I vowed never to use Kenya Airways again. Why, you ask? In one of my previous reviews (its title: "Kenya Airways from Nairobi to Dubai") you can find the answer to this question. But only half a year passed and the oath was broken. Again I was greeted by the already well-known logo of the airline, again I had to board the pride of Africa (the official logo of the airline). And this time, Kenya Airways fully justified its logo. But first things first.
A brief description of the flight. Flight KQ271 Port Louis (MRU) - Nairobi (NBO). Aircraft Boeing 737-800, registration number 5Y-CYC. Scheduled departure at 14.00, actual - 14.29. Scheduled arrival in Nairobi at 17.20, actual - at 17.23. The flight duration was 3 hours 54 minutes. Of these: at flight level - 3 hours 10 minutes, climb - 21 minutes, descent - 23 minutes. Flight level ranged from 38,000 feet (first half of flight) to 40,000 feet (second half of flight).
Short retreat. On the 24flightradar.com website, the MRU airport is listed as Port Louis. In practice, for example, on the departure/arrival board or on the boarding pass, the MRU airport is designated as Mauritius (Mauritius).
The initial and final destinations are African countries. And if Kenya (the end point) is the real, true Africa with all the ensuing consequences, then Mauritius (the starting point) is Africa only nominally, the level and way of life there are far from African. Rather, it is a piece of Europe somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But despite the back places, at one time there were non-stop flights from Moscow to Mauritius by the Transaero airline .. Oh, there were times ..
The main airport of Mauritius is located in the southeast of the country (the island). To get to it, I had to travel from the opposite end of the island-country, but this only went as a bonus. I used a transfer and just enjoyed the picture unfolding in front of me, which I did not fully contemplate when driving on local roads on my own. And they are great in Mauritius. Driving on them, despite the unusual position of the steering wheel, is a real pleasure, consisting of a neat driving style of local, stunning road views, simple and understandable logistics of road signs. I never quenched my thirst for self-driving a car around the island. The indicated minus (the steering wheel is not “from our” side, although for me this is already a habit, since I drive in Kenya is also not “from ours”) can only be attributed to the abundance of traffic policemen who strictly monitor compliance with the speed limit, and possible traffic jams per hour -peak, especially in the suburbs of Port Louis. There is a chic highway leading to the airport, over which a huge warning is posted a kilometer from the air harbor about the prohibition of using a mobile phone at the airport. It surprised me greatly, since I had never met a more peaceful country, so I could not even imagine that someone could ban something there:
Naturally, this warning was I ignored it, because if he followed it, then part of this photo report would be a dry text without explanatory pictures. The ban turned out to be more formal than working: passengers used the phone outside and inside the terminal building, I took photos both outside the building and inside the airport without any restrictions or consequences, no one paid attention to this.
Entering the airport through the pass terminal with a barrier looks like this:
The territory is quite large, I captured it while moving to the departure terminal:
I drive up to the terminal:
I unloaded from the car, before entering the departure terminal I took the last photo in the open air in the comfortable atmosphere of the Mauritian winter:
There are no inspections, metal detectors, and other checks behind the doors of the terminal building. I already stopped for a moment, taken aback by surprise and habitually looking for some kind of frame to pass through it, or a scanner to throw my suitcase into its mouth. But none of this was - only free space. This was very surprising, because in Kenya (and not only in it) I got used to endless, exhausting and, at times, absurd checks on this matter. The terminal building seemed huge. Countless rows of check-in desks undulated far on either side of the entrance and got lost behind the smooth curves of the terminal: hypertrophied. Of all the check-in desks, ten worked at most for two or three flights. The registration hall is divided into two zones. To the left of the entrance - zone A, which was completely empty - not a single rack was involved. On the right hand - zone B. Some movement was observed in this part. Glancing at the scoreboard, he looked for his flight. It turned out to be zone B, so I'm on the right.
