First, unless you live in New York, please don’t mistake KQ for a direct flight. The hustle of moving from gate to gate at JFK is more tiring than the few dollars and flying time one saves by flying direct.
1) While KQ has several check-in stations at JKIA, KQ002 from Nairobi to JFK-NY has only one dedicated stand.
There was only one person ahead of us in the check-in line, but it took us over 1hr to be served. The lady at the desk was nice, and she explained the problem saying that the system was closed and she needed to submit each suitcase and each passport through her supervisor for system entry. She said that they close the system before the line is over but she couldn’t explain why.
TIP: If you must use KQ, be among the first few people and the system will be open for you.
2) Your advance requests may not be honored.
We had requested an infant bassinet, but we were given regular seats after checking in, and no bassinet request was in their system. We were lucky that an honorable passenger accepted to switch seats with us so we could have the bassinet.
TIP: If KQ is still your choice, make sure you won’t need special requests during your travel.
3) Your checked luggage will highly likely be left at your point of departure.
We checked in seven suitcases, and after landing in NY, only four were available. Three had been left in Nairobi together with the car seat. The funny part is that after rechecking the four that we got in New York with KQ, none arrived in Boston with us. We lost all our seven bags. Luckily they were traced, and the three left in Nairobi plus the four left in NY were delivered together at our house by American Airlines two days later. AA was our connecting flight.
American Airlines staff acknowledged that they file about two complaints of delayed luggage by KQ every day, saying that KQ is a liability to many airlines they connect with. To reinforce her sentiments, there was another lady behind us with a similar case of lost/delayed luggage. TIP: If your patriotism still pushes you to support KQ, please keep safe all those tiny sticky tags they give you when you check in your luggage. They’ll come in handy while filing a lost luggage claim.
4) Your bags will likely arrive damaged.
Of our seven checked bags, four were heavily damaged that we had to file for replacement.
5) The flight attendant wished us a happy 2022 instead of 2020. He must be following Kenyan politics closer than his job. It was a funny moment when he was corrected and amended his announcement.
•The crew is amazing and they’re very professional. They make the long trip appear shorter because they’re there for you whenever you need anything, anytime throughout the 14-hour flight.
•Despite the flight being long, the bathrooms are clean and well-stocked.
•They make announcements in Swahili, calling passengers “mabibi na mabwana”.