Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Skyward Express Review: My Flight to and From Kakamega

The first time I flew Skyward Express was in December 2023. Every other in-flight experience has been pretty much the same, so I’ll give the story of that first sky ride on this particular airline. At that time, I had just heard that there were flights to Kakamega, and since I was meant to be at my rural home for the New Year celebrations, I quickly booked two tickets. One was for me, the other was for my five-year-old daughter.

She is obsessed with planes. Whenever anyone asks her what she wants to be when she grows up, she shouts “PILOT!” In fact, that’s the only word she shouts. She says other things very calmly like me. To be honest, I’m glad that her priorities have changed. A year ago, she used to say she wants to become a princess when she grows up.

Co-Op post

Given her ambitions, I was eager to gift her a proper plane ride where she could appreciate the experience. The last time she was on a plane, she was about 2 years old, so she didn’t quite understand what was going on. 

The flight from Nairobi to Kakamega was meant to depart at 6:45 am, so we were at Wilson Airport at 5:30 am. Ideally, because I was with a child, I would have preferred a flight that was departing later in the day, but I was informed there is normally only one flight to Kakamega daily. Still, this wasn’t a problem because my daughter is an early riser, unlike me. She is even the one who wakes up the maid during school days.

NCBA

At the airport’s entrance, one of the gun-toting security guards asked me which flight I was going to take and where I was heading. When I told him I was going to Kakamega, he made a rather sarcastic remark.

“Kumbe Waluhya pia mnapandanga ndege!”

I kept calm, but in my mind, I was telling myself, “Huyu ananijua kweli?” I can drop better diss tracks than Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Tupac combined. If I was in the mood for a shade-throwing contest, I could have easily embarrassed him. 

Anyway, we proceeded to the Skyward office where a guy served us quickly before telling us that the airline’s bus would be coming shortly to take all of us passengers to the departure terminal. 

We didn’t have to wait too long. The plane arrived on time and by 6:45, we were off.

Everything unfolded smoothly. The flight attendant was a young man (probably in his 20s or early 30s), and he made sure everyone was comfortable. He provided the usual instructions on what to do during landing and take-off, then made sure everyone knew where the washrooms were. Snacks and drinks were also provided on time. The seats were comfortable, and at no time did we encounter any notable turbulence. 

By 7:30 am, we had landed at Kakamega Airstrip.

The entire experience felt very nice, especially when I remembered how I used to spend over 12 hours on buses. This was very convenient, and I would recommend it. My daughter loved it too, and to this day, her opener during conversations with random people is “Unajua mimi nilienda ushago na ndege? Tulikua na daddy tukienda kuona shosho.”

The return flight four days later was even more pleasant. The lady at the Skyward check-in counter at Kakamega was happy to see us. She exchanged banter with my daughter and praised me for giving the little girl such nice experiences. She then said that more fathers should be like me. I must admit that her words were soothing to my ears because no one really appreciates dads. Mothers tend to get all the glory.

The flight attendant was the same guy as last time and he informed us how the plane would be passing by Kitale first before heading to Nairobi. One thing that those wishing to book flights to and from Kakamega should know is that passengers from Kitale also board the same plane. From Nairobi, the plane first drops Kakamega passengers before heading to Kitale. This means that if you are heading to Kakamega from Nairobi, you will board the plane that has just landed from Nairobi, and take the seats of passengers who have just disembarked. The plane then goes to Kitale where passengers heading there alight and those heading to Nairobi board. The stop at Kitale Airstrip lasts 15 minutes and from there, the plane now heads to the big city. This means that the return flight from Kakamega to Nairobi takes a little longer. Even so, you are unlikely to see this as an inconvenience. We left Kakamega Airstrip at 7:50 am and arrived at Wilson Airport at 9:10 am. 

So, that was it. Every other experience with Skyward has been the same. For that reason, I would totally recommend it.

A few things you should know about Skyward Express

Skyward Express was established in 2013, by two pilots; one of whom (Mohamed Abdi) serves as the chairman of the airline, while the other serves as its managing director.

As of 2024, Skyward Express offers its services in the following airports

  • Wilson Airport (Passenger Services) 
  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Cargo Services) 
  • Eldoret International Airport
  • Lodwar Airport
  • Moi International Airport, Mombasa
  • Malindi Airport
  • Lamu Airport
  • Ukunda Airstrip
  • Kakamega Airstrip
  • Kitale Airstrip
  • Migori Airstrip

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