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Society

Kenya's frequent fliers speak on the good, the bad and the ugly

Flying is a minimum requirement of the modern manager. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Flying is a minimum requirement of the modern manager. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Flying is a minimum requirement of the modern manager. From Nairobi to Johannesburg, Dubai, Frankfurt New York, Lagos, or even Canberra, the business network is immense.  What do they really enjoy about flying? What do they dislike? Doreen Wainainah catches up with 10 jetsetters for 10 questions on their sky experiences.

DAMIEN SOUCHET

BRAND MANAGER EAST AFRICA FOR MARTELL, MUMM AND PERRIER-JOUET (MMPJ)

Favourite destination?

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South America, Peru. A must-go Doreen. The country is amazingly beautiful.

Must carry item in hand luggage?

I would say a good book (probably Out of Africa from Blixen) as you never know if the screen in the plane is working or not. And when it is not working the crew always takes forever to solve the issue.

Best airplane?

KLM by far, incredible service, smiley crew.

Best airport?

I would say Zurich Airport in Switzerland—everything is so well organised.

Business class or first class?

First Class; definitely more intimate and elegant.

Best seat on a plane?

Window seat, the takeoff and landing allows you to see beautiful landscapes that you cannot see if you are on a row seat.

Airport food or airplane food?

Depending on the airport itself but I would say airport food as you find local chains who are successful in the country that you will never try elsewhere and not in a plane.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

I usually don’t— too respectful.

What is your 2018 Easter destination?
Kampala, this year I stay close to Nairobi.

Worst airplane experience?

Ukrainian International Airlines! The plane before takeoff was leaking and no one seemed to care. The way I am writing to you right now means I am still alive. What an experience!

JAEL AMARA

DIRECTOR, CONSUMER OPTIONS

Favourite destination?

Porto in Portugal, the medley of the beach, ice cream, seafood and port wine makes it a one-of-a kind destination.

Must carry item in hand luggage?

A change of clothes, I learnt the hard way from my sister when my luggage did not arrive at its final destination. 

Best airplane?

Hmmm… I want to say KQ so that I sound patriotic. Let me be honest, Etihad.

Best airport?

Copenhagen, it’s just so neat.

Business class or first class?

Seriously? Why not ask me business class or economy? I want to meet the first class travellers.

Best seat on a plane?

An aisle seat so that I don’t cause much disturbance.

Airport food or airplane food?

None. Just eat at home and come ready for the flight. My physio says carry your own chapati.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

I resist but I once carried one of those cozy blankets. 

What is your 2018 Easter destination?

Santorini, Greece

Worst airplane experience?

I got thrown of the plane after settling in and seat-belting myself. Apparently I was in the wrong aircraft despite being checked in and even getting a boarding pass.

DOROTHY OOKO

Africa PR Lead, Google

Favourite destination?

London or Paris.

Must carry item in hand luggage?

My medical kit filled with vitamins, ointment, muscle relaxants and massage oil.

Best airplane?

Airbus 380-800.

Best airport?

Schiphol, Amsterdam.

Business class or first class?

Business class, that’s what the company pays for….

Best seat on a plane?

I am an aisle girl. I love moving around.

Airport food or airplane food?

Airplane food.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

The vanity pouches, only of certain airlines. Others l just leave on the plane. I also collect the KLM miniature houses.

What is your 2018 Easter destination?

At home. I will just be back from Abidjan and I am looking forward to no airports, just chilling at home and enjoying not traveling.

Worst airplane experience?

At Charles de Gaulle (Paris Airport), I was on transit to San Francisco and as l left the plane there was border security police who l handed my passport to. He looked at it, peered over my visa and asked me to step aside as he continued with the other passengers. The only thing is that the gates at CDG are far apart and you have to go through another check and l had a short transit time. When I asked them why they were keeping me, they refused to tell me. Then it occurred to me that it must be because it was a new passport. I had the older one with me as it still had other valid visas. When l pulled that one out, he just said ‘‘why didn’t you say you had one?’’ and l retorted, ‘‘why didn’t you ask?’’. Since then l avoid any transit through CDG, it’s a pain.

DIMITRIS KARAKOULAS

GM, BENTLEY NAIROBI

Favourite destination?

Europe.

Must carry item in hand luggage?

Perfume and phone charger.

Best airplane?

A380.

Best airport?
Dubai.

Business class or first class?

Business class.

Best seat on a plane?

Window seat.

Airport food or airplane food?

Airport food.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

Beauty case and chocolates.

What is your 2018 Easter destination?

Greece.

Worst airplane experience?

Lufthansa Nairobi to Frankfurt.

SUSAN ONGALO

KENYA TOURISM FEDERATION CEO

Favourite destination?

Diani for Kenya, Kigali within the region and Seychelles. 

Must carry item in hand luggage?

A set of change of clothes. Never sure of checked in luggage timely arrival. 

Best airplane?

Dreamliner.

Best airport?

Heathrow Airport. 

Business class or first class?

Premier World (first class).

Best seat on a plane?

The one next to the exit for the advantage of leg room. 

Airport food or airplane food?

Airplane food.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

Inflight magazine and personal amenity kit. 

What is your 2018 Easter destination?

Mombasa on SGR.

Worst airplane experience?

Unable to land at destination due to bad weather under heavy turbulence. 

MOHAMMED HERSI

CEO, SUN AFRICA HOTELS

Favourite destination?

Cape Town and Bangkok.

Must carry item in hand luggage?

Personal documents are a must. A fully charged phone, a fully charged e-reader, an iPad, a book or two and I now use reading glasses so I carry those too.

Best airplane?

Kenya Airways Dreamliner.

Business class or first class?

Depends on the duration of the flight. Less than four hours, I fly economy whether it is personal or business. Flights for more than four hours, I fly business.

Best seat on a plane?

I used to like windows but not anymore. I opt for aisle especially while flying business. People do not jump over you.

Airport food or airplane food?

I eat before flying. For long haul flights, I limit myself to one meal on a plane. For short flights, I just eat on the ground.

Item provided by airlines during the flight that you have carried with you off the plane?

I collect amenity bags especially from business class. They make for very good pencil pouches for my daughter. She is always waiting for them.

What is your 2018 Easter destination?

Hotels are very busy over the festive period. I would like to take my family to Zanzibar.

Worst airplane experience?

I flew New York to London on a badly stained seat on Virgin. The plane was full and the cabin crew were not accommodating when I requested a seat change. Another would be getting a permanently reclined seat.

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