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Jeddah To Cairo On A Saudia A300  
User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 10 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 20564 times:

Booking

Having arrived to Jeddah just 9 days earlier from Canada (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/173822/ ), I finished all the errands I had here, saw some good old friends, and took advantage of Jeddah’s excellent shopping, it was time to go Egypt: The main attraction of the summer. I would stay in Egypt for 5 weeks, then come back for another stop in Jeddah for 3 weeks, before heading back home to Canada.
Now, having been an Egyptian Expat for nearly all my life, there are 2 days of the year which are predefined for me. The best day of the year, is the day I go to Egypt for my summer vacation. The worst day of the year, is the day I leave Egypt. And now that I was all away in Canada, I was missing Egypt more than ever. I was so excited, that I couldn’t sleep at night.

We had originally booked MS both ways, we’ve been using them on this leg ever since MS joined Star Alliance, so we can earn miles on our Diamond Club Card. We got the opportunity to go to Egypt 4 days earlier, but it would mean we’d have to fly SV. I wanted to avoid that, but I was so desperate to go to Egypt, that I took the opportunity and now I was booked on a SV 2362 4 days earlier than my original MS flight.

When I received the flight number, I realised it was 4 digits, not the usual 3 digits of SV 3XX flights that do the JED-CAI. I learned it was also an Airbus A300, which is strange because this route is usually operated by the B747-300 or the B777-200. Strange. I would later discover that I was booked on one of the dreaded Saudia, Onur Air-leased Airbus A300 hajj flights. Also, the flight was never shown on flightstats.com , and it wasn’t on the FIDS, because it was not a scheduled flight.

Now, there’s something you have to understand about Jeddah-Cairo flights. On average, MS and SV combined, there are 20 flights operating daily on the JED-CAI route. And they are almost always 100% full. Now, in a normal season, this flight would be full of Egyptian expats in the Kingdom going home, or Saudi Tourists going to Egypt. In this case, there are your usual inconveniences found in this part of the world such as people talking on cell phones, people taking seats which were not assigned to them, people getting up and getting their bags the second the wheels touch the runway etc.

But what’s even worse this time, is that it was high season for pilgrims. This flight would be full of mainly elderly pilgrims from remote villages in Egypt, most of whom had never flown before. As you will see, it will turn out to be quite an experience.

But it wont be anything new really, I’ve flown this route around 18 times in the past 15 years on a combination of both SV and MS. For JED-CAI, I’ve seen it all.

Departure Airport: Jeddah, King Abdul Azziz Int’l Airport (JED) – South Terminal
Arrival Airport: Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Terminal 1
Date: 9th of July 2010.
Scheduled Departure Time: 3:45 am
Actual Departure Time: 5:15 am
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6:00 am
Actual Arrival Time: 7:30 am
Flight Number: SV 2362
Equipment: Airbus A300 (Leased from Onur Air)
Load Factor: All Economy, 100%


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Photo © Stéphane Mutzenberg
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Photo © Irfan Caliskan - AirTeamImages


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Photo © Fatih Caliskan
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Photo © Frank Doering

At the Airport

First of all, I’d like to say it was extremely difficult taking photos in this airport, since airports, government buildings etc. in this part of the world usually prohibit photography. But I did my best, and I hope its good enough.

I have used this facility over 25 times in the past 15 years, and not only has it not changed one bit, but it maintains its title as the worst airport facility I have EVER used. I’ve done the JED rant in my other TRs involving JED, and I wont go through it all again. But this is a summary: An airport straight out of the 80s, disorganized, dirty, chaotic, crowded, unhygienic, and no decent amenities whatsoever.

We arrived at the airport at 1:00am, and headed inside the terminal.

The check-in counters were at the far end of the hall, and there was only one way to get them. Look carefully at the following pics:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYG6OfRFI/AAAAAAAAAQg/VpExnM6kKS4/s720/P7070003.JPG

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYPvZqLhI/AAAAAAAAAQk/EIVFRHKjiC0/s720/P7070004.JPG

As you can see, in the far distance you can see the check-in counters at the back of the hall. To get to them, there was one line (the line the shot is taken from) all the way from the terminal entrance, which is on the other side of the hall, till the check-in area, where it feeds into several check in counters. Except everyone was cutting lines, and the check-in counter was one big cluster of people, not knowing where to go.

Eventually, we reached the check-in area, and found ourselves engulfed in a crowd of pax. We saw an airport employee walking around with a really loud walkie-talkie, and asked him which counter to check in from. He lead us to a check-in counter on the far right, and directed us to the Business Class Counter for Saudi 021 to New York JFK. We ended up checking in for our Cairo flight, in the Business Class Check-in counter for Saudia 021 to New York JFK!    Other Cairo bound passengers were seen checking in at Milan, Dhaka counters and at the same time, other pax not going to Cairo where checking in at the Cairo counters. I found this very strange to say the least, but as long as we were checking-in fine, then I didn’t really care.

It’s now 2am, and we have cleared passport control, and security and we are heading into the departure hall area.

FIDS (our flight, being unscheduled, was not on there ofcourse)


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYSvNF7SI/AAAAAAAAAQo/9pjI4fRSl7k/s720/P7070005.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYXtPqAqI/AAAAAAAAAQs/coNOlwFApRY/s720/P7070006.JPG

The Departure hall consists of a hall, smaller than the size of a football field, with rows of seats, and a small cafeteria with round tables and chairs at one end. The Cafeteria prices were ridiculous, and the food looked stale. Also, several people left their plates and uneaten food on tables, without bothering to clean up. Oh, and the departure hall was packed.

To their credit however, the Departure Hall looked a bit newer than the other parts of the Terminal (check-in, baggage area etc.), and there were 3 or 4 computers available for use, and Wifi Access (not free though). But it was still way too small. It was completely packed.

I managed to sneak some shots:

Took this one through the hole design in the seat!   :


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYe5JOhVI/AAAAAAAAAQw/g9yz_74ef5o/s720/P7070007.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDYlHwUKNI/AAAAAAAAAQ0/HCFwGRw13Es/s720/P7070008.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZFCHSvZI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/HfRWKqluWKE/s720/P7070010.JPG


The Cafeteria in the distance, and you can see the table in front of us, with left over litter and food from the last people who sat there:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZMEKM1bI/AAAAAAAAARE/cAOXiUSMutc/s720/P7070012.JPG


In a blur, SV birds parked in the distance:


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZJL6MCaI/AAAAAAAAARA/rsjU35QQXuo/s720/P7070011.JPG


Boarding began at 3:15, lined up in a queue, an official check our boarding passes, passports, and then we took some escalators down to a lower level, where busses were waiting for us to take us to the aircraft.
It was along ride, since our bird was parked at the Hajj Terminal. It took about 12 mins to get from the South Terminal to the Hajj Terminal where our aircraft was parked.

Got off the bus, climbed up the stairs, and the first thing I noticed was that the aircraft was in an all-economy layout. We were greeted by 2, young Egyptian male FAs. I showed him my boarding pass, but he told me: “Oh no sir, this flight has free seating, you can sit wherever you want”. So I headed towards the mid-section of the plane, and chose a window seat.

Even if there were assigned seats, you would end up having people taking seats which don’t belong to them anyways since that happens alot here, so why bother from the start?  

I noticed Arabic, English and Turkish Signage inside the aircraft, and I soon realised this was an Onur Air leased A300. As for the crew, there were those 2 Egyptian males I mentioned, along with a female FA, who I think composed the SV share of the crew. Meanwhile there were 2 other, older female Turkish FAs (Does Onur Air include cabin crew in the lease or were they just SV FAs of Turkish nationality?)

Cabin pic:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZa-eVeqI/AAAAAAAAARQ/FidCeN-Yfu8/s720/P7070020.JPG

The seats were very small, and weren’t comfortable at all. My seat in particular was torn, and had a metal spring sticking out of it, which left a mark on my behind.

The seats:



My torn seat and the metal spring:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZjZLG_OI/AAAAAAAAARY/iZ46Dy3YcH8/s720/P7070022.JPG

All the other seats were quickly taken, and I was left with this seat, and the metal spring that would be jabbing me in the rear for the rest of the flight.

It was now 3:45 am. We should be departing now, but we weren’t. 4:00am, still on the ground. The Air Con was not working for some reason, and the outside temperature was 38 degrees Celsius. 4:15am still on the ground. It was now getting really hot, sticky and cramped in the plane, I was beginning to sweat. People began asking questions, the crew just shrugged their shoulders and walked off.

4:25 am, the captain comes on “welcoming” us onboard, and saying we were delayed because they were waiting for all the luggage to be loaded onto the aircraft. Ofcourse, the geniuses at Saudia parked the plane in the Hajj Terminal, a good 15 mins away from the South Terminal. The Captain then said that we should be leaving in 10 mins.

4:45 am. I am now pouring with sweat, using the safety card to fan myself. The captain’s 10 min promise was never kept. At this point I was really, really angry and frustrated, and the only thing that kept me from snapping completely was the fact that in a couple of hours I would finally be back in Egypt. That really was the only thing that kept me going.

At 4:50 am, the captain came on, and said: “I can assure you there is only 10 mins left from now.” This was met by a simultaneous, sarcastic laugh and sarcastic remarks by the passengers, since this wasn’t the first time he said there was 10 mins left, he said that half an hour ago!

So I was killing time by listening to my iPod. Holding myself back, knowing that hopefully, in a matter of hours I will be in Egypt.

We ended up departing at 5:15 am. One hour and a half later than scheduled departure time. 55 mins after the Captain’s first 10 min promise, and 25 mins after his second 10 min promise. And finally, as the aircraft started its taxi, the AC turned on, much to the relief of the sweltering pax in the 38 degree Celsius cabin.

Absolutely pathetic.

Take-off from Jeddah:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDcZSyUy5I/AAAAAAAAASQ/fUXNc0zryac/s720/P7070034.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDchy8x5BI/AAAAAAAAASU/VxdWaBGO9EI/s720/P7070035.JPG



As we reached our cruising altitude, I wanted to find some form of entertainment other than my iPod. There were no PTVs, which wasn’t a big deal its a 2 hour flight after all. I look around, there doesn’t seem to be an overhead screen. I look in the seat pocket, there isn’t even an inflight magazine! Nothing! No Entertainment! The only thing in the seat pocket was the safety card (the one I used as a fan), and a sickness bag.

Safety Card:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDZ1Mh6rLI/AAAAAAAAARk/5mAKAz8b2Ws/s720/P7070026.JPG



Legroom:


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDaRjCWo2I/AAAAAAAAAR0/zvHgbgaxoMA/s720/P7070030.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDac4omKLI/AAAAAAAAAR4/ZseohErtqDA/s720/P7070031.JPG


Seat:

[IMG]http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDcG2SvUtI/AAAAAAAAASI/FetjiTxJA9k/s512/P7070032.JPG [/IMG]

It’s now 6:30 am, and the FA’s come around with the meal service. The Options: Chicken or Beef. I was surprised for a second, it was 6:30 am after all. WHO EATS CHICKEN OR BEEF WITH RICE FOR BREAKFAST?!!? I was expecting some kind of breakfast meal to be served or something!

Meal:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDcq-cAmoI/AAAAAAAAASY/R0rWv_COYGk/s720/P7070036.JPG

Chicken served with rice, and string beans. There was a bun and salad on the side with butter, as well as apple juice. Food was okay, nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either, chicken a bit bland. But the Rice Pudding desert was delicious

Chicken option:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDcyZy8GnI/AAAAAAAAASc/_zlwGUN9u08/s720/P7070037.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDc7RKh_3I/AAAAAAAAASk/nRZVBAjt6VA/s720/P7070039.JPG

Cabin pic:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdCKtPkAI/AAAAAAAAASs/OJ4nyVbStLk/s720/P7070040.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdOs_LWbI/AAAAAAAAASw/kDjYsecgd14/s720/P7070041.JPG

Washrooms:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdYP0trAI/AAAAAAAAAS0/-OgopFfwWDU/s720/P7070042.JPG

Turkish writing, it is an Onur Air-leased aircraft after all:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdfDl2y6I/AAAAAAAAAS4/mA2TRF6OQAE/s720/P7070043.JPG

Over the Red Sea, approaching the Egyptian Coast:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdh-JyaHI/AAAAAAAAAS8/bhw7Zu2QeN0/s720/P7070044.JPG

Mountains and landscape near Hurghada:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdnfhXM2I/AAAAAAAAATA/NJNanFbskjQ/s720/P7070045.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDdv7yrC4I/AAAAAAAAATE/RXrb9F2_VeQ/s720/P7070046.JPG

As we approached Cairo’s smogy skyline at Dawn, I felt a rush inside me, and my heart was pumping faster, all the anger and fatigue from the ordeal we just went through seem to fade away, because there is not better feeling than looking down at your hometown from the sky as you are approaching it.

Various pics of Cairo during landing:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDd7Hm_5gI/AAAAAAAAATI/MhxIVo1iokw/s720/P7070047.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDd-nLYggI/AAAAAAAAATM/m-e5k2b3SII/s720/P7070048.JPG


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDeA5iIyrI/AAAAAAAAATQ/stEJwjkUZVE/s720/P7070049.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDeGdmxmQI/AAAAAAAAATU/b50UxI_oW2g/s720/P7070050.JPG


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDeNvH5MbI/AAAAAAAAATY/ioRroIHRL84/s720/P7070051.JPG

The famous CityStars complex:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDeU6C87PI/AAAAAAAAATc/897okaJT6c8/s720/P7070052.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDegV61iiI/AAAAAAAAATg/xHstyQQLpmo/s720/P7070053.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDek5tiuFI/AAAAAAAAATk/VZM6SozCmbg/s720/P7070054.JPG


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDeqDdDVwI/AAAAAAAAATo/nWAjfD-sd1Q/s720/P7070055.JPG
Terminal 3, seconds before touchdown:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDesMnRLOI/AAAAAAAAATs/DStjvBDACCg/s720/P7070056.JPG

Saudia B747-300 taxing out for departure. I’d be riding that same aircraft in 5 weeks:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDfeNJJsWI/AAAAAAAAATw/FGCEm3sTHaI/s720/P7070057.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDfgyVJ-UI/AAAAAAAAAT0/ZzeNCy0WhLQ/s720/P7070058.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDfj5exLnI/AAAAAAAAAT4/vE_VoZwgLBY/s720/P7070059.JPG

Cairo’s new ATC Tower which recently opened:




EgyptAir B777-300ER arriving:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDfnHhfFDI/AAAAAAAAAUA/U1PIdaxMsKk/s720/P7070061.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDftAHOQeI/AAAAAAAAAUI/XUyiuX0FeJ4/s720/P7070063.JPG

