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The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:51 pm

“ The Official 3 Star Airline® ranking signifies a satisfactory standard of core Product for most travel categories - but may reflect inconsistent standards of Staff Service and/or Product delivery in either Onboard or Airport environments.” (source: SKYTRAX®)


Since the 3rd of june 2009, day where the Skyteam partner Delta Airlines were supposed to launch its transatlantic and transafrica route ATL-DKR-NBO, the Kenya Airways Headquarter undergoes tough times: during the previous days a Boeing's dispatch announced the delays extension of the B787 program, holding up the modernization of the 767 in the KQ fleet. Followed later an harsh KQ staff strike during the summer period, which stranded thousand of customers around Asia, Africa and Europe. Also the fast growing list of edgy customers who clearly expressed themselves about the regular late and the poor customer service, first on the many websites and then by flying the eternal competitor Ethiopian, make Kenya Airways muddling through this year. Expected to be release this week the final report of the KQ507 disaster will also remind a dark event on KQ history.

According to the latest customer reviews, its slogan does not match with the reality, with some appalling comments such as: “Standards have fallen dramatically” or “the entertainment console fixed into the armrest was hanging out, with wires dangling down” and the worst ever “the crew made clear that you were not welcome (no smile, rude and impolite)”

Since the middle of the 90's, the airline is supplying a fair quality performance that conforms to its slogan and meet its customer expectation in term of fare, security and reliability. Despite KQ has been granted of many awards such like “African Airline of the year” for 3 years in a row, is one of the rarely African's profitable airline, and still keep extending the network, the picture is nowadays clouded by diverse misfortunes.

Nevertheless how Kq which wears firmly “the Pride of Africa” can clearly manage a showing off at equal category with BMI, or American owning far more means?

I did not found any trace of recent report for this reason it was time for fans to go trough on the Kenya Airways Business product: the Premier World


After a gloomy year, highlighted by the endless crisis, long and freezing winter in Europe, time came to chill out and sunbath in Africa. The whole journey consisted in an homemade puzzling mileage run deal:
operated by BMI, Lufthansa, Kenya Airways, Proflight Zambia and Air France.

Kenya Airways marketing published in September 09 a cracking bargain for flexible ticket from London to selected destinations including its base Nairobi and few eastern and southern countries.
They seduced and incited to enter in the early bird category, even if the routing was not really sure yet. The travel class of the long hauls segments would logically influence to enjoy this continental journey in Economy too, but:

First of all it was two separate and different bookings
the travel agent mentioned straight that 2 fares only were available on this route. The choice offered consisted of economy class, with a rather but so common intimidating price within Africa, or the business class for an extra peanut's handful.

When you consider most of EU, US and Asian mayors, are unable to offer a same price every day in the same class. The atomicity of the demand blows away the yield management principles on some circumstances...

It was time to jump at the KQ medium haul service in their Premier World class, and to compare 2 continental services on board its B737 and its second biggest aircraft B767 before the gradually substitution by the B787 Dreamliner planned for 2011.
Welcome to this journey with Kenya Airways

A- Introduction

Following the official visit of the French President Mr Sarkozy in February this year, I've been visiting Rwanda only 3 days after him for longer than 1 days. Part of my family and some friends reside here and it's a real joy to maximize the KQ weight allowance and bring them 2*23 kg (or more) of goods from the France's living part of the family.
Kigali had welcomed some of the most prominent VIP of this planet during the last decade, and still remains a regional vibrant city. It regenerates every day thanks to the numerous expatriates, the countless NGO's, and his dynamic Excellence President Paul Kagamé, and his 2020 program, which aim to win the Rwanda's fame on the « Swiss » model during the next few years: High buildings, 24/7 shopping centers, zero plastic bag, and maximum safety...

Since then it's interesting to see the huge development made which attracts more and more visitors. Airlines understood this quickly and increases their visibility in town. The competition has become fierce to provide the best service to Kigali.
Air Uganda
Kenya Airways

B- Preflight

1.Kigali Airport

Scheduled at 9H30, i woke up with difficulty at 5 am, due to a long farewell drink the eve with my friends in town. After few minutes of drowsiness and a long shower, the motivation arise, to pack quickly my remaining luggage, and to set off towards Kigali Airport. The Taxi driver arrived in advance, and it took us less than 15 min to reach the airport at the sunrise, before the morning traffic jam.

