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Review: Kenya Airways Business Class 787 New York To Nairobi

Review: Kenya Airways Business Class 787 New York To Nairobi

Introduction: To Nairobi For 13 Hours
Assessment: Kenya Airways Business Class 787 New York To Nairobi
Evaluation: British Airways Business Class 747 Nairobi To London
Assessment: British Airways Membership World 747 London To New York

I had landed at Newark Airport off the world’s longest flight from Singapore earlier than 7AM, and took an Uber to JFK, the place I arrived at round 8AM.

By probability I occurred to come across a Kenya Airways press convention occurring on the arrivals degree of Terminal four. The inaugural flight had simply landed from Nairobi, they usually had tons of executives and media in attendance. I can’t consider a a lot much less glamorous place to have a press convention than JFK baggage declare. 😉

Kenya Airways press convention JFK

I headed upstairs to the departures degree and tried to seek out the Kenya Airways check-in desk, which I assumed wasn’t but open, because it was 5 hours till departure. I requested a number of staff if they might level me in that path, although nobody had heard of Kenya Airways. So I simply had a seat for a bit.

JFK Terminal four check-in corridor

At 9AM I noticed a check-in space being arrange, and in addition some balloons, so I assumed that was Kenya Airways. Positive sufficient it was. All the contract staff have been nonetheless being educated on the airline, there have been a lot of selfies and footage, and so forth. Lastly at 9:15AM check-in opened.

Kenya Airways check-in JFK

I headed in the direction of safety. Within the afternoons safety in Terminal four is terrible, although it wasn’t dangerous in any respect this early within the day. I headed within the path of the SkyClub, and whereas doing so walked previous our departure gate, #29. What a reasonably 787!

Kenya Airways 787 JFK

Kenya Airways makes use of the Delta SkyClub at JFK, which I’ve reviewed earlier than, so I gained’t achieve this once more. I did have a little bit of an journey arguing to get in, although, because the SkyClub agent was satisfied that Kenya Airways wasn’t a SkyTeam airline, and consequently didn’t need to let me in. Fortuitously we received that sorted fairly shortly.

Delta SkyClub JFK Terminal four

I spent a few hours within the lounge working, and in addition took a a lot wanted bathe between two extremely longhaul flights.

Delta SkyClub JFK Terminal four bathe

My boarding cross indicated that boarding was beginning at 12:15PM, although I made a decision to go to the gate about an hour earlier than that, since I figured there may be some festivities as a result of this being an inaugural flight. Positive sufficient there was a celebration in full swing.

That they had a desk with all types of snacks arrange.

Kenya Airways inaugural flight get together

On prime of that the Kenya Airways crew was within the gate space, clearly very excited to be on the flight. Under they’re posing with the US Ambassador to Kenya (the third from the left), and the Kenya Airways CEO (the sixth from the left).

Kenya Airways crew posing at JFK

Enjoyable story — the US Ambassador to Kenya truly flew roundtrip on each inaugural flights. He had simply landed from Nairobi, and some hours later rotated proper again to Nairobi, simply to be on the inaugural flight.

The CEO, then again, took the inaugural flight from Nairobi to New York, and was then staying in New York. He was extraordinarily approachable, variety with each staff and passengers, and usually an ideal man.

There was a ribbon slicing ceremony on the gate, after which lastly at 12:15PM boarding started, simply as anticipated.

As I walked down the jet bridge I used to be introduced with a goodie bag to rejoice the inaugural flight.

Kenya Airways JFK inaugural flight goodies

Kenya Airways Three
New York (JFK) – Nairobi (NBO)
Monday, October 29
Depart: 1:00PM
Arrive: 10:30AM (+1 day)
Period: 14hr30min
Plane: Boeing 787-Eight
Seat: 5J (Business Class)

I boarded via the second set of doorways, the place I used to be greeted by two flight attendants with large smiles on their faces who pointed me within the course of my seat. Kenya Airways’ 787s have a complete of 30 enterprise class seats, unfold throughout 5 rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

There are three rows within the ahead cabin.

