EgyptAir – An Option?Back to Forum
Anonymous6 Sep 2011
I have to do a trip from the UK to Beijing shortly and EgyptAir is looking like a good option price wise (business class). I’ve read the recent review but wondered if anyone else has recent experience. The fare is good ex-LHR and I get my Star Alliance points.
Is it also still a dry airline?
Thanks as ever for your valued advice and views.
Simon6 Sep 2011
Simon – Egyptair is not a dry airline, only on certain flights and only during the Holy month of Ramadan they may not serve drinks.
I have used Egyptair several times from AMS to CAI and also AMS-CAI-BKK. Always had good flights, good service. Business class seats are one but the last model.6 Sep 2011
Thanks, janrotterdam, I’ve just booked a far east trip in business as the price was incredible and resigned to the fact that it is dry. What alcohol was on offer, out of interest?. On a related note I guess MS use star alliance lounges and, I guess, except for CAI, most will allow for a drink before boarding. I understand the new 777 have newer business class seats6 Sep 2011
For me, I’m more worried about the poor on time record and customer service should I miss a connection. From various reviews, on board you get what you pay for but the problems are mainly on the ground, especially during disruption in travel plans. Anybody have any experience on this?6 Sep 2011
I flew Egyptair from DXB-CAI-LHR in April this year.
They are indeed a dry airline which does seem strange as they run the duty free facility at Cairo airport though I was told by the airline’s UK reservations team that the crew would provide mixers/glasses for any alcohol bought onboard.
Food on the DXB-CAI was breakfast… fruit salad, cheese and cold meat, yoghurt, tea or coffee and orange juice followed by a very tasty omlette with mushrooms and potato. One of the best airline meals I have tasted.
Transfer in CAI a bit chaotic but offered choice of smoking or non smoking lounge which was busy but had plugs, free wifi and adequate refreshments.
CAI-LHR flight on flagship B777-300ER. Seats very comfortable and spacious and most practical amenity kit given out.
Cheese sandwich offered after take off which was a bit dry and almost unnecessary. Hot lunch was served before landing in LHR and prompt baggage reclaim.
Inflight entertainment limited in choice but was good enough for me as I fell asleep on first flight so watched the end of the film I was watching and another one on second flight.
I was on a through ticket (reward) from MCT in Business Class so in transit in Dubai (5hrs). After picking up boarding card went to lounge so can’t comment on check in. Also had 3hrs between flights in Cairo so plenty of time to transfer, shop and relax. I guess the fact that they are *A means that they would use partner carriers in times of disruption ?
Had reservations about using them at first but would certainly use them again.8 Sep 2011
Egyptair is indeed a dry airline however ,they give you access to STAR Alliance lounges worldwide which could make up a bit !..
In buisness class on their brand new ,shining B777-300ER they offer a state -of-the art business class fully flat bed which makes it one of the most comfortable rides in the air ….You collect your Star Alliance status miles on top of this and given the HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE diff in price btw them and other carriers on the LHR/BJS route ,you definitely are getting fantastic value for money !!!!!!!!!!..on top of this ,you will enjoy the B777-300ER on the LHR/CAI/LHR legs ….!9 Sep 2011
Thanks as ever, Karim. Three questions, if I may. Is it correct you can take your own alcohol on board and they’ll serve it you? If so, does this not cause offence to Muslim passengers? Finally, do you know what aircraft they use on the CAI – PEK leg?
Many thanks, Karim.
Simon9 Sep 2011
They use A340-200 on the CAI-PEK leg.
Be careful not to book the bmi codeshare on the LHR-CAI leg. They also offer this flight exLHR which is on an A321.
B777-300ER10 Sep 2011
When it comes to Egyptair, I always have this in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSjHUMFKNZo
Now they improved a lot when joining Star Alliance. So:
Still no alcohol served (official ground is religion) but you can take your booze on (at least in business).
Flight to CAI from Europe often in B737 (I think London on B777). Business class is made of large seats, and quite comfy for a 4 hours or so flight. Be aware that the first raw is in fact … raw 8 (don’t ask why).
Domestic flights: a reconfirmed booking means nothing… If you have an international connection, you might be somewhat safer. But check in as soon as you can for domestic flights.