Kigali International consists of a 70's design architecture building. Very functional and convenient, it offers to passenger on 2 natural floor levels (airside upstairs, landside at the lower level) Forex, bank, limited duty free shops, coffee shop, T.O., VIP lounges, and a Rwanda Tourism computer. Rather small, it eases all the process. Hub of the locally known Rwandair which plans to connect soon Kinshasa (DR Congo), the platform is served daily by Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Air Uganda which is the last born here by recently opened flight to Entebbe, and three times weekly see the only Europe direct flight with Brussels Airlines. Hence Kigali relies also on charter flight, with a co branded Thomson/Starquest Expeditions B757 parked early March.
After a long search i was deeply disappointed, when a screen or FIDS could not be found anywhere. It's probably the only international airport in this case...
the figures of KGL are pretty encouraging, last year, Kigali International Airport registered 15 percent growth in passenger volume whilst this year Rwanda’s CAA has handled over 270,000 passengers for 2009 and expect over 300 000 before the opening of the new airport ( NBIA) at the dawn of 2015. on middle term RCAA target to implement a steady growing regional hub. Here are 2 traffic equivalent close to you (for British and French):
- Scatsta Airport in the Shetland Island handled around 255 000 passenger and is ranked 35 by the BAA
- Nîmes airport (south of France), a Ryanair destination, with a decline traffic, stagnates around 245 000.
Arrival at KGL

Entered 2H40 prior the departure, the hall has already a great natural brightness but is rather quiet. Few workers and the usual airport staff occupy the still sleepy departure hall. On my right, the Security Check protects the airline check-in counters, and all entry is definitive. On my left hand, the only 3 in 1 place in the public area: coffee shop, bar restaurant and everlasting goodbye can be found at Bourbon Coffee. This is the place to be in Kigali town to have an informal meeting, to show off or to wait ... Here this is the only ting to do; with this option i took a seat, for a light bite, and enjoy a Kizi Rift Cappuccino and an almond croissant. Slowly but steady travellers turned up, among them 3 cheerful Asians, worst than me about pictures. Today Rwanda Police considered this activity as normal. Around 7H20 it was time to go forward to Security for check-in.
With only one lane opened, i was number 2, and it's also exactly the time it took me. The guard just asked “ Hello sir, are you travelling?” and checked the identification.
Departure Hall
Coffee regions
Rwandan Coffee


Sent back a first time by the ground staff, because they were only checked-in the Rwandair flight to Entebbe, i was among the first passenger at the counter, specially to request a seat with extra legroom at the front row. As it would be impossible during the Online check-in.
After the security i can found maybe half dozen counters, all with WB stickers, few with SN and on the left side two reserved for Kenya Airways occupied by a wisely seated lady waiting for a traveller. The queue seems being for any airline counters, i avoided sneaking out straight to the empty counter. When my turn come to move forward, the KQ lady told me dryly to wait , as she was busy, setting up the lane Eco/Premier world. Well she should have placed this before, but it did not slow down the process. After the first contact pretty cold, the rest of the exchange, was much better, even if she failed to give satisfaction for the seating for both flight and will kept 2A on KGL-NBO section. After greeting and wishing me a good flight, she forgot the lounge access explanation or location.
Security checks
Boarding Passes

