" Scotland has long had special ties with Malawi, dating back to the work of Scottish missionary explorer Dr David Livingstone."
Takulandirani fellow A.netters,
Fews years ago, an opportunity arose to work in the "Warm Heart of Africa", and took advantage to visit late last year the result of some projects in Nkhata Bay.
Many pictures were taken but i've never really get the opportunity to write and post it here. This TR
is a little overdue as procrastination always stronger than me, thus some details may be missing.
Anyway hope you will enjoy as it will feature in 3 parts:
1 – Lilongwe to London with Kenya Airways (including LLW – NBO and NBO – LHR)
2 – Star Alliance Lounge (up to date) in LHR terminal 1 and London to Edinburgh with BMI
3 – A cliché selection from Malawi showing Lilongwe and Nkhata Bay
Lilongwe City Center: ADL
House and Reserve Bank of Malawi
Mozambique coastline on the background
1 – KENYA AIRWAYS to LONDON
Located around 20 miles from the centre of the administrative capital, Lilongwe, is the main gateway for this Southern African country, better known after Madonna visited and adopted the couple of kids: David and Mercy.
Kenya Airways taxiing to runway 14 (taken on arrival)
Watch from this view a KQ
heavy taking off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUk4u9ETroI
My friend dropped me off at Kamuzu International at 8H30, exactly 2h prior the departure. Lilongwe main buiding is very small, and consists in a wide building with on the left hand the departure side (domestic at the far end ) including 8 check-in counters among them 2 exclusively reserved for Air Malawi, a post-office, a newsagent, 2 souvenir shops, a NB
bank and one forex. On the far left end, at the arrival hall, 2 tour operators, Malawi Tourism desk and 2 car rental compagnies counters. Reaching the other side of the terminal will take you around 2 mins.
Lilongwe airport internal view.
After a quick search, an officer allowed to line up on the "Premier World" queue, as i was Skyteam gold at this time.
The process was a breeze, thanks to the malawian staff, indeed she assigneted a window seat up to London. Despite she did not mention the access to the lounge, she was a fast chatterbox and friendly.
Queueing in Premier World lane and FIDS (YKQ
Holding the boarding passes, i made my way to departure tax desk, where i've learnt that, from now this would be part of the fare, oh good news. My finance presented a credit of 4800 malawian Kwacha ( $ 40) that is better to spend before those greedy agents working upstairs. With christmas coming, i've found a bracelet for my brother and a chintege wearing local colours for my mum.
What i thorougly much appreciate at LLW, is undoubtly its landside terrace on the upper level. for a 50 mkw fee you can enjoy a great scenery on the airport activity and the apron traffic, or having your lunch on the smart restaurant, or relaxing with an ice cream. Unfortunately, traffic level is on daily basis pretty disappointing, outside the 10-14h shift. Also i've tried in the past attending at the plane landing, and to go through the rest of the process after, it has been proved really difficult. Hence this video has been recorded during one of my previous flight.
Great landing video of 777 from the terrace : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHxjZG0Wy8
A spacious terrace for aviation fans, or for dreaming about new horizons...
Allegiance Air EMB-120rt ZS
on its way to DAR and also operating domestic to Blantyre
Anyway, as i wanted to check my mail, after a cup of tea i greeted my friends and went to the immigration on the same upper level. One can be found 2 racket checkpoint in this airport:
The first at the immigration, as some overlanders travellers headed back to Europe, one of the officer noticed their 1 month visa was expired for 2 days, which is not a big deal indeed (as you can usually extend it after 1week in Malawi), those young girls argued the best they could, which was hopeless, of course his colleague were deeply supporting him until, apparently the chief, released a so awaited " i can help you if you need"... As the process was quick on my side i couldn't not figured out how much they brided those officers.
I head straight to the Ndege Lounge, with also a nice view of the apron.
Multi-airlines lounge at Lilongwe.
Deeply comfortable seating
An impressive well stocked bar
Buffet composed of fresh cold sandwiches, (dry) cakes, crips, peanuts, salt, Ketchup and Zabola
Incredible: These computers were internet connected, well slowly indeed.
Waiting for action
Kenya and Kuche Kuche
At 9h50 am, a verbal annoucement was pronounced to board the huge bird, i reached the departure lounge, via a security scan where is located the second racket checkpoint:
Apart from lighters or matches pocketed in the jeans which are variably not allowed on the plane, these inside the ruck sack are, the agents payed more attention on how much local currency you take away than the rest. Hence they stated the limit was $1 to a mzungu kind of rasta who wanted to bring home Kwachas as souvenir. After a fierce negociation he left everything to these guys, as obviously he was not the first "victim" and an easy target. Only god knows how they managed to keep all his spare change and notes.
The bus opened its doors at 10h02 for a quick ride to KQS.
The King of the apron
Greeting future Malawian spotters
Control tower and a warm "Takulandirani" signpost
Wing and tail
we've been welcomed on board by a truly kenyan color smily male who explained the location of the seat
Initial seating 34, or 5 or 6 A or equivalent
Economy cabin was far to be full
LLW-NBO via LUN
STD: 10h35 (on time)
KQS switched on engines at 10h30, and taxied straight forward to runway 14 at 10h35, meanwhile cabin crew perfomed the safety demonstrations. The KQ
flagship lift off on time and headed right to the Zambian direction.
