SHAME on Kenya Airways: SHAME again

Kenya Airway seems to be in deeper problems than we know of. With the many complains of passenger mistreatment and theft of stuff from luggage of the same. Travelling on KQ three times, I have had my luggage broken into and the airline has repeatedly claimed in the instances that they don’t pay more than $15 for luggage breakage, the cost of the loss notwithstanding.
But again let us deal with the facts at hand. KQ is the Kenyan people’s airline (National Carrier) which should market Kenyan culture and virtues just like SA, BA, Delta, Ethiopian Air and others are doing to their nations.  The most unfortunate scenario is that KQ has recently been employing pilots and Cabin Crew from Hong Kong, Thailand, Cameroon, Nigeria and other areas. Some routes like those to countries like Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Thailand have no single Kenyan or even when there is, Kenyan crews are just left to doing menial work on the airline and not any which might be of great benefit to Kenya’s tourism quest.
The routes like Bangkok to Gwanzhou which KQ operates on have now exclusive Thai crew with no single Kenyan as pilots or in-flight attendants. How does that sit with KQ being a national carrier as well as the Pride of Africa? Again how does these sit with the airline’s move to cost cut? How affordable are the expatriate workers?
Whenever you board British Airways, Ethiopian Air, Air France, Royal Dutch Airline and other national airline, you will realise that the national language is spoken first as pride and a way of identity then the other languages can come in. How do the Thai, Chinese and West African crews promote this?
Safety is one major issue on airlines all over the world, and each and every airline has put in measures to make flying safe by training their crew and only giving positions after years of experience etc. In Kenya Airways that has been watered down. Certain positions for the Thai crew have been deliberately lowered to enable them attain these positions. e.g Purser
None of the foreign national airlines including British Airways, KLM, SAA have ever employed Kenyan or foreign crews to take over routes in Africa or elsewhere. Why are we employing foreign crew and leaving our aircrafts behind for them to run in the foreign countries while Kenyans are being shipped back to the country?
The employment of Thai and West African crew is totally meaningless and serves no purpose according to aviation experts except that it is a move meant to deny young Kenyans the same jobs because KQ is not ready to better terms and the fear that Kenyans are bold in demanding their labour rights is scaring the airline. KQ has of late also started employing crews from India, and Rwanda.
The Rwandese speak very broken and poor Swahili and French which there are enough Kenyans who can even speak better. If KQ wants Indians, we have enough Kenyan Indians which they have refused to employ. Why? Because KQ does not want to honour workers rights. Why are we exporting jobs while we have very intelligent young Kenyans willing to work.
Again to join KQ as a Cabin Crew, you need to fork out over $3,500 (Ksh 300,000) as training fees at KQ Pride Centre training facility while employment is NEVER guaranteed. Foreigners joining KQ need to pay this and not much care is taken on the weight of their qualification with many instances the airline going for the bare minimum. How does this sit with the Kenya labour laws? Who will save Kenyans here?
About 10 months ago, KQ started a new suspect program where it took-up a group of in-flight attendants it famously calls “interns”. You would see them on routes wearing black skirts or trousers with very colourful tops. This group of workers have been enduring a lot of mistreatment from Kenya Airways. They are working in the most inhumane condition.
This group were meant to serve the local routes and so even the dressing (uniform) conformed to the not so extreme local routes like Kisumu and Mombasa which KQ serves. Now KQ has been sending the interns to stations like Johannesburg and Paris without taking into considerations what the Kenyans are going through. They are never provided with sweaters and trench-coats like the permanent employees at the same time they are never allowed to put-on something which is not part of the official uniform. Why must we treat workers like this? KQ you are going to kill Kenyans with very funny ailments which they are going to spend lots of money treating.
As per the attached contracts, KQ employs this group called “interns” on a salary of Ksh 45,000 gross which comes to Ksh 37,000 after taxation. For a Kenyan working locally or even a flight attendant on local routes, this can be almost enough. But for someone flying outside the country and sometimes in extreme winter conditions with long flights over the oceans, this is too little and dangerous. Now this has forced most of the so called interns to live in areas like Embakassi pipeline where looking your best is just a big challenge considering the conditions they work in. You will find some creative group of the interns now living in places like Dandora while others are finding it easy to deal drugs, peddle flesh with senior employees or passengers not taking into consideration the safety and health challenges which comes with this.