3.Business Lounge

Stepped up to the departure level, i've cleared the so quiet immigration desk. The officer, talking in Kinyarwanda, got quickly confused and edgy when he asked a non routine question. My lack in this language, gave him suspicion about the genuineness of the document. Then his attitude reversed when he read the class of traveling, thanked me for visiting Rwanda and wished me a memorable trip. Hard to comment this behaviour, anyway my stomach felt hungry as i was about to reach the Lounge.
Last year, the time of departure, would not allow a full appreciation of the lounge, And glad to nibble a bite before flying, i've rushed to this place.
Also called the CIP, since march 09 it has been partially refurbished, with additional seats which have replaced the deeply comfy brown leather armchairs, a DSTV flat screen, and the lighting is nicer and less hospital neon style.
Once registered the attendant, she also took the order and brought the hot beverage and a pastry. Luckily, she had only two customers to look after. Basically the expectations in Africa are far behind the product found in Europe or elsewhere, Kigali is not an exception. A couple of pastry available (probably from Bourbon Coffee downstairs), a sample of cold sandwich, and peanuts. For refreshment, fridges worked perfectly and seemed well stocked up. Unfortunately no newspaper was available (even in town it a big pain to find), oppositely to the right of holding the remote control TV.
new version smarter and cleaner.
Light breakfast

Because I did not want to miss out the landing of my Boeing, i've swallowed promptly this honey and chocolate whirl, burnt my throat with the Kitabi Rwandan tea and quit for the departure Lounge next door after the security X-ray gate.
Despite my hurry step to attend the landing, the last x-ray scanner has been forgotten and slowed down my walk to the show. But just the engine's sound, added with the reverser, produced a remarkable arrival, for the pretended narrow body. Whilst the security agent religiously taught me the lighter is part of the forbidden item, my attention focused on the departure lounge windows where the huge bird tried to park on this tiny apron. Effectively, KQ has upgraded from a 737 to a wide body 767. That was a pleasant news.
Boeing 767 300ER 5Y-KYY
C - Flight summary

KQ services up to 4 daily flights between the Rwandan capital and its hub (Kigali is KQ's 3rd destination by the frequencies offered) Only the evening rotation is direct, otherwise and according to the days of the week it is originated or via Bujumbura in Burundi operated with a brand new regional jet Embraer 170 or by B733/738. Today you will enjoy an exotic stop-over in the neighbour country.

1.The Aircraft: Boeing 767-300

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Photo © Jeffrey L Phinney
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Photo © Enrico Pierobon SpotIT

1.General Information :

Sometimes Kenya Airways rosters wide bodies on selected routes, not as US, EU or Asia to absorb the high demand, but to provide a bigger cargo capacity, it was formerly the case for Kigali on Saturday, still on for Brazzaville (not sure), Lusaka and Lilongwe 3 times weekly.
Finally the boarding started 15 min later than expected, just after the domestic flight to Kanombe. The ground staff invited directly the passengers to embarked through gate 1. The muzungu who arrived first outside, noticed an opened door “Kigali Airport Bus” at the stairway and hoped in, before the smiley driver pointed out with his finger the plane, for a short walking exercise.
Once noticed the 5Y-KYY, of our Kenya Airways the words of Msafiri (KQ magazine) resounded in my mind:
“ due to further delay for the delivery of the Boeing 787 Kenya Airway modernizes its fleet by the introduction of a new 767. with the registration KYY, it will be leased from ILFC for a period of 18 months”.
I was honoured to try the latest KQ wide body, on this short haul segment.
Departure Lounge
KGL hosts including B747SP "Star Triple Seven"

2.5Y-KYY: Cabin and the Seat

At the front a canopy boarding ramps allowed Business passengers to step up into the aircraft,
for the first time in my KQ life, i was not sure to enter on a Kenya Airways plane. The traditional burgundy and ritzy comfy seat have been substituted by a modern Blue and white seat. All the cabin seems new but appalling, a big screen for the central row, and 2 * 15' tv's a the front of each side. This cabin did not released the truly Kenyan Atmosphere as on each an every KQ aircraft the signs are translated in Swahili. Convinced i was lucky before, getting inside turned up as a sullen journey began. This old Alitalia aircraft (EI CRO) is a huge disappointment, even the toilet once i tried to pull dryer paper the in-wall cover came out with the rest.

