After my business trip to South Africa and having visited Johannesburg, Pretoria, Kruger Park, Cape Town and Stellenbosch it was time to leave the country and head back to the UK. Here's the list of flights:
As you may have noticed this plan doesn't match with the destination of this report! The day before my flight I received an email saying my flight KL592 had been cancelled due to a technical difficulty. As I was in a shopping centre with only 30 mins of free wifi I decided it was best to rearrange my flights via phone rather than by email. I knew calling KLM's UK call centre wasn't going to be cheap but I thought it best to get it sorted out quickly or face a long wait for the next available flights back. So I called KLM, after about 20 mins of being on hold in a queue, I finally got through to somebody. The call centre lady was very polite and searched for new flights for me to get back to Bristol, taking another 10 mins. After a 30 min call costing around £40 I finally had my new flights flying at 01:50 - almost 3 hours later than my original flight and flying via Nairobi with Kenya Airways.
Even though the timing wasn't perfect - leaving in the middle of the night and a long wait in AMS, I was secretly pleased that I wasn't flying KLM as the outbound flight wasn't great and also that I'd be able to write a more exciting FR :P
Unfortunately, it also meant I'd have to arrive very early in JNB for my flight or hang around in the lobby of my hotel for hours. I chose to spend my time in the airport, where I knew I would have a range of restaurants and cafes in which to pass the time.
I was dropped off outside departures by my hotel's shuttle bus and made my way to the KLM ticket counter to see if they could do me any favours. I had tried to check-in for the new flights online and was unsuccessful and the check-in machines seemed to have assigned me the dreaded middle seat. I also wanted to check about my vegetarian meals as they also didn't seem to be showing on the website. A put on my smiley-est faace and asked the guy to check my meals and see if I could possibly change my seat for either a window or aisle. He went away and spoke to the people at Kenya Airways and came back with good news, not only would I be able to eat, but also I would get a window exit seat on this leg and an aisle seat on the route from NBO to AMS. This made my evening and I felt like I was winning :) Thanks KLM in case you are reading.
I didn't want to check my suitcase in quiet yet (and my check-in wasn't open), so it was time to hang out in the airport, eat and have a drink. Here's the departure board showing the cancelled Amsterdam flight and the Nairobi flight a bit later.
I also had time to do a bit of spotting
After wasting a few hours it was time to check-in. My bag was weighed before I got to the desk and after the check-in desk I had to take my suitcase to another person who wrapped it all in clear plastic before handing it on to the next person who was collecting all the bags.
As you can see the place was looking rather dead at this time of night. Off I headed to security and emigration were I got my leaving stamp. Airside was also very dead this time.
Pretty much the only place open was the duty-free shop which closed at about midnight.
With nothing else to do and having been up all day I decided to find a bench and try to get an hour or so of sleep. Luckily the seating in JNB doesn't have armrests in the middle of the seats are were perfect to sleep on. The only shame was the family of 7 who decided it would be a good idea to sit on the seat behind me and chat loudly after about 10 mins of that I got up and looked for a more quiet spot. About 30 min before departure people started to make their way to the gate. Our plane arrived at the gate and boarding proceeded via an air bridge.
I took my seat in the exit row. Ah, it's nice to have some space
The in flight magazine and safety card
Showing the route map and fleet of Kenya Airways
I was pleasantly surprised by the large IFE touch screen.
Which also showed the safety demonstration. In the unlikey case of a drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from above your head. Place over you head and breath normally
Remember to help yourself before helping others
Life jackets are located under your seat. There is a whistle and light to attract attention.
There are 8 exits on board this aircraft. :P
After take off, we were provided with food. It seemed a strange time to provide us with a meal at 2:30 in the morning. I would've preferred to have been left alone, or maybe just nuts and a drink, at this time in the morning so we could try to sleep. The flight waws only about 4 hours and I think it would make more sense to give us some breakfast before landing instead of this. It was nice however to get my meal served with everybody else. It sometimes makes me embarrassed to get a special meal when everyone else is hungry.
After a bit of sleep the sun began to rise giving a view of the wing.
