Kenya Airways Business Class



Kenya Airways is the country’s national flag carrier and has been in business since February 1977. The airline became a full member of SkyTeam in June 2010 and its main base is at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. KQ has 35 aircraft in its fleet, including six Boeing 737-300 aircraft, which was our mode of transport to Nairobi. KQ’s network comprises 56 destinations in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe, and the airline operates 20 flights (three a day and two on Wednesdays) a week between Johannesburg and Nairobi.


Check-in at OR Tambo International was seamless, with no queuing for business class. Staff were friendly and helpful, directing us to a choice of two business lounges – the Air France and the Premier lounges. We opted for the Air France option and I liked the interesting, wide, aircraft-themed seats in the lounge, which were very comfortable. As it was a Monday morning, I was also pleased that there was a good selection of fresh juices, coffee, tea, bagels and rolls. Other features included showers, computer terminals, TVs showing news channels, magazines (including BTA, of course……Ed), newspapers, and complimentary Wi-Fi, although I noticed the express check-in machine wasn’t working.


Having thought that we were close to our gate, we quickly realised that we weren’t. But, we weren’t concerned, as we still had some time to get there, before realising that our gate number had been changed, which wasn’t communicated to us in the Air France lounge. Nonetheless, we upped the ante to make our gate on time, only to find a long queue that remained in place for about 10 minutes, before we went through and onto buses that transported us to the KQ plane. Thereafter, boarding was quick and efficient, although we took off about 15 minutes late.

The Seat

The seat itself was wide and comfortable. There are 16 seats in Business Class and 100 in Economy on the 737-300, which is used on KQ’s regional routes. The Business Class seat on this aircraft has a seat pitch (distance between rows of seats) of 40 inches. There is no flat-bed on the regional routes, although you will find such a luxury on the long-haul routes into Europe, Asia and the Middle East, on-board the Boeing 777-200ER.

The Flight

Besides taking off late, the four-hour flight was uneventful and actually really enjoyable. That was down to the incredibly friendly flight staff (who were attentive, but not over-bearing), the comfortable seat and the thoroughly enjoyable food. We were on a day flight, scheduled to take off at 11h15 and land at 16h20, so lunch was on offer. I opted for the Beef Wellington, which was excellent, very tender, and came with tasty vegetables and a sweet desert to finish things off nicely.

Besides that, there was a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as enjoyable teas and coffees. There is no in-flight entertainment on the 737-300 and you have to make do with background music. So, make sure you take some work, a good book, Kindle, magazine etc, although if you happen to find yourself on the 737-800, you will have in-flight entertainment, in the form of movies, on drop-down screens.


Disembarking was quick and painless, and we made our way into JKIA, through the narrow passage that connected us with immigration. The queues were short, the obligatory entry form fairly simple to fill out, and we were quickly through and into the arrivals hall. Fortunately, we only had carry-on luggage, and the car hire desk was well sign-posted.


A highly recommended business class flight, which was solid in just about every department. My only criticism would be the lack of in-flight entertainment, which would be useful, as an option, on a four-hour flight. But, altogether, a good experience and an airline I’d happily use again.


Dylan Rogers