It is now very common to find KQ crews and in-flight attendants who live on shady apartments on top of bars, dingy corridors and other funny areas simply because of what the airline is remunerating them. With a Ksh 37,000 salary, what kind of accommodation will you be able to afford with that? Again FYI, KQ expects this group of interns to always look better than the permanent in-flight attendants.
BREAKING NEWS!! The internship ended and if you have read newspapers today, KQ is making a move. Let me tell you what happened which KQ did not tell journalists and we have enough lazy journalists to dig for facts and talk to the affected crews.
Here is the story, when the internship ended last week and KQ started hearing of the murmurs and some very loud complaints from the affected “interns”, they were immediately pulled off flights and asked to gather at the KQ training centre for a meeting. At the meeting, they were categorically warned of speaking to anyone but even with the internship ending, the airline was not about to let them go so they were still going to be engaged but through a different arrangement.
That is when they were told that an outsourced company called CAREER DIRECTIONS LTD is going to take charge. First it is not clear how KQ arrived at Career Directions owned by Lucy Mmari as the contractor. This is one of the most suspect moves including the very much talked about fact that KQ CEO, Titus Naikuni, does not own a single share in the national carrier.
Again, whether KQ decides to outsource a HR company or decides to do the hiring on their own is not a problem but the same interns now working for CareerDirections LTD and seconded to KQ are working under the same salary they were on during probations and internship.
If I may go into details:
Right now they are nolonger interns but employees, doing exactly the same jobs as the other Kenya Airways crew employed directly. They are going to the same destination as them but the terms and conditions do not just match this level of engagement. It has not changed. Kenya Airways crew employed directly take home around Ksh 120,000 net salary.
The workers earn a further $90 in allowances. The $90 is paid to them whether they go out-station or not nor even without care whether they need the house allowance. The now ex-interns are still maintained on the Ksh 37,000 net salary through Career Directions with $50 allowance paid to them only for achieved nights out of their usual assignments. So if KQ flies you to Paris or Thailand and let you handover to the Thai crew and you come back with a different flight coming back to Nairobi, you will not get this allowance but you have worked beyond your usual assignment.
With the amount, you will need to pay rent, look well groomed (make up, stockings etc and they are not cheap) and support families if married. The contract offers medical cover which does not cater for the married with the airline being categorical that the workers need to top up for family members.
When you are working in a very odd environment like 37,000 – 40,000 feet above sea-level, you get exposed to various health conditions (pneumonia, chest problems, acute flu etc) which might just not be easy to treat. The contract which the employees have signed through Career Directions clearly states that one can only have 7 sick leave days annually. After that, you will only be paid half of your salary. So you get pneumonia and KQ expect you to treat it within 7 days failure to which you are immediately put on half-pay. Treating such diseases can never be done in hours. Again when you have flu, flying can ruin your ear drum since the chambers are highly compressed. This shoddy contractual clause might be a result of Career Directions not being remotely aware of the dangers of flying.
How does KQ expect the workers to behave well, be productive and the airline to grow when they are treated the same whether in probation, internship or actual employment? Talking to some of the in-flight attendants, you realise that most of them traffic drugs, peddle sex and misbehave just because of these working conditions. With that kind of money, what will make the attendants be vigilant and stop contrabands from being sneaked in to the airline? Have we not heard of situations where in-flight attendants helped hijackers take over airlines? What stops the KQ workers from doing so?
With all these facts, you will realise that Kenya Airways is becoming a dangerous airline to fly on. Now the in this case KQ is a major security threat to Kenyans and the rest of the world. Look into crash investigation, there are planes that have been brought down because of disgruntled employees. There is no way one can put cabin crew of different organisations different terms and expect proper team work without jealousy and complaints.
Wake up KQ!!

