I dreamed of Africa.
And I dreamed of flying with RwandAir - Fly the Dream of Africa.
So I got off my bed and made it happen.
Here's my experience of RwandAir B737-800 from Kigali to Abuja, onboard flight WB220.
This flight, WB220, continues onwards to Accra, Ghana, with 5th freedom traffic rights between Nigeria and Ghana.
Route: Kigali to Abuja
Operating aircraft: B737-84Y
Departure from Lagos: 9.00am / 10.20am*
Arrival in Libreville: 12.00pm / 12.48pm*
Flight time: 4h / 3h28*
(*denotes actual timings)
During my departure at Kigali International Airport - though this airport is tiny, with equally small lavatories, there were plenty of seats and power points to recharge mobile phones and all the electronic devices you can't live without. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also available.
Looking at the flight board, there is a wave of morning departures to regional destinations, connecting transit passengers from international cities such as Dubai, London, Brussels and Tel Aviv to a myriad of regional destinations. Interesting how RwandAir, together with neighbouring East African airlines Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines are all operating with the same hub-and-spoke model, connecting major cities around the world to numerous points in Africa. Will the trio be the African3, similar to ME3 of the Middle East?
Even after a call for passengers to Accra to head to the gate for boarding, when the scheduled boarding time came and went, nothing happened and with the passing of time, we were self-enlightened the flight would be delayed. There was no explanation. About 30 minutes later, we could finally board.
What I like is how you will be able to walk to the aircraft - and the airport employees are generally relaxed about photography and selfies - how awesome! What a great start of a journey on RwandAir.
Onboard the aircraft, most passengers could get a row to themselves. It was then a patient wait for connecting passengers from a delayed flight, which later, I learnt was the recently launched flagship WB501 from Guangzhou to Mumbai to Kigali, with 5th freedom rights between China and India. Amazing how this single service connects the two Asian powerhouses with the emerging African economy.
Nice that RwandAir provides this huge foot support for each seat.
We finally took off close to 1.5 hours late into the hot African sky.
Safety video screening prior to departure.
Earphones are distributed after take off. No movies are played on the overhead entertainment screens, and the live flight tracking and information was shown in a loop, which I was content with.
Blankets were also offered to passengers.
Soon, hot breakfast was served, with a choice of omelette or scrambled eggs.
I thought, how nice - egg or egg. I think the passenger in front of me must have thought the same, when asked for his choice, he replied "Fish". The cabin crew, in a patient and professional tone, "We don't have fish. We have omelette or scrambled eggs" - which left me a nice impression of the cabin crew.
After devouring countless boring omelettes on my breakfast flights, I went for scrambled eggs.
They didn't look bad - quite fluffy in fact. However, sticking a fork in, they were too overcooked and hard.
Lesson learnt: not all eggs are made equal.
2nd Lesson learnt: Tempting as scrambled eggs sound, stick with omelettes.
It was served with a bun and spread, and fresh fruits, which even included a sweet slice of mango!
What's nice about RwandAir are the enormous cups they serve drinks in, and the exotic juices they serve onboard, which includes passionfruit and mango juices.
My huge cup of coffee - what a treat on an AM flight.
After the meal trays are cleared, I chatted with a fellow passenger, a Chinese citizen, heading to Accra for a mathematics Olympiad, at the invitation of the Ghanaian government. Smart as this kid is, he was cajoling me to get off at Abuja with him to explore the airport and have a smoke during the transit but I was too chicken to miss the flight to Accra (if not wisdom, age has gotten to me).
Juices were offered prior to descent, and we soon left the clouds, for a bird-eye view of the Nigerian grasslands and rural settlements around Nigeria's capital city.
Passengers to Accra are requested to remain onboard. The flight purser do check boarding passes at the door to ensure that passengers to Accra to not disembark at the wrong stop. Math geek's adventurous plan was never going to work, anyway.
Thank you for reading about my RwandAir flight experience. This has been my African dream come true.
For the visual interpretation of my RwandAir flight review, see below: