Least Favorite / Favorite Airline To Africa?

Mar 17th, 2006, 04:28 PM
  #1  
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Least Favorite / Favorite Airline To Africa?

On this last trip, I was exposed to a few airlines that I had never flown. Of the major airlines, I flew Delta, KLM and Kenya Airways for the first time, or at least the first time I can remember.

Of the three airlines, I was really disappointed with each Delta (economy) and KLM (flew economy from Amsterdam to Kiliminjaro and flew business class from Amsterdam to Los Angeles). Even in Business Class, KLM was not so great...not even video on demand and the food was pretty average.

I was very impressed with Kenya Airways and Precision Air (from Zanzibar to Nairobi) was also pretty good.

In the past I have not been particularly impressed with British Airways (economy) or Virgin Atlantic (economy).

I am somewhat neutral on South African Airways.

For travel to Africa, which is your most dreaded airline to fly? Which is your favorite airline to fly?
Roccco is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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One of my least favorite airlines in business class is Air France. Hopefully that'll change when they finish their cabin retrofit. It was supposed to be completed last year but they're nowhere near on schedule. I think it'll be well into 2008 before they get the last aircraft converted Compared to KLM and Delta, seat pitch and recline in Air France's old business class is horrible. That's what's most important to me, comfort and being able to sleep. Food, entertainment, etc. are all secondary for me.

A lot of the experience will depend on the specific aircraft. KLM has on demand video on their 777 only, but the business cabin is large with 2-3-2 seating and it's not my favorite KLM aircraft. I like the MD-11's 2 row mini-cabin up front. I thought the 767 was OK - it has the least amount of pitch and recline in business compared to the rest of the KLM fleet.

I've been happy with premium economy on Virgin (particularly upstairs on the 747), but I know others have felt that it wasn't worth the extra cost over economy. To me a bit of extra recline and legroom made a big difference. I haven't flown in Upper Class.

How did you end up in economy on Delta? I thought you were booked in business?
Patty is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:36 PM
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Only experience to Africa so far is BA business class. I am not as enthusiastic about the "New Club World" seats as many, but I've never found BA business class service lacking.

This year we're going to use award miles to return to SA from Europe and I'm working on dates to use Swiss (before their partnership with AA goes away) on the southbound portion and Iberia back, just to see if IB's new business class product is all it's cracked up to be. Since all the Europe-JNB flights seem to be overnight I don't think the food/service is that critical, so we'll use the trip to try out some other premium cabins.

Within southern Africa, I think Comair's (BA) business class product is excellent.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Patty,

My mistake...you are right...I was in business class in Delta, but it was nothing special...the least spectacular business class I have ever experienced.

It was actually "first class" from LAX - Atlanta, but I believe it was a 737, meaning that first class was not even as nice as business class. Then it was business class from Atlanta - Amsterdam on Delta.
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Mar 17th, 2006, 07:39 PM
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I fly from Australia to Johannesburg, last time via Hong Kong as I flew Cathay Pacific. I usually fly Qantas, but got tired of rarely being able to get a points seat, so a lot more flying via Hong Kong, not surprisingly, but it is actually quicker because of the times I leave.

My most important item, is the seat - could not care less about food or entertainment, but I prefer a flat a bed as possible, otherwise I can get shocking neck problems. I was always happy with Qantas and I liked Cathay Pacific, except for some of the males travelling, making that revolting noise in their throats, once is bad enough - for 12 hours is disgusting! I may also try Singapore Airlines, which is even a better timetable than Cathay Pacifc, as quite short stopovers, but cannot use qantas frequent flyer points.

I did fly one year from NewYork to London to Nairobi on British Airways and I thought that was fine.

I have never really been on flights within Africa long enough to have any complaints, normally just SAA Express from Johanesburg to MalaMala or Federal Air from Johannesburg to Singita. No problems there either.

Kind regards,
Kaye
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Mar 17th, 2006, 08:33 PM
  #6  
santharamhari
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Airline service to Africa, from India.....my only experiences are with SAA and Kenyan. Both business class......SAA business is appalling compared with BA or emirates.

On my previous trip, i had a small carry on with wheels on business class that was taken away prior to boarding......i had to make a hue and a cry to explain to the head stewart that ppl in coach were walking in with much larger bags. Finally, they brought it back for me......delaying the flight by 10mins or so.......i normally do not make a big deal out of things like this, unless it is really out of whack!!!

