Hello to all my fellow aviation friends and welcome to my first trip report covering my four night trip to Cairo. All comments and suggestions will be much appreciated. I would quickly point out that I did have some trouble trying to upload the pictures so if there are any problems please do let me know.
B A C K G R O U N D
Having travelled to so many places previously its quite odd that I hadn’t been to Cairo as yet. Visiting the Pyramids of Giza and taking a cruise down the River Nile had always been something very appealing, but I never got the chance to go….until now! I would also be flying on two new airlines which was a exciting prospect for me. My first choice would have been British Airways, however with the impending strike and no dates confirmed I couldn’t risk the chance of not going at all.
Another reason for going was the fact that I had recently split up with my girlfriend of nearly three years, so as I had five days off work I decided the best way to get away from everything is to do the thing I love the most; FLY! My parents also joined me as it conveniently fell on Mothers Day weekend.
D A Y O F D E P A R T U R E
Waking up at 08:30 after getting back from work at 01:30 doesn’t normally suit me but if its for getting on a flight then its another matter as the adrenaline rush kicks in. I hadn’t done a single bit of packing so I just grabbed whatever I could see and dumped it into my suitcase. My parents however were packed and ready.
So by 11:15 with the luggage in the car and a brief stop at the petrol station to fill up my tank, we were off to the Long Stay Car Park at London Heathrow. It only took forty five minutes as there was no traffic and I found a spot right next to the bus stop. Whilst waiting for the bus to take us to Terminal3, it started raining! TYPICAL!
C H E C K - I N
Egyptair’s check-in was at Zone B inside Terminal 3 next to American Airlines and of course the impressive Zone A dedicated to Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines. Check-in only took five minutes as there were no passengers at that time. The gentleman from American Airlines checked us in and gave us our boarding cards with our pre-allocated seats which I had booked. By 12:25 we had our boarding cards in hand and headed through to security.
P R E - B O A R D I N G
Security at Terminal 3 is always hectic as I’m sure most of you who have travelled through Heathrow would know. Upon leaving to India three weeks earlier, the queues were ridiculous as it was a Friday evening. However this was Friday early afternoon and there wasn’t a single person in the queue. By 12:40 I was through security and into the departure lounge area.
I bought some lunch and was just daydreaming shall I say, then at 14:00 our flight status changed to ‘Go to Gate 26’ followed by ‘Boarding’ within the space of ten minutes which was odd. It was five minute walk to the gate however I couldn’t get a decent picture of any other aircraft on stand which was a shame.
The gate was very busy with only standing room but some kind people gave my parents their seats. More and more passengers turned up and it was only then that I realised it was going to be a busy flight.
F L I G H T D E T A I L S
Route:- London Heathrow (LHR
) - Cairo (CAI)
Airline / Flight Number:- Egyptair / MS
Departure (Actual) / Arrival (Actual):- 15:15 (15:35) / 22:00 (21:35)
Aircraft / Reg:- B777-266ER / SU
Class / Seat No.:- Economy / 43B
Boarding was called in row numbers and I must admit that everyone was very civilized. I was onboard by 14:35 and welcomed by the lead purser who greeted everyone with a smile. But walking down the aircraft the expression on the crews faces started to change. It seemed as if you didn’t exist, no eye contact or hello but just a blank expression on their face.
We pushed back at 15:05 and it was impossible to get a picture of any aircraft as the reflection of the wing was blinding plus the fact that the window was dirty. Slowly making our way round, we lined up behind a BA
B772 and by 15:35 we took-off from Runway 27L turning left 180 degrees which gave a chance to get a picture of the whole airport.
I was wondering what to do to keep myself occupied on the flight as the stewardess wouldn’t let me take any pictures and also because there weren’t any personal TV
’s; just the main ones hanging down from the ceiling. Headphones were distributed as we crossed the English Channel and then headed over Dunkerque and south of Brussels. An Arabic show was shown however I didn’t understand a single bit so I switched on the music options and ended up listening to Lionel Ritchie!
