ACHOLA ROSARIO GETS REACQUAINTED WITH SAFARILINK
(Posted 04th November 2020)
When one thinks of Wilson airport in one of Nairobi’s suburban highways called Langata road, a luxury departure lounge is not what immediately comes to mind for most. However, as I alighted my Uber on my second attempt at flying out to beach-life, there it was, gleaming all chrome and silver with ultraviolet highlights. But let me start from the beginning as it is kind of relevant to the story.
So, it is a Monday morning after a hectic weekend trying to organize myself for the trip, when my uber arrives at midday. My Safarilink flight is scheduled for 14.00hrs and I think I have ample time to get from Kiambu to Wilson in one hour, in time for check in. I had not read the fine-print on the ticket that said check-in is 90min ahead of take-off and that the flight is closed 45min before take-off. My driver, a pre-pubescent brown super-chatty and ultra-flirty cab guy (what is it with these guys anyway…?) failed to heed my increasingly frustrated but polite requests to use the bypass and instead gracefully sailed into the CBD afternoon gridlock. By the time we arrived at Wilson airport, the flight was taking off, literally 5 min early.
I hurried upstairs to the Safarilink offices where a lovely lady with smiling eyes behind her mask behind a plexiglass desk shield, pointed at the now 45 deg. angled plane and asked when I would like to be booked for the next flight. As my ticket was complimentary (I only paid the taxes), she thankfully also waived the 25% fine. Another late-comer arrived, showing righteous indignation at being late, and questioned why the plane should leave early. Miss Smiley Eyes took it all in her stride and I left her to return to my now sulking cabbie, who knew he was not going to get a return fare; nor my number.
Tuesday arrived and this time I was at the airport by 7am for my 9am flight, giving me the chance to savor the flavors offered at the Safarilink departure lounge. As I entered, what looked like a tripod with a little gadget perched on-top was pointed in my direction and I can only assume I was scanned from head to toe for any lurking diseases and temperature spikes. I was given the all clear and it was my bags turn to be scanned for nefarious agents of destruction. Thankfully that passed too. Not that I was worried of course. I am a good and decent citizen. *innocent*
Check-in was fast and efficient, my documents corroborated, luggage tagged and gently rolled to the side, awaiting loading on Flight 053 to Diani Beach, currently taxying on to the apron. A two year-old little Indian girl who had her adorable face alternately glued to the glass staring at the planes and then turning to me and gurgling in delight, could not hide her impatience at her readiness to fly. I felt like she was mirroring the five year-old me, getting on a plane for the first time, from Nairobi to Kampala.
Another man behind me was telling his friend to try the avocado on toast, sprinkled with salt pepper coriander and lime. He said it was divine. That made me hungry, which is a state that is pretty much constant when it comes to me. So, the carnivore in me ordered a ham and cheese sandwich that was proper cheddar with the perfect amount of melt. It went down as fast as my tongue could bear the heat. I replaced my cloth mask with a surgical mask I bought at the check-in counter for $1 and proceeded to board the plane with the rest.
While on board, 5 year-old me was engaged again, as I was allowed to go up to the cockpit and chill with the big boys. Floating above cumulous clouds, feeling lighter, hotter than the burning sun. Now I know I’ve got new glide.
To make a reservation on Safarilink, Kenya’s premier Beach and Bush Airline, click on:
+254 730 880 000/111
To watch the F.O.M.O. Travel show episode 47- Safarilink Departure: