Review of Kenya Airways flight Nairobi Kigali in Economy

Airline Kenya Airways
Flight KQ448
Class Economy
Seat 29J
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 01:25
Take-off 15 May 16, 07:25
Arrival at 15 May 16, 07:50
KQ   #31 out of 85 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 100 reviews
East African
Published on 25th June 2016
Greetings Everyone,

Thanks for clicking here and welcome to my first FR on website's V3!

Ticket itinerary:

1/ Brussels Midi Train Station (ZYR) – Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), Thalys, 2nd class: no report
2/ Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) – Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (NBO), Kenya Airways, Eco: coming next
3/ Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (NBO) – Kigali International (KGL), Kenya Airways, Eco: here
4/ Kigali International (KGL) – *via EBB* Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), KLM, Eco: no report
5/ Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) – Brussels Zavanteem (BRU), KLM, Eco: no report

A little more details about that trip will follow on the previous flight, soon to be posted.

After clearing the security checks, i made my way to the Pride Lounge, the largest out there but very crowded at that time, to grab a quick brekkie even though one cold was served only 60 min ago and another bunch of cabin crew may offer me one in 1h or so!

If you want a perfect coverage of the new lounge plus the T1A, check out this video:

Gate 15 means The (initial) Pride Lounge near gate 17, among the 3 choices to unwind and refresh yourself!
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You might battle for a vacant seat on a sharing/dirty table unless you can stay in the unappealling smoking zone or quiet area at 6:30 am!
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The entire self serve hot (well lukewarm!!) buffet offering photo DSC00080_zpssiss7tmo

The daylight started to illuminate the airport showing a busy apron. Gate 15 agents scrutinized the visa/passports and BPs. Ground staff called for boarding on time with Business Class, Skyteam Elite +/Elite pax and family first, initially i thought it was just a useless and standard procedure since no jetbridge sticked to the aircraft but i was proven wrong. The bird remained just behind the bridge so no need for a bus this time – how cool!

Bad news as a bus awaited for pax.
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Nah, 5Y-KYR was hidden behind the bridge.
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A regular British visitor (Voyager KC3) coming here to pick up and drop off troops that support the AMISOM and Kenyan Forces in Somalia, on the right an excellent low cost airline Fly540 bounds to Mombasa.
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Where the ancient meets the newest terminal: taxiing
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KQ448 does the triangular route Nairobi – Kigali – Bujumbura – Nairobi, with 5th freedom rights on the 35 min 2nd sector. ( Despite the no service, scenery is breathtaking, and it saves 7h …)

Take off on time and then followed an uncommon flight pattern with a very long straight forward climbing (to avoid the city) before engaging on a left turn, instead of the customary right turn over the platform.

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The Mount Kenya with an altitude of 5200 m
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Musoma airfield in Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria
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During the next 1:10 a meal is served, obviously a breakfast thing at this time of the day. You can compare with Nick's tray suggested by the competitor RwandAir on that route here:

NBO – KGL with RwandAir:

A full cabin for 2 destinations
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No headphones given, and no route map available, so very limited with a "Just for Laugh" like thing!
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Compulsory inflight reading materials
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Legroom of 31", more than ok for my 175 cm
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A trolley full of (limited) cold drinks preceded a serving of tea/coffee, despite drastic cost cutting measures following years of disastrous financial results, i'm still impressed about KQ's efforts on that route in comparison to many intra European routes.

"Chicken sausages or vegetarian"?
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Zoom in on the main,at least it was very warm but too similar to the hot food from the lounge unfortunately :-(
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As usual, Kigali Airport welcomes inbound commercial flights from runway 28, an almost direct route from NBO, so after braking firmly, plane turned right at the unique taxiway to park in at stance 3 in front of the arrivals door terminal with an easy deplaning by stairs without a bus ride.

Video of landing

Lakes near the Akagera National Park, worth a visit since lions have been reintroduced
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(Extracted from the video of landing)
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(Extracted from the video of landing): Kanombe area and the Free Trade Zone at a distance
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(Extracted from the video of landing): light airplanes
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(Extracted from the video of landing): A quiet day for [almost] everybody!
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(Extracted from the video of landing): looks like the new taxiway
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Probably half of the plane got off here, i was lucky enough to hold a visa and be amongst the first out, as there were 3 lanes for those disembarking here (no visa/with entry letter; with visa and the APCS dedicated to Rwandan residents).

New RwandAir Dash 8
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Passenger terminal building
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When my turn came, at the immigration booths the lady acted like she did with the previous foreign traveller, but also asked a random question in the local language – kinyarwanda - that i have yet to improve, except for all the touristy words!

