According to Routesonline.com, fledging East African carrier WB is set to launch London Gatwick within the next 3 months, also before the fall 2017 its CEO John Mirenge expects Mumbai to welcome one of the 2 brand new A330 recently delivered along with New York for 2019 (plus Mars for 2025, surpassing the NASA….) to "connect the Universe to Africa" and "Africa to the Universe" through Kigali future airport; the New Bugesera International.
Obviously, I could not wait for such a long time because even in developping countries, let alone in Africa, you are never guaranteed when an airline will go bust and its aircrafts seized. So, the sonner you fly the better… :-)
On short notice, an Air France return ticket was bought 1 week prior the date of travel for a dire EUR 685. The easy to navigate RwandAir website suggests Dubai-Kigali-Dubai for EUR 1100, nevertheless a multi - city ticket all in business costs only EUR100 extra with, at that time, higher chances to catch the sleek heavy!
Without my luggage left in Paris by AF, it's with bitterness that I discovered the 3rd Terminal in DXB at 1:30 am after a quick AED 35 taxi ride from T1 (Since no bus or metro service links it to T1/3) as, sadly RwandAir relocated here from T1 in March 2015. T2 is a single-storey passenger terminal which has been recently renovated and refurbished with all necessary facilities such as bars, restaurants, cafes, duty free and lounges. It houses low cost airlines and third world carriers like Eritrean Airlines, Iraqi Airways, Turkmenistan Airlines. At 2 am near zone 2, the typical African crowd was gathered with an average of 3 large bags per person when the station manager came to inform the desks would open at 2:45 am. The friendly Asian agent confirmed the most important information of the day: the "big aircraft is on its way" and allocated seat 2H.
Dubai Terminal 2 curbside at 1:30 am
A low cost terminal
No carpet, no flower at the J class counter (left)
Despite being entered in the UAE well past midnight, the passport was stamped the day before, which was a good thing as it would have been very hard to justify to the immigration officer the present 2 hours and half stay here :-) . Yeah I love visiting airport terminals… lol
RwandAir JCL guests (not sincerely sure about the future Premium Eco) can use the Marhaba lounges right after the passport control. Past the reception desk, this blind facility includes 2 rooms of different size and amenities, however the mayor disappointment is the lack of shower. Interestingly both dinner and breakfast food items were on display of the main lounge room.
Marhaba Lounge entrance
Computers and printing station at the left
The main room
F&B (soft/hot only) buffet
Cold food stuffs
Hot food items
The second (smoking) room with a staffed bar
Sampling a bit of everything
Lounge stamp from the 6/11/16 (???)
Thankfully only a few meters separated the lounge from the correct gate. T2 doesn't have any jetbridge at all, hence passengers are bussed to the aircraft after a rather useless priority boarding call for business and frequent travellers.
A busy hall even at odd hours
Call for priority boarding respected
"The Dream of Africa", christened Ubumwe (=Unity), a 3 months old ship
At door 2L, a well groomed male greeted and checked the stub to direct the flow of passengers. The first impressions of the brand new cabin were extremely positive! Much better than the hideous eccentric colour scheme mixing 70's style orange and grass green that render had unveiled last year! One feels a more soothing and conducive atmosphere for resting.
Imigongo design, a classy art made from cow dung and dirt!
Notice on the bulkheads, the Mounts Karisimbi at the right, and Bisoke at the left.
The seat (more details in the Kigali – Dubai segment)
The senior stewardess offered the cloakroom, then handed over some newspaper and when boarding was completed, as often, a service of hot towel and PDB (passion/orange juice or water) followed.
Guess who's the boss here?
Flight happened a Tuesday morning…
Piping hot towel
Orange, passion juices and water
Since RwandAir flies to a growing network in French-speaking African countries – annoucements were made in French and English from the flight deck, Kiswahili and Kinyarwanda from the the cabin crew sounded very just logical when they were heard, who then apologized for the 40 min delay at push back.
