The arrival in six destinations across East Africa by FlyDubai, starting off this weekend with daily flights to Entebbe and twice and thrice weekly extensions to Bujumbura and Kigali respectively before adding Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar by mid-October, must have had the strategists at Kenya Airways work overtime to find ingenious ways and means to protect their passenger base from the three countries.
It took but a few days before The Pride of Africa hit back by launching major perks vis-a-vis checked baggage, which in the case of low-cost carriers is limited to just 20 kilograms and major surcharges for overweight.
The new limits are for Kenya Airways’ economy class passengers are two pieces of checked baggage, each weighing a maximum of 23 kilograms each, totaling to a massive 46 kilograms overall.
Premium passengers flying Kenya Airways’ award-winning business class will in fact enjoy a total baggage allowance of up to 64 kilograms of baggage weight, giving a major financial incentive for travelers to for instance Dubai who normally shop until they drop and then have their jaws drop too when on check-in, especially with a low-cost airline, are confronted with a major bill for exceeding baggage allowance.
Handbaggage, too, has seen the limits raised to 12 kilograms in all classes in a move which will no doubt create added loyalty to the airline and limit the shift of passengers to newly-arriving airlines.
These changes, timely as they are, all becoming effective on October 1 were also supported by the use of state-of-the-art aircraft like the newly-acquired B787-8 Dreamliners and KQ’s largest aircraft, the B777-300ERs which have substantially greater uplift capacity than the previously-used B767s.
Said Gerald Clark, Commercial Director of Kenya Airways, as he made the announcement yesterday: “Today’s passenger is tech-savvy and in most cases requires more cabin baggage allowance to cater for their smart gadgets. The increase in free checked-in baggage allowance is also in response to feedback from our guests and reaffirms our commitment to constantly delight our guests by aligning our services to suit their preferences and needs.” And to cater more and more to these tech-savvy passengers, USB charging ports are now available on all new wide-body, long-haul aircraft as is wireless Internet once the planes have reached 10,000 feet elevation after take off. Online check-in was also made easier when the airline recently activated a mobile check-in service that allows customers to checkin for their flights using any Internet-enabled mobile device, not just, as was the case in the past, by using their desktop or laptop computers.
Kenya Airways is also the designated airline for the upcoming Magical Kenya Travel Expo for which some 150 buyers from around the world are flown to Nairobi through the financial support of KQ, while hundreds of more trade show visitors are expected to fly into the Kenyan capital with the airline from across the region and the wider continent.