How we booked Kenya Airways new JFK-NBO Business Class with Miles

In just under two weeks in late October, Kenya Airways is set to start their new Dreamliner 787 service non-stop from Nairobi to New York’s JFK airport. Flights from the east coast to Africa have been few and far between without connections or routing via the middle east. It is possible to redeem miles on this new flight, but it does take a little bit of work.

The Route

Kenya Airways will be flying the plane with a new 787 Dreamliner. It’s blocked at between 14 1/2 and 15 hours depending on the direction. Here’s the schedule

  • KQ2 Nairobi (NBO) 10:25pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 6:25am (+1) Arrival
  • KQ3 New York (JFK) 12:25pm Departure ⇒ Nairobi (NBO) 9:55am (+1) Arrival

The planes are in a two cabin configuration, with their “business” product Premier World in a 2-2-2 seating and their economy seating is set in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Kenya Airways from Potentash.com

How to Search and Book

As a member of Skyteam, you should be able to use any Skyteam carrier to book the flight. AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue is also the frequent flier program of Kenya Airways, so the flights are easily searched on the Air France website. Delta does have access to the space, but they are not searchable on their website.

How to find space on Air France’s website

While the price from Air France is 115,000 miles and around $350 in taxes and fees, the price from Delta using Skymiles is only 95,000 miles and a tinge higher in taxes and fees at $361.90.

Not all Delta agents know how to find Kenya Airways space. When we first called, the agent was unsure how to book it, so we had to HUCA. On the second call, I decided to be more proactive. I played dumb and said “I read on a blog somewhere that you have to tell the agent to ‘long sell’ the flight? It’s KQ 0003 and it’s ‘O’ class space, I’m sure you know what that means but I sure as heck don’t. Does that make sense to you? A long sell?”

Worked like a charm, as she said “oh yea I can absolutely try that… but you’re right it is quite complicated. Stay on hold while I request the space…”

3 mintues later. Boom. We had our seats.

Kenya Airways Confirmed on Delta!

Fuel Surcharges and Not-So-Useless Skymiles

I know that some people hate paying fuel surcharges, and I’m one of them. But considering what the cost of these flights normally are, I didn’t feel too bad paying it. The normal price for a one-way economy was around $1500 and the business class flight was clocking in at over $4900. Paying a small tax surcharge is OK in my book.

Kenya Airways Business Class Cost

There’s a lot of talk among many people in the points and miles world how Delta Skymiles are worthless. While they’ve certainly lost a lot of their value over the past few years, I still stand firm in believing that the best use of Delta Skymiles is on their partners. When searching on Delta.com, you’ll see that a one-way in business class is 280,000 Skymiles. NO THANKS. But, with a little leg work and using a partner, you can get a flight for a much more reasonable 95k miles.

We’ll be adding on a connecting leg as well to perhaps Tanzania or Uganda for no extra miles and only a slight few dollar increase in taxes. The power of the miles to allow you to make that connection is huge, especially at no extra mileage cost.

Have you flown Kenya Airways on their Dreamliner? Are you excited about this new route?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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7 Comments

  1. Did part of my honeymoon in Tanzania last year, what a wonderful country… Highly recommend for safari or beach time.

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    • Really? Whereabouts did you go? What recommendations do you have?

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      • Did Safari in Selous and Ruaha Parks in the southern/western part of the country with Nomad Tanzania…. safari anywhere is expensive so YMMV but we found the lesser visited parks (compared to serengeti up north) to be fantastic.

        Zanzibar is very accessible from either Dar es Salaam (by ferry or ~15 minute flight). If you go there, know that even though the island is small, getting around by taxi is way more of a process than youd think, so we stayed 4 nights in the eastern/northern part of island where better beaches are. The island’s main city of Stonetown is worth a half day or full day of touring, but not where you want to stay for a good beach.

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  2. I could not disagree with you more on fuel surcharges. They are wrong, immoral, deceptive and in some parts of the world just plain illegal. Key reason why I have NEVER redeemed Avios for long haul flights. BA just rapes its customers with that.

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    • Avios awards only have bad surcharges on BA & London flights… Use for partners (Qatar, AA, etc.) and no big deal.

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  3. For 20 years I wanted to go on The Great Walk of Africa in Kenya – a 12 day walking safari with classic Hemmingways style walking single file with Samburu Warriers guarding us, and tented camping. Finally did it a couple of years ago. It was worth every penny and worth the wait! We walked most of the length of Tsavo West and Tsavo East Parks, south east of Nairobi due east to near the coast. Around 200km total walking, plus game drives, amazing food that I would happily pay good money for in a restaurant, plenty of drinks and canapés on the river bank at day’s end. Then a day on the coast north of Mombasa. This company – Tropical Ice – also does non walking shorter safaris in Kenya, Botswana (plus an 18 day Passage Through India). They can also arrange personalised trips to Uganda and elsewhere. Lots of attention to detail.

    I don’t work for Tropical Ice, but they just impressed the socks off me, so had to tell you guys about them 😀

    Contact me if you want some photos and to talk some more 😉

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