As you can see from the scoreboard, only 9 flights are scheduled for the next 6 hours (and one is postponed), which is indecently small for such a huge airport. Of these, half - 5 flights - to Saint Denis, to the neighboring island of Reunion. The rest of the flights are mine to Nairobi, Madagascar, Johannesburg, Dubai and a delayed flight to Mumbai.
Going to check-in area B:
Check-in in Nairobi took place at the very back of the hall. There was no queue.
Registered quickly. We weighed the suitcase, printed out the boarding pass, wished good luck. I got seat 21A, which meant above the wing. Asked to go further along the same row - no problem. They issued a new boarding pass with seat 32A. Everything was quite friendly.
Next - border control. And again, an endless row of booths, almost all empty. Only two were working, which was quite enough to avoid creating a queue.
When you enter a clean zone, you immediately come across a duty-free shop. The duty free shop is decent and has a large selection of what is usually sold there.
The waiting room is quite modern and clean. The floors are covered with carpet. Due to the small number of departing aircraft, there were few people. There was still enough time before my flight, so I decided to take a walk along the entire hall and at the same time look through the glass to see which boards were parked. Immediately opposite the exit from the border control zone, an A-220 Air Austral, preparing for departure to Saint-Denis, caught my eye:
To its right, at the next gate, there was a B-777 Air France. A-380 Emirates parked through one gate on the left, which was to take off only after 6 hours. But there were no flights to France until the evening (at least, the scoreboard informed about this), so the B-777, apparently, will be stuck in Mauritius even more than the Emirates board.
The picture behind the glass began to change: the A-220 Air Austral was unhooked from the air bridge, turned around, and then it went under its own power for taxiing and subsequent takeoff. As soon as it took off, Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 landed and taxied to the gate from which A-220 Air Austral had just departed:
It was the plane on which I was to fly to Nairobi. A Corsair International A-330 landed behind the Kenyan. I managed to film its taxiing, but interestingly, after landing, it did not return to that part of the gates where the Air France B-777, Emirates A-380 and Kenya Airways B-737 were parked, but sailed somewhere irrevocably to the left of my field of vision.
There were no more aircraft in sight and I headed to the left side of the holding area. There were no passengers at all in this part, which immediately reminded me of the film based on Stephen King's novel "The Langoliers":
At the end of the hall, on the last row, I still saw a man - an airport employee sitting alone on a chair . Nearby there was a passage to the next hall - it was designated as an Air Mauritius premium lounge.
I went into the passage - it turned out to be a long one, in which employees of a cleaning company worked, not paying attention to me . I passed them, stepping over long wires from vacuum cleaners lying on the carpeted floor:
After going through the long corridor completely, I went out into a new hall. It turned out that it was not in use, as finishing work was still being carried out on the ceiling. Well, how they were carried out .. it was clear that the hall was in a state of construction, but the work was not carried out, there was no one, everything seemed to freeze. But still, it was striking that after the completion of the work, the hall would be truly chic (for an airport like Mauritius), as evidenced by the interior elements:
Outside the window of this hall, a Turkish Airlines flight was visible. It was parked at the fork, but there was no movement near it. There are no scheduled flights to Istanbul for the next six and a half hours, apparently this explains the lack of activity around it. To the left of the Turkish was parked the same A-330 Corsair International, which had landed a few minutes earlier. But there was no activity around him either. Apparently, he landed without passengers. I was surrounded by a striking picture, as if I had fallen into another existence: in the field of view of the airfield - a pair of wide-body aircraft with air bridges attached to them and not a single person, not a piece of equipment, not movement, nothing more. It was all the more strange, knowing that he had just sat down and taxied to the gate of the A-330 Corsair. He really sat empty, otherwise why would he park at the gate leading to the non-working terminal. The loss of visible life outside the terminal window was answered by the same thing inside it. Along with the silence in the hall and the absence of people in it, the feeling that I had become the unwitting hero of the film "The Langoliers" intensified many times over. This feeling was suddenly cut short by a question in English, put to my back: what are you doing here? Turning around, I saw an airport employee who quietly and silently approached from behind on the carpeted floor with an expression of surprise on his face, but at the same time with notes of good nature. You get lost? he repeated. I told him that I was just killing time while waiting for my flight. Wait at your gate, this part of the complex does not work and you should not be here, - he replied. No problem. I returned to my waiting room and saw how the A-330 Air Mauritius landed, having managed to shoot it at a large zoom with the front desk hovering in the air, just before touching the strip:
After taxiing, he parked to the next branch from Air France B-777:
It is curious that this wide-body plane flew in from the neighboring island of Reunion, which is only 230 kilometers in a straight line.