Kenya Airways 787 enterprise class cabin

Kenya Airways enterprise class cabin 787

Then there’s a mini-cabin behind the second set of doorways. I had assigned myself seat 5J, the window seat within the final row on the appropriate.

Kenya Airways enterprise class cabin 787

Often I’m somebody who prefers direct aisle entry on an extended flight, however I actually do just like the window seats on this configuration. That’s as a result of you’ll be able to sleep dealing with the window and you then actually really feel like you’ve got privateness.

These undoubtedly aren’t probably the most leading edge enterprise class seats, and for that matter these are the identical seats that many different airways have. They’re nice should you’re touring with somebody, and I additionally do like that there’s loads of room in your ft. Most of the newer enterprise class seats these days require you to put your ft in a footwell of types, which feels tight.

Kenya Airways enterprise class seats 787

Since I used to be the primary onboard I additionally had a take a look at the financial system cabin. Kenya Airways’ 787 financial system has seats in a decent Three-Three-Three configuration, which has develop into the business commonplace. Each seat had a private tv.

Kenya Airways 787 financial system cabin

Kenya Airways financial system cabin 787

As you’ll be able to see, the again of every seat had a small storage compartment, a private tv, and an ottoman. You possibly can place issues underneath the ottoman in the course of the flight, as there’s not in any other case a lot storage.

Kenya Airways enterprise class seats

Kenya Airways enterprise class seats

The seat controls have been situated between seats, and have been straightforward to make use of.

Kenya Airways enterprise class seat controls

The leisure controls, energy retailers, and headphone jacks have been beneath the middle armrest. These are virtually unimaginable to entry in case you maintain the armrest in the usual place, although lots of people don’t understand that you would be able to truly increase the armrest, which makes it simpler. I additionally like to boost the armrest when sleeping for a bit of additional privateness. I positive want they’d have an precise partition between seats.

Kenya Airways enterprise class armrest

The tray desk folded out from the middle armrest, and was a single, strong floor.

Kenya Airways enterprise class tray desk

Whereas there have been studying lights above the seats, sadly Kenya Airways doesn’t have particular person air nozzles on their 787s.

Kenya Airways 787 no particular person air nozzles

Already ready at my seat upon boarding was a pillow and blanket. The pillow wasn’t very thick, and whereas I assumed the design of the blanket was cute, it didn’t examine to correct bedding, particularly for a flight this lengthy.

Kenya Airways enterprise class pillow & blanket

There have been additionally headphones on the seat, which I discovered to be uncomfortable and have poor sound high quality, so I simply used my very own headphones.

Kenya Airways enterprise class headphones

I used to be anticipating this flight to be almost empty (because the demand for this day by day flight simply doesn’t appear to be there, to not point out it takes some time to construct up demand). Nevertheless, because it turned out, Kenya Airways invited almost 150 friends onto the flight. This included journalists and other people engaged on different tasks in Kenya. So the flight was almost full, however not with paying passengers.

About 15 minutes after boarding I used to be provided a pre-departure beverage, with the selection between water or lemonade (there was no alcohol on the bottom). I ordered lemonade, which was served in correct glassware.

Kenya Airways enterprise class pre-departure drinks

About 10 minutes later the crew distributed magazines, newspapers, and amenity kits.

One of many wonderful Kenya Airways flight attendants

The amenity kits have been cute however actually primary. I liked the lion paws that they had on the socks, and in any other case the package had earplugs, eyeshades, a pen, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a comb. Surprisingly there was no lip balm or lotion.

Kenya Airways enterprise class amenity package

Boarding was environment friendly, and by the point boarding was full enterprise class was full (I’d estimate about two thirds of the passengers have been a part of the press journey). Round this time the Kenya Airways CEO boarded the aircraft to make an announcement thanking everybody for flying with Kenya Airways.

