Review of Kenya Airways flight London Nairobi in Business

Airline Kenya Airways
Flight KQ101
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 08:20
Take-off 10 Nov 15, 19:00
Arrival at 11 Nov 15, 06:20
KQ   #33 out of 120 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 71 reviews
East African
Published on 11th December 2015
Hi everyone,

Here is the second part of this series :

1/ MRS – AMS: Air France, AF1820, Economy: no report
2/ AMS – LHR : KLM, KL1021, EBC (C), published here
3/ LHR – NBO : Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), you are here
4/ NBO – JNB : Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), coming soon
5/ JNB – NBO : Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), coming soon
6/ NBO – AMS: KLM, World Business Class (J), coming soon
7/ AMS – MRS: Air France, AF1807, Economy: no report


This sector represented my 3rd (well, 4th if you include AMS after the withdrawal of their 77Ws) intercontinental route on KQ's Dreamliner. I used to travel back and forth regularly a few years ago on KQ101/2 services in cattle class! So with a heart full of nostalgia ;-)  i tried to find my way to the departure level ! I couldn't go through the automated self-service barriers as i don't hold a biometric passport ! Thankgod i deplanned first hence other lanes were deserted !

No need to go landside anymore for smokers
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For next 2h15 - 2h30 lay over the plan would be like this :

* having an aperitif
* Spotting at the new observation deck
* Staying fit with yoga exercises ;-)
* Sending some mails
* Taking a shower
* Enjoying a Clarins treatment

Apart from the spotting (At night and with amateur gears) and the yoga session others items were ticked off !

Lounge layout plan
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Upon entering, i informed the cute Polish receptionist that i would leave and come back here several times in what she did agree. She advised to book the treatment right now even if there were many vacancies. 5:40 pm fitted perfectly in my schedule. In the mean time i went to check again the features of the greatest Skyteam lounge (Maybe the newest Hong Kong is on par with this one).

The upper level, smaller than the main one, was mostly occupied by venerable Kenyan Veterans of the World War 2 and the accompanying escort  :

http://kenyahighcom.org.uk/kenya-wwii-veterans-arrive-in-london-ahead-of-remembrance-sunday-ceremony/

I guess the protocol welcomed the group here due to their respectable age as they did not travel in Premier World. The staff were running like headless chicken to deal with their requests !

Despite the time, many seats could be chosen from, moreover tasty cold and hot food on display was in abundance. However i kept my appetite for the dinner in flight !

I had to cancel the visit of the spotting deck due to a lengthy and interesting chat with a very tactful staff !

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Looking towards the self service buffet
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The TV lounge has replaced the Yoga room that doesn't exist anymore
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A wine bar yes, but no champagne, just sparkling wine !
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My minor rant is on the shower amenities where one can not find any (even basic) moisturising cream like it's widely available in the Star Alliance Lounge or elsewhere !
Fortunately when i shared the issue during the facial massage to Anaïs – a French lady from Brittany - she gave away enough Clarins Men Super Moisture Balm samples to rehydrate my dry skin until the next shower. Very thoughtful, merci beaucoup Mademoiselle !


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A limited choice compared to the BA Elemis Spa
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At 6:00 pm i made my way to gate 8 at a short distance where boarding was underway !
Inside the jetbridge a disappointing news invaded me. The journey would happen « again » with 5Y - KZA that i had nonetheless the pleasure to fly from Paris last year. 1 out of 9 chance - bu**er ! For the consolation it would be on a different seat lol !


KQ's first Dreamliner delivered in April 2014 – The Great Rift Valley
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Greeted in Kiswahili for the first time by a well groomed male in his thirties i turned left at the door 2L. Arrived among the lasts, i could not stow my belongings on the overhead bins above my seat or at the first row because of the pilot rest area above the middle seats and the storage area used by the cabin crew for newspapers, pouches, blankets etc above the 1 A&C seat !

There are two business class cabins on this 787, the main one located upfront accomodates 18 travellers and the second behind the galley welcomes 12 passengers.

Here are some technical informations :

=> Flat bed with a length of 190 cm
=> Seat width 78,7 cm
=> Screen size of 39 cm with AVOD
=> Seat back can recline at 176°

The best selection could be a seat, not at the first row of both cabins as the touchscreen TV are smaller, not at the second cabin as upon boarding you may be bother by the Economy passengers walking down the aisle and staring at you !


