EgyptAir to Dubai in Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

EgyptAir offered their long-haul 777 product on this route so I had a good flight in business class with a bed, decent catering and a fairly empty cabin. On a good 12+ hour flight I can imagine the seating to be adequate but that’s about all. You can sleep on it, what more do you need? But it’s not comparable to any major carriers particularly some of their regional competitors in Qatar/Etihad/Emirates. The lounges however, just plain suck. So if you’re planning to transit through Cairo (and admittedly many choose not with the continued political situation) be aware. This flight, like the flight into Cairo had some rather awesome views, blue skies, blue seas juxtapose against the scorched earth.Cairo to Dubai is one of those routes which sounds closer than it is. Three and half hours would be the flight time, so I was quite thankful that it would be serviced on a Boeing 777-300ER, an aircraft used by many carriers as their flagship or workhouse longhaul fleet. These planes have beds onboard in business class, a pleasure after the last two overnight flights with Turkish were both narrow body planes with recliner seats. A bed would have been welcome but it’s pretty uncommon between the Middle East and Europe including on EgyptAir. You just have to select the right city pairs, schedule and sometimes luck to go from marginally comfortable premium cabin to the best there is.

Ground Services… Lounge(s)

EgyptAir operate several lounges in Cairo Airport at different points in the terminal, however from what I had read and now have seen, they all are a bit rubbish. Firstly I had to pick which one to go to.

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The best advice is just to head towards your gate and you’ll probably fine one on your way.

I ended up at the Kochab Lounge. The main problem I experienced was very limited facilities and terrible overcrowding. Not since last time I visited Dubai have I been in a lounge with even limited standing room. It was nearly as bad here, the lounge was small and cramped and if you were hoping to eat before a flight in economy you’re going to be starving. It was too hectic to even get a good photo so best to leave.

Fortunately my flight was soon so I headed toward the gate, which all too common for me was at the far end of the pier.

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Security is at the gate in Cairo, it was quiet when I turned up but a capacity 777 would otherwise be slow. There was a priority lane on offer for business class and Star Gold passengers.

Boarding had commenced but was happening slowly. The drip feed type boarding you occasionally see. I like it personally, it’s like the world isn’t in a rush, as inefficient it must be. People just stroll on as they wish, no haste, no screaming or announcements to hurry. As I mentioned this flight would be operated by a 777-300ER which is an aircraft type used for much longer flights.

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Onboard the Flight

Onboard I was greeted but otherwise left alone. In this part of the world it is less being foreign and more about personal connections, so often I find the crew interacting with some whom they clearly know well. The cabin is a 2x3x2 arrangement, which makes it a little narrower and also the possibility of the dreaded middle seat. The distance between seats is not enough to squeeze past if somebody has the seat in the bed position, so hardly a top quality experience. I stumbled on a ‘luxury travel blog’ when checking the seat configuration before writing this and the poor guy obviously hadn’t really travelled as much up front as he pretending, this product is at best average and fast falling behind compared to other carriers. For this short flight and empty cabin it was sweet but long-haul at capacity would be another story, particularly if you’re accustom to the top Asian and Middle Eastern carriers. Hopefully they can afford to refresh this cabin in the future but at least it wasn’t a heavily sloped seat.

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Boarding and other procedures always drag on a lot more with these larger planes. Given how few passengers there were I assumed the reason for this airframe was its cargo capacity. Often airlines appear to make odd decisions but there’s something else going on. Emirates however have one of the biggest and best operations going in that regard so it would be hard to know.

Limited amenities provided on a short flight so no bag to take with me. Noise cancelling headphones are handed out and EgyptAir evidently use the sticker system.

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Probably the best thing about these flights however is the view. The contrast is always stunning.

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It was a mid-morning departure but a breakfast service was offered in the cabin. I was happy to accept, hoping to make up for the lack of food in the lounge. Service is on a tray with the main to follow. For a breakfast service it has just about everything you’d expect, nothing amazing however.

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I picked a real tradition omelette and sausage as the main. Not plated too well but it wasn’t greasy and the egg was fine. On a top airline you might nearly expect to see this in economy, but I was satisfied given the flight length.

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I settled in with a couple hours to spare, to enjoy a good rest. The seat converted to a nearly full flat bed, didn’t specifically notice a slant just not the best seat out there by a long way. Again adequate but if you wouldn’t want to pay equal to some of their competitors, particularly Qatar who can be very price competitive.

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They did hand out blankets and I got a bit of a nap. Finally as you’ll notice, the seat had a power socket and USB so was able to charge my phone back up. All up, adequate remains the best one word description. There are no major deficiencies but if this was your main experience of business class you would be sorely missing out.

Arrival into Dubai

I had been handed a fast track card onboard, to expedite immigration in Dubai. It’s not really necessary, however the old Dubai terminal is somewhat ageing now, compared to the facilities most Emirates passengers enjoy.

While having a short wait I got to overhear someone attempt to complain their way into the fast track line, long enough to have nearly made it through any normal queue.

Since I had been flying Star Alliance and the next flights would be with oneworld carriers I had to collect my bags. Was transporting a bit of stuff back from Sweden so was grateful to see the box turn up okay. A giant tower of consumerism right there (the Samsonite on the bottom is the biggest piece they sell).

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I would have loved to stay in Dubai again but after getting stranded at the DXB airport only a couple months ago and leaving my travel wallet there after everything that happened, I was just looking towards getting through without incident this time.

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