Kenya Airways

Has anyone had any experience flying Kenya Airways? We'll be flying into JRO and out of NBO. Kenya Airways has a direct flight between JFK and NBO, which is very tempting as our other airline options airlines involve transiting through Dubai, Amsterdam or Paris.


  • I haven't had any experience with Kenya Airways long haul flights. I did have a short Nairobi to Stone Town flight last year when I did the Tauck K&T tour in October. It was fine. Nothing to write home about. The flight wasn't much more than an hour; I think a light snack was served but cannot remember what it was, maybe a wrapped croissant as it was an 8 am flight.

    If you are considering flying business class, I wouldn't be expecting any 5 star experience such as you would get on Emirates, Qatar, or Air France.

  • I haven't flown them but here is what one of the airline rating customer review sites has to say. There are other airline rating sites that you can check out as well.

  • Yes, I took Kenya Air from Nairobi to CAPETOWN. It was a 5 hr flight. It was absolutely fine. Check-in was professional and all checked luggage arrived. Good luck!

  • We flew Kenya Air business class from Nairobi to Amsterdam. Boarding was chaotic, but that may have been par for the course in Nairobi. The flight was comfortable and I slept for most of it.

  • We also flew Kenya Air from Nairobi to Amsterdam in Business. We thought it was fine.

  • Thank you all so much for the feedback! I feel much more comfortable making the booking now

  • We had a problem with Kenya Airways for this very routing last summer for K & T. We had booked it because the direct routing to Africa from JFK was very attractive, and the point redemption for business class on a Dreamliner was very favorable.We were onboard settled into business class, and then the problems started, with announcement of a mechanical delay. That led to the flight being offloaded with an extensive electrical problem in the cockpit. Ultimately there was no quick fix, and we were moved to a holding gate while the plane was worked on not at the gate, but at a stand aside the taxiway. That became at 4PM a no go for the day, with a request to return the following morning, and without the benefit of our bags, which they would not offload. Next morning we all returned and the plane was not ready to go. Communication was poor because that was a day without a Kenya Airways flight, so staff was lacking. At 2 PM in the afternoon if was finally canceled and our bags were offloaded an hour later. Two days were lost and there was no way left for us to arrive in a way that worked. Ultimately we had to cancel the tour and get rescheduled for a month later (Tauck was great working with us). Could this happen with other airlines? Absolutely, especially the way things were going last summer right around the July 4th weekend. But be aware that with Kenya Airways, they have a limited number of aircraft, and a more limited number on this route and to/from the US. Thus, when things go wrong, they can't recover or accommodate you in other ways.

  • edited June 26

    I forgot about that. Kenya Air from Nairobi to Amsterdam wasn’t everyday when we went 5 years ago. Don’t know if that has changed, but from sevenseas comment it doesn’t sound like it has. But we didn’t book with Kenya Air. We booked with KLM. The original flight was on KLM, but then was changed to Kenya Air. So any problems would have been addressed to KLM

  • Now that we've returned from our trip, I'll share our experience with Kenya Airways, which was positive. We chose KA since they had direct JFK-NBO service, mitigating potential layover issues and because their business class was more affordable compared to other carriers when we were looking

    We booked directly with Kenya Airways on their website JFK-JRO, NBO-JFK. Compared with domestic carriers, their website was a little clunky, but we got it to work. There is some confusion about having to reconfirm bookings closer to the departure date; the language on the site is confusing. Ours showed as confirmed in our printout, but I emailed to confirm and the response was speedy.

    At the time we booked, KA was not yet codesharing with Delta to our home airport (that has since changed). So we flew a one-way flight on American to JFK early morning, then did our formal KA check-in at the JFK counter. We were able to partially check-in online, but as the flight requires visas to be checked, we could not complete our check-in until we go to the airport. KA only has the one flight departing JFK a day, so the counter did not open until about 3.5hrs before the flight. One current drawback of KA is it does not participate in TSA precheck.

    After check-in and security, we proceeded to Delta Skyclub which partners with KA. Boarding and everything at the gate was smooth. Before boarding, anyone who did not have a KA boarding pass (those whose itineraries had started with Delta) was reissued KA boarding passes in a similar way to those who had checked in at the KA counter.

    The flight was pretty standard. My main priority on long-haul flights is to prioritize sleep and getting to our location, and KA delivered. The food was pretty average and minimal selection, but not a significant detractor. Others have complained that the media selection is small, but I found it sufficient. It didn't have many new releases, but I was able to find things to watch on all our flights without issue. Overall onboard service was good, and our flights ran on time without any issues.

    In NBO, since we were transferring to JRO we did not go through customs or passport control, just security before we transferred from arrivals to the International departure terminal. We had concern about only having a single-entry Kenya visa, but that was apparently unwarranted as even if we had had to go through passport control, the single entry visa is good for three months as long as the person remains within East Africa (which we would have, only visiting Tanzania in between).

    The lounge for Kenya Airways at NBO is very nice and large with a large variety of seating. It was nearly empty when we were there in the middle of the day but much more crowded on our return leg with late evening flights. Food was all halal and large variety. There was even a separate sleep room that was cold and dark with reclined padded benches and the ability to borrow blankets/pillows.

    Our NBO to JRO flight was short and uneventful. We made sure to book the itinerary with KA throughout; there are some itineraries that use Precision Air for the NBO to JRO flight and they are not as reliable of an airline. Once nice thing about flying into tiny JRO from NBO rather than a larger flight from Amsterdam was customs went much quicker because there were significantly fewer people on our flight.

    Overall, I would definitely fly Kenya Airways again, especially that they now codeshare with Delta to our home airport.

  • What aircraft do they use and what was the seating like in Business? 2 - 3 - 2, 2 - 2 - 2, or 1 - 2 - 1?

  • Boeing 787-8. Business as a 2-2-2 configuration. Three rows in the front cabin, a smaller two-row back business cabin, then all the premium/economy seating. The Points Guy has a good overview:

    One thing I neglected to mention that helped with my sleep was two blankets (one light, one heavier) and a full-length pad that provided extra cushion. You can see the light blanket and mattress bad in the foot bin and the heavy blanket and pillow on the seats. (apologies for the rotated photos)

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