As he defined “thank you for flying with us, I won’t be with you, but I want to thank you for being with us on this history journey. In 14hr30min you’re going to be having breakfast in Nairobi. We are happy you are flying with us today, but we need your support for the next 365 days to make this route a success.”

A minute after that the captain added his welcome aboard. You would hear the satisfaction within the captain’s voice that he was working this flight, and he defined that we have been simply ready on ATC clearance to depart. He stated that our flight time was 12hr55min, and that we’d be cruising at 39,00 ft.

A second later the cabin supervisor, Victoria, made her welcome aboard announcement.

At 1:05PM we started our pushback, and at the moment the security video was additionally screened.

Pushing again JFK

As we taxied out one other flight attendant got here by my seat to familiarize me with it. Our taxi was pretty fast, and there have been plenty of fascinating planes parked on the apron.

Avianca A330 JFK


By 1:20PM we have been cleared for takeoff on runway 31L.

Taking off JFK

Our takeoff roll was pretty fast, and in lower than a minute we have been airborne and began our gradual climb.

View after takeoff from JFK

The seatbelt signal was turned off simply 5 minutes after takeoff. As we continued our climb I made a decision to take a look at the map for our flight to Nairobi.

Shifting map to Nairobi

As you possibly can see, the shifting map indicated we’d be arriving at 9:23AM, greater than an hour forward of our scheduled 10:30AM arrival.

Shifting map to Nairobi

I additionally checked out the remainder of the leisure choice. There have been roughly 100 films and roughly 100 TV exhibits, so I’d say that’s a reasonably strong choice. It’s not the most effective on the planet, however frankly a lot better than I used to be anticipating.

Kenya Airways inflight leisure

Kenya Airways inflight leisure

I made a decision to observe “Live Of The Party” starring Melissa McCarthy, which was fairly humorous.

Kenya Airways inflight leisure

About 20 minutes after takeoff the Kenya Airways chairman got here round to welcome every passenger (the CEO took the inaugural flight from Nairobi to New York, whereas the chairman took the inaugural flight from New York to Nairobi).

5 minutes after that menus have been distributed. Moderately impressively Kenya Airways gives enterprise class passengers menus in leather-based binders.

Kenya Airways enterprise class menu

The menu learn as follows:

The drink listing learn as follows:

I used to be stunned how lengthy after takeoff it took to get a drink. Heat towels have been distributed about 70 minutes after takeoff.

Kenya Airways enterprise class dinner service — heat towel

Then the primary drink was served round 80 minutes after takeoff. I don’t actually get what took so lengthy, provided that they have been offering this service off carts.

Kenya Airways enterprise class dinner service — drink cart

I had a glass of South African sauvignon blanc in addition to a nonetheless water to drink (to my shock they didn’t have common sparking water, however quite simply had soda water). I used to be additionally provided a small plate with some type of a tomato amuse bouche, in addition to packaged combined nuts.

Kenya Airways enterprise class dinner service — drinks, nuts, and amuse bouche

I additionally had a glass of champagne. Kenya Airways serves J. M. Gobillard et Fils NV Grande Réserve Premier Cru Brut, which I hadn’t beforehand heard of, however it was fairly respectable.

85 minutes after takeoff the crew got here via the cabin to take meal orders.

90 minutes after takeoff the captain made yet one more announcement, informing us that we have been cruising at 37,00zero ft, and would climb to 39,00zero ft as we received lighter.

He defined we have been overflying the East Coast of Canada in the direction of St. John’s, and that we had a northernly routing on account of robust winds. So he stated we’d fly throughout the Atlantic, 300 miles off the price of Portugal, after which over Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Congo, Uganda, after which Kenya. He estimated we’d land at 9:10AM.

A full 2hr20min after takeoff my desk was set for the lunch service. I’m impressed that Kenya Airways doesn’t serve meals on trays, however slightly locations all the things immediately in your tray desk.