42 comments for SHAME on Kenya Airways: SHAME again

  1. Nowdays i travel air uganda regionally... what the heck, they are much cheaper(working with jetlink) and the smile from the hostesses are genuine, hapana plasticky types ya KQ cabin crews. KQ got class in compe yes, but in this times we do not live by class alone. Up your game KQ staff. you have a great airline lakini most of you mnaipaka matope! Mtashangaa kisima itakapoisha maji!

  2. This is true of many companies who hire foreigners, pay them a lot yet try to get rid of locals by either frustrating them or paying them peanuts. Can you imagine a scenario where oneperson is paid $15,000 per month as salary and the other who slogs hard is paid $1,200 considering the one who is paid less is expected to work hard even on weekends and odd hours. There are no labour laws in Kenya. The laws are there to intimidate the true employers and not the wrong doing employers since the labour ministry/dept., is rife with corruption. Its a pathetic but true state and in Kenya nothing happens becoz impunity regins above law or any regulation. People can lie on your face and justify their actions. Look at all the politicians, all are liars and yet lie truthfully.

  3. as a rgular person flying with different are right.. i never knew what is happening with KQ, but i was always suspecting something must be a miss. in my conclusion.. its never THE PRIDE OF AFRICA ,it was a Kenyan but you step in Ethiopian airline, my friend you see cooperation, determined en well paid employees.. yes you could see it on their face.KQ will go down like a rock.. this carrier direction thing, i have sen it bringing the whole HR DPT. someplace.. yes i have seen my opinion.. i would NOT prefer KQ as much as its our national flag barer. MC.

  4. Looks like a disaster is looming here.

  5. wawawawawawwaaaaa big shame is this real????


  7. I stopped using KQ long time when they left my luggage in Dubai and it took me a week to get it back. All my docunets were there. That small weighing scale for hand luggage in Dubai sucks so much,other airlines dont do the same,KQ,style up,am a Kenyan but I never use you.

  8. This is written by one of the crews but not the writer as he puts it. Anyway, in which ever way KQ is a disgust , a lot of "thieving' indeed you loose your valuables but the airline can never take charge of that. Fly with Ethiopia and you will reach your final destination with all your goods..even if they get lost they trace them till they get back to you. KQ treasure Kenyans lest u will find yourself in hot soup, give them the same treatment your giving the other nationals if its a must you have them, but then I come to wonder, fly with emitares wote ni waharabu, fly with Ethiopian wote ni Ethiopians, Qatar waharabu now kitu gani hii Naikuni anaonyesha Wakenya...its now true that for sure you are selling Kenya indirectly! Bur kapisa!

  9. OOOH yess!!!Patikana
    This is real, i was there once.why do you ask yourself why some of the hard working Kq staff moved to Emirates,and other Airlines.Shame on you again!!

  10. am kenyan but will not even consider kq at any time
    again they are so expensive. example i was flying USA on feb 2012 on doing some fare check i found while qatal were charging 80k, british 120k, and our KQ 240K which one will you choose
    dont forget KQ are not alowed in USA. ASK UASELF WHY? they will hand you over to KLM in heathrow uk. style up KQ i dont think they are doing much business if you ask me.

  11. this lucy mmari woman and her career directions ,am finally very happy someone is catching up with her.she is probably paid 100k or so and then takes half and gives employees the remainder.I am a witness she has done that to so many other people in the pretext of helping them find jobs and keeps taking half their salaries or more for as long as they r working at that job.daylight robbery...

  12. It's a good someone raised this issue, I once travelled Kenya Airways and a young air hostess- I think she said her name as cheelimo, jeplimo or something like that was sobbing so hard, I asked her what the matter was and she told me she'd just been scolded and humiliated in some foreign language by the Tai captain, she really was so upset, I asked her to make sure she reports him but she said it was no use, adding that the foreign captains and cabin crew treat the Kenyan crew worse than dirt. It was heartbreaking to see such an innocent and beautiful girl get so distraught. Titus Naikuni over to you.

