Our check-in with British Airways at Miami International Airport was pretty easy, quick and painless.
However, things went downhill from there, not only with British Airways but also with TSA in Miami. For some reason Miami International Airport’s TSA doesn’t honor TSA Precheck, so we were fed into the same line as everyone else with strollers, kids with an entire birthday cake and people who never fly. Not the end of the world, just time-consuming.
The airport itself is big with lots of unique boutique places to grab food. They even have a Café Versailles stand, so I got my Cuban coffee before flying out.
The gate for our flight was down an escalator on a lower level with only one other gate, so there was a ton of seating.
When we booked flights, Chuck set us up with 29A / 29K, seats on opposite sides of the plane, both window seats, just behind the bulkhead exit row with no one in front of us. So we each had a ton of legroom.
But, it seems that the people who design these seats never eat or fly in them. The seats themselves are very narrow, that seat because there is no seat in front of it has a tray table in the sidearm and a tv monitor under your seat. The tray table is difficult to access and challenging for the person sitting next to you. Because of where they swing up, they are VERY close to your seat. And I’m a big boy! The TV monitor swinging up from underneath presses your leg in and makes the seat even tighter.
The flight crew was British based and pleasant enough, but you could tell that even with a long flight, that they were pressed for service times and food service.
The person who designs inflight meals has certainly never stat in a coach seat, with a neighbor next to them and tried to unwrap, juggle and eat a meal on a fold-out tray table.
The ‘Cheesy Pasta” option was on the below average side of all of the airplane food I have ever had. Bowtie pasta overcooked and smashed together in a thick cheese sauce with what tasted like sundried tomato, paprika, crumb topping. Honestly, the prepackaged chocolate pudding with salted caramel was probably the highlight of the meal.
The breakfast service consisted of a flight attendant tossing me, literally, a cold commercial croissant with a tomato cream cheese lump in the middle. I only knew it was tomato cream cheese because I read the label. We also got a strawberry cereal bar, and be sure to enjoy that one cup of coffee because you won’t see a second cup.
We were both so underwhelmed and cramped by the seating that when we arrived in Heathrow, we found a British Airways desk.
We looked at upgrading to World Traveler Plus but found that with our luggage already prechecked through Nairobi the upgrade to Business Class was only a few hundred dollars more.
The Business Class seats gave us access to the British Airways club lounge. After a long, uncomfortable flight the private bathrooms with a chance to wash up, a breakfast buffet, and the ability to recharge phones was a nice perk.
The Business Class seating was incredible, plenty of room, a slightly wider seat which also reclined and the most amazing pillow and blanket. (of course, this was the leg of the flight where we were trying NOT to sleep to get us on Kenyan time for our 9PM arrival).
The flight crew could not have been more courteous, Champagne before take-off sets a really nice tone. The dining trays are oversized and more comfortable to navigate, along with china and cloth napkins was a totally different dining experience. Coconut curry chicken with rice and green beans for lunch and afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones, and sticky ginger cake just adds to the value of the more comfortable seats.
Upgrading to Business Class after being cramped and knowing you had another nine-hour flight can absolutely change your attitude. Travel Tip, never hesitate to ask about available upgrades on the day of your flight. If they have empty seats, the pricing might be discounted.
So, we arrived in Nairobi about 9PM, cleared Customs in no time (we purchased our Kenyan Visa in advance), and our driver was waiting when we arrived.
Later, we’ll share more about the Radisson Blu Nairobi Upper Hill and the local scene.