Review: Kenya Airways Boeing 737 Business Class from Nairobi to Lusaka

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a phenomenal holiday in Zambia & Madagascar, which included a stay at the phenomenal island sanctuary of Time + Tide Miavana, possibly the world’s most exclusive beach resort. You can read my trip reports here:


Today (November 13, 2019): Review of Kenya Airways’ B737 Business Class from Nairobi to Lusaka.

On August 31st 2019, I flew Business Class in a Boeing 737 Next Generation of Kenya Airways from Nairobi (Kenya) to the Zambian capital city of Lusaka. The route was initially sheduled to be flown by an Embraer E190, but a last minute aircraft swap ‘upgraded’ the flight to a Boeing 737. Flight time from Nairobi to Lusaka was only 2 hours and 30 minutes. I was not impressed by Kenya Airways’ shorthaul Business Class product (food was really disappointing) but I will still remember this flight because of spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro views (which you can watch in my YouTube clip below at 10’27”) and the gracious cabin staff.

Have you ever flown with Kenya Airways? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.

I made a YouTube clip with my impressions during the flight which you can watch below:

  • Trip: Nairobi (NBO) to Lusaka (LUN)
  • Airline: Kenya Airways
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 737NG
  • Aircraft registration number: 5Y-CYC (built in 2015)
  • Flight number: KQ706
  • Date: August 31, 2019
  • On time departure: yes (7.15 am)
  • On time arrival: yes (8.45 am)
  • Miles: 1140 miles
  • Flight time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Seat: 4A
  • Class: Business Class

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Pride lounge at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
  3. Facts & figures about Kenya Airways 
  4. Business Class cabin
  5. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  6. Amenities
  7. Meals
  8. Entertainment
  9. Onboard internet
  10. My verdict (score)


1. COST OF MY TICKET

I paid 1800 euros for my Business Class ticket, which included a multi-destination itinerary:

  • Outbound flight: Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to Lusaka (Zambia) via Nairobi (Kenya) with Kenya Airways
  • Inbound flight: Antananarivo (Madagascar) to Paris (France) with Air France

I booked the ticket via the website of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which codeshares with its SkyTeam partners Kenya Airways and Air France.


2. PRIDE LOUNGE AT JOMO KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Kenya Airways’ flagship lounge at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport is called the ‘Pride Lounge’ (opened in 2014). This semi-circularly shaped space comprises several consecutive rooms, with each room featuring different seating arrangements and floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the apron. A buffet is on display in the central area – the dining room – although the selection of food is slightly underwhelming for an airline’s flagship lounge. Besides relax and dining areas, the Pride Lounge also offers showers, a child zone, business center, smoking room, and a nap zone.

Fyi, Kenya Airways operates two lounges at Nairobi Airport. The other lounge is called Simba Lounge, which is located on the other side of the terminal and much smaller compared to the Pride Lounge. The two lounges have a total capacity of 315 guests and are designed with Africa’s majestic landscapes in mind.

PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI
PRIDE LOUNGE AT NAIROBI

3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT KENYA AIRWAYS
  • Kenya Airways – the flag carrier of Kenya – was founded in 1977, after the dissolution of East African Airways.
  • The carrier – which calls itself ‘The Pride of Africa – is Africa’s 5th largest airline, behind (1) Ethiopian Airlines; (2) Egypt Air; (3) Royal Air Maroc; and (4) South African Airways.
  • Kenya Airways has an excellent safety record, with a maximum score of 7/7 on Airlineratings.com
  • The airlines operates a very modern fleet, comprising Boeing 787 Dreamliners for longhaul flights and Boeing 737NG and Embraer E190 for short- and mediumhaul flights.
BUS TO AIRCRAFT
KENYA AIRWAYS BOEING 737
KENYA AIRWAYS BOEING 737

4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Kenya Airways’ Boeing 737s have a small Business Class cabin. There are just 4 rows of 4 Business Class seats (16 seats in total), arranged in a 2-2 layout, similar to what you find in First Class on the narrow body aircraft of airlines in the USA.

For a seat map of Kenya Airways B737s, click here.

KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

The Kenya Airways Boeing 737 Business Class seat has a lot of legroom (47 inches or 120 cm), although it has the same width as the seats in Economy Class (17 inch or 43 cm). The seat can be partly reclined and also has a legrest to enhance the comfort if you want to rest. The seat controls are located in the center armrest; this armrest also holds a personal entertainment screen (which needs to be pulled out) and a bi-fold tray table that has a decent size, both for working and traveling.

What are the best Business Class seats on Kenya Airways’ B737s? For a seat map, click here.

  • The bulkhead seats have some more legroom and are the best seats on board.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Kenya Airways’ B737s? For a seat map, click here.

  • All seats are similar, so there are no really bad seats. Keep in mind that the window seats don’t offer direct aisle access, which may not be convenient when you are traveling solo and have to climb over your seatmate’s legs to reach the aisle.
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT

6. AMENITIES

An amenity kit was not offered on this short flight. A nicely decorated pillow was available though at each seat. Noise-cancelling headphones were also provided.

PILLOW
NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

7. MEALS

A breakfast snack was served mid-flight, which comprised:

  • Yoghurt
  • A hot (and spicy) chicken pie
  • Fruit salad

Food was uninspiring, basic, and Economy Class-alike, even though this was only a short flight of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

MIDFLIGHT SNACK
MIDFLIGHT SNACK
MIDFLIGHT SNACK

8. ENTERTAINMENT

Each Business Class seat is equipped with a TV (hidden in the center armrest) and also comes with noise-cancelling headphones to enhance the onboard entertainment experience. The entertainment selection itself can be navigated by using a handheld remote or by directly touching the screen. A decent selection of entertainment is offered, with over 100 movies and 48 hours of TV shows.

KENYA AIRWAYS B737 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
KENYA AIRWAYS B737 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

9. ONBOARD INTERNET

So far, Kenya Airways doesn’t offer WiFi on its planes.


10. MY VERDICT
  • Cabin design: 7/10
  • Seat comfort (upright position): 7/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): not applicable
  • Food (quality):  3/10
  • Food (quantity): 3/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 7/10
  • WiFi: not available
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: good – 7/10

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3 Comments

  1. I flew Kenya Airways last week for a short hop from Nairobi to Zanzibar (Biz class over; Wconomy on the way back) and was very impressed. Clean planes, really kind and gracious service in both classes, and a nicely-presented snack in Biz Class. I’d gladly fly them again.

  2. Such an informative article. Thank you. The lounge and bus ride look less to be desired. I’m curious as to whether or not you had to pay for cocktails in the lounge. Those business class seats, for them to be an upgrade, look like a bit uncomfortable. Were they comfortable?

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