bad as I anticipated. I chose a day flight so not to be inconvenienced too much. We arrived at AMS in due time to enjoy the lounge for a bit and made it to the gate.
The aircraft had a load factor of around 50% in Y and 20% in C. I tried for a courtesy upgrade but like always got nowhere with KLM. Still bugs me that in 5+ years of FB Gold I never received an upgrade even once and in 1 year of BAEC Gold I got upgraded 3 times already. Still, I wasn’t entitled to one since I had a deeply discounted M fare.
Not having been in the back section of an airplane for a long time I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It looked pretty nice, no doubt helped by the many empty seats. I found it quite fun to travel in economy again. The crew was great and friendly as always. On board I got some recognition of my status and was approached by one of the crew that they would block two rows for us to change to after take off.
My original seat
My new seat row
Some more cabin shots
My 'normal' cabin...
The flight was pretty uneventful and boring as usual. Unfortunately flying is becoming very normal for me and I do not get the buzz out of it that I used to get. I watched some movies and read some magazines.
KLM has a great AVOD
Along the route we had some great views.
Along the route we had some mediocre food.
The flight lasted about 8:30 hours and soon we were approaching NBO. Unfortunately day had turned to night.
Something I like about KLM is that the turn off the seatbelt signs early and back on late. They waited until 5 minutes before landing to turn them on.
We arrived in NBO around 7pm and proceeded directly to immigration. We heard some horror stories about the airport and the visa procedure but in fact it was a breeze. It took about 30 minutes in total and everybody was very friendly and relaxed. One tip: if you see a line at the first immigration point proceed to the second one. It is mostly empty.
We were met by our driver and taken to the Norfolk hotel. This was a very good choice. We had a great dinner and went to sleep early.
The next day we flew from Wilson Airport to Masai Mara. We took the afternoon flight which was a direct one, taking about 45 minutes. Wilson airport is a strange mix of small airlines and an aircraft cemetery.
The waiting room
We had to wait for about half an hour before our flight was called. We walked to a Twin Otter together with one other passenger. Very private flight. The pilot told us it might be a bit bumpy but in the end it wasn't that bad. You do feel the turbulence more intensely (of course) and I can see how people find it scary. Especially when the wind blows the aircraft sideways. I loved it!
The safety card
The views were fantastic. Especially the Rift Valley.
The landing in a Twin Otter is very spectacular. You more or less dive to the runway. It was fun to see cows getting out of the way of the rolling plane...
At the airstrip we were met by the staff of the hotel
We stayed at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club (MSC) which was an excellent choice. We got a very good rate thanks to a promotion. The rooms (rather tents) were very luxurious and were lacking things like TV's, wireless, etc. I was very happy about that!
We stayed at the hotel for 5 days so we could combine game drives with relaxation. I am not the 'continuously running around' type. We did a lot of drives and tried for a balloon safari. Unfortunately there was too much wind for that. Below you find a selection of the pictures I took.
We also visited a Masai village (very touristy!)
It had been a great 5 days. Like always, also this trip has to come to an end.
We left for Wilson airport with a Twin Otter again. This time we were the first stop in a series of 4. That was good since we basically did an air safari. The hops between the airstrips took no more than 8 minutes each and they fly relatively low.
Our plane arriving
A glance in the cockpit. Interesting frequency for such a little plane...
After the 4 stops we flew for around 45 minutes to Wilson where we dove to the runway once again.
A look at the terminal from the runway
The terminal from the road
Here is where you collect your luggage: street side!
We overnighted in the Norfolk again and got a club room this time.
September 3rd 2009
KLM MD-11 (Leased by KQ)
The next day we left for the airport at 6 am for the 8:40 flight. We were told to be early but in the end there was no need at all. Traffic was absent and getting through customs was quicker than at AMS. We did have carry on only so maybe that makes a difference but the airport looked and felt organized.
We made our way to the lounge. KQ uses two. The Simba lounge on the ground floor for business class pax only and a second lounge on the first floor that is accessible to elite pax when traveling in economy. The lounge does not look like much but it actually not that bad with ok food and drinks.
They made a boarding call very early and since I was half asleep I reacted and went to the gate. One whole hour too soon I might add.