While I was killing time walking through idle empty waiting rooms and admiring the wide-body technology, boarding on my flight to Nairobi opened and passengers lined up to the exit. I joined them too:
Before boarding, they ordered me to put on a mask and demanded to show the already pretty boring vaccination to both passengers and employees. The fact that the passengers are tired is understandable, but why the employees? Because they check formally. Why formal? Yes, because I have it printed out on two pages from the State Services website. On the first page, where the QR code is, the first vaccination, which is more than a year old and is no longer valid. On the second - fresh, real. In two weeks, I flew out of Nairobi twice, once each from Doha, Moscow and Mauritius - and everywhere they bothered to look, and with a serious look, only the first page, and when satisfied with it, they nodded their heads positively or waved their hands to the side - they say, come in. Conclusion - find a beautiful QR code on the Internet, print any text on paper against its background - and the world is open in front of you, it will pass for vaccination. ID=235484]
Ahead of me is the narrow-body pride of Africa:
I'm trying to squeeze to the back of the cabin to my seat, at the exciting moment of seating passengers, which is always accompanied by the standard fuss associated with the search their seats, belatedly frantically removing items from hand luggage that should certainly come in handy during the flight and then trying to arrange hand luggage on shelves already packed with bags and other luggage.
In the eyes the already painfully familiar coloring and pattern of Kenyan armchairs rushes. I did not expect that this year would be fruitful for me for flights by the Kenyan national carrier:
Squeezed my way to my seat, 32A. Neighboring seats were empty:
He settled down superbly in his place: one of the last rows, excellent view through the porthole that does not block the wing:
The bustle in the cabin calmed down, the passengers sat down, many began to study the contents of the monitors in the seat in front:
Reversible flight from Mauritius to Nairobi. It felt like the plane had been on the ground for less than an hour. Apparently, the Kenyans value their time, unlike the Turkish, Air France and Emirates, whose planes are stuck in Mauritius for a long time.
Our Boeing was towed, during the towing it had already started the engines. Went out to steer. Behind the porthole, a picture began to unfold - the one that I surveyed from the terminal building, but now from the opposite side. As they taxied in front of the main terminal building, the sides of Air Mauritius, Air France and Emirates appeared:
I went to a non-working hall, and a Turkish Airlines board:
And then, somewhere away from the platform, near the hangars, an A-350 Air Mauritius appeared, which was not visible from Lounge:
Exit to the start:
Mauritius Airport is located on the coast in the southern part of the island. The takeoff was carried out in the direction of the ocean, which means in the opposite direction from the destination. And this, in turn, meant that after takeoff it would turn 180 degrees. The question is which one? If to the right, then during the turn, my side will look up and I will see the sky and not see the earth, there will be an ocean under me. But the plane began to lay to the left. That's better! The beauty of the island began to unfold before me:
When the plane turned 180 degrees, it was already quite high, but nevertheless, the airport and the runway from which it took off were clearly visible:
In order to fly to opposite end of the island, it took some five minutes. And now a strip of Trou aux Biches beach and the resort town of Grand Baie, framing a semicircular bay, floated under me. The plane unexpectedly flew over exactly the places where I spent most of my time in Mauritius and the picture below was painfully familiar to me:
Eh, Mauritius .. didn't want to leave you. So many positive emotions you left in my memory.