EgyptAir A320, with the old ATC tower in the background on the right:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDfyOD6_lI/AAAAAAAAAUM/Pg2x1bi_VeI/s720/P7070064.JPG

Petroleum Air Services (PAS) aircraft:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDf1j5cUXI/AAAAAAAAAUQ/6K8YgBk3deo/s720/P7070065.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDf35Ig1BI/AAAAAAAAAUU/KPW5KMB4fo0/s720/P7070066.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDf5Fj5jCI/AAAAAAAAAUY/9H02gMGlSBM/s720/P7070067.JPG

We parked next to another Saudia B747-300. Don’t you just love the SV livery? So beautiful.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDf8_ND_0I/AAAAAAAAAUc/xx1YrrzeSew/s720/P7070068.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDf-uOozEI/AAAAAAAAAUg/D14YqYYH6rY/s720/P7070069.JPG


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgAGbbhzI/AAAAAAAAAUk/9WNnC-ZLFos/s720/P7070070.JPG

Usually, SV along with the other Gulf Carriers, British Airways, Alitalia and Air France/KLM use the notorious Terminal 2 at CAI. But Terminal 2 has officially been closed as of May 2010, for renovation until 2013. It’s capacity will be double from 3.5 Million pax per year, to 7 million pax per year. Also, what was once CAI’s ugliest, most horrendous terminal, is getting a majore facelift. You can see the design here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1018985

Also, Terminal 1 has a very weird system, since it has 3 halls. It’s to my understanding that Hall 1 isthe access to the main terminal building, Hall 2 being Saudia departures, and hall 3 being Saudia Arrivals.

Terminal 1, hall 3:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgE1XLajI/AAAAAAAAAUo/jBKHrU0-WCQ/s720/P7080071.JPG

Our bird:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgGjamRfI/AAAAAAAAAUs/lkHSiZJ-S_I/s720/P7080072.JPG

A 7:30 am we disembarked. I was really happy to get off that aircraft, and even happier because of the fact that I was now on Egyptian soil.


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgLcSWJzI/AAAAAAAAAUw/NQM-5HfeG4Q/s720/P7080073.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgNCMtsOI/AAAAAAAAAU0/ZO3WioEtFLQ/s720/P7080074.JPG

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgSlbaOrI/AAAAAAAAAVA/5_T0FEWrBJU/s720/P7080077.JPG

Air Cairo A320:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgPwq-h-I/AAAAAAAAAU4/e63GdGoZ1M8/s720/P7080075.JPG

The sign that warmed my heart   :


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgWWIqXzI/AAAAAAAAAVE/5HoXtxjgiqA/s720/P7080078.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgdd-pG2I/AAAAAAAAAVI/2XdotIZm9Ew/s720/P7080079.JPG

It took 7 mins to clear customs, then 15 min to get the luggage. But I didn’t care, I had a grin on my face, and I was on the best mood ever, because I was finally here.

Walking out towards the exit:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgkmbMoKI/AAAAAAAAAVQ/E82DUUYVDWE/s720/P7080081.JPG

At the exit, there was a plaque commemorating EgyptAir’s first flight ever: In 1933, EgyptAir started commercial operation in August with Spartan cruiser from Cairo to Alexandria:

Thoughts and Comments

Aircraft & Seats

4/10

The seats were really small, seat width was uncomfortable, leg room was decent. However my sear was ripped, and there was a metal spring which was jabbing me in my rear end for the entire flight. Its good that it was just a 2 hour flight (oh, and add the 1 hour 45 mins on the ground), because sitting in that seat any longer than that is just unimaginable.

IFE

0/10

I’ve never given anything a zero before, but this time it deserves it. There was literally, no IFE. No PTVs, no overhead screens, not even an inflight magazine! Its just a 2 hour flight and I’m not asking for a touchscreen AVOD PTV, but seriously, no In-Flight Magazine? Really?

Food

6/10

I dont know who was behind the idea of serving Chicken or beef with rice for breakfast at 6:30 am, but it’s quite ridiculous. Why did they not serve a breakfast meal? That said, the meal was average, the chicken and rice a bit bland, however the rice pudding desert was really good.

Crew

5/10

There were those 2 Egyptian male FAs, along with a tall (Syrian or Lebanese) female FA, who I think composed the SV share of the crew. Meanwhile there were 2 other, older female Turkish FAs (Does Onur Air include cabin crew in the lease or were they just SV FAs of Turkish nationality?) The two Turkish FAs gave me the impression that they hated their job, and were doing it as if they were slave labour. They showed complete disregard for passenger concern, always frowning, and keeping interaction to a very minimum. The two Egyptian male FA’s were a bunch of smiling, cheerful lads, but they weren’t grumpy. Mainly going with the “Just doing my job” attitude, with the occasional smile. The best FA though, was the tall, female, Syrian/Lebanese one, who I saw smiling a lot and interacting with the pax.


