I went on a short holiday to Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. None of these countries have direct flights from Europe. There are three main options to get there. You can fly with any major European airline (Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish) to Johannesburg and connect there. You can also fly to Lusaka in Zambia or Harare in Zimbabwe with Emirates or Qatar. Or you can choose the shortest route and fly with one of the major African airlines: Ethiopian or Kenya Airways. Ethiopian flies to Gaborone in Botswana, Ndola and Lusaka in Zambia and Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Kenya Airways flies to Livingstone, Ndola and Lusaka in Zambia and Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Kenya Airways flies to four airports in Kenya, 38 airports in other African countries, four in Europe (Amsterdam, London, Paris, Rome), one in the US (New York) and four in the Middle East. The airline has 32 passenger planes including seven B78-800 Dreamliners, eight B737-800s, two B737-700s and 15 E190s. All planes offer two classes: economy and business called Premier. Kenya Airways is a member of SkyTeam.
The flights from Europe to Zambia or Zimbabwe are slightly more expensive than to Johannesburg. The best price in business class from Europe was from Paris. My itinerary was:
My itinerary was: Paris to Nairobi, Kenya Airways Nairobi to Livingstone, Kenya Airways Victoria Falls to Harare, Air Zimbabwe Harare to Lusaka to Nairobi, Kenya Airways Nairobi to Amsterdam, Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways' check-in was in area 2 of CDG Terminal 2E.
I didn’t see any business class check-in desks. I overheard an agent telling two other passengers queueing in the economy line to go to area 6 to the Air France SkyPriority check-in desks. This is fine but there should be a sign to indicate this. So I went to Air France’s SkyPriority check-in.
The agent working there didn’t know if he could check in for a Kenya Airways flight. His colleague told him he could. He then started to check the entry conditions to Zambia. He expected them to be very complicated but he said visa was available on arrival and a covid vaccination was needed. He was not very well informed but was otherwise very friendly.
There was only one person in front of me at SkyPriority passport control and security.
I went to the SkyTeam – Air France lounge.
The lounge was large enough and was not crowded. The furniture looked very cheap.
Alcoholic and soft drinks, coffee, salads and desserts were available.
There are toilets and showers in the lounge. The toilets were not very clean; the three cleaning staff were chatting outside.
Terminal 2E is quite nice.
The check-in agent forgot to put on my boarding pass that he had checked my documents so the boarding agent asked me which documents were required to enter Zambia (visa on arrival? he asked me), checked my covid vaccination certificate and I could board.
Despite the various shortcomings of the check-in and boarding process I appreciated that the terminal was not crowded and I could get airside then to the plane quite quickly.
The plane on this flight was a B787-800 Dreamliner, registration number 5Y-KZC, built in 2014.
Kenya Airways’ B787 has two business class cabins. The front has three rows of seats and the second has two; each row is in a 2+2+2 configuration. This is certainly not the most cutting edge configuration with not much privacy or no direct aisle access from all seats but the cabin feels spacious.
Legroom is huge. Seat pitch is 75’’.
Electronically dimmable windows.
All business class seats were occupied.
A pillow and a blanket were waiting on the seat.
An amenity kit was distributed a short time later.
A welcome drink was offered: champagne or orange juice or apple juice or water. I had some orange juice.
An expected flight time of 7 hours and 15 minutes was announced.
The safety demonstration video was shown in English and in French.
Push-back was at 20.31 for a scheduled departure time of 20.20. We took off from runway 26R at 20.43.
We had fantastic views over Paris (and its suburbs) right after take-off.
Let’s have a look at the menu.
A hot towel was offered 15 minutes after take-off.
Drinks and packaged nuts were offered a short time later.
A cabin crew member took orders for dinner.
Meal service started 45 minutes after take-off.
Cucumber tartare served with goat cheese saffron creamy mustard sauce.
Beef stew served with potato gratin, glazed carrot and beef jus.
Passion fruit and caramel pastry.
Dinner was OK but nothing extraordinary.
The cabin crew was very efficient and professional. The meal service was completed quickly. They all wore face masks and most of them also had protective gloves. One of them came to me after dinner and completed a short customer satisfaction survey on a tablet, also asking about my country of residence and my phone number. I’m not sure why I was asked; the other passengers around me were not.
This was a relatively short overnight flight so I went to sleep right after I had finished dinner. The seat can be transformed into a fully flat bed. I slept very well for about four hours.
Breakfast service started one hour and 30 minutes before landing. Bread and pastry were also offered but I didn’t take any.
I had a quick look through the onboard magazine after breakfast and checked out the route network and the fleet.
We landed at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 06.10 for a scheduled arrival time of 06.25.
Our plane after arrival:
Air france Lounge - 2E, Hall K
Paris - CDG
Nairobi - NBO
Kenya Airways offer a good business class product. It’s not the most sophisticated neither for the hard or the soft product but the cabin is spacious, the cabin crew is professional and the catering is adequate.
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Lovely report as usual! A great start to what looks to be an exotic trip and series of flights!
Too bad about the check-in chaos and the cleanliness of the lounge; hopefully this is the exception and not the norm. Sadly, CDG can be chaotic in the best of times.
As you mention, KQ's J seats aren't the fanciest, but these Aura Lite seats are spacious and airy despite the lack of direct aisle access. Perfectly suitable for an 8h flight. Catering looks quite nice.
Beautiful views of Paris on departure--you can see the whole city and the Eiffel tower!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi KévinDC, thank you for your comment. The overall experience at CDG was positive as the terminal was not crowded and I could get through secuity and passport control quickly. That's right, the seats are spacious and this is very important.
Thanks for this nice serie on KQ post Covid!
It's perfectly timed as I'm in booking process of some KQ flights (in Y though) for next year!
Which is the least desirable intl lounge at CDG 2E. Rest assured, even AF flights to NBO have to use this concourse (and lounge ) :-(
Most likely because you have a Flying Blue account. It happened to me (but not to my wife?!?!) on a KGL-NBO sector.
Glad to see it's back. While distances to/from NBO in km are much easier to read on the map, for FFs it would have been much better to put nautical miles ;-)
Overall a good flight and a great report.
Thank you for your comment! Good to know, I'll try a different lounge next time at CDG.
Seems like KQ didn't improve a lot compared to my experiences back in 2019. While the seat pitch is great when you sit, it isn't very comfortable for a lie-flat seat for someone above 1.80 (6''). Thanks for reporting :)
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