Aug 16 2012

Whoever said “getting there is half the fun” was lying, Part 2

Greetings from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi where we are awaiting our final flight … this one on an African airline, Precision Air. The first two were via Qatar Airways and I cannot say enough about  the service aboard those flights. (Ground services are another story, which I’ll get to in a minute.)

First off, they give you a refreshing moist towelette and some hard sweets after you’re seated. I know it sounds like a little thing, but when you’ve been schlepping around an airport for a couple of hours on a warm day, it’s really nice to be able to mop some of the grime off once you’re finally on the plane. Then there’s the in-flight entertainment system, which was completely “on-demand” even in the cattle car class and was active from the moment we boarded until it was time to dis-embark.  Of course they interrupted it for the safety demonstration, but otherwise you could watch whatever you wanted, pause it when you needed to pee, and rewind if you missed something.

There was also a HUGE amount of entertainment to choose from, making it really difficult to decide what to watch. (We both opted for The Hunger Games), plus TV shows, live satellite news from around the world and all kinds of video games. Even the flight info section was amazing. The maps showing the route were interactive, so you could zoom, change the view, etc. There was even a hand graphic showing the direction of Mecca based not he orientation of the plane!  How handy!

The food was just okay … but there were three choices of entrees even for economy class and it was plentiful. Best yet, the trays were removed quite promptly after you had finished the meal. I don’t know how many times I’ve been stuck in my seat for an eternity waiting on my dinner tray to be collected. The flight crew was extremely attentive and helpful.

Unfortunately, the service on the ground did not match this. I’ve already mentioned how our original boarding passes on the 2nd flight had us seated in different parts of the plane. The Copenhagen office I called said they couldn’t fix it once electronic check-in had opened, but that the check-in desk in CPH could fix it for us. The Copenhagen check-in desk couldn’t access the info they needed and said we’d have to get it fixed at the check-in gate in Doha. The 1st gate agent in Doha sent us to a transfer desk, where we waited in line for 40 minutes to be told we had to go back to the gate.

The next round of gate agents (a different group than the one who sent us to the transfer desk) said they weren’t sure they could help us because the plane was fully booked, but they would try. And eventually we were issued new boarding passes that has us seated next to one another. But in the process the gate agent took the boarding pass holder with our baggage claim stubs in it and I was so excited that they’d solved the problem that I didn’t realize that she hadn’t handed it back to me with the new boarding passes. Fortunately I realized it was missing before they put us on the bus out to the plane (a very common practice evidently) and was able to retrieve it.

Arrival in Nairobi involved more bussing ftom the plane to the terminal, which was even more surprising to me considering how small the airport is. But to it’s immense credit, it has free wifi throughout, which allowed me to update family and friends that we had arrived safely, as well as post a few pictures.  Jambo Kenya!  Next stop … Tanzania!

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Feed my ego!

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