Long-haul flights: I pass since the last one is too old.
Crew OK, food average to say the least, cleanliness can also be average.
CAI airport: T3 (Egyptair’s) is not bad. Now I am not sure I would dare connecting there with checked in luggage… But that’s me… If you have a long stop in CAI, forget about going down-town (unless the stop is really long, i.e. more than 6 hours) as border queue can be long and down-town trip means 45 to 90 minutes one way depending of the traffic (Heliopolis closer).
Overall, I still would avoid them and usually decline when proposed with one exception, their direct flight GVA-CAI…
P.S.: Since it seems everyone mentions credentials on this thread, I’ve been more than 60 times to CAI airport, including 2 this year (with Egyptair)10 Sep 2011
Dear SimonRowberry !
Taking your bottle on board and be served is not really official but let me make sure about this and get back to you ….this won t really offend ..not at all …..
On the CAIBJS leg it is an A340-200 ..not the most exciting product they have ,in terms of seating ..however let me give you a hint …..they do fly to Guangzhou ( CAN ) with their latest fully flat beds on a B777-300ER …This aircraft covers the following destinations …London ,New York,Dubai ,Bangkok ,Guangzhou ….
Yep..indeed ..plzzzzzzzzzzzzzz make sure u book the LHR/CAI/LHR on a B777-300ER …don t take the Bmi code share optd by a small bird ( A321) …..
Generally speaking ,after joining Star ,Egyptair is striving to offer a world class service on board and on the ground ..they have achieved already a lot but still have to sharpen up numerous facets ….in general ,it is excellent value-for-money if this matters to you ….I personally still prefer them ( by far ) in Economy class to other european rivals in Economy e.g. Lufthansa ,BA ,AZ,etc…..the food is generally decent ,tasty …IFE rather average on older a/c but OK on the newer ones and the crew usually courteous ,welcoming and more (human) than a lot of others …………this still makes a difference ,though !….on the European legs from CAI to various points it is predominantly a B737-600 ..a new version offering decent business class ,spacious cabins to FCO,IST,VIE,MUC,GVA,CPH,BCN,MAD,etc…………a clearly better product in biz class on this medium haul leg than OS,AZ,TK,IB,etc…..on a CAIIST for example u enjoy longhaul comfort on this a/c IN BIZ CLASS ………..moreover ,Egyptair boasts the ( better ) schedule to /from Europe flying at more civilized times ,making it a better option to FRA,FCO,MAD ,etc…..leaving at 9 am and back arriving at 8/9pm instead of red eye flights with LH and others ……………………..The Star Alliance dedicated T3 is a cut over the older T1 ( though not bad ) …..transit ( i mean overnight ) procedures might not be the best in the world ..time consuming still coz the airline is relatively new in this arena ..they really started to enjoy such transit traffic in masses since they joined STAR as CAI is indeed a hub /gateway for Africa ,ME ,etc………….
Enjoy the ride ..10 Sep 2011
Living in Malta, the most convenient route to JNB Is MLA CAI JNB, so I have used MS a few times.
I’ll share my experiences, based on a relatively small number of flights.
– dry airline, but no problem taking on board a bottle of something, I am discrete however, as there may be fellow pax who don’t like alcohol use and they have a point on a dry airline – having said that, never had a problem
– the fleet varies in comfort immensely.
The A340-200 is disastrous, with very old fashioned seats, not even proper cradle seats – do not fly on this aircraft if you have a choice, I mean do not hesistate to pay more on another airline
The 777-200 also has poor seats, avoid.
The A330-200 have cradle seats, with about 160 degrees of recline (estimated), although the leg supports do not match – this is the aircraft they use on the CAI JNB run and I can sleep okay, although not so well as on a flat seat. Unlike a certain prima donna on these boards, I can manage to sleep pretty well on most business seats, so bear that in mind when reading my comments. Seat pitch is enormous.
The A330-300 is new and is a typical ‘Star Alliance’ config, if you have flown TK on the 330 or 340 (and I think you may have done), then it is very similar. Modern, flat/angled bed. The last time I flew from LON to CIA, it was on this type.
The B777-300 is one have not flown on, but I understand it is similar to the 333.