Our plane (on semi wet-lease to KQ – cabin crew is KQ, flight crew is KL)
The waiting area
The boarding process went rather organized and smoothly. We found our seats and settled in for a long 8 hours in whY. The flight was about 95% full this time. The KQ crew came across as very uninterested and unprofessional.
The MD-11 Cabin
The most surprising thing was that the crew were actively seat shifting pax during taxiing. It later turned out to be KQ staff being upgraded to C about 1 minute before take off. I also noticed that they did not inspect the cabin before take off and left pax with the seat reclined. That lousy attitude would continue during the flight.
Take off in an MD-11 is always nice. Pretty soon after take off they called for the blind to be closed. I personally like that but on a day flight I don't mind people keeping them open. Almost everyone complied however and when pax opened them the fellow pax intervened quite quickly.
Catering out of NBO was very poor. I did not take a picture of breakfast because I was too stumped by the low quality. The crew almost threw you the tray and looked annoyed when you asked anything. They announced there would be self service bars in the aisles (water and juice only!) and that was it. They went to the back galley and stayed there until lunch. When I went back there they acted really annoyed and when I asked if I could take a picture of them they became unfriendly. I wonder why...
We had some nice clouds coming into AMS
Now this you might not believe. I still can't believe it actually happened. During descent several pax were making phone calls on their cell phones. Yes, you read it right. The crew was still walking around and did nothing. Nada. Zilch. They did see the people doing it, butt said noting. Also once again no seatbelt inspection and lots of pax (including myself) left their seat reclined. Bad, bad, bad job KQ. I will take KLM crew over KQ's any day.
Luckily we made it home safely.
I hope you enjoyed this pictures mostly TR. I did not have much time to prepare it since I am leaving for DXB on Sunday. As always feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.
CrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1984 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 23631 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW CHAT OPERATOR
Hello Henk, not too much at all! The KL Y isn't that bad indeed, i.e. when your flying on any wibo except the 744. (Though even they are being converted) I love the pictures of the twotter flights, the landing picture really illustrates the dirt-strip operations!
Thanks for sharing and regards,
Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
BartBus From Netherlands, joined Jul 2009, 40 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 23403 times:
How nice off you too take your mother on holiday, she is a lucky mother. Magnificent photo's, I have been on safari in South Africa and had the pleasure of seeing it myself. Looks like I have to plan a vacation to Kenya (this is a good excuse), I 'll book KL instead of KQ, a cabin crew can make or break an experience in my opinion.
Airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4387 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 23022 times:
Hi again. Something different from you, behind the curtain. Didn't expect that one soon, but nicely reported
Your safari pictures are outstanding. You've seen great animal action! I have the feeling that you must have been very lucky to catch all of this? Or is this just a 'normal score' on such tours?
I know about that MD11 lease-out to KQ. When the crew lacks the safety procedures, I wonder if KLM is doing the right thing with their aircraft. Although I've noticed similar experiences on my MD11 flight with former RG. After landing on 18R in AMS, passengers just stood up and walked to the exit, when still taxiing ... Not one of the crew said anything about it! Just unbelievable, and such crew should receive a oneway ticket to their homes, and not come back in service with the company. I thought to rate KQ higher, but I know really doubt it. It seems safety is not priority one with KQ ...
Thanks, and hope to read more of your stories in the future!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 774 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 22637 times:
Really great pics on Masai Mara. That is one part of the world I still have yet to visit.
I know u would have loved courtesy upgrade on KL. It depends on the airline. When I was at AA we gave our most elite frequent fliers (Executive Platinum, Platinum with 2 million miles) upgrade certificates subject to availability. And on an oversold flight if you are elite you might find yourself upgraded to the next class of service.
In a way 'yes' this is quite normal for the season we were in (Aug/Oct is the best time to visit) and the number of animals is much, much higher than in SA. I did bring 2 SLR's with a 70-200 and a 170-500 lens. You do need at least one 400mm and with a nice aperture. Mine had 6.3 and that is even too little. 5.8 or 4.0 would be better. Active vibration reduction is a must (mine did not have that either) so some pictures are not half as sharp as I would want them.
Directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1843 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 22256 times:
Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter): When I went back there they acted really annoyed and when I asked if I could take a picture of them they became unfriendly. I wonder why...
Ahaha....great move :P. I suspect that their picture would have made the other animals shown look like docile and tame pets.
