On a random day in February, I was unexpectedly offered the opportunity to visit Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
I had not been to Addis since I was a teen, and frankly, I knew I would have a great time visiting this historically rich city for more reasons than one (and yes, by that, I am referring to my much-written-about love for Ethiopian food 🙂 ).
Once my travel party had confirmed its plans in terms of number of travelers and dates, we quickly set off to make travel arrangements.
A member of my travel party made our flight bookings, while I and someone else headed to the local Ethiopian Airlines office to pay for our tickets, well within the deadline given to us by the airline.
Nonetheless, we were rudely informed, without much explanation, that our reservation had been canceled and our seats given away.
Mind you, this we were told only three days before our expected date of departure.
My travel buddies, although a little miffed, were willing to discuss a little further with the airline to see what could be done for us to get our seats back.
I, on the other hand, was completely flabbergasted and wanted nothing more to do with Ethiopian Airlines.
It was bad enough that we had lost our seats for no reason, but even more unacceptable to me was how rudely and dismissively we were treated by the Ethiopian Airlines agent who had canceled our booking.
I suggested, instead, that we try another alternative.
I was pretty sure that Kenya Airways, too, flew between Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa, and that with Kenya Airways, we’d be sure to receive much better service.
This is how, the following day, one of my travel buddies visited the Kenya Airways office in Dar es Salaam to find out more.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with customer service in Tanzania, he was given information that was neither helpful nor very clear.
Gosh! I was fed up! Something needed to be done!
And so, I decided to take action.
I called Kenya Airways Reservations in Nairobi (a number that I practically have on speed dial 🙂 ), sure that finally we would find some sort of resolution to our problem.
And we did.
Within 10 minutes (although I called Kenya Airways after 10 p.m.), my party and I were booked both ways from Dar es Salaam to Addis Ababa, with complete, clear information about our flight details, how and when to make payment, and why Kenya Airways in Dar es Salaam had told my travel buddy what it had.
The entire interaction was exactly what I’d hoped it would be—the agent who handled my call was extremely courteous, professional, and knowledgeable—and left me reminiscing about all the good experiences that I’d consistently had with Kenya Airways over the years.
Kenya Airways: The Good
I’ve been traveling with Kenya Airways, pretty much all my life.
In the past 16 years during which I have lived in East Africa, I have traveled and dealt with Kenya Airways countless times.
Although I often hear horror stories about long delays on Kenya Airways flights and frequent instances where passengers are unexpectedly bumped off their flights, this has not been my experience of Kenya Airways at all.
For me, Kenya Airways has, more often than not, been a dependable, reliable, professional airline carrier that has allowed me to focus more on where and why I am traveling, rather than on how I will get there and whether or not my flight will be pleasant and on-schedule.
One of the things that I love most about Kenya Airways is that I can call their reservations number at any time (particularly the one in Nairobi) for the slightest reason and know that I will get accurate, reliable information given to me in a professional and courteous manner.
I once called Kenya Airways Reservations at 3 a.m., one night, when I couldn’t sleep from the excitement of a trip I was planning, just to inquire what they charge to fly to the destination I was planning to travel to.
On another night, when I couldn’t sleep because my mother was unreachable after taking a late night Kenya Airways flight, I called to find out if her flight had indeed landed safely.
Each time, I got a quick answer to my query, despite having called at such a late hour.
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Another thing that I always marvel about when dealing with Kenya Airways is that, no matter when I call Kenya Airways to make a flight reservation, they always seem to have space available to the destination I want, on the date I wish to travel.
I have never called Kenya Airways and been told that they do not fly to my desired destination (granted, I travel mostly within Africa) nor that flights are unavailable for the particular day I request.
At times, this has even included situations in which I have called Kenya Airways to make same-day bookings.
Yes, this could just be my good luck, but more likely, I imagine this has more to do with how well Kenya Airways has studied and understood the flow of human traffic across Africa, ensuring that its flight frequency and destinations meet its customers’ needs.
To be fair, I have had a couple of bad experiences traveling with Kenya Airways, but of the many, I mean exactly that: I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with Kenya Airways (meaning exactly two).
The first took place while I was at university, when I traveled across continents on a seat whose head rest would not recline (that was a long flight!).
The second incident occurred when I was unexpectedly bumped off an early-morning flight from Nairobi to Bujumbura.
To Kenya Airways’s credit, I had arrived at the airport a little late and once I’d taken the airline to task about how they’d contributed to my missing my flight, they compensated me adequately.
Kenya Airways: The Not-So-Good
The one area, though, in which I have a bone to pick with Kenya Airways is pricing.
Particularly when it comes to travel within East Africa, I find Kenya Airways rather expensive.
This is why sometimes, lately, in situations where price is a determining factor, I have often found myself turning to less expensive alternatives, such as Fastjet, on regional routes.
Still, overall, I am very impressed with the good service that I continually receive from Kenya Airways.
Despite the complaints and horror stories that I frequently hear from other people, this has not been my experience at all.
To me, Kenya Airways is doing very well in keeping in line with being/becoming “The Pride of Africa”.
Kudos to you, Kenya Airways! Keep up the good work!
How about you, my readers? What have you’re experiences with Kenya Airways been? Have they been positive or negative?
I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Until the next time,
Photo Credits: bongopedia.com