Review of Kenya Airways flight Nairobi Livingstone in Business

Airline Kenya Airways
Flight KQ782
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 03:15
Take-off 22 Nov 22, 07:25
Arrival at 22 Nov 22, 09:40
KQ 99 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 445
Published on 28th November 2022

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 when I booked. My itinerary was: 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.

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

I arrived from Paris to Nairobi and I only about one hour til my connecting flight. I went through security and then I started to look for the lounge.


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I followed the sign and I took the elevator one floor up. I was asked three times in a few minutes if I wanted a massage. There’s no free massage at the lounge; a shop next to the lounge offers massages for a fee and the employees hassle all passing passengers – all this at 7am.

The entrance of the Simba Lounge: 


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The lounge is very simple. Breakfast was available.


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There are some seating areas. The large TVs showed some sort of professional wrestling; quite weird, especially so early in the morning.

The views over the apron are more appropriate for an airport. 


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I didn’t have a lot of time anyway. I left the lounge and went to gate 24. The screen here showed a departure to Kinshasa; the agent told me that the gate for my flight had been changed to gate 15.

Despite all this the connection was fairly smooth and a connecting time of one hour was sufficient.

Boarding started a few minutes after 07.00. The plane was one of Kenya Airways’ E190:   


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I was warmly welcomed by the cabin crew. The plane has four rows of seats in business class in a 1+2 configuration. I like this cabin when I’m seated on the left side; it’s nice to have a seat that is both a window and an aisle seat. Legroom is OK for this type of aircraft.


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The seats on the right side.


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Load was 17/18 plus a Kenya Airway crew member, most likely an off-duty pilot.

The purser – Esther – introduced herself. This flight had the best cabin crew from the four Kenya Airways flights I took in a few days.

A choice of welcome drinks was offered: champagne, orange juice, apple juice or water. I had some orange juice. 


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Headphones and an amenity kit were in the seat pocket. I don’t think any of the business class passengers on this flight used them.


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One of Kenya Airways’ B787 Dreamliners next to our plane.


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Push-back was on time for a scheduled departure of 07.25. We took off at 07.35 from runway 06. The view during take-off:


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The ceiling was low. There was not much to see except this mountain raising above the clouds. 


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A hot towel was offered a short time after take-off.


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A printed menu card was distributed. Three choices of hot breakfast on a regional flight! Can you hear that Air France, Lufthansa and just about any other airlines in Europe?


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Fruit salad, a choice of vanilla or strawberry yogurt and a drink – I had some tomato juice.


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Chicken sausage served with hash brown potatoes, sautéed spinach, baked beans and grilled tomatoes. It was quite good.


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Breakfast service was completed one hour after take-off.

The cabin crew was very friendly, efficient and professional.

There’s a personal screen at every seat with movies and TV series but I didn’t watch anything this time.

I slept very well for about one hour. The seat could only be reclined a bit (which I never do when there’s a passenger behind me) but it was comfortable for a regional flight.

We had some nice views over the Zambezi river as we were approaching Livingstone.   


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We landed at Livingstone Airport at 09.33 for a scheduled arrival time of 09.40.

This flight continued to Cape Town; only a dozen or so passengers disembarked.

There were no other flights at this time. The airport has only four to six scheduled flights on most days (Airlink to Johannesburg and Mbombela in South Africa; the Kenya Airways flight I took; Proflight and Zambia Airways to Lusaka).


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 Our plane after landing: 


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The arrival experience was excellent. The employee showing us the way from the plane to the building was in a very good mood. The airport is modern, quiet, nice and easy-to-use. The immigration officer informed me that I didn’t need to buy a visa as since the 2nd November 2022 entry to Zambia became visa free to citizens of 43 countries including most European countries, the USA, Canada, the Gulf States, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and so on.

I changed money at the terminal and I was in the car sent by my guesthouse to pick me up just a few minutes after my plane landed.

Livingstone is a friendly, clean and relaxed town about 10 kms from Victoria Falls.    

A map showing the different viewing points of the Victoria Falls: 


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An information sign about the Zambezi river:


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The Victoria Falls are very impressive and are in my opinion one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in the world alongside with Igauzu in Argentina/Brazil and Gullfoss in Iceland.   


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A typical quiet street in Livingstone:


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The main street of Livingstone:


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An evening river cruise on the Zambezi:


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I was driven to Botswana the next day. The border is located only about one hour from Livingstone; four countries – Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet here. There’s a new bridge between Zambia and Botswana:


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I stayed in the small town of Kasane in Botswana. I went on a small boat cruise to the Chobe National Park where beautiful nature and fantastic wildlife were just everywhere.


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I’ve always thought of Botswana as one of the most expensive countries in Africa but I stayed in a beautiful guesthouse for about 70 €, I paid only 30 € for an afternoon cruise and a steak at the hotel’s restaurant cost about 9 €.

After another day I took a transfer from Botswana to the border with Zimbabwe, located only about 15 minutes from Kasane. 


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Thank you for reading my flight report

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Verdict

Kenya Airways

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering9.0

Kenya Airways Simba Lounge

5.0/10
Comfort4.0
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services5.0

Nairobi - NBO

6.0/10
Efficiency3.5
Access7.5
Services6.0
Cleanliness7.0

Livingstone - LVI

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This flight was very nice for regional flight with a comfortable seat, excellent cabin crew and good catering.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 616763 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6051 Comments

    Thanks for this next report in this exotic series! The J cabin on this E190 is much nicer than anything in Europe. The left side is great with a window and aisle seat at the same time. Meal looks good.

    Thanks for the tourist bonus, Victoria Falls is definitely ok my bucket list,

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 616981 by
    East African 1549 Comments

    Excellent report and bonus, many thanks for sharing.

    You did well to choose the Simba lounge over the P Lounge, before the gate change :D
    In the October newsletter, KQ was mentioning about improved lounges and inflight catering (link below):

    https://preview.mailerlite.com/x2j3b7j4v4/2073110871697004014/i7p6/

    There was not much to see except this mountain raising above the clouds.

    Yeah the best mountains for sure ... :-)

    The immigration officer informed me that I didn’t need to buy a visa as since the 2nd November 2022 entry to Zambia became visa free to citizens of 43 countries

    Very good news, do you know how does it work for the dual ZimZam visa now?

  • Comment 616992 by
    bldavid GOLD AUTHOR 257 Comments

    Hi, the dusl ZamZim visas are not issued anymore to EU citizens as Zambia became visa free. You can get your Zimbabwean visa easily on the border for $30. No advance paperwork is needed.

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