By the time i answered, both fingerprints were taken, then without further explanation she told me to wait first at the booth before disappearing definitely (with the French passport)…. because of what seen afterwards her shift was over.A quick glance at the watch showed 8:23 am, the time that one of her collegues takes over the counter and i thought that i should leave the airport by 9:00 am as usual it takes no more than 15 min to process it. Well, on that day i was freed from the immigration posts at 12h17, meaning an insane 4h idle seating at the same place with no info given (even my effort to collect clues proved to be fruitless). Every now and then, curious airport staff asked what i was doing here.

Blocked here with patience as the only option
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Granted that, someone very close got detained in this country for over 2 weeks just because this person was taking innocent pictures around the airport and; on their database i hold a Rwandan citizenship with a consular card from the UK and also; when paying a visit to Rwanda in November 2015 I entered with a French passport different (now expired) from the one I carried on that day, no wonder why the entire team seemed at least puzzled but hey come on, 4 long hours to do the background checks has driven me nuts.

If the wifi was not free at everywhere in the airport, I could surely have gone mental. Kigali is a quiet airport as only Ethiopian and RwandAir planes (from ADD and DXB respectively) delivered maybe 150 visitors at 9ish and 10ish am. Temptation was high to call home and tell the ongoing story but, myself doubtlessly blameless, the lack of info provided and more important the possibility to create unnecessary panic for an *eventual* minor incident incited to keep calm and enjoy the metal bare hard chairs, spotless toilets and discover great reports on this website!

At some point one of the officers, passport in hands apologized profusely for the troubles endured and allowed me to take a picture of the billboard of the good looking RwandAir's A330 business class, hallelujah! However the time wasted was so considerable! Thank god no perishable goods were inside the luggages stored at the "Lost and Found" facility airside before customs!

Only 3 months to go
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Amahoro Stadium: Mozambique – Rwanda Afcon qualifiers
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Mozambique won 3-2. Hopes to play the African Cup of Nations 2017 are gone… :-(
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See more


Kenya Airways

Cabin crew7.0

Kenya Airways Pride Lounge


Nairobi - NBO


Kigali - KGL




Standard for a short haul flight, modern, clean and appealing.

No interaction at all but did the job and smiled throughtout.

A nice touchscreen and power port usd yes, but no headphones nor geovision (not a big deal for me on that route). Programs were all working though.

With a two hot meal option, they can not go wrong on an 1h20 international flight. Too bad it seems directly produced from one of NBO's Lounge.

Pride lounge

Good location, there was enough space for everybody, not the the best seats of course. I find it regrettable KCAA/KQ let anyone entering with a fee (KCAA should send them to the Aspire Lounge), which means you can not feel secluded or secure with your belongings, thanksfully many staff look around.

the weakest point as choices are very poor, Chicken or eggs for breakfast and Chicken and beef for lunch and dinner along with 3 sides (potatoes/sweet potatoes/Ugali) nothing else (cold or hot).

Showers, no annoucement for the flights, smoking lounge, rest area, FIDS, nothing to complain about.

Free Ipadfree ipad (or the Samsung stuff), newspaper/magazine, nice views.


The SkyPriority lane made the difference.


Duty free better than inflight but for the rest Didn't have time to try it on.



The 1 point mark is attributed for the return flight where the immigration officer stamped the passport out without any question asked nor putting me aside for further interrogation, for the very first time since a long time...

Cheapest way to go to town starting from RWF150 (usd 0.20) and no traffic jam from the airport at that time. Parking for rwf 250 per hour/ Taxis with a fixed fare anywhere Rwf 5000 for Remera, 10 000 for the rest of the city.

Free wifi in "all" terminals, which saved me during the "dour times", dour exchange rates as usual at any airport!

is Kigali's Fame so no way to dispute what governement's aiming at! spotless.

Information on the route Nairobi (NBO) Kigali (KGL)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 3 avis concernant 2 compagnies sur la ligne Nairobi (NBO) → Kigali (KGL).


La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Kenya Airways avec 7.5/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 21 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 355464 by
    Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE 960 Comments
    Oh, gosh! I'll never complain again for an hour waiting because of bad weather! So sorry you had to go through this. Great pics as usual.

    Thanks for sharing!
  • Comment 357447 by
    East African AUTHOR 1556 Comments
    Thanks for your comment Nechus :)

    "Oh, gosh! I'll never complain again for an hour waiting because of bad weather!" => Haha fair enough but you will have to if flight is cancelled!

    "So sorry you had to go through this." => i was ready for this situation as the renewal application of the Rwandan passport was given in January (to the Embassy in Paris) and obviously or rather oddly had not been received the day of departure (4 months later). That's why i anticipated and applied for a visa. But guess what, the passport was ready since March but only available in Kigali because for the Diaspora Officer a document was missing... finally a happy ending lol ;-)

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