When the cabin officer checked the stub, to point out the Seat 2A, she felt shame because of the yellow tap incorrectly sticked on it: DO NOT OCCUPY, lucky for me, the flight was far to be full on both segment(3 pax and 12 pax). I've finally chosen 4A to BUJ, and 1A on the way to NBO as a gentleman, kindly moved to another seat.
Cabin view
the "latest" aircraft in KQ fleet

the KQ 767 Business cabin is configured 2-1-2 across, with a cradle style seat offering a generous 76' pitch for a 31' width. The recline may reach 90° For those two measure it's much better than the 737 originally expected and the 5Y-KYY do not provide any power source.
confortable seat
generous legroom
Seat recline

the seat pocket in front of me showed also its age, as the seat, overall it's all the aircraft interior which showed a lack of attention.
Control panel
Seat pocket

2.Kenya Airways In Flight Service

Taxiing roughly on time, the unusual heavy, lifted off from runway 28 at 9H45, for my shortest international flight. It has lasted only 20 min for this reason the cruising altitude was only 17000 ft. The approach on BUJ, enables to see the Lake Tanganyika, before flying over the airport, and intercepting the glide for a landing on the really bumpy runway 17. the airport on itself is funny with a African style architecture, and some shantytowns on its side.
Rwanda Air Force

Take of from Kigali
After take-off
Bujumbura Airport

Landing at Bujumbura:
What is that?
Classic collection
nice caravelle overthere
BUJ town

After a shorter stop, it was time to head for Nairobi with a take off facing the lake and the capital on the right. The milky sky, except over the lake, did not allow to see so much, before f the south bank of the Victoria's Lake and the Serengeti National Park. The surprise and interrogation arose when we flew over NBO at an High Altitude, and when the Mount Kilimanjaro appeared on my window.
Lake Victoria
Flying over our destination

At this moment the cockpit crew announced that a light plane burst its tyre at JKIA, and would prevent any landing within the next hour. After two circle over NBO, the F/O running out of kerosene, stated we will be diverted to Mombasa as the rescue take a while. This unforeseen event, though disturbing a little my schedule, made me smile, as going and back to the east coast will add another 2h30 on the flight time. In a meantime my camera ran out of batteries, it will be only mobile phone picture.
Daily Nation: 12/03/10
Economical's reasons
heading to MBA

The plane touched down Moi's runway at 14H40, parked for 35 min, boarded edgy travellers , none in business, and took off at 15H25. They should have appreciated a domestic flight in 767, not very common here... This segment was fast with only 40 min flight time.
Parked at MBA
Economy class
Terminal View
Scene of tarmac

Our trip ended up safely but late at 16h25 with a majority of the passengers overexcited and overstressed to get information from the cabin crew. On arrival, they did not hold the economy class passengers back, so it was a scrum to get off.
QR also at NBO

1.Flight attendants

Business cabin Flight attendants, all female, welcomed all the passengers with and authentic smile, sadly, it was also the last time they showed a pretty face, They were really professional, nice, efficient but did not share enough their enthusiasm whilst they worked. I've not being offered to hang my jacked, although i was the only one to stepping in at Kigali among the 3 travellers. At stopover the F/A kindly provided this service to all new passengers but on arrival they handed back the jacket once the door opened. Stewardesses seemed nonchalant, but anticipating customer requests: about the connection issues for the delays, water service whilst grounded at BUJ without GPU, and for my seat broken. Good point but not exceptional. Duty free has to be order preferably before the meals.

2.Meals and drinks

KGL-BUJ: I was being delivered a welcome drink within 5 min after seating, with a choice of apple juice, orange juice or water, for a 30 min total length no snack or drink have been offered en route.
BUJ-MBA(*): a stingy choice of the same welcome drink was given by the hostess, then she distributed the Hot Snacks menu. Just after the safety announcement she came back for the order taken clockwise before take off. Unfortunately my choice not available, had to back up on an tasteless beef with inedible crispy spaghetti, which not even suit in economy menu. At least the red wine and hot bread were decent. Food quality was poor - even for plane food standards - and the portions are small, but she refilled the glass of wine.
MBA-NBO: welcome drink and peanut in a porcelain saucer and drink service i drunk sparkling water

the bar menu has one weakness not champagne or sparkling wine, the choice of welcome drink is ridiculous.
Hot Snack menu
Unwanted lunch
Stir Beef


