Rwandair is the national flag carrier of Rwanda based out of the capitol city of Kigali. The airline services many destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa with a few long haul destinations such as Brussels, London, and Dubai. For those traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa, Rwandair is not a bad option considering the service, on-time performance, and air-craft quality all seem to be up to par.
While RwandAir does have a rewards program, no credit card programs can transfer points into this program. Furthermore, RwandAir is not part of any airline alliance nor partnership programs where award tickets could be booked. However, according to the airline’s website, RwandAir is looking into establishing partnerships in the future.
For this flight, I used Citi Thank You reward points back when Citi Prestige redemptions rates were 1.25 cents per point. Now that redemptions are 1 cent per point, I’ll be strictly using Citi Thank You points to transfer to partner airlines.
One frustrating thing about this airline is that the cost of a one-way ticket is the same as a round-trip ticket. So, expect one-way flights to be more expensive than other options in Africa.
I did sign up for the RwandAir “Dream Miles” loyalty program just in case at some point in the future it becomes a credit card transfer partner. However, the miles did not show up in my account after the flight and I received no response after I submitted an online claim. Either way, the redemption rates are pretty high at 40,000 miles for an economy class flight between Rwanda and Belgium.
RwandAir 111 Harare (HRE) to Kigali (KGL) Cabin: Economy Seat: 25H and 25J Aircraft: 737-800 Flight Time: 2h 30m
Cabin Atmosphere (5/5)
For a 737, the cabin atmosphere was above average, since it was newer plane. Even before takeoff, the temperature of the cabin was cool and comfortable. Adjustable air vents were available for each seat as well.
The windows appeared to be larger than on other 737s, but this might have just been an illusion produced from the design of the wall. Also, the overhead compartments were larger compared to other short haul aircraft, which provided enough space for everyone’s carry-on luggage.
The economy class seats had no signs of wear and were adequately comfortable for the 2.5 hours flight. Furthermore, the leg room was sufficient at 31′ of pitch. While the seats cushions were a bit thin, they provided enough support for a short-haul flight. However, the thick head rests were much appreciated.
Walking past the business class section of the plane, I noticed the seats appeared large, comfortable, and superior compared to most business class seats on short haul flights.
Being a short flight, I wasn’t expecting a full meal in economy class. The dinner provided included meat, potatoes, vegetables, bread, and desert. Not bad considering how short the flight was.
Crew members were courteous, friendly, and helpful with the boarding process being managed in an organized fashion. Food and beverages were served efficiently along with cleanup being conducted in a timely fashion.
In conclusion, Rwandair provides many flight options within Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly within West and East Africa. While its is not part of any airline alliance, its fleet of planes averaging 7 years old, professional service, and flight map options make this airline worthy of consideration for travel within Africa.
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