Take off video:
Since the inflight entertainment was operational as soon as boarding, an opportunity to flick through the channels on the standard sized touchscreen (for JCL) appeared during the climbing. No much room for improvement here, the overall content rivals with the likes of ET and KQ. The movie and series selection focuses mainly on Western (US only??) stuffs. Too bad for a country whose mountainous landscape has earned the moniker of "Hillywood" omits to support local, Nollywood and African blockbusters, clearly its bread and butter so far!
CAN should welcome soon WB's wb!
Sharp resolution (the pic does not do justice to it)
8 kid programs
7 music styles (only these nonstop compilations – no album)
Excellent new noise cancelling headphones!
The second Airbus, an A333, landed yesterday 1/12/16 at Kigali.
Approximately 60 min after the push back, the cute cabin attendant orally suggested for breakfast an omelette with (chicken) sausages or sausages and a last option that I fail to remember. The visible menu on the IFE was purely embellishing. The reasonably portionned brekkie served in one go, increased the time to catch fourty winks after the crew lowered all window blinds, even if ET expresses more class on a similar flights to/from JNB with a 2 course breakfast. Not a big deal though!
Nice new idea from WB
Breakfast tray contents and menu description are alike ;-)
Nothing exceptionnal though it would have been nice from the crew to verbally mention the mushrooms
Rwandan tea, nice to get sweetener
The fully extended position of the seat does not guarantee an optimal digestion and rest, unless one activates the massage function – or it may just be a personnal feeling.
Just soap – hand/body lotion and/or perfume would be nice additions.
As of now, an adorning (=useless) W class it's not loaded yet on GDS.
As stipulated on the wifi leaflet, over Ethiopia (1/3 of the total trip distance lol) wifi doesn't work so, let's finish off the night. New blanket and of better quality.
10 MB offered
My bad, I have forgotten the English version :-(
(Fast forward) Captain Marcel came into the blower for enquiring of our well being, giving our current position and annoucing the beginning of "the end". A minute or so later, the friendly Rwandan stewardess brought over a glass of bubbly along with a bottle of still water!Service hard to fault !
Kind of second "service" minutes away from decreasing altitude.
Jackets were handed over, cabin got prepared and secured and "Ubumwe" touched down runway 28 at 11:15 am, meaning a wee 40 minutes late.
Video of landing at Kigali
Slightly disappointed as you can not view the current route flown
National Road 3 leads to Tanzania.
Kigali Free Trade Zone
The 6 months old taxiway
Have you noticed the tail of an Antonov 24?
Passenger terminal building
Coastal Aviation charter
A short walk on a wet apron enabled half the pax to enter in Rwanda or the other half to continue the journey elsewhere in Africa.
The next flight showcases my first international transfer at my home airport on a short leg to NBO.
RwandAir title should have been bigger imo
Marhaba Lounge - 2
Dubai - DXB
Kigali - KGL
An outstanding product, probably the best seat in Africa, some details could be changed and improved like menu, playlist IFE and bathroom toiletries to name but a few. Crew was professional and caring.
Many thanks for reading, comments and corrections always valuable.
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Looking forward to your next report!
The fares are often attractive so they do the job. It be a great airline once they will serve Paris and New York :-)
Thank you very much for commenting.
Are the 15min free wifi only for J pax? or also for Y?
Is the J seat full flat?
Thanks for sharing, looking forward to reading the return flight!
Yes indeed, free wifi for everybody!
Let's see how long WB will keep these birds!
I definitely do agree with you, ex - Kigali catering might be better ;-)
Never heard about Imigongo before. Very interesting.
Thanks a lot for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed this FR!
Some of these paintings cost a fortune despite being made from pooh
Why not?? Are cats and dogs sacred mammals in your South American country??
Because cows (particularly the Ankole longhorn) remain a cornerstone of Rwandan culture. Since the ancient times they are a symbol of wealth...
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