A mechanical delay in Johannesburg meant my connection between flights on Kenya Airways dropped from one hour to five minutes in Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO).
Quick Connection In Nairobi Airport – My Experience
My 737-800 experienced a mechanical problem, which delayed our departure from Johannesburg by over an hour. When we finally took off, we ended up making up almost no time and landing in Nairobi (NBO) close to the departure time for my connection to New York on Kenya Airways’ flagship 787-8 jet.
I thought the one-hour connection was pushing it to start with but saw the international-international “minimum connection time” (the shortest connection “legally” allowed between international flights) was 45 minutes at NBO.
Although that meant I likely would not have time to visit the lounge prior to my flight, it gave me several additional hours in Johannesburg, which was vital in order to attend the final day of meetings prior to my flight back.
Upon landing in Nairobi, we pulled up next to a Boeing Dreamliner. While I had no idea if that was my aircraft to New York or whether it was already too late, I sprinted off the aircraft and down the jetbridge.
I followed a sign for connecting flights, which led to a security screening checkpoint. Thankfully, the line was empty and within two minutes I was out the other side and bounding down the departure hall toward gate 19.
I made it and found, even though scheduled departure time had now passed, that not only was the plane still at the gate, but boarding had only recently begun (this despite the flight still showing “on time” on the departure board). The gate area was a chaotic mess.
At the gate, there was another security check, though I was waived around it (perhaps it is a random check).
I was dressed in slacks, a white shirt, and a coat, and an agent came up to me and immediately escorted me onboard after confirming I was traveling in business class (I mention my attire because I cannot think of why else I was singled out for attention).
I still faced a long line on the jetbridge, but comfortably made my connection despite landing in Nairobi at 11:30 pm with an international connection scheduled to depart 11:35 pm.
While I would not bank on your international connection always being delayed, the connection process itself was very quick. Had my flight been on time, I would have had plenty of time to visit the lounge during my layover.
Flight schedules often result in short layover times at Nairobi. As a general rule, I see no reason not to book such a short connection. Even if your flight is delayed, like mine, the general disorder of NBO likely means your connecting flight will depart late too.