Conclusion

An absolutely dreadful experience, which I hope never to repeat again in my life. There was just so many things wrong from Jeddah Airport, until arrival, that I dont even know where to begin. I think I’ve ranted enough during the TR.
I’ve flown this route 18 times I’ve flown this route around 18 times in the past 15 years on a combination of both SV and MS. In regards to my experiences on SV, I have had great flights on PTV equipped SV 777s, and have been packed like sardines on an SV B747-300. In my flights with SV, I’ve had a variety of good and bad experiences, this flight was one of a couple of really bad ones.

I used SV on this route all the time in the 90s, and until the mid-2000s, simply because at the time, SV offered a service that was far superior to that of MS. But I believe the day has come, where SV has deteriorated so much, that MS has become the airline of choice on this route. As a result, I’ve been using MS on this route in the past few years (this flight was an exception, I mentioned why earlier), and especially since they joined Star Alliance, I could earn miles on my BMI diamond club. After this summer, I will try and avoid SV at all costs, at least on this route.

Taking an average of the ratings above, it gives us a score of 3.25/10. Quite frankly, for this flight at least, the only thing I liked about them was their Livery.



Back to the TR, I stepped outside the Terminal, looked around, taking in the fact that I was in Egypt. I couldn’t believe it, so I tried to convince myself: Crazy Drivers (Check), Bargaining Taxi Drivers (Check), Disorganization everywhere (Check), saw a couple of police officers walking in the white Egyptian Police uniform, saw the signature black and white cabs. I dropped my bag, and felt a tear of joy run down my face. I was finally in Egypt!   

Terminal 1:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgq_Kx3QI/AAAAAAAAAVY/NTnRZEwboL0/s720/P7080084.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDg2ayvRQI/AAAAAAAAAVg/tn6V6Px6DlI/s720/P7080086.JPG

The Air Mall:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDgw4RPkJI/AAAAAAAAAVc/a17TrUG9bpI/s720/P7080085.JPG

Old ATC tower on the right, new ATC tower on far left:


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDg5EIml1I/AAAAAAAAAVk/f0_PvA0tfHY/s720/P7080087.JPG


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhDo_rM2I/AAAAAAAAAVs/NICLAVB6Cog/s720/P7080088.JPG

Soon, our driver pulled up in our car, we said hi to him, put the luggage in the car, and off we go. Driving out from the airport, I could already see construction going on for CAI’s Inter-terminal Monorail. Scheduled for completion in 2012, the CAI Monorail will link T1, T2, and T3 together making transit between terminals easier.

http://i635.photobucket.com/albums/uu79/CairoBoy94/IMG_0074.jpg

Construction of Monorail support beams:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhGWRc5pI/AAAAAAAAAVw/QzIZdZy4Cw8/s720/P7080089.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhQlpmpGI/AAAAAAAAAV8/hxGs-G2w_hc/s720/P7080092.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhVBl-toI/AAAAAAAAAWA/liC7wK5CZt8/s720/P7080093.JPG

The first station:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhcsnkGKI/AAAAAAAAAWI/0YFjnUp2nMY/s720/P7080095.JPG

More Terminal 1:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhKNejw9I/AAAAAAAAAV0/nFCsm-HTraE/s720/P7080090.JPG


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhL7PoQFI/AAAAAAAAAV4/Nu0Ybx7fq7w/s720/P7080091.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhYs_E_FI/AAAAAAAAAWE/EdEwSAtMqyw/s720/P7080094.JPG

On the road away from the Airport:



http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhfqwEOiI/AAAAAAAAAWM/pWxir96x5UY/s720/P7080096.JPG


http://lh3.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhjAreIiI/AAAAAAAAAWQ/BHGMsLewDMo/s720/P7080097.JPG


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aElKWVn1ISw/TIDhlliqoGI/AAAAAAAAAWU/6hlLBUWE7IY/s720/P7080098.JPG

As we were cruising down the road from the airport, I did a customary thing, which is always the first thing I do when im in the car going home from the airport, I turned the radio onto “104.2 Nile FM”, a very popular, English, radio channel in Cairo. I kicked back and relaxed, and to my luck, it was 8 am, and the “Mobinil Wake Up Call” was just starting. I rolled down the windows, looking around, as the radio presenter said: “Good Morning Cairo! This the Mobinil Wake Up Call , Zach and Lina Here, playing out the latest hits, only on 104.2 Nile fm, Cairo’s #1” I continued listening as Cairene commuters, began their morning commute to work, the street merchants opening up their stalls with the fresh morning bread, and typical Egyptian staple foods like Ful etc. I was one of the happiest men in the world right then.  


Thanks for reading my TR, as always comments, suggestions and feedback are most welcomed.