Actual flight take-off video from Lilongwe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1WnJIoAQgg
20 mins after airborne, flight attendants started the service, which on this short hop consisted on drinks and nuts:
2 famous Kenyan Tuskers were being offered straight, one was kept for the lay over at LUN.
Luangwa River, can be 3x bigger during the rainy season
The approach on Zambia's capital was stunning, as it has allowed a fantastic overview on the airport, moreover as pilots circled back, Lusaka downtown was clearly visible. 20Min after commencing our descent we landed runway 10 at 11H40 local time.
Actual flight video landing at Lusaka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VCEyEjQFmY
Grass and main runways at Lusaka International Airport
Our next target: runway 10
Cabin crew announced a 45 mins lay over here, on which have been contributed mainly on spotting, while a Zambian cleaning team tidied up KQS. We could not visit the airport but were allowed to walk on the mobile passenger stairs at the front and at the rear of the aircraft.
The Pride of Africa: the "Official" carrier of East African Spotter
Lusaka traffic: a growing airline Zambezi and Proflight Bae Jet-32 wearing old color
In order to embark correctly new passengers an hostess requested to all passengers to return to their assignated seat, followed 10 min after the Zambia bound travellers. Today as the flight would not be full, i asked a female attendant if i could move forward, what she acknowleged and accepted quickly. The new seat would be 14J, even if a rasta man was occupying 14H, he did not bother i took the window. As the rest of the pax rushed in the middle row probably more confortable in a prevision of a future wee nap.
Last customers for boarding: local VIP's
New seat with much better legroom
SA62 operated by B738 ZS
Routing screen to NBO
A PA from the flight deck announced the usual ritual of taxing, safety video and other infos. While we made our way to Runway 10, passengers were being handed over headsets. In a meantime some Zambian Air Force Eastern birds were stored up on the cargo terminal:
B777 leaving Lusaka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROnV-U9cSMY
Luggages loading for SAA
Z.A.F.: Harbin Y-12, MiGs-21MF Fishbed J, Mils Mi-17, Yak-40
Z.A.F. Harbin Y16 and El Magal Aviation Ilyushin IL
Shortly after take off crews handed over hot towels, before offering a 2 lunch choices of fish or chicken. Once meals trays cleared, they offered duty free items on purchase.
I sipped a little Amaruha while exploring the IFE, with a interresting variety of entertainement for a 2h flight. I've ended up watching an American blockbuster at 37 000 ft.
Gorgeous lunch with this prawns and fish option
A wee Amahura while watching a cool comedy
those clouds prevented from seeing Uhuru peak
Screen showing Tanzania Air Space
We began our descent on time with the beautiful dry landscape so typical in Kenyan high plateaus, and 17 min after, the touchdown occured at 16h05 as unsual runway 6.
Once parked up at gate 7 on jetbridge, the F/A allowed me to greet the cockpit team. Great gesture thank you KQ
Flight landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcc9PuAa_pA
Final approach to JKIA
Taxiing to gate: Nairobi downtown in a hazy background
Emirates operates 2 flights daily, any chance to see A380 soon at NBO
KQS flight deck
Parked up gate 7.
Having 7h30 transit i decided to first visit the Transit restaurant (right off the BA
executive Lounge), then going in town and after enjoying a light snack at the lounge. Immigration is always packed at this time, hence enjoy my best spotting hint at NBO
by watching this video
Great scenery video of a KQ
737 landing at Nairobi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EuUyMZE_1A
View from Transit Restaurant: runway 6 threshold
maintenance and former Embakasi terminal
Advert found while strolling in town
KLM crew passing the immigration
Premier Lounge reserved for Skyteam Elite Plus frequent travellers
Cold food offer remains identical all day every day.
Seating area in Premier Lounge
It is amusing how many people sleep in front of Simba lounge
Nairobi – London
Dep time: 23h45
Arr. Time: 5h45
KQU preparing for the overnight trip
Hoping to grab the same reg as inbound flight the total darkness could not help for the decision. As the waiting lounge as rather narrow for a wide body, u've used 2 lounges quickly resulting of a lack of seats. Despite having to stood up for a 35 mins awaiting for boarding, the flight KQ102 was not full, maybe 75-80% in Eco, with a majority of British returning from Safaris or sunbathing along the East coast.
Everything went fine when boarding proceed on time. Once settled down, few interresting aircafts appeared.
Airbus A330 Brussels Airline
A couple of local CRJs: Fly540 ant Jetlink Kenya
KQU was airborne at 0h05 under a light drizzle, for an 9h journey to the UK, Onboard service was smooth, thanks to the professionalism of the kenyan cabin crew. As usual they:
handed over hot towels
offered a dinner choice of beef or chicken
cleared the trays
offered duty free item
relaxed and gossiped for the rest of the 6h flight
: 4250 miles
Beef stew for dinner not so enjoyable
Red mood lighting
Over the Alps: Unlike the KQ
's ife whichwas not working
As french point of view: certainly not the best croissant!
Prior to landing
KQU landed around 5h25 for a long taxiing to the Skyteam base at Terminal 4. Disembarking was a breeze and immigration was haslee free due to the several lanes opened so earlier this morning. My luggages yellow-tagged priority arrived rather quickly.
I was inside the Heathrow Express at 6h, meaning 2h50 prior my next flight.
[Edited 2010-12-07 13:11:48]
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki