Fledging East African carrier, RwandAir - WB is set to launch London Gatwick 3x weekly from the 26th of May. Next Monday, the 3rd or April 2017 Mumbai will welcome one of the 2 brand new B738 with free wifi recently delivered. Its CEO John Mirenge expects New York for 2019 (plus Mars for 2025, surpassing the NASA….) with an A350 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… :-)
Now time to go to Kigali for celebrating and partying all the week end long!
Although the hearty breakfast was not memorable, the receptionnist saved my life as the taxi driver from the eve did not show up at the Folks Inn nor bother to pick up the phone to answer my numerous calls – what an a**hole! The area doesn't not seem very touristy so it could have been a nightmare to find an option on your own!
At 9:30 am the lady moved heaven and earth to make sure MOI airport would be reached on time. I profusely thanked her and promised her to greet her on my next visit to Mombasa Luckly 25 min later her cousin dropped me at the international terminal where I gave him kes 250 tip on the top of the kes 500 for taxi ride!
At CI counters KQ friendly agents dealt with my booking stipulating that only seats in coach class were left. Well…how is it possible? When she got the e-ticket number everything was solved quickly which allowed to have a wee casual talk about KQ mostly and WB with those ladies as no other clients were waiting in line!
Int'l & domestic departures share the same hall
At the first level an KAA employee checks BP to direct you either to the immigration booths (quiet on that day) or to the departure lounge if you travel domestically.
Nowadays, MBA feels almost like ghost town following the Kenya travel warnings in 2011 released by many western countries forcing many tour operators, travel agents and duty free shops to close business. What a pity for a such lovely country even if I do understand security concerns for citizens in developped nations. Hope it's going to pick up as soon as possible especially when you consider that KENYA has met the threshold required for a category one airport status for direct flights between Nairobi and the US some weeks ago!
There were some monkeys inside the terminal back in 2011
Looking down at the immigration booths (left)
KQ staff at CI told me the lounge would be at the same location as my last back in 2014 at the mezzanine upstairs. It welcomes charters, KQ's flights to ZNZ/DAR, TK, ET and RwandAir premium guests. What to think about it? Humm it got from bad to worse, probably the crappiest lounge ever visited in Africa. First of all it was unattended so nobody to check the eligibility, provide the wifi password, or ensuring the well being of passengers. Let the pictures do the talk :
Not even a working coffee maker or kettle
After half an hour by myself, I quited this place to purchase some gifts and other duty free items (BTW, surprisingly most shops do accept Amex…) and ask an airport employee if this was the correct lounge and why on earth it's impossible to have even a cup of hot drink! She told me that due to a function on the domestic side she could not be at both place at the same time, as 11 am does not represent a busy moment in this part of terminal, her boss obliged the international customers to take care of themselves!
let's check what's so vip about them?
It must work perfectly somehow
When boarding started ( no priority call), a few passengers incl myself got confused about the direction to take to reach the aircraft. Some turned right and went downstairs to walk under the building until facing the mighty beast, while myself walked across the jetbridge up to the end, went down and enjoyed a stroll on to the busy apron.
Short, medium, wide
Near the aircraft, another snap of the good looking beauty but a RwandAir staff firmly but calm told me Please remove the battery Sir in what i've obeyed but switching off the camera as his intentions were not clear enough.
Indeed when the cockpit crew came into the blower to announce that refuelling was completed, I inoncently believed that WB crew meant to reduce fire hazard with a camera ( possible with a mobile for sure).
Load factor in J appeared very encouraging with a 6/20 incl 5 pax from DXB. Cabin crew were the same as 3 days ago because the Welcome back Sir, glad to see you onboard again with made me feel at ease straight forward. Simple but good job!
Take off video :
Mombasa Air Safari
During climbing, an ultimate picture of the overhead bins saw the rush of the WB staff urging once again to remove the battery. Ok that's a clear message now even if I tried to ignore this stubborn robotic attitude for the rest of the flight. Why? Cuz if i had read carefully Inzozi's RwandAir magazine well before (during the DXB-KGL for instance), the editorial from WB's CEO could have proven him that he did not do justice for his employer/airline… Consequences of his behaviour were terrible as the landing video was not stabilized … ;-) The lunch was not overwhelming. Strange to get a hot meal on the KGL-NBO but cold sandwich on this longer leg
Car seat belt
After this photo I got warned a second time to remove the battery but…
CEO himself strongly advises to take pictures and share them online :rolleyes:
Cold beef ( or chicken) sandwich
One of the 3 or 4 glasses before landing… :)
Video of landing at Kigali :
Rwamagana Solar Power Station
No paxbus when disembarking, glad the weather was ok, a short walk to the terminal very crowded due the midday wave with services from Entebbe, Jo'bourg, Dar/JRO and Nairobi just landed too!
If Entebbe and Nairobi airports do a great job with a dedicated lane for East African Citizens, usually much faster, Kigali has yet to catch up its delay as it only offers an APCS ( Automated Passenger Clearance System ) for nationals already registered, extremely convenient as used several times in the past. Unfortunately, my passport renewed last year prior the flights (at the Rwandan Embassy in Paris), denied me this access. So I queued like a mere tourist lol and because all lanes were so packed, the officer who recognized me immediately suggested to process this formality on a quiet day at the airport. Before some nationals like Canadians, Germans and British did not need visa to enter, unfortunately for them now they must apply online and pay the usd 30 visa on arrival !
Terminal at the arrival side, notice the majority of Toyota vehicles ;-)
Most of the upmarket hotels, tour operators offer free transfers, cabs to town cost a flat rate of Rwf 5000 (Eur 6) if you go to Remera/Kimironko/Kanombe areas or Rwf 10000 ( Eur 12) anywhere else within Kigali. Since the 27th African Union Summit, a schedule airport shuttle operates hourly (9 am to 19 pm) for only Rwf 1000 nonstop to the new – safe – bus terminal in the city center near the Institute of the Statistics.
Safari VIP Lounge
Mombasa - MBA
Kigali - KGL
RwandAir: Best cabin, seat and entertainment for a 1:40 flight duration, crew recognized me from the previous but nothing else, catering could be better especially in comparison to what is served on shorter flights (KGL-NBO).
Safari Vip Lounge: The worst lounge visited ever, You should never pay for the eur 18 fee to enter - even with the Priority Pass.
Mombasa: Very quiet so definitely clean and fast, from what I've heard tourism is picking up again, so let's hope authorities will cope!
Kigali: Average for a regional SSA airport.
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