Earlier this week I took Kenya Airways’ inaugural flight from New York to Nairobi. The airline launched daily service, and it’s a route that has been in the planning for a very long time. The excitement was palpable based on the parties they threw for passengers on the inaugural flights in both directions.
I’ve been on quite a few inaugural flights, but I’ve never ever seen anything quite like this. That seems to be reflected in the country on the whole, because this isn’t just viewed as a cool development for the airline, but rather as the next big step for the country.
So, in the past several days I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve spent watching Kenyan media reports about this flight. There’s just something about them I find endearing and oh-so-cool. I think Ford is about to kill me, because I can’t stop using the buzzwords they’ve had in all of these reports. “Groundbreaking,” “JKIA to JFKIA,” “dinner in Nairobi, breakfast in New York,” etc. I just constantly blurt them out for no reason.
This is probably my favorite news report about the inaugural flight:
I’m not sure if you caught on, but this route is a game changer. 😉
I also love this interview with the captain of the first flight (though that doesn’t look to me like a 787):
Or this news clip of the exact plane I was on taxiing in:
That’s just a tiny sampling of some of the media reports.
To be honest, when I first heard about this route I found it amusing more than anything. This route was announced shortly after the airline was on the verge of liquidation, and when that’s the case, a daily nonstop flight between Nairobi and New York doesn’t seem like the solution.
However, it has become clear that this new route is so much more than just a commercial decision for the airline. It’s a point of national pride, and also an attempt to further Kenya’s position in the global economy.
It’s anyone’s guess how this route will play out, especially with oil prices on the rise, though I really do wish the airline the best, and hope this route succeeds. I’ve never seen this level of excitement surrounding a new route before. Some might even say it’s… a game changer! 😉