To complete the journey to Bangkok, I booked a business-class e-ticket on Kenya Airways. On arrival at HKG from Dallas, TX in first class on an American Airlines 777-300, I had to wait an hour for the transfer desk to open to get the boarding pass for the flight to BKK on Kenya Airways.
Transfer desks at international airports allow travelers to get boarding passes and address other issues with travel without having to go through customs and immigration and exit security. The business-class boarding pass was my ticket to the Skyteam Lounge where I passed the time before boarding.
Kenya Airways Flight KQ861 to BKK
The flight was scheduled to depart at 21:10 and arrive at 23:20, a flight time of three hours and 10 minutes. The great-circle distance between HKG and BKK is 1,050 miles. KQ861 was a “fifth freedom” flight that continued on to Nairobi, Kenya after stopping at BKK.
Boarding started about 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Business-class passengers boarded through the forward door while economy passengers used the second door.
Kenya Airways 787-8 Business Class Seat
Kenya Airways 787-8s have 30 business-class seats divided between two cabins and 204 seats in economy. Business-class seats are arranged 2-2-2, and economy seats are 3-3-3. According to SeatGuru, the business-class seats are 31 inches wide and have 74 inches of pitch. The seats look and feel tighter than 31 inches of width. They are more like 22 -23 inches wide based on my “seat of the pants” observation.
My seat was 3A.
The seats have plenty of room. While they don’t look or feel 31 inches wide, 74 inches of pitch might be an understatement. The photos above confirm that there is a large distance between the rows in business class.
The seat reclines to an angled, full-flat position. The lack of a 180 degree recline and direct aisle access was no problem on this flight because it was short and the load in business was light enough so that everyone sat next to an empty seat desired. On this flight it as well have been all-aisle access seating.
Controls are located on the console between seats.
The seatbacks hold the video screen, ottoman and a few storage spaces.
A 787’s best feature is the electronically dimmable windows.
Amenities for the flight included amenity kit, slippers, blanket, pillow, and stereo headsets.
Hong Kong Departure
While at the gate, the flight attendants (FAs) offered a selection of international newspapers and pre-departure beverages.
On the climb out, glimpses of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong appeared through gaps in the broken layer of low clouds.
The service began at the gate with newspapers and pre-departure beverages. Then, for passengers going to Bangkok, the FAs distributed cards for Thai immigration and the Premium (Priority) Lane.
The immigration form consists of an arrival card to be presented when entering the country and a departure card to be presented when leaving. Keep the departure card in your passport, but if it is lost, you can fill out a new one.
Kenya Airways serves a light meal between HKG and BKK. Here are the menus:
I chose the chicken thigh for my entree. The FAs served the meal about 35 minutes after departure and offered beverages before and during the meal.
The meal was very good although it reminds me of the meals US airlines used to serve in coach back in the day. That was it for the scheduled service on this 2.5-hour flight. The FAs remained available to respond to individual requests.
To avoid sleeping before the late-night arrival at BKK, I watched some videos and perused the Kenya Airways in-flight magazine.
Kenya Airways is partially owned by KLM and belongs to the Skyteam alliance. It participates in the Flying Blue frequent-flyer program.
The Kenya Airways fleet:
The current international and domestic route maps:
Time on this flight seemed to go by quickly. Because the airline pads the schedule by an hour over the required flying time, we arrived at the gate at BKK only slightly delayed.
I used the Premium Lane card to breeze through Thai immigration in the Priority Lane.
Kenya Airways did a nice job on this flight. The FAs provided efficient and pleasant service. The food and beverages were in line with my expectations for a short-haul international business-class flight. The seating configuration was not all-aisle-access and fully lie-flat but that was not an issue with business class being mostly empty. I’d gladly take this airline again on this route especially if the price for business class is as low as it was for this flight.