Air Senegal flight from Freetown to New York: A review

Murtala Mohamed Kamara: Siera Leone Telegraph: 6 October 2023:

As someone who frequently travels internationally from Sierra Leone, I understand the limited flight options and high ticket prices that travellers often face. In addition to these challenges, there is an added cost of $25 in cash for security fees at the airport, making air travel even more expensive.

Furthermore, the inconvenience of travelling to the airport in Port Loko, outside the capital of Freetown, and the additional $40 for water taxis and local ferries can be burdensome.

Currently, there are five international airlines operating in Sierra Leone, with Air France possibly discontinuing its operations. These airlines include Turkish Airways, Air France, Air Senegal, Brussels Airlines, and Kenya Airways.

Having personally flown with all five airlines, I recently experienced a journey with Air Senegal from Freetown to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and would like to provide a brief review of my experience.

Air Senegal operates four weekly flights from Freetown, beginning with a smaller plane to Banjul International Airport in Gambia to pick up passengers, before continuing to Blaise Diagne Airport in Senegal for a transit time of 3 to 4 hours. From there, passengers board another flight for an 8-hour journey to New York.

The flight from Freetown to Banjul was pleasant, lasting less than 2 hours and 45 minutes. The cabin crew, primarily made up of African staff, exhibited a great level of service. The flight itself was comfortable, and passengers were provided with a sandwich, a small bottle of Senegalese-produced water, and a choice of juice.

The subsequent flight from Senegal to JFK was operated by a Boeing aircraft with a seating capacity of over 100 passengers. It offered inflight entertainment with a selection of movies. The service on this leg of the journey was commendable, and I particularly enjoyed the meat, which had a distinct flavour.

Unlike other airlines, Air Senegal provided a bottle of water with meals without the need for a request. They served meals twice during the flight, and the coffee was also quite enjoyable.

While I expected to see more African cabin crew members, most of them were Europeans, with a small number of Senegalese ladies. Nevertheless, the crew was hospitable and provided excellent service. The inflight entertainment, however, lacked options for Senegalese content.

Considering Senegal’s rich arts and cultural scene, it would be beneficial to include more Senegalese music and videos on the inflight screens.

One notable advantage of Air Senegal is its affordable fares compared to its competitors. Additionally, the airline offers faster transit times to New York, with a direct 8-hour flight from Senegal, unlike other airlines that may require longer layovers.

I recently travelled with another airline and had to endure a 16-hour transit period, which was quite inconvenient.

Furthermore, the early morning arrival at JFK Airport allowed for a smoother immigration process and less traffic in New York City. Overall, Air Senegal offers a good flight experience.

About the author

Murtala Mohamed Kamara is a journalist and the publisher of SaloneJamboree, Sierra Leone’s leading Arts and entertainment newspaper. He is also the founder of Salone Adventures, a travel and tourism website. Kamara, a travel enthusiast, adventurer, enjoys sharing his experiences. He also report for German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.



  1. My Wife and three kids travelled onboard air Senegal last December from JFK to Freetown Sierra Leone and there is nothing good to write home about. It was all pandemonium to and fro. They Reached Freetown and had to wait a week to get their luggage. On returning to the United States they were stranded at Dakar for almost four days. So it look like the person who did this piece on air Senegal was actually paid to do commercials for that air line.

  2. My experience with this flight was quite surprising. I was terrified when my Husband told me that I finally had to travel with Air Senegal with the Kids last Summer.
    I was of a far lesser expectations in terms of safety & services on board the flight.
    We had smooth flights to & from the US via Gambia/Senegal from Lungi. I surely may travel with them next Summer & afterwards.

  3. My little input is to remind all that Africa owns nothing, absolutely nothing of it’s own. Air Senegal, as you can imagine is not 100% Senegalese. France, of course, has the lion’s share and most importantly, no African country can boast of being financially strong enough to acquire an aircraft cash down. Conclusion, “way dehn lent you coat you foh take them sweat pan am”.

  4. Thanks for all the comments.
    As much as I like to patronize African airlines I had a very disappointing experience with Air Senegal. Off course they don’t take master cards which is strange for some of us living in the diaspora especially USA. I bought two return tickects for me and my daughter flying from BWI to Sierra leone in 2021. Paid with my debit card using a form they sent to me via email. A month after flying to sierra leone they reached out to me that my ticket was not charged. I resent the same form I had filled earlier when purchasing the tickets. They told me the card went through for one ticket but the other one ticket did not go through since we had different retun dates. However, the transaction showed pending in my account so i told them to wait it might go through. This people told me they will cancel my return trip if they dont get the money back that day. They promised that if I paid them they will refund my money if the other pending Trasaction ever go through. Cut long story short. They charged me three times for two tickets because both pending and the other transactuons went through. I have sent series of emails, pictures,bank staements to this people regaring my refund for the one ticket. No one ever took it seroiusly neither did they ever refund my $1000 back till to date.

  5. I flew air Senegal . My experience was quite well. The directions at the Senegal Airport was somewhat mixed up with the directions to the connecting flight but overall wonderful flight wonderful, attendance would do it again, even though I had a layover for two hours on the plane only because the rain so I miss my connecting flight was still, I would use them again

  6. ‘While I expected to see more African cabin crew members, most of them were Europeans….’

    And there lies the rub. Is it then Air Senegal in name only? Do Europeans own, command and control the airline after all? In other words, is Senegalese ownership of it mere fiction? A sprinkling of Senegalese/African stuff to spice up what is basically a European dish? The long dead Air Afrique, which was essentially French owned and controlled, comes inevitably to mind. Or am I being unduly and so unjustifiably and unforgivably cynical here?

  7. Good description of your experience with Air Senegal. The list of airlines currently operating in Sierra Leone did not include Royal AirMaroc. Twice I wanted to fly with Air Senegal from Indiana. An agent told me to board Air Senegal either in BWI or New York which I was prepared to do, to support African ventures. The tickets price was cheaper. However, Air Senegal does not accept MasterCard Debit cards except credit cards, which was strange. I used my debit card to purchase everything in the US including airtickets since 2017. I will try it someday.

  8. I agree with your perception and good experience with Air Senegal. They provide equally good service as other airlines. Their added advantage is the lower ticket price and shorter flight time to New York.

  9. Thanks Mohamed for your article.Me experience with Air senegal was totally different. I was on a business class ticket. This is what occured.
    From BWI to New York I was gi en two boarding passes. One to New York and the other to senegal. The leg from senegal was economy I queried that and I was told by the desk attendant, “that’s what the system gave and I should raide that when I got to senegal”. Also there was no business lounge.
    Again I got no serious explanation when I raised that.
    We go to senegal and we’re told all business class were on “waiting list” that was the only explanation. Having flown from hours, we were kept standing for 3 hours no help no one to talk to, till it became chaotic, that was on a “Manager” suddenly appeared and processed our tickets.
    Got to the business lounge, and before one could drink a cup of coffee we were called to board.
    Got to FNA and realized none of my luggage came through. Again no official to talk to, no explanation. Waited a week and had to go to a very rowdy office with inept staff to sort through myself to locate my cases in a messy dark room.
    Flying again with Air Senegal….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.