  13. my belief is that KQ employees may be best suited or the jobs available within the kenyan flight sector. However, my belief is that KQ has an obligation to keep up with the emerging current global demand as well as competition. Then again, aviation, ALTHOUGH IN THE AIR, is similar to boarding a matatu. But since the kenyan ground pilots have shown their openness for havock,i bet that most people, even kenyans, choose to board a flight steered by a white matatu drive( consider kenya is maltiracaial).the beat option is for us to back to our roots.Although as pilots, they have have no highways or traffic jams in the havens, consider thika road. my conclusion, often than not is that maybe it is best to board a flight that u beleive will take u there!! Locally, people may choose to board a matatu or not. Similarly, to or not to board a flight is optional, bearing the fact, boarding a KQ flight with a kenyan pilots aboard is like boarding a matatu; the though of buying a KQ ticket is equal, in thought, to boarding a matatu, with an matatu-pilot captain taking you across the oceans when you practically cant swim coz we have not enough swimming lessons for all, remember, it is the elites who leave the country so dont fool us!!!

  14. Saimz Muiruri

    There is room for change, Pride of Africa. Style up even in these harsh economic times.

  15. I agree with u 100%,actually i stopped using kenya Airways together with several collegues whom we work together because of unnecesary delays without notice,like one tyme i was traveling n the flight delayed for 5 hrs without a good reason,what they were saying is the flight is in nigeria its on way coming,it was so frustin stayin for more than 5 hrs after checkin in waitin 4 flight and there was no good reason and i had booked a hotel since i was conectin flights

  16. There is no pride in KQ my friends flew in last time and wondered if we guyz ever train our inflight crew. I personally dont use the airline bt from what I've heard its a shame.

  17. kq kq kq i have known all these yrs that its the best airline in east really shocked for what am so dissappointed in you kq.please taikuni do something be4 its too late.


  18. KQ,shame on many kenyan prefer to travel with EMIRATE,ETHIOPIAN AIRLINE,QATOR,ETC.utakuta KQ iko wateja nusu tena from west african wale hawana namna.imagine KQ wakilipisha hata laptop wajinga sana.

  19. its shammmmmeful

  20. As a crew for that "career directions" we are really suffering we are well trained and we can even deliver more than the old crew but no one is fighting for us we are just there we do not even know where to start the so called lucy mmari wanted our photocopies of atm i do not know why it's is really hard safety is really compromised!

  21. All airlines employ local staff in their routes.BA,Emirates etc have Kenyans on their routes and station managers and maintenance crews.I am an aerospace engineering expert(with highest degree possible) but I never fly KQ. I dont trust them although I have friends who work there and I trust them,but the KQ system is not employee friendly. Max

  22. I am totally disgusted and utmost dissapointed by kq .
    shame on you ,whoever is in management.
    Mere words are insufficient do describe the heart felt torture the interns has been subjected to my heart goes to them.
    can somebody take action?

  23. I bet to differ, career directions does not take a coin from the employees pay, Cdl only act as a recruitment agent on behalf of potential employers who then pays the fees, and not the employee. Lucy asked for Copies of your ATMs to ensure that your bank details are captured in the system correctly to avoid salary returns.

  24. after reading this article,am shocked by what is going does KQ employ foreigners when we have our own (crews) who are well trained.the aviation industry is full of young and well trained people but who are jobless why source for foreigners? wake up Titus and let these young Kenyans have the jobs.on the issue of recruitment agents,that's what they do they take your salary by half,then again how do you ask someone for their ATM details instead of the account number?something is just not adding up.

  25. Seems Naikuni is returning the company(KQ) to the state he found it in when he joined. Back then KQ had two other companies ( Flamingo and a cargo handling Co.) Staff in the smaller companies within KQ were always discriminated on their rights and benefits, one can say, the smaller companies are used as a means to offer all sorts of discrimination i.e on salaries, uniforms, transport, insurance all in the name of cutting costs. Jambo jet (KQ's new baby company) will will bring KQ down since this is a different age not 2002.