There was no PTV's but a in-wall screen, displaying KQ seven in Dubai while we were grounded at KGL, a tracker when we took off then nothing, until the pilot said we will be diverted on MBA, it started working but only showed one program with fuzzy image. On the way back, the screen shows images in white and red, like the old 3-D movies which you had to watch with special glasses.
TV screens

3.Post flight

3.1.Disembarkation and custom :

16h40 represents the second KQ arrival wave, even though we should had landed at 14h, the crowded was unavoidable, besides this Kenya Immigration provided only 2 Visa lanes. An Ivory coast group slowed down even further the queue due to incorrect informations filled in the form. They pretended to speak French only and do not understand anything. I felt oblige to help them even if 2 of those guys were rude and aggressive. It took an extra half an hour.
The blue immigration Card given in the plane is useless simply because the officer asked to fill the white one, and not the blue ( ???)

3.2.Luggage delivery

The bag was already here, on the side as an other flight has been on the same bag reclaim.
Pretty upset i was out of the terminal at 17H05, instead a maybe 14H15.
JKIA main building
Luggage reclaim
Landside at NBO

To conclude:

While I want to support Kenya Airways, the facts speak differently if you fly a long haul segment and have a 767 KYY you will be disappointed.

To be continued
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:56 pm

Solid TR...
To me, KQ still has a long way to go and of course that 3 star rating is ludicrous.....
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:03 pm

I like your pictures alot, I want to travel some more now  
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:28 pm

Nice report and pictures, thanks for posting.

I always had a view Kenya Airways was a carrier that had a decent product and standards, if your TR is the 'standard' KQ are an airline to avoid if possible when travelling to/from Africa.

Such a shame, their only real competition is SAA.


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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:57 pm

Quoting eastafspot (Thread starter):
The muzungu who arrived first outside, noticed an opened door “Kigali Airport Bus” at the stairway and hoped in, before the smiley driver pointed out with his finger the plane, for a short walking exercise.

That comment made my day. Typical mzungu  

Nice TR. It's a shame KQ seems to be going downhill - I've flown them a few times in 2006/2007 (short hops only) and they offered a solid product.

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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:03 pm

Wow, i really enjoyed your report!
Great pictures and an insightful view into airports rarely discussed on here.

Good job!
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:27 am

I personally love KQ never been able to sample their domestic product just their international product which I must say was very nice! Great Trip Report by the way!
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:03 pm

Quoting eastafspot (Thread starter):
The recline may reach 90°

oooops, it is around 135° instead, sorry

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 1):
that 3 star rating is ludicrous.....

totally agree

Quoting fca767 (Reply 2):
I want to travel some more now

here you are

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 3):
if your TR is the 'standard' KQ

you never know with KQ, that their main PB

Quoting Marambio (Reply 4):
Nice TR

Muchas gracias amigo,

Quoting johnboy (Reply 5):
i really enjoyed your report


Quoting mhockey31091 (Reply 6):
I personally love KQ

So do I, that's why fly with them as much as i can

Ok here is the part 2

2 - Stop Over in Nairobi
Jamia Mosque
Nation Centre
Central Park


1. Introduction

During winter 2008-2009, the airline has launched an additional flight between those capitals to the rest on its regional network in East Africa and beyond. The evening rotation (running 3times a week) allows passengers mostly from CDG, AMS with KLM, LHR and East African travellers, a smoother and shorter journey within the same day.

Despite the convenience, here are the reasons why the stopover in Nairobi has been favoured:

 - The early departure or late arrival time remains a drawback on a day basis trip.
 - During the night service, KQ schedules its single class Embraer 170, compare to their B767 or B777 also rostered on this route.
PW is proud to welcome you on this journey to Lusaka

Malawi was the last piece of the African adventure. To occupy 4 spare days before meeting some friends over here i decided to visit during this free week-end the World Heritage Site of The Mosi Oy Tunya or Victoria Falls in Zambia.