Seat 1A
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The crew offered a welcome drink with a choice of Elexium champagne, Del Monte apple or orange juice and Dasani water and my seat mate ; a weird Nigerian business man appeared to be quite rude, as he was still on phone with his wife while we were taxiing !

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The captain came into the blower for the usual talk and added that he and his team, on behalf of Kenya Airways, are extremely honoured to bring back home the Nationals Heroes and Veterans of World War 2. The entire cabin applauded at the end of the speech for having such living memories from a country where life expectancy is 65 years old for female (62 for male) !

Not long after, the cabin crew handed over the menu (why has the breakfast page vanished since on the menu one can now find a blank page before the end), some quality noise-cancelling headphones and we were given newspapers or weekly magazines like the Times. As usual The East African, will suffice for now !

A classic F-28 anyone?
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Westerly take off on time in silence thanks to those GEnex engines. I've noticed over the time that KQ crew don't give a dam about switching on the route map on the wall mounted screens ! So pity especially at the first row !

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At around 14 000 feet, over the Channel, an all Kenyan cabin crew began his customary duties:

* A hot and thick oshibori
* The usual mixed nuts “Out of Africa”
* A full bar service

Whilst we enjoyed one or a few rounds of drink, a cute F/A came to take the order also she frequently topped up the glass. The Nigerian dude dropped down by mistake his glass half full it but did not break up on the relatively new carpet. He did tardily apologize with a mere « sorry » and continued normally his game on the IFE!

The new champagne Exelium was fine, but not as intense as the Moet Chandom served in the old days ( visible on the drink menu… if you can notice the bottle… ;-) ) !

Hot oshibori with KQ logo
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Mixed nuts served in a ramekin
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KQ's intercontinental standard menu consists of :

- As starter : A fish or chicken option plus a vegetarian option
- As main : a meat/fish/chicken option or light snack plus Asian specialties
- To finish : Kenyan Farmhouse cheeses, a fruit platter and a cake/pastry

Let's check today's choice :

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Fish platter : simple and tasty
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The lamb rack was the best meal ever eaten on plane
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These cheeses did not please my palate
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I forced myself to tour the busy J cabin and discovered a visually good load factor, just 3 seats left in the main and 2 in the rear cabin ! ( 25 pax/ 30 seats)

Totally exhausted as the alarm clock went off at 5:30 am on that day, I fell asleep straight forward without watching any movie nor finishing my delicious wee cup of Kenyan tea.


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(taken during another flight)
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There are 2 versions of the amenity kit
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All you need
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After a good night's sleep, I only woke up during the breakfast service but quickly regretted this decision. Even a charming smile could not make up the sad looking cold tray !

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A cold pastry
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Sleeping travellers endured the traditional rainbow lighting to make sure they remembered which aircraft they were flying aboard ! For landing, we followed KQ466 and KQ117 .


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Due to the humidity in the morning and high altitude, the windows get covered in mist so no way to list the vintage birds ( a Tristar, an engineless DC9, KQ 772, B732… to name but a few) at the maintenance apron or at the new T2.

We parked on to the jetbridge of the new T1A at gate 19. The crew let the Premier World passengers exit first. One bus waited for the Kenya bound pax who have to walk downstairs inside the jetbridge. There is no dedicated transport for premium clients. Connecting travellers like myself along with the entire crowd of other inbound flights went to the walk-through metal detectors …. at 6:45 am, the standard morning rush in Nairobi.


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15 minutes wait before the Sky Priority access
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See more

Verdict

Kenya Airways

9.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment9.0
Meal/catering8.0

SkyTeam Lounge

7.9/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment9.0
Services7.5

London - LHR

7.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Nairobi - NBO

6.0/10
Efficiency3.0
Access8.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Another great flight with KQ, enhanced by the ST lounge experience, the tasty dinner and the full flat bed!
Next time though, i'll skip the symbolic breakfast !

Stay tuned for the smooth transit at NBO and the rest to JNB !

Related

9 Comments

  • Comment 152239 by
    Nick 172 Comments

    Nice that you arrived at the new T1A! Looks much more legit than the arrivals area in the old parking garage, haha.