After Mauritius began to move out of sight, but was still clearly visible, Reunion Island appeared in the distance. It was amazing to observe these two islands within one glance, knowing that they are connected by regular passenger flights, operated, among other things, by wide-body aircraft. less interesting - a gray ocean peeped through the clouds - and I turned my attention to the back of the chair in front of me. The Kenyan 737s (not to mention the 787s) are equipped with a built-in multimedia system. Therefore, before the flight, the flight attendants carry headphones to the passengers:
The choice of films is not particularly impressive, there is nothing in Russian. In the seat pocket, in addition to the headphones that were squeezed into it at the beginning of the flight, they additionally found: a branded paper bag in case of a sudden appearance of vomit, two magazines and a safety manual. If anyone is interested in what the Kenya Airlines Boeing 737 security manual looks like, here it is:
One of the magazines (its name is Karibu, which means “welcome” in Swahili) was an advertising booklet with a line of duty free goods offered on board, the other was an in-flight magazine with an indigestible title (I won’t risk writing the title for fear of making a mistake) , fresh issue, for August-September 2022:
An hour of flight has passed and a pleasant smell of cooking wafted in the air. As a consequence, carts rumbled behind them and two stewardesses appeared one after the other in the aisle with them, laden with food and drinks. I already knew the taste of Kenya Airlines cuisine, so I looked forward to dinner with anticipation. The taste met expectations this time as well, but the quantity was not so good. I felt like there wasn't enough food. From the proposed choice: beef, chicken, vegetarian - I chose the first. Received this box:
But with drinks it was full of openwork. Whiskey, brandy, wine, juice, water - drink what you want and how much you want. The wine was not poured, as is usually the case when half of it is splashed into a disposable plastic cup, but was given in whole bottles and in any quantity, which was used by especially thirsty (or greedy) passengers. With Kenyans, I traditionally choose Tasker beer for myself. In general, I think that these two brands - Kenya Airways and Tusker - are made for each other. I don't fly Kenyans without Tasker and I don't drink Tasker outside of Kenya Airways. And despite the fact that he brought several varieties of Tasker to Moscow, he did not deviate from this rule - the banks there remained untouched in the refrigerator. On board, Tusker beer, as well as wine, was offered unlimitedly, but there was no desire to get drunk on it, even for free, and taking into account that the brand is really good. To the question: what would I prefer to drink and having answered - beer and sparkling water, the stewardess gave me a jar of soda and two cans of Tasker. And I did not ask for two of her, I just said beer. As a result, I was satisfied with one, I didn’t even open the second, but didn’t return it either, I took it home with me to Nairobi (and didn’t drink either):
As noted above, in terms of the amount of food offered, this was not lunch, but rather an appetizer for drinking, but it was magnificent: the meat was precisely tender meat, and not hard-to-chew veins, the sauce for it was refined. Some nuts, like cashews, were hiding in the sauce. The salad seen on the plate on the right is a purely Kenyan invention, served by Kenyan housewives at home, and has been eaten many times in Nairobi. But as a home cooking, it is somewhat bland, and on the plane, the taste of this salad seemed more elegant. Rice, however, was ordinary. After eating lunch and drinking beer and soda, hot drinks began to be served. Note to chifiromans - Kenyan black tea is something, its strength is beyond all reasonable limits for tea. But this time I chose coffee:
Finishing his meal with coffee, he drew attention to the flight map on the monitor in front of the standing chair. At that moment, the plane was flying over the northern tip of Madagascar:
Looking out the window through the gaps in the clouds, I saw this land, which seemed so far from my native places, but now floating just 10 km below me, - island of Madagascar:
Supplemented with a few pictures to go to the toilet. Simple, standard, tight. For some reason, a pack of napkins in a branded box caught my eye (I don’t remember similar boxes from other airlines), and also a sticker over the sink with a request text as an act of courtesy for the next visitors to wipe the sink with napkins after using it (P.S. - the sink is not used, the request did not work for a previous passenger who visited the Lavatory):