2. Preflight

2.1. JKIA

In 2005, the Kenya Airport Authorities announced their plans to expand Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The project was prompted as Jomo Kenyatta airport's annual passenger flow topped 5 million, while the airport, which is served by one terminal building constructed in the 1970s , was only constructed to handle 2.5 million passengers. The government is currently debating if Jomo Kenyatta International Airport should build a second runway. The expansion will increase the airport's capacity to 9 million passengers a year. The project will cost the Kenya Airports Authority $100 million.
extension's project of the terminal on the left

The airport is the main hub of Kenya Airways, Fly540 a local low cost carrier, and Jetlink. Jomo Kenyatta airport is served by Runway 06/24, only 06 is ILS equipped and mostly used for take-offs and landings. (Honestly before this journey i've flown maybe 30 times over there and none of the rotation was being done on runway 24).
JKIA, the 6th busiest airport in Africa after Lagos, undergoes a morning waves logically fed by Kenya Airways long haul flight, the evening wave sees mostly the Middle East (QR, EK, Saudia) and European carriers (TK, LX, BA, SN) carriers. The airport itself is charmless and dour, due to a shortage of amenities, but tolerable for a few hours.
First checkpoint

2.2. Check-In

The taxi dropped me at Unit 2, the KQ's terminal, around 6h15, where the rush had just started. Terminal's access is only granted for travelling passengers and despite the long queue, the first security scanner control was fast, thanks to the efficient staff. The majority of the continental flights is departing followed by the long haul (CDG and AMS).
After a short walk across the terminal, here are the Premier World check-in counters, which look alike low cost. Most of passengers flying today, in J, are carrying large amount of wrapped box, and other shapeless goods. It was as impressive as the almost over sized/weight luggages of the eco passengers.
Owning already my bp, i aimed to drop off my luggage and change seat for 1A ( with a generous leg room). Unfortunately, the ground staff quickly answered that my seat will remain the 2H.
It took 25 min for an unsuccessful seat change, in the meantime i filled the immigration form then i directly proceed to the immigration, where the officers worked faster than machine.
Check-in counters
U7 heading to EBB

Time came to enjoy my second breakfast, keep in touch with Europe, and get news in the so-called Exclusive Elite passenger only; Simba Lounge. Whilst, i was still hanging around on the one of the all identical Duty free shops, a suddenly power failure occurred in the departure hall. it lasted only maybe 5-7 min but made me wonders about the origin of it!!!
Airside with no light
Still no power

2.3. The Simba Lounge

Not conveniently located, it's a long walk back toward the landside just before the immigration. At the entrance the hostess welcomed by a friendly greeting which made me feel straight comfortable. Due to the arrival of all overnight flights, the lounge was really packed. Restricted to the Business Class passengers only, the facilities on this exclusive sanctuary were appalling - there was a dire lack of seating and nowhere to relax with a decent meal and a drink.
The self service buffet provided american coffee, soft drinks and fresh juices, alcohols and on request tea and hot chocolate. Concerning the food's choice it was rather limited: were available only cold sandwiches (beef or chicken), flavoured yoghurt and fruits. At least, next door the frequent flyer lounge is usually better stocked up with hot pies and pastries.
The 2 waitresses struggled between the endless hot drinks order, the tables to clear and the buffet to stock up.
The Daily Nation, a local newspaper, informed me about of the eve disrupted's flight, the rest of the press was readable in Dutch or was dated from 2 days ago or more, anyway, the hostess already called KQ722 to proceed to the gate 8, for a further security check.
Lounge entrance
the so-called "KQ Elite" buffet is rather empty
General view

Prior to X-ray scan the hand luggage, a Kenyan agent asked for the passport but promptly became suspicious about the genuineness of the document. When she requested the BP and noticed i would travel in J, she stopped the investigations and released an specious “Bon voyage EAS”.
On this week-end eve, the two departure lounges were packed too. Unusually, the KQ722 would deserve a wide body aircraft as through the panes, the ride of the day appeared: a B767 300ER.
Boeing 767 300ER 5Y-KQX