    • Comment 330173 by
      East African AUTHOR 1351 Comments

      Thanks for your comment
      Well, the T1A is only for departing and connecting pax, International arriving travellers must still endure the parking garage - which was recently built actually lol - ( at least that was the case during a previous trip to Kenya earlier this year)

  • Comment 152333 by
    airtraveladdict 118 Comments

    Thanks for the report, I dont see many TRs on Kenya Airways so its good to see them.
    The main meal service looks nice and tasty but the breakfast is lacking, i expected a hot breakfast given this is business class flight.

    • Comment 330174 by
      East African AUTHOR 1351 Comments

      Thanks for spotting by!
      I do agree with your comment especially for the Nairobi bound pax, they should give a choice of hot or cold brekkie!

    • Comment 330229 by
      airtraveladdict 118 Comments

      Yes, it shouldn't be difficult to serve omelette, sausages and some mushrooms :)
      Having said that I do like seeing, what i believe is African cuisine on the menu? maybe i'm wrong :)
      Anyway they might not serve breakfast, but that lamb rack looks 10x better than what Cathay Pacific serves!
      And you can't go wrong with a fully flat bed, not even some so called 5 star Asian airlines have flat bed
      Is this product standard on Kenya Airways? Because Ethiopian Airlines has mixed, some flat and some angled.

  • Comment 152366 by
    KévinDC TEAM 4220 Comments

    Thanks for this next report in the series! Good to know that there is a smoking lounge airside in the new part of the terminal! I really like the SkyTeam lounge in LHR; it's one of the best lounges I've ever been to. Too bad there was no moisturizer in the showers; that is unusual. I'm also surprised that they were serving sparkling wine and not champagne. I believe last time I was there it was real champagne. These seats seem to be popular on the 787 for carriers who haven't elected for a 1-2-1 configuration. Despite the lack of full aisle-access, they seem comfortable. Dinner looks great! Breakfast, on the other hand, not so much.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 152454 by
    East African AUTHOR 1351 Comments

    Thanks Kevin!
    I was surprised too, maybe they temporary ran out, i have not got any clue about it!
    Yes indeed very comfortable but on a busy cabin like this day a full aisle-access would have been much more appreciated. KQ is not known for its innovations... ;-)

    • Comment 332055 by
      East African AUTHOR 1351 Comments

      Thank you very much for your detailed comments NGO85

      Was there any privacy divider? => yes the middle armrests can be levelled up - seats are the same on TK 777, Air China A330... etc
      I like how your seatmate was double-fisting OJ for his PDB. I saw a JL FA drop a champagne glass once, it was empty and didn’t break, but the terror on her face was priceless. => haha i can just imagine :-)
      The nonchalant attitude of your seatmate when spilling is quite different... Unfortunately a few from Nigerians behave like this in general...
      Seafood is not something that I would really expect on KQ, => interesting to know, may i ask why? you should go to Mombasa on the (east) coast!
      there is no actual dessert offered? => hehe yes the thing called summer roulade lol, not very tempting though!
      The one AA served me NRT-LAX was probably worse than this though => American carriers are not famous for their fabulous catering right?
      Overall, KQ looks to offer a decent product into Africa=> indeed, globally they are among the big five in Africa :-)

  • Comment 154168 by
    NGO85 1627 Comments

    The cabin looks nice, but the lack of privacy with these forward facing seats seems to be a concern. Was there any privacy divider?

    I like how your seatmate was double-fisting OJ for his PDB. I saw a JL FA drop a champagne glass once, it was empty and didn’t break, but the terror on her face was priceless. The nonchalant attitude of your seatmate when spilling is quite different...

    Seafood is not something that I would really expect on KQ, but the seafood platter looks reasonable and ikura (salmon roe) is always tasty. That is quite the chunk of meat they served you. A very generous portion size of lamb indeed, but the broccoli looks a little sad. The dessert offerings for this meal seem strange, there is no actual dessert offered?

    The breakfast tray is probably close to one of the worst I’ve seen in J. The one AA served me NRT-LAX was probably worse than this though… at least KQ lays linens for the breakfast meal.

    Overall, KQ looks to offer a decent product into Africa and probably one of the best ST options since KL needs to overhaul their fleet.

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