Great TR-shame about the KQ experience-they most certainly aren't the pride of Africa. But the pictures are lovely-good enough for National Geopgraphic. I really must go to Africa and do a safari soon. Is 5 days enough?
In my experience: yes. 3 days per park would do too.
However if you have the chance to visit more than one park I would go for it. Believe it or not, there is a sort of 'safari fatigue' that sets in after seeing the umpteenth lion. A change of location is then in order or you can just call it a day.
PRAirbus From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2005, 1171 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days ago) and read 21737 times:
So much negativity about KQ staff, wonder if you are a little biased. You didn't like KQ crew nor the catering. Your first remark about KQ crew is they were unprofessional; in what sense? This is before the comment you made about shifting paxs during taxiing, just curious.
Henkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 21493 times:
Quoting PRAirbus (Reply 17): So much negativity about KQ staff, wonder if you are a little biased. You didn't like KQ crew nor the catering. Your first remark about KQ crew is they were unprofessional; in what sense? This is before the comment you made about shifting paxs during taxiing, just curious.
What on earth are you implying?
I do not write my reports (nor does my mind work) linear so my unprofessional remark (the conclusion) came before the reasons for reaching it. Unless you find it normal that no drinks services are done, pax are shifted while taxiing, people are allowed to leave their seat reclined and make phone calls during landing I do not see how I can qualify their behavior as anything but unprofessional.
So I would appreciate an apology for your ridiculous insinuation that I would be biased for whatever reason, sir.
Henkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 21039 times:
I was recently reminded that the KQ staff had been on strike not that long ago (because of lay offs) and labor disputes may have been the reason for their less than stellar performance. It is still no excuse for compromising safety but at least it may explain how reality was so far removed from expectation. I also expected KQ to deliver excellent service.
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8706 posts, RR: 53
Reply 23, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 20738 times:
Great report and pictures, especially the pictures, really excellent, especially of the wildlife.
Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter): I tried for a courtesy upgrade but like always got nowhere with KLM. Still bugs me that in 5+ years of FB Gold I never received an upgrade even once and in 1 year of BAEC Gold I got upgraded 3 times already.
- Fully, BA have never upgraded me but IB have!
Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter): During descent several pax were making phone calls on their cell phones. Yes, you read it right. The crew was still walking around and did nothing. Nada. Zilch. They did see the people doing it, butt said noting
- This is just amazing, never seen or heard of this before!
I've always had the impression KQ were a really good airline, the service and actions of this crew seem to say something different!
Henkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 20571 times:
Quoting AJO (Reply 22): BTW, what did you do on FT to get banned?
I openly criticized the moderation of the Flying Blue part of the forum. Then I had the audacity to ask them to explain their decision. No prizes for guessing they never had the courtesy to reply. Remember, FT is not a democracy at all.
I wonder if this will get me banned again...
Wherever you go, there you are!
: Good report, good pics. What's wrong with Mauritius? On your list there are lesser destinations. Unfortunately, KQ has been going down hill for some t
: Me and MRU just did not click. I found the hotels to be poor for the price and too much oriented on the one-time honeymoon guests (so not focused on
: Forget the flights: your photos are absolutely spectacular. This is certainly the most strikingly beautiful TR I've seen on these forums. Please keep
: excellent trip report shame about the service of the KQ staff on the return trip. On my return flight, also on an MD 11 with KQ crew, i saw a very ded
: Fantastic TR. Shame about the KQ crew.....I was under the impression that KQ were top notch in Africa, which according to yoor experience it's far ' v
: I simply hate that! The thing I like to do the most on flight is to stick my head in the window and watching the view for most of the flight, it's wa
: Stunning pictures you took in the Massai Mara NP ! Let my desire grow to go back to that place again some time in the future - my last visit was more
: Thanks for the compliments on the pictures. I actually don't. I prefer a more relaxed atmosphere on a flight and that is more easily achieved with the
: Amazing! The animals are beautiful. DL752
: Back then, my party (father and older sister) and I always made fun about those unlucky souls who had to fight to stand in the center opening of thei
: Awesome trip report! I love the wildlife photography!
: Thanks for the interesting trip report. Do you happen to know the distance between Wilson and NBO airport? From Wilson Airport to Mara airstrip what a
: Thanks for the wonderful trip report. Really makes me want to visit Kenya... but then again, I've always wanted to visit Kenya. Really sorry to hear a