As KS Haggag says, the B737-800 is comfortable in business, with a proper 2 x 2 layout and I’ve also travelled economy in one (due to a re-routing and that being all that was available) and it was a very acceptable product, with a meal that was way above average for economy.
As to the service, it reflects Egypt; Happy go lucky, variable, but usually warm and friendly. Sometimes they forget to load the amenity packs, so best to take an eyeshade and whatever else you need. Also, take your own headphones, as MS source theirs from Poundland. (The amenity reduced from proper washbags to bizarre puches on neckcords (although they make useful MP3 bags, as you can put it around your neck and run the earbud cord to your head!)
The food is not 5* restaurant quality, but is generally tasty, sufficient in size and bottom line, does the job on a long haul flight.
In summary, if you are price driven, then go with fairly low expectations, try to take the things you need with you and you wil probably find it to be ver god value for money.
Although use MS to JNB for convenience, when I look at their prices compared to the competition, they are significantly lower.10 Sep 2011
Folks, many thanks indeed. I’m inordinately grateful for your comments.
Let’s take this one stage further, if I may. I’ll explain my route options and constraints, and then take views on which airline/routing I should take.
I need to fly to Beijing, to arrive on a Sunday night (I could arrive earlier, of course). I will stay until the Thursday and MUST be back in the UK for a meeting on the Friday. Scheduling and reliability (especially on the way back) is critical.
Given the short time I am away, and the importance of the business in China, I must get as much rest as possible on both outward and return.
As this is a meeting in respect of a future potential project, I am paying the flight costs, with my Client meeting all my expenses when in China. I therefore want a reasonably priced Business ticket (non-flex if necessary), with a budget (preferably) of around GBP 2,000 if possible.
I live near BHX. Therefore, to fly from there would be best, both in terms of time and the costs of transfer, LHR opens up wider options, but involves a 2 hour each way journey, plus costs of around GBP 250 return for a chauffeured car (driving myself would be similar, in terms of petrol, depreciation and parking costs).
It is highly desirable that I fly with a OneWorld or Star carrier as I have done less travelling than usual this year and need the tier points!
I also have the possibility to stopover somewhere “interesting” on the Friday night, which would be the icing on the cake.
Swiss. They have good connections and are a reliable carrier. The fare is within budget BHX-ZRH-BJS but use Edelweiss. I am reluctant to pay the money for the type of seating that the offer.
Lufthansa. They want around GBP 3k on the dates I am travelling. Reluctant to consider them further on these grounds, although the choice of connections is excellent, via MUC or FRA.
Turkish. This presents me with a tricky one. The fare is fine, as are the flight timings. A stopover in Istanbul is possible too. However, many will know of my previous experiences on Turkish. Despite what one or two of you might think, I do not have a vendetta against them at all and would be prepared to give them “one last chance.” However, I do wonder whether their staff read BT…….
SK. No connections from Birmingham on the required days.
Air China. A possibility. However, their website is so poor that when one tries to explore fares, the Amadeus link does not work. I cannot therefore, get any information online about fares and availability. This kind of rules them out….
Finnair. Bang in on budget at 2 grand. Could stopover in HEL on the Friday and see friends I’ve not seen for 18 months. A reliable carrier, great airport, etc., etc. Scheduling and availability is fine.
Egyptair. Interesting comments above. The alcohol policy is not an issue, but the apparent variability of seating quality is. Also, there seem to be risks in through-checking baggage. This is certainly a carrier I would like to try, but perhaps on a less business-critical trip.
BA/CX/LH/SK/Austrian/Thai. Beyond budget at GBP 3k to 4k.
As things stand, I am tempted to use Finnair.
Any comments, ideas or suggestions would be more than welcome. I will not be booking for a week or two as I am waiting for the business visa to be sorted out.
Many thanks as usual.
Simon10 Sep 2011
Simon, I am not sure whether your flight costs will be the same if you elect an overnight in Helsinki. However, if you check with Finnair web site, there may be a schedule that includes a forced overnight stop.
Interesting that I have been looking at an LBA (yes Leeds Bradford) -BKK route and have been checking the KLM site. I know that their seats are not 180, but if you can route through AMS, this may also be an option.10 Sep 2011