Must-See Media Coverage Of Kenya Airways’ New JFK Flight

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

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. šŸ˜‰

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! šŸ˜‰

  1. Do you mean rising oil prices in the long term or the near term fluctuations? Perhaps Nigeria will finally move to refine more of its crude petroleum, given that it is the fifth largest oil exporter in the world. Crude prices have actually been on a decline and the recent Iran sanctions are expected to have minimum effect since OPEC is planning on increasing production.

  2. This is a big deal since the last attempt at a non-stop US to NBO (DL ATL-NBO) flight back in 2009 was abruptly canceled by DHS/TSA. So 9 years later, this is happening.

  3. Glad you enjoy the “news” media of Kenya. Have to say that the focus on fluff is not always as lighthartedly funny as it is with the KQ New York flights, but if you havent had enough of “journalists” desperatly trying to fill airtime and never calming down, check out the coverage (especially Citizens) of the launch of the new Nairobi-Mombasa railway about a year ago.

  4. Subtle but important statement: “…especially with oil prices on the rise…”

    What evidence are you basing this claim on? Oil prices have been decreasing over the year as OPEC loosens their restrictions on production.

    I don’t think the cost of oil will be the deciding factor on the success of this route, but the actual ridership numbers.

  5. Commenting the reception of the return flight from NYC: “..and I’m told […] that’s it’s the same aircraft that went to New York.” (Third video, 05:00)

    That would be quite likely, considering the cirumstances! šŸ™‚

  6. Oil price has come down slightly compared to that in October, but still more than twice compared to the lowest in 2016. And therefore fuel costs have risen significantly which are reflected in airline profits. What Lucky said is true unless you purely want to nitpick by comparing the current price to the October peak.

  7. Crude oil prices are basically where they were at the start of the year and are expected to drop more. The prices in 2016 coincided heavily with a period of diminishing growth world-wide – not actually a good thing for any industry. Airline industry profits have not fluctuated widely over the last four years. There are expectations that prices may continue decreasing. Regardless, the success of this route will not depend on the fuel costs, but more so on its popularity.

  8. QF didn’t even make this amount of fuss for their first PER – LHR flight (and that is a game changer)

  9. I’ve been to Kenya several times, and while it is well worth the trip it is quite a pain in the ass to get there from the USA, requiring out of the way routing and full day layovers in Europe which turns the trip into an ordeal. With a direct 15 hour flight, Kenya now seems like a no-brainer tourist destination for Americans. Perhaps more importantly, it makes it a lot easier for business travel. I do think this is a big deal for Kenyan tourism and commerce, and likely to be a successful route.

  10. Just loved this. Maybe the crews at American can learn a thing or two about how to be gracious and happy about being on their flights Ben. Lol.

  11. The have an extensive route map in Africa, but also pretty good in Asia too. JFK-NBO-DEL anyone?

    I guess this flight has now been operating a few days. Anyone had information on the load factor since the inaugural?

  12. Ahhh yes.. but what about award availability?? Flying to NBO Oct 2019 and would love to go on this flight.

  13. It just puts into perspective how easy it is to take international travel for granted.

    I live 25 minutes from Manchester Airport and can easily get a flight to anywhere in the world more or less.

    It always excites me to see people being able to connect with new parts of the world and hopefully this helps increase Kenya on the worlds stage.

    For the average Kenyan it must truly be a game changer šŸ˜‰

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