The EgyptAir Flight Review is part of the Trip Report Athens Marathon: The Original Course which includes the following cities:
- Toronto, Canada
- Detroit, Michigan
- London, England
- Athens, Greece
- Giza, Egypt
- Cairo, Egypt
- Luxor, Egypt
- Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
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TPOL has a few guidelines for deciding whether to fly economy or luxury.
- Economy plus is stupid. I’m not falling for this gimmick. I don’t need the extra leg room and I’m not letting the airlines fleece the public by charging for premium seats that should be the standard for economy.
- If the flight is less than seven hours, flying business is not worth the points. The exception was on this trip with the unique circumstances surrounding my favorite flight, Virgin Upper Class DTW-LHR.
- If the flight is less than ten hours, flying economy is acceptable because contrary to popular belief, not every blogger has infinite points. Fortunately, I haven’t had to adhere to this guideline as I’ve managed to find great value award tickets without breaking the points bank.
- If the points game does end, I’m mentally tough enough to endure a 17 hour flight in coach. I’ve been on enough hell buses in Asia and Central America that I can snap out of my points princess first class mentality and ride with common folk.
And with that, I thought I’d change it up and provide a review of EgyptAir’s economy flight from Athens to Cairo. I also flew EgyptAir from Cairo to Luxor and Cairo to Sharm. The details of this review are applicable to those flights as well.
Full Service Flight
Flying within the US, I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. On Allegiant, there’s no such thing as a free drink either. On EgyptAir refreshments are provided as well as coffee or tea. If that’s not enough, on my flight from Athens to Cairo, a proper lunch was given.
When the tray came, I had no intention of eating. “No caviar, no lobster, don’t you know who I am”, I told the flight attendant in Arabic. (This didn’t really happen.) When I got over myself, I was surprised at the spread: the chicken was tender, the pasta salad was fresh, and the side salad was nice and light. There was even a tasty piece of dolma in the mix. After eating the brownie with no fuss, I wondered why American carriers can’t have food this good.
The service on EgyptAir is strange. The flight attendants are not rude but are inattentive. If you’re not seated in the aisle, there is a good chance that you won’t be offered a newspaper or tea and coffee as they quickly roll through the cabin not making eye contact with anyone.
On one of the flights, I was seated in the middle and both the passenger in the window and I weren’t asked if we wanted anything to drink. The flight attendant asked the man seated in the aisle what he wanted, served him his drink, and carried on. On the next flight, I made a point to speak up and maintain eye contact until I was poured a cup of chai.
Everyone hates airlines that charge for bags, an injustice almost as bad as charging for premium economy. I do my best to sneak on my bags which adhere to size regulation but due to my electronics, the backpack is always overweight.
What’s almost as annoying as paying for checked bags is when a carrier doesn’t charge but forces me to check in my bag because it is too heavy. This varies by airline and agent which is why I recommend carrying your backpack on one arm, creating the illusion that it is light.
I had a strange incident on EgyptAir. The attendant made me weigh both bags. The backpack was over the 7 kilo requirement and the roller was under. As a result, he made me check one bag. Obviously, I wasn’t going to check my electronics so I volunteered the lighter one. He agreed.
Cairo Airport Buses
I flew into Cairo three times, from Athens, from Luxor, and on the way back from Sharm. Even when I was flying from Cairo to Abu Dhabi, I had to take the bus to the plane. Rain or shine, the bus is inconvenient. In Cairo, the bus ride is especially irksome because the route to the plane consists of never-ending winding roads. Passengers are falling on top of one another as the crazy bus driver makes his way through a terribly planned airport. This isn’t an exaggeration, go to Cairo, you will be laughing to yourself when it happens to you.
The Baggage Claim
If you thought room service in Vegas took a long time, you haven’t been to Cairo Airport. I waited nearly an hour for my underweight roller to show up in Cairo and remarkably it was significantly delayed in Sharm. I’m assuming this is the norm in Egypt since, unlike the US, the passengers don’t head straight to the conveyor belt, they head for the seats to wait. Indeed, I was the only clown standing waiting for my bag to show up.
EgyptAir is part of Star Alliance so the service is on par with international carriers. There were some quirks at the airport and during the flight that made me scratch my head but overall I was satisfied with the experience, despite being in economy.