  27. what a misguided article, lacking in research on modern business and leaning excessively on innuendos, hearsay and statements which cannot even be corroborated. KQ might retrench me in the next month, so be it. But i still find this article cheap, and like all cheap things, it is attracting lots of cheap plaudits and applause from every corner!!

  28. KQ is no longer the pride of africa in any sense.i once travelled with it from dubai to nairobi(a four and a half hour flight) but on the air it developed some mechanical problems and we had to get an emergency landing at salalah international airport in oman.once there we were treated to all manner of theatrics with the airport officials at one point considering to have us taken back to the damaged plane!!!it took a day for a KQ representative to fly in from dubai to adress our plight!!!!!we then had to spend another day there awaiting another plane to be brought in to fly us home.that not withstanding,while in aman,we were booked in a hotel which was under renovation as we could smell the fresh paint and left over debry from the days work.upon reaching JKIA instead of a senoir officer meeting us to atleast uphold the dignity and pay us an apology,we were met by junior officials who after being asked for the compensation,called the assistance of police to have some of us arrested.that was on dec 2009 and upto date no one has ever been compensated despite the two days delay and mistreatment.KQ is totaly rotten to the core just like all other kenyan establishment due to lack of patriorism and regard for fellow kenyans.wake up!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. so sad that they are employing foreigners as crews yet i myself has a sister who is trained as a crew and jobless..................??? who can come an aid to my sister for ,because in her tender age and with age limit being a crew its like her career may never yield fruits at all. Naikun......can u employ her??? 0720461193. will be grateful.


  31. Just pray for better management

  32. i loved KQ. But i guess now it detestes me if there is this kind of thing going on around. am currently working outside the country in one of the biggest highly recognised firms in middle east; though we foreigners do the most jobs which earn u good money. the locals do very menial jobs and still endup earnig very high than us. so y cant the KQ do the same for the locals. abt seecurity, KQ, dont tek it for granted or eelse it might cost again dearly.

  33. Driug carrier Airways(Airliner) Employes A Masai as its CEO while Kikuyu controls everythinhg !
    Oh My GOD The Airline Profis Belgium only A leased Jumbo How Stupid are these Aping Niggers?

  34. I totaly agree with some comments i believe we dont have labour laws in kenya or kenya Firm frustrate their people .We need to start a revolution now, we have seen some employers frustrate kenyas in our country and this should stop.If a company does not respect human diginity should not invest in our.We have some international operating in kenya where they dont pay local contractor after job completion others just rentrech kenya employees . Its time kenyas wake up and staring firgting for fellow kanyas.IF KQ FEELS it doest not need kenya employees it should closed the business .We should not continue being frustrated.

  35. I won't fly the pride of Africa again.Though am suppose to be patriotic the mistreatment of my fellow Kenyans befit staying away from kQ am not interested in Rwandese telling me'banatoka Kigali banakwenda dubai'

  36. Very sad to hear this indeed. I hope all parties settle this amicably, KQ cannot always think about its share holders at the expense of its workers and at the same time the workers have to ask what is realistic otherwise no one gets anywhere.


  38. I travelled KQ Nairobi to Amsterdam on the way to the US worst airline.Rude crew members feeling like you owe them forgetting i paid not half fare either. I was very dissappointed lost my luggage as well. Never ever will do KQ customer service was poor poor. I have options and the last is KQ the curse of Africa

  39. shame on you you steal bags and pretend that they werent loaded especially when one is connecting.and not to mention that u open passagers bags,rob and then seal them back.shameless!!!!!

  40. I disagree. I always fly KQ and very proud of the carrier. I get World class services and safety comes first.

  41. Hw evil.some bastards! R defending kq,naikuni,lucy n accomplises kwnza that tai pilot!

    What hppnd in sept 2002 newyork can hppn 2 kq!Be ware

  42. email me back at and tell you how how i was orgarnized a job by the boss Titus naikuni in cargo-handling position thru his facebook fan page then i was asked to pay for training fee of ksh9000 for two weeks,and i diddnt have that kind of money and that opportunity i lost,i thought KQ was an equal employer oppournity

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