Tried & Tested

Kenya Airways B787-8 business class

28 Sep 2015 by GrahamSmith

BACKGROUND

Kenya Airways began using the B787-8 on its daily London-Nairobi route in January, replacing a B777-200.

CHECK-IN

I arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International’s Terminal 1A at 2100 for my 2325 departure on flight KQ102. There was a separate entrance opposite the taxi drop-off for first and business class passengers.

After going through security (laptops, not liquids, out) I went to one of two Sky Priority desks to drop my bag, having checked in online. It took ten minutes to be seen.

Fast-track immigration took another ten minutes as fingerprints were being taken and visas stamped. From here there was another screening area, which was quick.

THE LOUNGE

I followed signs for Gate 17 and took a lift to level two for the Pride lounge.

It was an expansive facility with lots of relaxation and dining areas – there was a good selection of tasty hot dishes – as well as a self-service bar, a snooze room, showers and a work zone with laptops.

BOARDING

I was told to head to Gate 18, one floor down, at 2230. Boarding started at 2240. Parents with small children were called first, then premium passengers.

Crew were welcoming and offered me Elexium Brut champagne or juice. Headphones and an amenity kit were provided. The IFE system could be used before take-off.

THE SEAT

The cabin had three rows configured 2-2-2 (A-C, D-F, G-J), with two more in economy. I was in 2J.

I was impressed by the seat – it had a lot of legroom, with a bench at the end to rest your feet on and storage space underneath.

There was a 15.4-inch screen, universal power and a USB port. Unlike on the carrier’s B777-300ER, wifi is not available.

The overall look is business-like, with a muted palette of grey, brown and caramel. Not quite fully flat – it reclines to 176 degrees – it was still comfortable, with a good amount of length, and felt horizontal with my feet on the ottoman.

There is little in the way of privacy, though.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Aisle seats in rows one and three are closest to the galleys so there could be noise. Row three is nearest to the washrooms, while window seats don’t offer direct aisle access.

Avoid row four and five in front of economy class. I’d go for 2C, D, F or G.

THE FLIGHT

Before take-off, the captain welcomed passengers and introduced the crew.

e departed at 2340, with meal and drink orders taken half an hour later. As most people had eaten in the lounge or were already asleep, it was a light supper.

The choices were cold poached chicken breast with Parmesan cheese and salad; grilled beef medallion with pepper sauce; grilled fillet of tilapia with honey and ginger soy sauce; chickpea and white gourd curry; and mushroom and pepper creamy tagliatelle (okay but nothing special). Dessert was a duo of mini tiramisu and orange macaroon.

Drinks were being served at the same time as the food but when I asked for a glass of wine, the attendant said she’d have to come back to me. When she finally returned, I had finished my meal. I reclined at 0130 and slept well until 0700, when most people were awake and having breakfast.

ARRIVAL

We landed at 0610 local time, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. There was no queue at the e-gates at immigration. My priority-tagged case took ten minutes to appear.

VERDICT

The Dreamliner’s large windows and increased cabin humidity felt like real benefits; the service could have been a little better though.

Although there are more luxurious business class beds in the sky, I slept well and would recommend this service to anyone flying from London to Nairobi.

FACT FILE

  • DEPARTURE TIME 2325
  • JOURNEY TIME 9 hours 5 minutes
  • AIRCRAFT TYPE B787-8
  • CONFIGURATION 2-2-2
  • SEAT PITCH 190cm/74.8in
  • SEAT WIDTH 78.7cm/30.7in
  • SEAT RECLINE 176 degrees
  • PRICE  Internet rates for a return business class flight from London to Nairobi in November ranged between £2,983 and £3,538.
  • CONTACT kenya-airways.com


Jenny Southan
 

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