The boarding was a bit chaotic, the lack of organization of the ground staff helped delaying furthermore the service. Usually the order to embark is the Business Class (black card), the disabled person (red card), the family with infant (yellow card), then the rest (green card). After a little wait is this non air-conditioned room, the guy who announced the flight was ready for boarding left immediately thereafter: basically he ruled “first arrives is the first serves!!!” the pre-seating has relieved my mind. Supposed to pushed back at 8h25, i walked through an air bridge to enter inside KQX at 8H30. Sakhara, our Inflight Manager, greeted me politely, meanwhile her colleague check my BP.
Boarding time
3. The flight

3.1. The Boeing 767-300ER 5Y-KQX

3.1.1. General Information

To have flown maybe 3 times with this aircraft previously, that's a real joy to fly a wide body for a such short haul. Kenya Airways uses to schedule B772 or 763 on this section for the weekday morning flight. It offers an extra tangible comfort, and an extra load capacity for freight. 3 times a week the rotation to Lusaka en-stops at Lilongwe (Malawi).

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Photo © Mary Fraser
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Photo © Roger Shen

3.1.2. Cabin description

Compare to the eve's flight, this aircraft is proudly owned by KQ, the red burgundy color of the seat matches perfectly with the cabin crew uniform. The front of the cabin seems soothing.
Today mix of business people, regional politic leaders, quality minded leisure travellers and trainee cockpit crew, will enjoy the Pride of Africa service throughout this journey loading the KQX at 75% of its J capacity (15 pax). The lay out provides a 5 across (2-1-2) for a total 20 seats.
Despite the age of this plane, the product is well maintained, the cabin was clean and spotless too.
General view
business cabin toilet

3.1.3. The seat in business class

A soft pillow was being laid on the wide seat, also the headsets and menu are already pre-placed at the seat pockets. Promptly the cabin crew hung up my jacket, after few minutes of settling in this deep and comfy armchair the stewardess came with a tray loaded of orange juice, apple juice, and water.
I did not regret the business class choice, the seating is definitely great: a generous 76' pitch, angled-lie flat seat with a massive 170 ° recline for relaxation, but maybe a tight length for the big size. The triple window seat also provides plenty stowage, and the amount of sideways space is impressive.
a triple window seat
spacious seat
Almost full flat

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Photo © Alex Pan

3.2. Kenya Airways In Flight Service

The pushed back occurred 1h after the schedule, meanwhile the cockpit crew explained the reason and the route followed, the cabin crew took the breakfast order counterclockwise, then they showed the safety demo. It's under a bright sun an a clear sky that we departed, as usual runway 6. After a right turn we could see the KQ hub, and then followed the usual track, which enables to see the majestic Kilimanjaro. Saddly In middle of the rainy season, the clouds spoiled the show, whilst acrossing Tanzania, and flying over Lake Malawi.
Any famous VIP in Nairobi these days?
Ready for T/O

Take off from NBO
perfect weather conditions
The roof of Africa

The plane decreased progressively from its 35000 ft cruising altitude, for the approach and the stop-over in Lilongwe. Traffic on this poor country capital's airport was inexistent, also, the equipments seemed antediluvian.
Descent to Malawi

Landing at Lilongwe
Track back to the terminal
Kamuzu International Airport
inbound traffic

We headed to Zambia for an 1h hop, after a 50 min lay over here, the scattered sky enabled to see the Luangwa River, and part of Lusaka city. In spite the performance of the plane, the pilot did not make up the delay. Catching the connection at LUN, would not be easy.
Airport equipment

Take off from Lilongwe
After take off from LLW
Almost there
Lusaka City centre

Landing at Lusaka
Dead and alive airlines
Proflight Embraer 120er
Lusaka terminal

3.2.1. Meals and drinks

Just after take-off, the purser provided a selection of local newspapers, a weekly magazine, and feminine magazine. An hostess just followed with the table linen and the hot towels, concerning the section NBO-LUN, i've being served, as first course a fresh fruit salad, with a fruit and fibre cereal, once finished a chicken sausage with maxim's potato, egg Florentine and tomato was being offered, and it tasted pretty nice. I've drunk a Kenyan tea this morning. It was not the finest breakfast of my life, but everything was delicious, the croissant warm, the fruits really fresh, and the proportions in a fair quantity. Also all foods and drinks were served in authentic porcelain and glass.
During the LLW-LUN, service was basic: 2 mix nut sachets were offered, and i fancied a Kenyan famous beer Tusker, poured in a real glass.
Welcome drink
Hot breakfast menu
Breakfast choice
First course breakfast
Second course
LLW - LUN refreshment

