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Experience flying with Kenya Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines or Turkish Airlines

We are planning a safari in Kenya and Tanzania next Summer. Looking at flying to London, then from London to Nairobi.

I would appreciate any experiences with these three airlines.

Posted by
6868 posts

Turkish Airlines is well-regarded for its prices and service. No brainer, I would select Turkish Air. I've flown them several times and it was a very good experience each time. They treat you well even in Economy.

Posted by
3789 posts

My flights to Tanz were often via Schipol on KLM, but last trip was with Turkish Airlines as I was flying back from Uganda. I found Turkish to be comfortable and more adequate than some other airlines.
There are sites that rate airline experiences.

When I was traveling there in the past, Ethiopian had terrible late night long lay overs in Addis Ababa so I didn't consider them.

It's a shame you can't fly Turkish and work in a 3 day stay in Istanbul. I know I am glad I did, as I wouldn't have done a specific trip there.

Posted by
5457 posts

Thanks, the only problem with going with Turkish Airlines is that we would have a stop over in Istanbul, which makes it a long trip.
Kenya Airlines has direct flights from Heathrow to Nairobi.

Ethiopian Airlines has the cheapest prices with a stopover in Addis A.

Posted by
6868 posts

I've been to Istanbul several times, but I benefit from a long layover (overnighter) because it gives me a chance to see some site I missed on my trips. Last time, I was able to squeeze in many hours at the Archeological Museum, which was great. Obviously, if that's not a draw, then a layover/ stopover may not work for you. I treat it like a free mini-trip to Istanbul. I'm actually looking forward to seeing the new airport.

Posted by
5457 posts

We have already spend several days in Istanbul and a long stopover has little appeal.

Also, we plan to fly to London from the east coast of the US on a separate ticket and will spend several day in London and Devon/Cornwall, both before and after out Safari trip.

I priced the tickets and found buying on separate tickets worked the best.

Posted by
2164 posts

@geovagriffith-just curious about your safari. I think you have been to Africa before as have I. Who did you book it through?

Posted by
5457 posts

We have been to Egypt and Morocco, but never sub-saharan Africa. Looking forward to our safari.

We are in the process of booking, within the next week with Good Earth Tours. We are going Premier class (top of the line lodges and hotel) with a private safari for four persons. It will be 8 nights and cost a little over $4500 per person.

The US travel companies that we normally check, all wanted double this for their safaris. Of course, some of those safaris were 12-14 days.

Posted by
5533 posts

BA flies direct to Nairobi from Heathrow, which would be my choice. I flew BA from London to Nairobi then Kenya Airlines from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport when I went on safari. Kenya Airlines were fine, the service good and the flights arrived on time. I always prefer direct flights where available, rather than tedious waits in airports.

I went to Tanzania in late April for the wildebeest migration, which was the best our guide had seen in 10 years of running the trip. We had no rain in the entire 2 week trip, despite it being the rainy season.

Posted by
1386 posts

I have flown a bit on ET and TK when going to Africa. In general, I'm using my United miles for tickets and hence generally end up with ET. They have the largest route network in Africa and connect lots of places. I've flown the following routes with them and never had any issues - flights on time, sometimes with lots of open seats to spread out. Service is ok - not great. I've flown on their 777, 767, ATRs, and 737s.
Flights - (Dulles - Addis, Addis to Lalibela to Gondor, Bahir Dar to Addis, Addis to Jo'burg, Lusaka to Harare to Addis, to/from Zanzibar and Addis-Frankfurt)
Lounge in Addis is so so - nothing great but no complaints. The one great thing about ET is that if you have an overnight layover, they provide you with meals, and a hotel and the visa.

I will be flying them again next summer to Malawi and then from Malawi to the Comoros/Madagascar while taking advantage of the overnight hotel in ADD. On the return, planning on flying out of Seychelles and connecting through ADD but without the overnight.

TK - flew them from Nairobi to IST and then onto India while my wife flew to SF with them. As usual, flights were good, and the food was excellent especially with the chef on board.

You did not say where your safari is going to start from. Are you trying to get to NBO, Arusha, or Kiliminjaro (JMO) or someplace esle.

Posted by
418 posts

I'm with Agnes. I have had terrific experiences flying Turkish, and I always look forward to the long layover in Istanbul. I just consider it a "mini-trip" instead of a layover.

If you are looking at a direct flight from London to Nairobi, then Turkish won't be a good match.