EgyptAir Adventures, Business Class, Boeing 737
To get around Egypt you’ve got three options: Tourist trains and buses, which take forever and come with armed guards, a Nile cruise which could take days at a time, or EgyptAir. In the interest of time, we opted for choice number 3.
CAI-SHJ (Cairo to Sharjah, UAE)
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Since we were once again booked on a business class ticket, this time internationally, we were allowed access to the Star Alliance lounge in Cairo. If you want my honest opinion, EgyptAir and StarAlliance should be ashamed that they call this a StarAlliance Gold lounge. We entered (again, we were the ONLY passengers in the entire lounge) and the receptionist was surprised to see us. So surprised that she took a few moments to look up from Facebook on her cell phone to even notice that we were there.
On offer today were the same four day old pastries from the other lounge, but this time we added rock hard stale cookies and some muffins.
Pictures of tantalizing pizza and breadsticks were shown, but on display were only bread with some slices of meat and cucumbers.
There was a business center that didn’t work,
And a TV screen showing the latest movies such as the Matrix (Reloaded).
We left the lounge because we were told that there were two more lounges closer to our gate, and we were welcome to go check those out. One of them was a smoking only lounge, and the second was closed for repair. We decided to cut our losses and head straight to the gate.
The 737 operating the flight had 6 rows of business class spread out in a 2/2 configuration. The seats were incredibly spacious with tons of leg room.
The seats could best be compared to a domestic first class seat on a US airline
They came complete with a footrest and large EgyptAir blanket.
And an ashtray that looked used. Like, used last week used.
Also upon entry on the wall, in a “break-in-case-of-emergency” sort of way, was a copy of the Holy Quran.
Just before take off we were offered some juice in stylish, yet cracked, plastic glasses.
And some headphones left over from the Walkman generation. No really… they were just like Walkman headphones from 20 years ago.
The safety video started with a 1 minute prayer, and then a hilarious video which consisted of the Eye of Horus constantly flying over the flight attendants and a really crappy lip syncing job.
After take off the video players were activated and we could choose from Western or Arabic movies. I’m not sure if one is censored more or less or what the difference is, other than the language and subtitling perhaps.
The seats reclined in a really strange way, and the only way to get the video monitor to stay in place is to prop it up with the magazines and safety cards.
Food service started quite promptly with a fruit and cheese side, a salad, some crackers, and a salmon/turkey/yogurt plate. Also, some salt and “jello” Haha.
Chicken or beef were the two options given, and we both opted for beef. It was quite tender and really well seasoned.
The coffee was strong and good, and the desserts selections were tasty. Ben opted for the red velvet cake, and I chose the hazelnut and chocolate ball of something. I don’t know what the something was, but it was good.
After dinner we took a quick nap and before you know it, we were on final approach into Sharjah. It was really interesting landing “over” Dubai, as you could see the Burj Khalifa and all the tall skyscrapers at night from up above. The pictures didn’t turn out, however, since it was midnight and so dark.
When we landed in Sharjah, we cleared passport control at 12:02AM. The problem? The woman who stamped my passport didn’t change the date on her stamp, so it had the prior day’s date. So while Ben made it through no problem, I had to wait for it to get annulled, re-stamped, and then I could make it through. It makes it for a fun passport stamp souvenir however.
As soon as we left passport control on our way to baggage claim, we were overrun by the amount of passengers waiting to board planes. The best way to describe it was a refugee camp. There were literally people sleeping on top of other people in the hallways, bathing in the bathrooms, piled up in corners near the seats. I estimate that no less than 500 people were jammed into one boarding gate. It’s amazing to see the difference that 12 miles can make. Dubai, one of the glitziest most glamorous airports in the world with so much opulence and luxury, is only a 20 minute drive from what could best be described as a slum airport. We later found out that this is the airport that all the locals use and is the headquarts of Air Arabia, a local discount carrier. As a side note, this airport is also serviced by SCAT Airlines, so that name says it all.
Now, off to grab a taxi for the Hilton in Sharjah, and a good night’s rest!