Previous TR’s:

Jeddah To Cairo On EgyptAir (lots Of Pics) (by Egyptair269 Jul 21 2009 in Trip Reports)
CAI-FRA-YYZ On LH Became CAI-FRA-YYC-YXU On LH WS (by Egyptair269 Sep 2 2009 in Trip Reports)
YYZ-LHR-RUH-JED On AC & BD (by Egypt

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 20158 times:

Very interesting report, SV and JED can't be found very often here. Bad to hear about the long waiting time on the apron - and it's quite disappointing to see how this A300's interior looks like.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 9 hours ago) and read 19207 times:

Hi Egyptair,

what an ordeal! This looked like a miserable journey on a packed commuter train on a hot summer day rather than a plane trip. But I think it was worth it since you could finally be in Egypt, wasn't it? However, that A300 really looked miserable. I've seen wider seats on a Ikarus bus made when Hungary's flag was still showing a big, red star in the middle. and the broken spring bouncing off your seat could have been dangerous in case of a hard landing.

I must admit, however, that there's a part of me who's dying to get on the most uncomfortable means of transport around (those South American buses where you sit among chickens and loads of stuff, Italy's regional trains, Indian commuter trains at rush hour) and now that very same part of my personality is screaming to go to Jeddah on a SV flight during Haji. Must be quite an adventure.


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6491 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 18577 times:

Hi

Nice report. I guess it really should be titled "SV operated by Onur Air".....

It seems your experience was not very good and it must have been frustrating waiting to leave JED and keep getting delayed. I hink you should have booked something else since you knew you were basically be on a Hadjj flight. When you heard of the four digit flightnumber, you should have just said "no thanks".

Interesting report though. I'm a bit confused why you still live in Canada when you love Egypt so much ?

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17745 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Very interesting report



Cheers.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 2):
I must admit, however, that there's a part of me who's dying to get on the most uncomfortable means of transport around (those South American buses where you sit among chickens and loads of stuff, Italy's regional trains, Indian commuter trains at rush hour) and now that very same part of my personality is screaming to go to Jeddah on a SV flight during Haji. Must be quite an adventure.



Indeed, the flight was like a South American Bus, or Indian commuter train! :P

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
I hink you should have booked something else since you knew you were basically be on a Hadjj flight. When you heard of the four digit flightnumber, you should have just said "no thanks".



I knew it meant trouble, but at the time, I was willing to pay that price just to be there a couple of days earlier.

Also, if I had gone a few days later, I would've missed a very exciting trip to the Red Sea with my friends. Only 2 hours after arriving in CAI, just as I was about to unpack my bags, I get a call from a friend: "Hey, We're going to the Red Sea for 4 days, wanna come?". I immediately said yes, and since my bags were still packed, I got changed, and within 5 hours of touching down in CAI, I was on my way to the Red Sea!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):

Interesting report though. I'm a bit confused why you still live in Canada when you love Egypt so much ?



I have been living outside of Egypt my whole life. Now I am in Canada, mainly for educational purposes, and before that I was in JED since my dad works there. It is a known fact that the quality of life in Egypt is very poor, and there seems to be no recent improvement whatsoever. Egypt simply does not offer the opportunities Canada does. Im sure if I lived in Egypt, I wouldn't "love it" as much. I beleive its the fact that I've been away from home my entire life, spending only 2 months there for summer, that has made me so attached to it. I love to visit, but I know I cant live there at least for several years. Living in Canada is great, and I love it there.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 17271 times:

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
Equipment: Airbus A300 (Leased from Onur Air)



Hope the standards will rise soon, as SV introduced the first A330's lsd. from various Turkish companies (like Atlasjet or OnurAir).

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
After this summer, I will try and avoid SV at all costs, at least on this route.



What a shame. But true, in my opinion, it can't work! SV is leasing a/c from so many different companies (like Astraeus, AirAtlanta,OnurAir,Atlasjet etc.) and even very unreliable companies (like Phuket Airlines), that ONE (high) service standard is nearly impossible. Plus the effect, that all a/c, even comeing from one operator, have different layouts (that might be the reason for free seating on OHY's A300).


User currently offlinedirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 17159 times:

Hey Egyptair,
Love your TR, sure brought back memories when I was living in Dhahran. Awesome pics, especially that CityStars one.
I remember the exact feeling-that I loved coming back to Egypt and hated the day I'd leave it-now it's reversed, coz coming back to Egypt means the end of my holiday, haha.

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
I learned it was also an Airbus A300, which is strange because this route is usually operated by the B747-300 or the B777-200.

I remember in the '90s when MS used to frequently schedule A300s to JED, RUH and DHA. The 767s and A340s were of course mainly reserved for longhauls although they probably did a few more regional rotations back then (as the A340 continues to do now).

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
I dont know who was behind the idea of serving Chicken or beef with rice for breakfast at 6:30 am, but it’s quite ridiculous.

Haha, if you're choking and you ask for water they'll still ask if you want beef or chicken.

Quoting egyptair269 (Reply 4):
I have been living outside of Egypt my whole life. Now I am in Canada, mainly for educational purposes, and before that I was in JED since my dad works there. It is a known fact that the quality of life in Egypt is very poor, and there seems to be no recent improvement whatsoever. Egypt simply does not offer the opportunities Canada does. Im sure if I lived in Egypt, I wouldn't "love it" as much. I beleive its the fact that I've been away from home my entire life, spending only 2 months there for summer, that has made me so attached to it. I love to visit, but I know I cant live there at least for several years. Living in Canada is great, and I love it there.