Returning to my seat. The plane is almost full. Only a few seats remained unoccupied in the back of the cabin, including in my row:
Another hour passed and we began to approach the mainland. First, the island of Pemba, belonging to Tanzania, appeared:
And five minutes later we were already crossing the coastline separating the African continent and the Indian Ocean. The plane flew over the best beaches not only in Kenya but also on the entire east coast of Africa - Diani Beach. A strip of wide sandy beach was clearly visible, and even (despite the height of 40,000 feet) the shadows of palm trees on the sand. I was also able to make out a thin strip of the Ukunda airfield (it can be seen in the lower third of the picture):
As the plane wedged deep into the mainland, thick clouds began to appear. A few days ago I already flew through these places - then I flew from the coast of Kenya to the capital on a small turboprop aircraft and saw Mount Kilimanjaro (there is a story about this in one of my previous reviews). Despite the thick cloudiness, I expected to see her even now, since I was again sitting on the right side. And then the mountain appeared. Unlike my last flight, when its top was almost level with the echelon, this time Kilimanjaro was far below:
In the picture, the mountain looks like a toy but it's actually huge. I happened to be in the Amboseli National Park, about 20 km from the base of the mountain. And in order to look at the entire Kilimanjaro massif, you had to turn your head almost 180 degrees.
On especially clear days, the top of the mountain can be observed even from Nairobi (quite realistically from the top floors of skyscrapers), although the distance between them in a straight line is 200 kilometers. Kilimanjaro was still in sight when the plane began its descent. The clouds began to approach, began to move rapidly:
The plane passed through them, the ground appeared. He began to turn right, leaving a straight line to the runway. Nairobi National Park appeared below us. He has been there many times, he is just teeming with wild animals, so he peered through the porthole, trying to catch one of them, at least giraffes, but in vain:
The national park closely borders the metropolis - a unique phenomenon for our planet - and just before landing, this picture formed before my eyes:
Touch, run. At the beginning of the run, small UN planes flashed, and some other, apparently, service aircraft of organizations:
Then massive Emirates and Qatar appeared, followed by Ethiopians:
Taxied to the gate, stopped:
The flight, which did not make you bored and brought some new, vivid emotions, ended. By the way, its peculiarity was that the commander of the aircraft was a black female pilot. Mauritius was more than three thousand kilometers behind:
Passengers, as is always the case, got up from their seats and filled the row waiting to start moving to the exit:
The landing was carried out not through the sleeve, but along the ladder to the ground. And this is great, because this way of disembarking gives more opportunities and chances to see something interesting in the parking lots. I am one of the last to get off the plane and take a farewell shot from the side:
I got on the platform bus. On the way to the arrivals terminal, I took a couple of pictures of the wide-body sides of African airlines:
The bus stopped at the entrance to the terminal. Upon entering, I saw a line of passengers. Welcome to Kenya Airports! The first stage is to check vaccination and print out a QR code from the website of the Kenyan Ministry of Health. The queue pressed, so the inspectors limited themselves to a formal look at the papers in their hands and the phones of the passengers.
Traditionally, poking the first page of the printout from the State Services and another piece of paper with a local QR code, without stopping, I move on:
I'm walking along the already familiar semi-circular corridor, taking pictures of planes in the parking lot along the way. I noticed how at that moment a Saudia A-330, which had arrived from Jeddah, was taxiing onto the platform:
I went passport control. Kenyan citizens and non-residents went through separately.
But if the first ones passed quickly and ended soon, then non-citizens spent quite a lot of time with the immigration officer and they began to be redirected to the booths for Kenyan citizens. Things got faster. Finally, this stage has been passed and I’m heading to the baggage claim area:
The suitcases were almost all taken apart. Finding his, he loaded it onto a cart and drove to the exit. It's already dark outside.
Here I am in Nairobi! I called an Uber and, despite the rush hour, I was at home within an hour.
Thanks everyone for reading!
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