Review of Skyward Express flight Nairobi Lamu in Economy

Airline Skyward Express
Flight OW350
Class Economy
Seat 11D
Flight time 02:10
Take-off 18 Dec 22, 09:00
Arrival at 18 Dec 22, 11:10
OW 1 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 439
Published on 2nd January 2023

I went on a 30-day trip in December 2022 and January 2023 to leave the Icelandic winter behind me for some time. The trip had four main parts: visiting Sudan and Kenya; visiting friends, colleagues and relatives in Hungary and the Czech Republic; a family holiday in Tenerife and a business trip to Senegal, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.

I had a total of 18 flights, booked mostly as one-ways and one double open-jaw. Here’s my final list of flights after many cancellations, changes of departure time and aircraft type:

Keflavík to Paris CDG, Icelandair, economy class, B757 (no flight report)
Paris to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A321
Istanbul to Khartoum, Turkish, business class, B737
Khartoum to Addis, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B737
Addis to Nairobi NBO, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B777
Nairobi WIL to Mombasa to Lamu, Skyward Express, economy class, Q300
Lamu to Malindi to Nairobi WIL, Safarilink, economy class, Q200
Nairobi NBO to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A330
Istanbul to Budapest, Turkish, business class, B737
Vienna to Tenerife South, Wizzair, economy class, A321
Tenerife North to Gran Canaria, Binter Canarias, economy class, ATR42
Grand Canaria to Dakar, Binter Canarias, economy class, E195
Dakar to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Banjul to Freetown, Air Sénégal, economy class
Freetown to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class
Banjul to Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Casablanca to Paris ORY, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Paris CDG to Keflavík, Play, economy class

This was a flight from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Lamu with a stop at Mombasa.

There are two airports in Nairobi. The main airport is JKIA where most international flights arrive. The other airport is Wilson, only 15 minutes from downtown. This is a very interesting airport used mostly by smaller airlines and general aviation.

Skyward Express is one of Kenya’s many airlines. It started operations in 2013. It has two Dash 8-Q300 and eight Fokker F50s. Destinations within Kenya include Eldoret, Lodwar, Ukunda, Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu.

Unlike at most airports there’s not one terminal to check in but each airline has its own terminal.    


photo 01

You check-in at the desk and your luggage is weighed. 


photo 02

There’s a nice cafe at Skyward’s terminal.


photo 03photo 04

After check-in passengers are taken to the departure terminal by bus.


photo 05photo 06

It’s been a long time since I bought a printed newspaper.


photo 07

This very simple terminal is for security control and boarding only, not for check-in.  


photo 08

The best part is that you have to walk to the plane among the many small Cessnas and other aircraft. 


photo 09photo 10

You have to identify your luggage next to the plane. 


photo 11photo 12photo 13

Boarding passes checked again at the stairs to the aircraft.

This Q300 has 13 rows in a 2+2 single class configuration with a total 50 seats.    


photo 14

The first row has CD seats only and these are rear facing. The flight was fully booked from Nairobi to Mombasa. My seat was 11D which is in the emergency exit row.


photo 15photo 16

Most of the passengers seemed to be domestic tourists. Many of them were chatting happily and were clearly in a good mood.

An expected flight time of one hour and five minutes to Lamu was announced at a cruising altitude of 18,000 feet.

Boarding was completed at 08.50. We started to taxi 08.55 for a scheduled departure time of 09.00. We took off at 08.57.

We flew close to the ground for the first ten minutes. I didn't see the instruments but seemed to be around only 2,000 feet above ground. After that the plane climbed to cruising altitude.

A small water offered.    


photo 17

Visibility was not very good but I could spot Kilimanjaro in the distance. 


photo 18

We flew between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks but nothing could be seen.

Start of descent to Mombasa was at 09.45. A bridge under construction near Mombasa:   


photo 19

We landed at Mombasa Airport at 10.07 and were at our parking position at 10.10 for a scheduled arrival time of 10.10.


photo 20

"Passengers continuing to Lamu kindly remain on board." About 15 passengers got off at Mombasa and 12 others boarded ten minutes later.

An expected flight time of 45 minutes to Lamu was announced.

We started to taxi at 10.28 for a scheduled departure time of 10.30. We took off at 10.33.

The view of a river shortly after take-off from Mombasa: 


photo 21

We flew along the shoreline.


photo 22

A bottle of water was offered again.

Long sandy shorelines could be seen in the minutes before landing.  


photo 23photo 24

We landed in Lamu at 11.13 for a scheduled arrival time of 11.10. The taxiways are so narrow that the landing gears of our plane went "off-road". We reached our parking position (which was also off-concrete) at 11.15. 


photo 25photo 26

There walk to the terminal building was a bit long as the new apron was being built.


photo 27

Lamu Airport is quite unusual: access from/to Lamu town is by boat.


photo 29photo 28

Lamu is both an island and a small town.


photo 30photo 31

There are hardly any motor vehicles; donkeys are used to transport everything on land…


photo 32

…and boats on water.


photo 33

I went on a boat tour with some friends.


photo 34

I don’t think these cannons have ever been used.


photo 35

A sandy beach on Manda Island. The airport is also on this island.


photo 36
See more

Verdict

Skyward Express

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering6.0

Nairobi - WIL

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Lamu - LAU

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

This was an unusual flight departing from and arriving to very interesting airports. Not much could be seen unfortunately from above due to the weather conditions. The plane itself was in OK condition. The cabin crew was both friendly and professional.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 618015 by
    NGO85 GOLD 1871 Comments

    Hi David, thanks for sharing this rare look at domestic flights in Kenya. Renegade Air is definitely a carrier I have not seen before, very nice logo. Quite the interesting ground experience, how often do they transit passengers from the check-in terminal to the departure terminal?

    What was the spiral bound book in the seatback? I don't think I have ever seen a spiral bound publication on a plane before. Definitely a unique experience, what was the fare point? Should be a lot more competition on these routes compared to what you saw in Zimbabwe.

    Lamu Airport is quite unusual: access from/to Lamu town is by boat.

    Reminds me of VCE^^

    • Comment 618155 by
      bldavid GOLD AUTHOR 257 Comments

      HI NGO85 and thank you for your comment. The bus went maybe three times from the check-in terminal to the boarding terminal.
      Sorry, I don't remember what the spiral bound book was.
      Kenya has a well-developped market for the domestic flights with a healthy competition which is quite the opposite of what happens in Zimbabwe. More generally speaking, Kenya is one of the fastest developping country in Africa while Zimbabwe is pretty much the opposite.
      True, but there are a few "small" differences between Lamu and Venice :)

  • Comment 618164 by
    fiftytwo GOLD 1219 Comments

    thanks for the report

    Lamu Airport is quite unusual: access from/to Lamu town is by boat.

    wow , must be quite funny journey

    I had a total of 18 flights, booked mostly as one-ways and one double open-jaw. Here’s my final list of flights after many cancellations, changes of departure time and aircraft type:

    i guess after that you had enough of planes for at least 3 months

Login to post a comment.