Nothing new here, actually a pretty boring episode as you are all aware of KL soft and hard products and over the time you might have discovered that the new NBO provides nothing glitzy to compete with the ME3 hubs !
Nevermind ! Even if the NBO – AMS route return was flown countless times, roughly equally split between KL and KQ, including last year in Premier World ; testing it with the oldest airline in the world could be a great thing.
The itinerary :
1/ MRS – AMS: Air France - AF1820, Economy: no report 2/ AMS – LHR: KLM, KL1021 - Business, B737, click here 3/ LHR – NBO: Kenya Airways, KQ101 - Business, B788,click here 4/ NBO – JNB: Kenya Airways, KQ760 - Business, B788, click here 5/ JNB – NBO: South African Airways, SA180 - Business , A320 click here 6/ NBO – AMS: KLM, KL566 - Business, You are here 7/ AMS – MRS: Air France, AF1807 - Economy: no report
Relieved to be here on time and, even better, with more connecting time than initally planned (1:50 vs 1:05), it allowed a less stressful stroll. After checking the plasma TVs, as often KL flight departs from the gates 7 – 10 in the officially named T1B. It's worth noting than if you have to go from T1A to T1BCD, there is no security checks whereas the other way round you'll be screened just after the Java Coffee House at gate 14, beware of the potential long queues!
From T1A to T1B, corridor just after Java Coffee House
Like BA64, KL566 leaves from a gate at the Terminal 1B, don't be misled !
A tranquil walk up to the Simba Lounge ( former « First Class Lounge » primarly used by *A carriers before the fire blaze and requisitionned by KQ since then) near gate 5, much more convenient than the newly built Pride Lounge or Simba Lounge 2, in that case. Honestly it's nothing to write home about : much narrower with limited capacity, no outside view and with similar food and drink buffet than upstairs, its main advantage, as aforementioned, is its location less than 50 meters walking distance from the gate. During the evening it catered the AMS bound folks and some regional flights excluding E.A.C…
At the opposite side, the VIP/Governement Lounge
As the place was almost deserted i asked the receptionist to inform me about the last call while i kept in touch with my relatives to reassure them about the expected time of arrival, if everything would run smoothly like now !
Quiet, even with a 30 seat capacity
KLM Crown lounge style chairs, TV with news was working properly
Kenya Airways in deep trouble…
When the receptionist told me about the imminent closure of the boarding, a peek outside showed a long line of people that had yet to, the old way, pass through a second security checks before the departure lounge, so i sipped another G&T.
On time at the Sky Priority lane, one of the security guys requested my French ID card to match the datas with the passport and ushered me into the metal detector door. He was very professional well mannered and made me feel at ease thus the process did not take time. I can conclude that European airlines have tighter document/passport controls than African ones as it has never happened when flying with KQ or ET to Europe for instance.
A couple of sad shots of the Queen of the Skies later (due to the ancient architecture of NBO), 3 female attendants welcomed me at the door. Seeing me taking a few pics one of them volunteered to immortalize my presence aboard KLM – I politely declined her offer for the moment but added that at the end of the flight it would be perfect.
Can't do worse for a basic photo, thankgod T1BCD undergoes further renovations :
Truth be told, all my KLM flights out of Nairobi were crammed (in Y) at the opposite of the KQ ones, i'm just guessing that the timing proves being more beneficial for the ²main shareholder. As a tourist and business traveler you can enjoy a full day in Kenya/region with a departure at 10:30 pm whilst KQ116 leaves at 8:25 am forcing a dour red-eye flight if you come anywhere within the continent !
The upper cabin of Hong Kong was filled at 65%, because of my total laziness I did not pay a visit at the main deck ,but the long queues prior boarding seemed to confirm the trend. And why KQ would have withdrawn the 77W if loads were below expectations ?
I met my seatmate - Craig, smiling, discret, chatty but not intrusive whatsoever – A smart British chap going home to Durham.
The second newest version of the seat offers ample comfort, and is wide enough with plenty legroom. The weird divider should feel less cheap and could be adjustable. As you've seen on the picture, seats on row 77 (located behind the emergency exits) provide a valuable wider foot rest, can one find the same for the first rows on both main and upper decks ?
Row 77 seems the fanciest with a larger footroom !
for the next 8h
Kenya Airways and, instead of the LH A343, a Privatair 737
The usual protocol (PDB, no newspaper, amenity kit, menu) and safety video done, we took off on time for an 8h+ journey. I must admit that flying in front cabins is fantastic for the silence and the smoothness during turbulences. If only it could be this way all the time. Interestingly the cabin is well lit for take off and landing, no need the reading light anymore !
Nicolas F. becomes my friend !
I asked the cabin crew to get the burgundy coloured one for a friend, but she told me to keep the male version too – many thanks!
Barely the space for a single leg of a skin and bone pax :-(
We were served cold nuts during the aperitif, then followed the light meal, pretty common on this route – IIRC last time i got served in Y a hot tomato soup with bread and a ridiculous green salad with 2 chunks of cucumber, something similar than on a 1h shorter leg DOH – AMS flown recently ! OK admitedly most people prefer to sleep, but giving a choice would be great. Unless it is an absolute necessity, it's one of the many reasons i tend to avoid KL on intercontinental routes.
Canapés with spicy chicken salad and with smoked sailfish and a tomato and feta skewer : this add-on starter did the job of filling the stomach
Seafood trio served in coconut sauce… was nothing special ; salad and cheeses were bland !
Strawberry tartlets with chocolate and whipped cream,the highlight of this dinner even though i don't have a sweet thooth. i was very eager to confiscate the china… lol !
The crew satisfied my simple request and then at the end of Fast and Furious 7 movie i tried to sleep, but failed, under the blanket i was boiling but my head felt like almost outside the window – so cold. Half sweating half frozen, another movie in the comprehensive IFE (apart from the geovision far from the HD resolution) could help the night passing faster !
Unlike SAA, given when the dessert plate was cleared – very appropriate and tasty !
A South African combo!
Looks like a good movie :-D
Seat control panel
A perfect blanket for cold cabin temperatures
Somewhere over Egypt
I merely dozed off sporadically 1 or 2h in total before the crew decided to lighten the cabin – for the hearty breakfast, not exceptionnally tasty though. At the end, they offered the usual Delt Blue Houses, Craig gave me his. The attendant came back to explain this concept and included a small leaflet in the sealed bag that – very kind and appropriate !
Breakfast time !
The hot leek and onion quiche with tomato sauce was meh
Lukewarm croissant, the content is very diversified !
Houses 9 & 20
We landed on time, upon disembarking the cabin crew forgot his promise about a photo – but honestly it was not a big deal – to my huge surprise not a single Mareschausee Officer, eventually with a dog, waited inside the jetbridge to check the passport – probably a procedure only directed to third world country airlines – so at 5:13 i went to the Schengen Lounge for a shower and some rest while waiting for the next eventfree sector to Marseille.
Hong Kong at Amsterdam airport.
Kenya Airways Simba Lounge
Nairobi - NBO
Amsterdam - AMS
I was very happy and lucky enough to compare KL566 with my previous experience with KQ116 in business class too. What can you learn from this flight that you don't know already? Not much
KL timing seems a way better, KL network is an asset for connecting flights, KL crew is above the average, you can easily notice it everytime !
For the rest on this route and East Africa, Kenya Airways provide a more attractive product in my humble opinion !
Many thanks for reading, safe travels and best wishes for 2016 !
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