TRIED & TESTED

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

Kenya Air­ways B787-8 Premier World; Galaxy Ho­tel, Ma­cau; In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Sin­ga­pore; Avani River­side Bangkok

BACK­GROUND Kenya Air­ways took de­liv­ery of the first of its Dream­lin­ers in 2014, and uses them for its ma­jor Euro­pean and Asian routes. CHECK-IN I flew in to Nairobi’s Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port from Liv­ing­stone (Zam­bia) at 2150, tran­sit­ing air­side for flight KQ860, which was sched­uled to de­part at 2359. LOUNGE The Simba Lounge is new and has a pleas­ing dé­cor, but al­though sign­posted from the air­port’s check-in/se­cu­rity area, it took a bit of find­ing if you’re tran­sit­ing from an­other flight (it’s up an es­ca­la­tor near the spa). At 2230 there were 30 peo­ple in the lounge, which has a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 38; with some guests stretched out bare­foot on so­fas, it felt crowded and un­der­staffed. The buf­fet se­lec­tion was lim­ited (lentils, spinach, beef and rice), but there was a full se­lec­tion of bev­er­ages, as well as a range of news­pa­pers and free wifi. BOARD­ING This was from Gate 19, a four-minute walk from the lounge, and board­ing for busi­ness class be­gan at 2327. How­ever, in­stead of cross­ing an air bridge, we were led down some stairs, along a cor­ri­dor and across the dimly lit tar­mac to the plane. No one greeted us as we boarded the plane and we found our seats our­selves. A minute later the cabin crew – aware that peo­ple were now board­ing – took their spot at the door to greet pas­sen­gers. (Staff later ex­plained that the bridge had been bro­ken for “about a month” .) I asked for my jacket to be hung up and was of­fered a drink and news­pa­per and given the menu. THE SEAT There are 30 busi­ness class seats in a 2-2-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion split be­tween two cab­ins of 18 and 12. My seat (2A) was firm and com­fort­able, de­tailed in shades of brown and grey, with ex­cel­lent legroom and a gen­er­ous cen­tral arm­rest. There was plenty of stor­age in front of me, with sep­a­rate com­part­ments for a bag and shoes, as well as a wa­ter bot­tle holder be­side my el­bow. There were both USB and re­cessed power ports and a 15.4-inch touch­screen TV. The seat ad­justs eas­ily into a com­fort­able flat bed, and of course the Dream­liner uses “smart glass” in­stead of win­dow shades, mak­ing for a more nat­u­ral and gen­tle ad­just­ment to changes in sun­light. THE FLIGHT Thirty-five min­utes af­ter take-off the meal was served – a choice of roast chicken, pasta or cold roast beef with choco­late mousse for dessert. As it was a late-night flight most pas­sen­gers slept through the jour­ney and it was a quiet flight. I had opted not to be wo­ken for break­fast, but woke up just as it was be­ing served and had the tea and fruit. The cap­tain an­nounced our de­scent to Bangkok and re­quested that all pas­sen­gers go­ing on to Hong Kong re­main on board. Shortly af­ter­wards a flight at­ten­dant re­turned my jacket, and seemed un­cer­tain when I ex­plained that I was bound for Hong Kong so would stay on board. We landed in Bangkok at 1305, and the pi­lot again asked that Hong Kong pas­sen­gers re­main on board; but at 1325, af­ter the econ­omy pas­sen­gers had all dis­em­barked via the busi­ness class cabin, he an­nounced that all pas­sen­gers would need to dis­em­bark and re-board the plane at Gate 8 in one hour. Af­ter killing an hour in the tran­sit lounge we re-boarded at 1430. The staff in the tran­sit lounge ex­plained that al­though Bangkok is only meant to be a “tech­ni­cal stop”, when the flight ar­rives early the ground crew aren’t ready and ev­ery­one needs to get off the plane. The flight took off at 1507 – af­ter two hours on the ground – and a meal was served on the way to Hong Kong. AR­RIVAL The plane landed at 1835 and was at the gate five min­utes later – five min­utes ahead of sched­ule. Im­mi­gra­tion was smooth, and my bag ar­rived promptly on the carousel by 1900. VER­DICT The flights them­selves were smooth and the on­board ser­vice very good, but is­sues with the lounge and air bridge at the home­port, and the un­ex­pected Bangkok tran­sit, could have been dealt with bet­ter – ad­dress­ing these slight hic­cups by en­sur­ing pas­sen­gers are fully in­formed would keep ev­ery­one happy. Kate White­head

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