Does anyone know any other airline which has a 3-4-2 configuration on a B772? This was one of the things I found very odd as it didn’t make the space and comfort any better although I have to admit that it was better than BA
. Drinks were given although this was at least two hours into the flight. The cabin crew hardly walked up and down the aircraft and pressing the attendants button was of no good.
Looking out of the window I was surprised that it had still been snowing in central Europe as I thought the cold snap was over, but then saying that, it was still cold in London and I was looking forward to the hot weather in Cairo. The sun slowly started setting when I looked out of the window to see this.
Dinner consisted of a choice between chicken and beef and we would all have chosen chicken if it wasn’t for the slowest of all stewardesses who literally didn’t care about anything. Three other cabin crew had finished serving food to their section when this girl had only gone through half! The lead purser came over and told her to give the drinks out instead too which I did laugh. My parents ending up having chicken and I had to have beef as the chicken option had run out! Food was okay albeit quite bland but I didn’t have the energy to complain.
Looking out of the window I could see some of the ships on the Mediterranean Sea and the slight turbulence also indicated this as well. A comedy film was shown which lasted for an hour and involved aliens taking over the world and a bunch of kids rebelling against them. I have no idea what the name of it was.
Slowly but surely we were descending from 37,000 feet as we headed into Cairo. There were so many lights and I could see how bad the traffic was being the weekend. But later on I would realise that half your time is spent in the bad traffic jams of Cairo. It seemed as if we coming in a bit too fast however when the wheels touched down the captain have to slam the brakes on. It took about ten minutes to arrive at our remote stand which meant being bussed to the terminal. I didn’t mind as it was nice and hot outside but with the breeze of the Nile. Getting off the plane did take twenty minutes which was irritating but after that the whole procedure of getting my visa, going through immigration and getting our baggage was so easy.
V E R D I C T
I would use Egyptair again as the overall service was good. The only things I would change would be the stewardesses who although are very good looking are so rude and arrogant plus the addition of personal TV
screens which would be good. The aircraft and seats are adequate even for someone of a large size like myself. My rating would be 5/10.
D A Y O F D E P A R T U R E
And as soon as it had begun my short trip to Cairo had finished. I definitely enjoyed myself not only with the tour of the Pyramids and the evening Sound and Light Show but the best bit being the Dinner Cruise on the River Nile. The main reason for that being the belly dancer who was absolutely stunning and a good mover as well! LOL!
We had settled the bill and got the hotel to arrange a taxi to take us to the airport. As usual there was a bit of traffic but when is never any in Cairo. I thought that India had bad traffic jams but Cairo hit an all time high. Keeping this in mind our driver drove like he was an F1 driver, weaving in and out of the lanes and traffic. When we landed on Friday night it had taken us over 90 minutes to get to our hotel, however this time it only took 50 minutes as well drove up to the new Terminal 3 at Cairo International Airport.
C H E C K - I N
We had arrived at the airport by 14:20, exactly 3 hours before our flight would depart. I have to admit that the new terminal is very nice and modern. The lighting reminded of Terminal 3 at Singapore Changi although possibly not up to the same level but still much better than others I have been through.
Check-in was after baggage security which I always think is a good thing as it shows that they are taking security to more extreme point. Unfortunately as we were walking there, my Dad who has had a knee replacement was walking a bit too slow and a Japanese tour group snuck in before us! Luckily though a kind member of airport staff directed us to another scanning machine which was just opening.
There was a slight queue at the BMI
check-in area, and the line for some reason was going very slowly. But eventually we got checked-in and again got our pre-assigned seats which were as good we were going to get. By 14:35 we had our boarding cards in hand as we went through to immigration after filling out our departure cards.