True, to some extent Canada has more 'opportunities' but in Egypt if you know you're way around you can have the best of everything. Even education-wise, Egypt has some (okay one, maybe two) amazing places to study. If you ever want to live in Egypt, you should do so during your college years. If you try coming back after that, it will be harder to fit in.


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1158 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17012 times:

I agree. Who wants chicken at 6.30 AM.

User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 16742 times:

Quoting directorguy (Reply 6):
Hey Egyptair,
Love your TR,

Thanks DG, long time no see  

(P.s. there hasn't been a MS TR here in a long time, eh?)

Quoting directorguy (Reply 6):
I remember in the '90s when MS used to frequently schedule A300s to JED, RUH and DHA. The 767s and A340s were of course mainly reserved for longhauls although they probably did a few more regional rotations back then (as the A340 continues to do now).

I rember that too. I was once on an MS A340 from CAI-JED.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
I agree. Who wants chicken at 6.30 AM.
Quoting directorguy (Reply 6):
Haha, if you're choking and you ask for water they'll still ask if you want beef or chicken.

Probably   

It wasnt the options of "beef or chicken" that annoyed me, im fine with having just those two options. It was the fact that they were serving these kind of options at 6:30 AM!

I was on a morning SV JED-DMM flight once, and the options were Continental breakfast, or Ful. I wouldnt have complained if they gave us something like that on this flight!

Quoting directorguy (Reply 6):
True, to some extent Canada has more 'opportunities' but in Egypt if you know you're way around you can have the best of everything. Even education-wise, Egypt has some (okay one, maybe two) amazing places to study. If you ever want to live in Egypt, you should do so during your college years. If you try coming back after that, it will be harder to fit in.

Even with a lot of money, it would still be hard to match the Canadian lifestyle in Egypt. A degree from a University in Canada will go alot further then a degree from AUC, even though AUC is 4 times as expenive.


User currently offlinedirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 16309 times:

Quoting egyptair269 (Reply 8):
(P.s. there hasn't been a MS TR here in a long time, eh?)
That's true =)

Quoting egyptair269 (Reply 8):
Even with a lot of money, it would still be hard to match the Canadian lifestyle in Egypt. A degree from a University in Canada will go alot further then a degree from AUC, even though AUC is 4 times as expenive.

Haha you assumed I was talking about AUC straight away......correct, it's the best place in the world =). While it is quite expensive, and in terms of prices, it is comparable to a lot of places abroad, it does have some absolutely unique advantages: a) an amazing campus b) you meet lots of people, quite useful in case you ever live here, since life is all about the contacts you have c) you get to see how our society works. And of course, a lot of people do their postgrads abroad anyway.
As for the lifestyle part-the new 6th October and Fifth Settlement developments will give you a pretty good standard of living, it's incredible how Cairo has changed in the span of one decade.


User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26844 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 16019 times:

When I saw the title I was looking forward to seeing the product but I have to say its quite dissapointing. Lets hope there will be an improvement at least on those kind of routes.


Thanks for the excellent insight though.

OA260


User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 15919 times:

Quoting directorguy (Reply 9):
Haha you assumed I was talking about AUC straight away......correct, it's the best place in the world =). While it is quite expensive, and in terms of prices, it is comparable to a lot of places abroad, it does have some absolutely unique advantages: a) an amazing campus b) you meet lots of people, quite useful in case you ever live here, since life is all about the contacts you have c) you get to see how our society works. And of course, a lot of people do their postgrads abroad anyway.
As for the lifestyle part-the new 6th October and Fifth Settlement developments will give you a pretty good standard of living, it's incredible how Cairo has changed in the span of one decade.

That's true, but think of it this way. Thats how the average Canadian lives, but only the top percentile of Egypt's population live that way  .

Quoting oa260 (Reply 10):

When I saw the title I was looking forward to seeing the product but I have to say its quite dissapointing. Lets hope there will be an improvement at least on those kind of routes.


Thanks for the excellent insight though.

Dissapointing indeed, anways, thanks for dropping by OA260.


User currently offlinegardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1520 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 15712 times:

Hi

Interesting report! Wow, a real "adventure" flying Onur/Saudi.

I had some friends fly Onur Air last week from Bodrum to Dublin and the crew were totally disinterested in their job - apparently one staff member didn't want to sell food to one person because the customer wanted to pay in coin, and the stewardess said " I already have too much change, sorry!"

Interesting that the air sickness bag was written in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia.

Cairo looks amazing. I know the joyous feeling you get when you arrive somewhere you really love. I feel the same way whenever I touch down in Beirut!


User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 15497 times:

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 12):
Hi

Interesting report!

Thanks  
Quoting gardermoen (Reply 12):
I had some friends fly Onur Air last week from Bodrum to Dublin and the crew were totally disinterested in their job - apparently one staff member didn't want to sell food to one person because the customer wanted to pay in coin, and the stewardess said " I already have too much change, sorry!"

How rude, I'm not surprised at all to be honest.