Out of the other window I noticed Mount Kilimanjaro
Time to land in Kenya
We disembarked via stairs and had to walk slightly further than you would normally to get into the terminal.
Johannesburg - JNB
Nairobi - NBO
After having my flight with KLM cancelled I actually thought their customer service was pretty good, especially the staff in JNB managing to get me a window exit seat for which I was very greatful.
Kenya Airways was definitely nicer to fly with than the experience I had on the outbound KLM flight.
The plane was very new and the IFE very large for economy. The only thing to complain about was the odd timing of meal in the middle of the night instead of being provided breakfast.
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Many thanks for this report.
You found yourself in the lucky situation to experience a new airline and new routes, which is always a plus on FR ! Even better when the experience is better than the one expected on the cancelled flight.
I see you can look for a job as a cabin crew, as you already know all the safety instructions !
Johannesburg seems like a nice airport, unfortunately leaving at such hours means you can't actually take advantage of all the usual offering.
You found yourself in a nice new 737 with skyinterior. Were you able to access films on the IFE or was it blocked on this short flight ?
About the timing of the meal, it's often the case. I think part of it is probably so that the crew can expedite all of its duties regarding the passengers and have a rest afterwards... But on the other side you got a hot meal that looked descent.
Yes it was nice to have a different/better experience on the return flight. Maybe I should think about a career change!
The IFE was fully functional, i didn't take much advantage on this leg, but the offering was the same as the long haul route to AMS.
Actually the meal was quite good, just a shame about the timing
Thanks for your report,
So definitly was not a flight to LHR as i thought when i was reading your previous report.
Nice B737, i guess your next leg will be made in a dreamliner?
How many points did you get with this trip?
Yes definitely not LHR :P I got 75% of the miles for this leg, which is really nice considering I only got 25% on the outbound leg. So I earned 1364 miles here (and only 1401 for the whole AMS-JNB with KLM).I'm unlikely to get to the next level on miles this year, but I might make it to 15 flights with Skyteam before Xmas. I need one return trip to either AMS or CDG and one return trip to somewhere else connecting through either airport. I think this is doable, just wondering if Silver is going to be worth it!
Indeed the next leg will be on a Kenya dreamliner :)
Thanks for this nice report
You're welcome :)
Thanks for this FR.
I find it unacceptable that KLM would just advise you of the flight cancellation without offering you directly a new itinerary.
I assume they didn't refund you the 40 GBP of phonecall ?
Otherwise it sure is exciting to fly an unexepected airline and route.
I agree that the meal would best have been served before landing though.
I wasn't too bothered about them not directly booking me on another flight. At first they offered me a flight via NBO that was earlier than the original which wouldn't have been so great as I would've had to cancel the plan I had for that day. So I'm happy I got the flight I want. (I should've tried harder and got a more circuitous route with lots of stops and different airlines :P)
I'm hoping to see the £40 - I put in a customer service request/complaint about it and I'm hoping that it will get refunded. Fingers crossed.
Yes the meal thing I did find strange, however it was the nicest meal I had on Kenya. Shame it wasn't my breakfast instead of a 3 am snack :P
Cool report and glad you scored a new airline, especially on KQ's brand new aircraft, and most important you liked it. Give me KQ anytime over KL for sure! KL is slowly cannibalizing KQ's network and almost offers a one stop option from anywhere in the world to Africa, thus The pride of Africa looks like more a back up plan when such situations appear (delays/cancellations).
What i don't like too much with KQ is that, timewise, many best feeder services are now at night ( i'm booked on a 3:50am flight KGL-NBO to JNB soon - grrrr), subsenquently getting a weird catering!
Anyway hope you'll get a refund for your phone call even if they tried to accommodate you rather quickly.
Thanks for sharing
PS: You have seen the Mount Meru (sharp and then gentle slope) through the window and not the Mount Kilimanjoro (with steady slopes)... ;-)
Thanks for reading! It's a shame if KL are taking the Kenya services, because they really were far better than KL.
I hope you enjoy your very early meal too :P despite the weird time it wa the best meal I had the day!
And thanks for the tip about th mountains. I'll just have to go back and get a window seat to see the actual Kilimanjaro :)
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