Kenya Airways enterprise class dinner service — desk setting

5 minutes after that, 2hr25min after takeoff, the starter was served. For the starter you had the selection between a soup or an appetizer. I chosen the appetizer, which consisted of grilled halloumi cheese and roasted candy bell peppers, on a finely floor pesto sauce. It was alright, although a bit on the tasteless aspect.

Kenya Airways enterprise class appetizer

My seatmate selected the carrot and ginger soup.

Kenya Airways enterprise class appetizer

We have been additionally provided a choice of bread, although the alternatives have been simply between a simple-looking wheat and white roll.

Kenya Airways enterprise class bread roll

Despite the fact that we took off solely shortly after 1PM, the solar was already setting at this level.

Sundown enroute to Nairobi

Right here’s the shifting map at this level:

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

The primary course was served 2hr40min after takeoff. For the primary I chosen the Maine crusted pink snapper fillet with cream of yellow fruit lemon sauce, pearl couscous, heirloom glazed child carrots, and broccoli.

This dish was wonderful. It was superbly plated, and tasted good too.

Kenya Airways enterprise class fundamental course

Subsequent up was dessert, which was served three hours after takeoff. This was served off a trolley, and there was the selection between a sea-salt spiced caramelized guava tart with mango puree drizzle, a fruit plate, and a cheese plate.

I ordered the tart, whereas my seatmate had the moderately plain-looking cheese plate. The dessert was alright, although nothing particular.

Kenya Airways enterprise class dessert

Then 3hr35min after takeoff a trolley was introduced by way of the cabin with tea, espresso, and liqueurs. At this level I noticed that that they had cappuccinos on the menu, so I made a decision to order one.

I do know that Kenya has nice espresso, so I used to be eager to attempt their cappuccino, and it didn’t disappoint. The cappuccino was distinctive.

Kenya Airways enterprise class cappuccino 

So, what can I say concerning the meal? There have been huge execs and large cons. The professionals embrace:

  • The service was pleasant; the crew was genuinely excited to be there, and it confirmed
  • The presentation was good, within the sense that every little thing was served instantly on the tray desk
  • The meals high quality was usually respectable, and the cappuccino was nice

The cons embrace that:

  • The service was actually sluggish — I perceive it’s an extended flight they usually aren’t in a rush, although it shouldn’t take Three.5 hours to finish the service; nevertheless, I’d simply chalk this as much as this being the inaugural flight
  • I assumed the meals choice was type of restricted and bland; we’re speaking a few 13 hour flight, so I really feel just like the meals choice ought to be extra expansive, and perhaps they need to have some kind of Kenyan choices (even when it’s only a stew)

At this level we had 9hr20min remaining to Nairobi, so I made a decision it was time for some shuteye, provided that it had been a very lengthy day for me already.

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

I checked out the rest room at this level. There have been two bathrooms situated between the 2 enterprise class cabins, they usually have been the usual 787 bathrooms with none noteworthy facilities.

Kenya Airways 787 rest room

I reclined my seat into the absolutely flat place, confronted the window, and slept so properly.

Kenya Airways absolutely flat mattress 787

I managed to get about 5.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is fairly good for me, as I awoke with slightly below 3hr50min remaining to Nairobi.

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

I headed again to the rest room, and noticed that on the left aspect of the galley between cabins was a small bar setup. Nevertheless, this solely had tender drinks and a few packaged nuts. For a flight this lengthy they need to contemplate providing some extra snacks there.

Kenya Airways enterprise class onboard bar

Kenya Airways additionally has a light-weight snack menu, which learn as follows:

I simply requested the flight attendant if that they had a snack (I didn’t point out any particularly), and was introduced the under, which was a pie and pizza. It was as greasy because it seems to be.

Kenya Airways enterprise class snack

After that I ordered a espresso with some milk.

Kenya Airways enterprise class espresso

I labored on my laptop computer for some time (although word that Kenya Airways doesn’t have wifi on their 787s), after which about two hours earlier than arrival the cabin lights have been turned up in anticipation of breakfast.