3.2.2. Flight attendants

the award of the trip goes straight to ALL the cabin crew, well supervised by the In Flight Manager, Madam Sakhale. She ensured, individually, the welfare of all the business passengers, as enhanced the KQ image associated to this journey. Her all female team worked really coordinated, were dynamic and very pleasant to offer the most personalized attention to each customer. The cockpit crew was not on rest: Captain Mwuhange, F/O Eric, assistant Mohammed, were definitely kind to open the cockpit door for a quick chat. The only bad point was prior the doors closure an F/A came back to verify that i would really fly in business class today.
Preparing the flight plan to LUN

3.2.3. In Flight Entertainment

In- flight entertainment was decent with around 11 channels on demand. the main advantage was the French movies and the movies in full French. The main drawback was the headphones were not noise canceling also the worldwide selection was a bit weak for a long haul flight, but for now it was great enough. I expected that so no surprise.
KQ reading
Movies a la carte

4. Post flight

• Disembarkation and custom:
The descent into Lusaka airport was problem-free, and immigration and baggage reclaim were smooth and speedy.

• Luggage delivery
arrived number 6, a guys checked identification tag and tag luggage were matching. (any case of lost luggage, post departure?)
Arrival hall

A much better flight than yesterday, despite the late, which almost troubled for the Proflight journey. The main problem of KQ today was the preflight at its hub JKIA.
Even if the competition is firmly locked in Africa between the European carriers, South African, Ethiopian and everyday merger local challengers, somehow KQ, with its strengths, must follow the lead of the best practice.

And for you does Kenya Airways worths its slogan the pride of Africa?

I tried to detailed as much as possible and in a same time to be neutral, sorry if it may be too long, to congratulate you and to relax here are few photos of Africa taken during this trip.

All comments or suggestions are appreciated.

East African Spotter

If you've missed oud the end of this trip to the Victoria Falls   :

Lusaka - Livingstone in Cessna Caravan : Just Plane Smart... (by eastafspot Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)

for all the other trip reports:

- BMI Regional to Lyon via MAN in ERJ145: BMI Regional To Lyon Via Man In ERJ145 (by eastafspot Apr 18 2010 in Trip Reports)
- Rwandair and Skyteam airline to Scotland: Rwandair And Skyteam Airlines To Scotland (by Eastafspot Dec 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
- Klm and Kenya Airways to Rwanda: Rwandair And Skyteam Airlines To Scotland (by Eastafspot Dec 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:29 pm

Enjoy few pictures from Rwanda

And now from Zambia,

End of the Journey   
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:49 pm

WOW great report so many amazing photos , looks really interesting those places. Love the design of KGL terminal.

Thanks for the great report

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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Sat May 01, 2010 1:56 pm

Very interesting pics and nice video's. I do like KQ's c/s a lot.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 7):
any case of lost luggage, post departure?)

More likely to prevent luggage theft. I've seen it at other airports as well...
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Tue May 04, 2010 9:54 pm


Quoting Kappel (Reply 10):
I do like KQ's c/s a lot

C/S= stand for???

Thanks very much
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Tue May 25, 2010 1:00 am

The ProFlight a/c was not a E120 it was a Bae J-31. Stands out against all other aircraft on the ground.
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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Wed May 26, 2010 1:53 pm


Quoting FutureFO (Reply 12):
The ProFlight a/c was not a E120 it was a Bae J-31.

Great to see that attentive professionals always keep an eye on this forum. Thanks for the correction, my mind was probably focused on its partner Zambezi Airlines which uses those Embraer.


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RE: The Ride In Africa: Kenya Airways Business Class

Sat May 29, 2010 11:19 am

Nice TR as usual. I see that now there is a bus service at the KGL airport and news facilities has added in the terminal.

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