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 12):
Cairo looks amazing. I know the joyous feeling you get when you arrive somewhere you really love. I feel the same way whenever I touch down in Beirut!

Gotta love it!!


User currently offlineODAFZ From Afghanistan, joined Jul 2004, 356 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15279 times:

I must admit it I just loved this trip report and I am sorry that your trip was not good and yes being served chicken at breakfast is odd but how about being served the same dish ( a cold ham and cheese plate) on an ATH-BUD-AMS-BUD-ATH back in 1988 on a MA Tupolev 154 ( breakfast, snack, lunch and diner exactly the same dish)
Being a Lebanese expatriate and being born in Alexandria, I can relate to the frustration of Egyptair 269 but come on it is the Orient, the land of the thousand and one nights where Aristotelean and cartesian logic is applied with a great deal of Liberty .
I hope you spent (or spending ) a lovely time there and BTW i could not help laughing on how multistory garage was written.... it took time to realize that in Lebanese garage would have been written with a "kaf" and not with a "geem"
Christian


User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 15147 times:

Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 14):
I must admit it I just loved this trip report

Thanks  
Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 14):
how about being served the same dish ( a cold ham and cheese plate) on an ATH-BUD-AMS-BUD-ATH back in 1988 on a MA Tupolev 154 ( breakfast, snack, lunch and diner exactly the same dish)

Wow, thats bad, I shouldnt be complaining then!


User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 15076 times:

Hi Egyptair269

Thanks for this fascinating report. SV reports are few and far between - and wow, in your experience, the airline really does seem worse than I had expected (which wasn't very much in the first place). But unpleasant as it was, it's a flight I'd love to take though, just for stories one could tell later. I get a strange mix of pity and envy as I read this report - thanks for taking us along.

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
On average, MS and SV combined, there are 20 flights operating daily on the JED-CAI route. And they are almost always 100% full.

Seems like basis for one of these carriers to be shuttling on the A380?  
Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
FIDS (our flight, being unscheduled, was not on there ofcourse)

Seems very strange - this doesn't make sense at all.

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
Even if there were assigned seats, you would end up having people taking seats which don’t belong to them anyways since that happens alot here, so why bother from the start?

But this does make sense.

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
and a sickness bag.

Interesting SV chooses the third language as Indonesian on the air sickness bag. But then, it is the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
WHO EATS CHICKEN OR BEEF WITH RICE FOR BREAKFAST?!!? I was expecting some kind of breakfast meal to be served or something!

Am not sure about the Middle East but you will find it in the Far East. The size of the meal was quite impressive though.

Cheers
airpearl


User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 14968 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 16):
Hi Egyptair269

Thanks for this fascinating report. SV reports are few and far between

Thankyou for reading it  
Quoting airpearl (Reply 16):
But unpleasant as it was, it's a flight I'd love to take though, just for stories one could tell later. I get a strange mix of pity and envy as I read this report - thanks for taking us along.

If you thought the A300 was extoic, wait till you see the B747-300 in my return trip report. Now THAT's a plane worth flying!


User currently offlinestratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1651 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 14956 times:

Quoting egyptair269 (Thread starter):
All the other seats were quickly taken, and I was left with this seat, and the metal spring that would be jabbing me in the rear for the rest of the flight.

I looked at that pic the seat doesn't look to be torn. It looks to me that the seat cushion bottom was not installed correctly. That spring you are referring to is called a hydrolok it allows the seat to recline. On most a/c the seat cushion bottom can be pulled up it is usually held down by velcro. You could have pulled the seat cushion up and repositioned it to cover the hydrolok spring.



NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1041 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14578 times:

I find it odd that Saudia seems to lag so far behind other Middle Eastern carriers (obvious ones being Emirates, Etihad and Qatar). Can this be attributed to some aspect of national wealth (I have the impression that Saudi Arabia is relatively prosperous)? Or is it simply a marketing decision based on the type or routes flown? Really, the experience seems more like Easy Jet or .... gasp .... Ryanair.

Is that 9-across seating we have there? Certainly, that is charter high-density rather than normal economy. Regardless of the outcome, thanks for showing us a less-traveled part of the anet experience!


User currently offlineegyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 14182 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 19):
I find it odd that Saudia seems to lag so far behind other Middle Eastern carriers (obvious ones being Emirates, Etihad and Qatar). Can this be attributed to some aspect of national wealth (I have the impression that Saudi Arabia is relatively prosperous)? Or is it simply a marketing decision based on the type or routes flown? Really, the experience seems more like Easy Jet or .... gasp .... Ryanair.

Saudi Arabia is the wealthiest country in the region, they could afford to fly all the pax in first if they wanted to! But I really dont understand why they lag so much behind EK, QR and even GF. And yes, I think ype of routes flown is a factor. I think SV considers Pilgrims or Hajj travellers as sub-human, because really, in all the Hajj/Pilgrim flights, they are treated like cattle.

However, it should be noted that SV has some modern aircraft in its fleet, with good products like the 777 and their new A330s.


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