I went to South Africa with my family for the New Year holidays. I had little flexibility in the dates and this is not the period for great discounts. The only reasonable business class rate I had was with EgyptAir. Yes, EgyptAir does not have a great reputation for punctuality, customer service or onboard service and Cairo Airport is certainly not considered to be the best airport in the world yet I was looking forward to my trip.
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The flight from Budapest landed one hour late but we still had enough time. A man at a desk checked the connecting passengers’ boarding passes after which we went one floor up, turned left and went to the first Egyptair lounge which was on the right side.
The lounge was large, offered plenty of seating, was not crowded, had toilets and was remarkably clean.
Food was available, both cold and hot. But the quality seemed to be very low for everything.
There’s a security control at the gates at Cairo Airport. Boarding was slightly chaotic and started at 22.40. Priority boarding was available but you had to push your way through the crowd.
Egyptair’s A330-300 has a business class cabin in a 2+2+2 configuration in six rows with a total of 36 seats. The last two seats on the right side are separated by a curtain and are to be used by the crew. The seats are lie-flat; the type of business class seats that were typical decades ago. A pillow and a blanket were waiting on the seat. The pillow and several parts of the seat were dirty.
The control panel.
Stickers to let the cabin crew know if you want to be waken up for the meals.
A cold towel offered after boarding. Low quality headphones were distributed shortly after.
Welcome drink: two choices of fresh fruit juices (guava and pomegranate). As most of you probably know EgyptAir is a dry airline and does not serve alcohol (not an issue for me).
The safety video is ancient Egypt themed.
The amenity kit.
Departure was delayed due to cargo being loaded. The doors were closed at 23.27 and an expected flight time of 8 hours was announced.
Push-back was at 23.58 and take-off at 00.15 from runway 23C for a scheduled departure time of 23.00.
Dinner was served quickly after take-off. There was no printed menu.
The appetizer, salad and cheese were first served on a tray.
A choice of beef potato, chicken pasta or shrimp rice was presented on a cart. I selected shrimp with rice.
I didn't have high expectations but the meal was actually very good.
Tea, coffee, dessert and fruit were offered later from a cart.
The screens built into the seats are quite large. A choice of about 60 movies and 25 TV shows were available in English plus about 120 music albums in the category of world music.
Or you could just follow flight information.
The seats are old-fashioned lie-flat beds, actually more like slides, and are very uncomfortable for sleeping. Note also that there’s only one toilet for the 36 business class seats plus the crew which is definitely not enough.
A note about the cabin crew: it seemed to me that there were twice as many of them as normally on an A330 and they seemed to change shifts every two hours. This also meant that there were always several crew members who didn' work and they were just chatting with their colleagues or relaxing in the empty business class seats.
Breakfast service came about one hour and a half before arrival.
The air show map. Cairo was set both as origin and as a destination.
We landed in Johannesburg at 8.10 for a scheduled arrival time of 7.05
Thank you for reading my flight report and please feel free to comment.
MS Gienah Lounge - 3
Cairo - CAI
Johannesburg - JNB
The lounge at Cairo Airport had enough seating but food was low quality. While the seats on-board the A330-300 have plenty of legroom and are OK for a daytime flight; they can only be used as lie-flat beds, almost like slides and are therefore not comfortable for sleeping. Moreover, the seats were quite dirty. The cabin crew did a little bit more than what was strictly necessary. Dinner was better quality than expected, although a printed menu would have been good. It was altogether a business class experience which was less good than what you would get on most other airlines.
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