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

Because the cabin lights have been turned up I felt like I might lastly “undim” my window to look outdoors.

View enroute to Nairobi

Heat towels have been provided inside a couple of minutes, after which about 90 minutes earlier than arrival breakfast was served. The breakfast menu learn as follows:

The primary course consisted of a very boring fruit plate, some packaged yogurt, and cereal. Frankly I assumed this choice was actually lame. At the least supply some berries or larger finish yogurt, for my part.

Kenya Airways enterprise class breakfast

There was additionally espresso and a variety from the breadbasket.

Kenya Airways enterprise class breakfast

For the primary course there have been two choices — scrambled eggs with hen sausage, roesti potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes, or stuffed banana crepes with chocolate syrup.

Kenya Airways enterprise class breakfast

I selected the scrambled eggs. Whereas the accompaniments have been good, the eggs themselves weren’t.

Kenya Airways enterprise class breakfast

About an hour earlier than touchdown the crew began a raffle. As they defined it “as is tradition in any African setting, guests get gifts, so we are raffling some prizes.” So for the subsequent 15 minutes they picked seat numbers randomly and began giving out fragrances (each from Mercedes Benz and Dolce & Gabbana).

Shifting map enroute to Nairobi

By the point that was accomplished we have been beginning our descent, after which at round Eight:45AM Nairobi time, the captain introduced that we’d be touchdown at 9:10AM. I used to be impressed that through the descent the flight attendants got here via the cabin to thank everybody in enterprise class for flying with Kenya Airways.

View approaching Nairobi

View approaching Nairobi

We had a clean landing in Nairobi at 9:10AM.

View approaching Nairobi

As we rolled out to the top of the runway I observed some military-looking vans with sirens. I wasn’t positive in the event that they have been escorting us, if that they had photographers taking footage of the inaugural flight, or what.

Taxiing Nairobi Airport

A minimum of certainly one of them simply appeared to have a man with a machine gun within the again.

Taxiing Nairobi Airport

We had a reasonably lengthy taxi.

Taxiing Nairobi Airport

Taxiing Nairobi Airport

Then out of nowhere we received a reasonably superior water cannon salute.

Water cannon salute Nairobi

Right here’s a video of that:

We then pulled as much as our arrival stand, which is the primary time it turned clear to me simply how huge of a deal this flight was for Kenya. There should have been extra individuals assembly our flight than passengers, together with the nation’s vice chairman.

Inaugural flight arrival ceremony Nairobi

Welcome ceremony

Welcome ceremony

Right here’s a video of the arrival celebration, which was overwhelming, to place it mildly:

After that I headed in the direction of one of many buses ready to take us to the terminal.

Kenya Airways 787 upon arrival in Nairobi

Kenya Airways 787 upon arrival in Nairobi

Kenya Airways 787

Buses to terminal

Sadly the VIP remedy ended the second we arrived on the terminal, as I defined in a separate publish.

Kenya Airways 787 enterprise class backside line

I’ve combined emotions based mostly on my Kenya Airways 787 enterprise class flight.

On the plus aspect, the crew was extraordinarily pleasant, the meals was nicely introduced, and this is a wonderful new choice for flying nonstop between the US and East Africa.

On the similar time, I really feel like there are some ways in which Kenya Airways can enhance considerably with out investing that a lot. To begin with, they might velocity up the service, and it might be that my flight was simply an anomaly in that regard.

However past that I’d say they might barely spruce up the meal service for his or her new flagship route, have a greater snack menu, perhaps have extra snacks on the bar, and in addition supply higher bedding.

I assume the best way I view it, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Kenya Airways once more if flying to the area, although I’m not dashing to fly them once more both.

I’ll be very curious to see how this formidable route does over the approaching months and years. Beginning the service day by day appears foolish, and the airline is already decreasing frequencies. I’m wondering what the standing of the route shall be a yr from now…


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