Needless to say, i'm going to fly SAA again in August, as i don't want to transfer between Dubai and Joburg on emirates.
 
Mar 17th, 2006, 09:07 PM
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Air Botswana

Never been on a flight that was on time.
Rated as the most expensive airline in the world.
kitso is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 10:52 PM
  #8  
santharamhari
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Kitso,

Atleast that's just a short flight from Joburg to Maun......thru gabarone sometimes...

I've never had a delay with them.....
 
Mar 17th, 2006, 11:45 PM
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KLM are at the bottom of my list since they bumped me off a flight they had over booked. I was trying to get to Nairobi for a funeral.

Not just that though... they bumped me on the second leg... so I couldn't take an alternative flight.

Once they have your money they don't give a flying fig about you as a passenger.
Pumbavu is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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recent bottom listers:

Air Kenya - for telling us we had to pay $24.pp cash for luggage weight overage. I saw a foot on the scale. After I asked for a reweigh with a manager present, my luggage suddenly was sent though without an extra fee.

Kenya Air - for bumping us out of our confirmed seats to The Seychelles on a Thurs. and told to come back on Sun. We only managed to get rerouted because of my hounding.

Love the country, but sure don't like those Kenyan airlines.

Sherry
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Mar 18th, 2006, 06:53 AM
  #11  
bat
 
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Only a one time experience with KLM business. I chose the 2 row front cabin as Patty menitoned and I thought it was fine. I wasn't expecting it to be top notch, knowing that the planes are not new. Cabin attendant on the way to Africa was delightful so that mde it enjoyable.

Delta has mediocre transatlantic business--as Rocco said, not even video on demand.

Let me ask about Kenya Airways. If I am paying for an economy ticket (in and out of Amsterdam), would you recommend it over KLM? If so, I have to fly in and out of Nairobi?
bat is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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bat,
I usually hear that Kenya Airways' long haul product is a notch above KLM in both classes of service, but I have no first hand experience. Also, just because one is generally considered better than the other doesn't mean you can't have a subpar experience on your particular flight(s).

If you fly Kenya Airways, you'll need to transit through Nairobi. The Nairobi-Kilimanjaro leg is a Precision Air codeshare.

I'd go with whichever airline has the best combination of fares and schedule.

I'm hoping the Skyteam thing eventually comes through. I'd like to try out their business class.
Patty is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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bat,
Our experience with Kenya Airways was similar to Rocco's. We thought the cabin crew was very, very nice. And that's about all I remember.

Precision had screwed up on our departure flight from Zanzibar. They had about double the number of people booked for the flight to Nairobi than the plane could accommodate. That said, we made it out on a later flight with a long and intensely boring layover in Dar. Again, I thought the cabin crew was really quite service-oriented. But I was ready to pull my hair out at the Stone Town airport. I kept wanting them to tell me that there was no way we'd make it to Nairobi for our flight to London and I'd be stuck in Zanzibar for another night.
Leely is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Patty,
Dumb question, but do we need to get a Kenya visa if we're just transiting through NBO on our way to/from JRO?
Leely is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Leely,
No visa necessary if you don't leave the airport. International arrivals and departures are located in the same area, so you can walk from one gate to the other without passing through immigration. Just make sure your luggage is through checked to JRO. Java House at one end of the terminal (near the BA gate, #14 I think) has good coffee and there are a couple of internet cafes if you need something to pass the time.
Patty is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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Thanks, Patty.
Leely is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 05:03 PM
  #17  
DJE
 
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Have only flown SAA first class from London to Joburg and return from Cape Town and it was great. Naturally it was using points as the regular price for a ticket is absolutely ludicrous. Also not a big fan of BA business class as I don't find their new flat seats all that comfortable and standard business class within Europe was not very impressive.

Will again fly SAA f. class this year so hope it is still a good experience. I also don't really care about the entertainment all that much and just need a comfortable seat to try and get some sleep.
DJE is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 11:07 PM
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Emirates Airlines through Dubai is simply amazing. New clean planes. Excellent service & the Dubai airport is beautiful.
waynehazle is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Java House is the best thing about JKIA! Nice coffee. And the cafe to left as you come in will nuke you (microwave) a fine meat samosa.

Of course if you have a lot of time you can get a transit visa and leave the airport. If you don't want to go far you can head for the Panari Hotel and have an ice skate and a nice meal.



Pumbavu is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 12:09 PM
  #20  
bat
 
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thanks patty and leely. Patty what is the Skyteam coming through reference?
bat is offline  

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