Traveling to Kenya in both 2007 and 2008 were two totally different flight experiences. Here are a few tips that we learned.
We would recommend a process of pre-planning to get things started. One of the best ways to begin your planning is on-line. Browsing a few key sites gives you the chance to compare flights to Kenya for best prices and times that suit both your schedule and budget.
You'll find all the answers to baggage weights and limitations, carry on restrictions, and which airline best meets your needs for what you can take with you.
Electronic tickets have become the standard way to travel. They prove to be very convenient, they can't get lost or stolen or even forgotten, and you can check in on-line as well.
On-line check in is available for most flights anywhere from 30 hours to 1 hour before departure. It's a fast and easy way to avoid those long lines at the airport.
You can even print out your boarding pass ahead of time as well as choose you own seating. Getting those seats with a bit of extra leg room with easy access to the aisle is key when traveling to Kenya. You're going to be on the planes for 8 to 9 hour stretches at a time.
Once you're at the airport, all that's left to do before departure is to find the check-in point for baggage drop off. You'll want to be sure to advance to the wicket for pre bookings which will be much faster.
I will admit that on our first adventure, even with the pre bookings in place, when leaving Nairobi we stood in the wrong line up and waited much longer that we needed to.
Allow For Extras
Jim and I like to carry physician travel packs when we're traveling to Kenya. On our first flight to Nairobi departing from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada, we had two travel packs (4 boxes in total) that we were transporting to a village clinic.
We had all the necessary paperwork and made sure that we had met the travel guidelines. However, when we arrived at the baggage check-in area we were told that the boxes had to be banded together first.
Jim found the designated area in the airport that handles that service. He had to wait his turn and get back to the check-in area within the necessary time allowed. It proved to be a little stressful.
A point to make here - always allow for extra time and extra money.
We found that long layovers can be very tiring and frustrating if you don't have a plan. Our first experience traveling to Kenya had good connections on the way there, but we experienced an 8 hour layover at Heathrow International Airport in London, England, on the way home.
Our flight from Nairobi to England was full and noisy. When we arrived at Heathrow, we had already been traveling for about 30 hours and desperately needed to rest.
It took us a while to figure out some of the comforts at Heathrow. We were delighted to find shower facilities and wonderful lounges on the upper level that had sleeping areas or at least a place to get off your feet and rest.
Heathrow is also well equipped with many shops and restaurants. We found the food costs were high, so even getting a basic breakfast was expensive. It's a good idea to have your own snacks in your carry on if you can.
To pass the time it helps to have a novel or some activity books. I love to do crossword puzzles and Jim likes to browse through motorcycle magazines.
Amsterdam Airport SchipholOur second trip traveling to Kenya was via Amsterdam. We had relatively short layover times there before making our connecting flights.
It's a wonderful airport, one of the biggest and busiest in the Netherlands that provides service to over 40 million passengers a year.
There is easy to follow, clear signage, and very helpful staff at the information stations.
The Schiphol Plaza provides an amazing shopping experience and is considered by many to be a major tourist attraction. You can access trains, taxis, shuttle buses and car rentals from the Plaza area.
There are lots of food and beverage outlets and a large open-air observation deck with amazing views located at the top of the passenger terminal building.
Jomo Kenyatta International AirportJomo Kenyatta in Nairobi is a busy airport – the busiest in East and Central Africa. It handles almost 5 million passengers traveling to Kenya each year from its one and only terminal.
There are no information screens at the airport, so it’s vital that you ask staff for help about departures and how to find your way around. The check in area is beyond the baggage screening section near the buildings entrance.
While everything operates from the one terminal, it has units 1 and 2 handling international flights, and unit 3 for domestic flights.
We would recommend that you have your travel visa purchased ahead of time to be shown at the airport as you go through. On our second trip we opted to purchase our travel visa at the Nairobi airport and found it frustrating to wait so very long in the line up to get processed.
There were a group of Nuns travelling from Amsterdam on our flight that time that we enjoyed chatting with. One of them was also purchasing her visa at the airport, while the rest of her group had purchased them ahead of time. It took her so long to be processed that it almost ruined the groups connections for the rest of their journey and caused a great deal of stress for them all.
Jomo is located about 12 miles east of Nairobi and has taxi cabs readily available to take you into the city, or wherever you need to go.
If you are being brought to the airport by friends, there are both long and short stay car parking areas close to the terminal.
Traveling To Kenya Contact InfoJomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi, Kenya)
Telephone +254 (0) 822 111
Heathrow International Airport (London, England)
Telephone +44 (0) 871 472 5125 (bookings/sales)
Schiphol International Airport (Netherlands/Amsterdam)
Telephone +31-207940800 from outside the Netherlands
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