P R E - B O A R D I N G
Once in the departure lounge I did my last bit of shopping getting souvenirs for a few friends back home followed by a trip to Burger King. I had been really good this year by not eating much junk food at all but sitting down and having a view of the ramp whilst eating was too much of an offer to resist. LOL! My parents joined me with a cup of tea and some French fries. At 15:30 I saw our BMI
A332 land which was a good sign as then we wouldn’t be late leaving.
We passed two Star Alliance Lounges on our way to the ‘F Zone’ gates from where we would be departing from. Our eventual gate was F10 which was only a five minute walk from the main concourse area. Thankfully when we got there, there weren’t many people as yet but the security checks at the gate were very thorough. There was even an Egyptian official either from police or immigration actually filming everything on his hand held camera. I was tempted to actually take a picture of this but my mother quickly told me not to just in case they start shouting.
By 16:20 we were sitting in the gate area and I couldn’t manage to get a decent picture of the aircraft as the jet bridge decided to get in the way! After 15 minutes I turned round to see that all the people who were sitting before had disappeared! There was actually no boarding call given but once the doors had open, people had got up and gone straight onboard. So we decided to follow suit and made our way through the jet bridge onboard our BMI
F L I G H T D E T A I L S
Route:- Cairo (CAI) - London Heathrow (LHR
Airline / Flight Number:- BMI
British Midland International / BD
Departure (Actual) / Arrival (Actual):- 17:20 (17:25) / 20:50 (20:20)
Aircraft / Reg:- A330-243 / G-WWBB
Class / Seat No.:- Economy / 29A
Once getting onboard I noticed that the seats in Economy Class were quite good, legroom was adequate and most importantly there was a personal TV
for the Voyager IFE system. The cabin crew seemed very bubbly and friendly always interacting with passengers and cracking jokes whilst still being professional.
Like on our outbound flight, push back was 10 minutes early as we taxied to the runway and by 17:25 we were up in the air on our medium haul flight back to London. There was a bit of light turbulence whilst going through the clouds as I waved goodbye to the city of Cairo and then headed out over the Mediterranean Sea.
The drinks service began within fifteen minutes which was good to see and I had a Pepsi along with some small pretzel snacks that were offered. The IFE was switched on and the I had the best view of the front camera showing an amazing evening sunset over the clouds. After which I settled back and watched Top Gear in which they finally revealed who ‘The Stig’ was. The flight was relatively full but luckily there was no-one sitting in the middle seats next to my father so my mother sat next to him and I got two seats all to myself.
Dinner was served after another hour which consisted of beef and rice along with a nice chocolate desert which would fill me up nicely until I got home that night. Whilst eating this was the view I got from outside the window. One thing I noticed was that the cabin crew all had smiles and seemed happy unlike on my inbound flight with Egyptair. Tea and coffee were served twice which was good to see. In general it seemed as if they were literally trying their best to make an enjoyable trip.
The captain came over the PA system to announce that we would be descending over the English Channel and arriving into Heathrow approximately half and hour early which I was very pleased to hear as I had to start work the following morning at 06:15. We crossed over Brighton and I managed to spot the single Gatwick Airport from a distance, however being at night, my camera didn’t want to focus properly so I couldn’t take a picture. We didn’t descend over central London this time either but instead flew over Heathrow turning a full 180 degrees before coming in to land over Myrtle Avenue onto Runway 24L.
We touched down at 20:20, a full thirty minutes before schedule which was good timing. The pilot also slammed the brakes on as I presume he didn’t want to venture all the way back to Terminal 1 from the other end of the runway. Seeing all the other aircrafts getting ready for their departures did upset me as I wanted to be on one of them but I should just be happy that I was on an aircraft in the first place.
V E R D I C T
From the beginning right till the end, the flight was very good. The cabin crew were excellent and always sharing a conversation with you whilst doing their job professionally. Drinks were served on many occasions and the Voyager IFE system was good. Overall I would fly them again however most probably stick to European flights. My rating would be 6/10
So there is my first trip report on here and I hope you enjoyed reading it. As I said before any comments and suggestions would be great for me to improve on further trip reports.
Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...