My Terrible Six Hour Connection In Cairo…

Here’s the story of how I spent my Saturday night, nearly missing my connection in spite of having 6hr20min to do so. This is partly a rant, and partly to share what I learned from the experience.

I’m an experienced Cairo Airport traveler

Some of us intentionally book travel through Cairo in order to score low fares, since many airlines publish really low premium cabin fares from Cairo. For example, in this case I was flying from Cairo to Muscat to London in Oman Air’s brand new first class, and the fare was just $1,200 one-way.

Connecting there can be a hassle, though I’ve always found it to be a bit of an adventure, and I like that.

In January 2017 I wrote a post entitled “The Most Premium Yet Back-Alley Airport Transit Ever,” about a connection I had at Cairo Airport. To me that’s a pretty typical experience — the whole thing is disorganized, but somehow everything always works out, though it make take some tipping.

The way the Cairo transit process is supposed to work

In this case I needed to transfer from Terminal 3 (EgyptAir) to Terminal 2 (Oman Air). This is a transfer I’ve made many times before. The process seems really unofficial, but the way it’s supposed to work is as follows:

  • You go to the transfer desk and explain what you’re trying to do, and then they ask you to have a seat while they call someone to drive you to the other terminal (this can take 30-60 minutes)
  • You’re patient, and sometimes you have to remind them once or twice that you’re there
  • You’re then walked through all sorts of “do not enter” areas, the guy escorting you hugs and kisses just about every airport security worker, you’re driven to the other terminal in a private car, and then you’re dropped off in the transit zone there
  • You’re then escorted to the airline check-in desk without going through immigration, and then are escorted back through immigration, as if you never entered the country (they have to accompany you since leaving immigration without officially entering the country)

Sounds easy enough (or something), right?

My HORRIBLE Cairo transit

Unfortunately all of that isn’t what happened this time around. I landed on EgyptAir at 6:50PM, and my connection on Oman Air was at 1:10AM. I intentionally left a lot of time since I had little leeway in my schedule otherwise, and wanted to be sure I didn’t miss my connection.

I landed on-time and went to the Terminal 3 transfer desk. I was told to have a seat while they call someone. After about 45 minutes I went to ask on the status of that. They told me it might be another hour, but then a minute later someone got me and said “let’s go.” Perfect, this was going better than I had expected.

I was driven to Terminal 2, and then they dropped me in the international arrivals hall, so I followed the signage towards international connections. This brought me to the below room, which I’ve sat in several times before.

The way it works is that you give the immigration officer your passport, and they ask you to have a seat. Then once airline check-in opens they call a representative from the airline to pick you up, bring you to check-in, and then bring you back to the international zone. It’s such a convoluted process.

I knew Oman Air check-in opened four hours before departure, so I figured I’d have to wait about an hour, until 9PM. So I sat down and was patient. I’d note that there are no outlets in this area, and there’s nowhere to buy water or anything, since it’s the international arrivals hall. Also, expect this area to smell like smoke — the immigration officers (and their buddies) sit at the desk smoking the whole time, so the area smells like a smoking lounge. Lastly, while you can get 30 minutes of free wifi, the option to buy wifi wasn’t working, so at some point I just sat there twiddling my thumbs.

At 9PM I checked with the officer on the progress. “Soon.” So I had a seat again.

Then it was 9:30PM.

“Any update?”

“Soon.”

Then it was 10PM.

“Do you know when someone might get me?”

“Five minutes.”

Then it was 10:15PM.

Then it was 10:30PM.

“Just five more minutes.”

All the time the guy would be dialing some number, and it would just ring a couple of dozen times with no one picking up. I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not.

It was then 10:45PM.

Then 11PM.

At this point I had been sitting and waiting for a total of four hours, with over three hours of waiting here. My computer was dead, I desperately wanted some water, and the smell of smoke was starting to get to me.

I asked the immigration officer if I could just clear immigration and go to check-in myself. He insisted no.

I once again approached the guy. “My flight is in two hours, what’s going on?”

“Five minutes.”

Then it was 11:15PM. And 11:30PM.

“What is going on? I’ve been waiting here for almost four hours.”

“No one from the company is answering, don’t worry, you have plenty of time.”

I really didn’t have plenty of time, because the whole process of getting a boarding pass isn’t quick.

“I don’t understand. I’ve been told five minutes for the past couple of hours. What happens if no one from the company answers?”

“There’s nothing I can do, I can just call.”

Finally at just shortly before midnight — over five hours into my connection, and four hours into sitting in the same room — a representative came and collected me and walked me to check-in.

But wait, there’s more!

The check-in area was pure chaos, though I was thrilled to be able to stretch my legs after having sat for hours. I was walked right to the check-in desk, and the agent looked at my reservation.

She called over a supervisor, and a supervisor immediately picked up his phone. Then they called over someone else.

“Do you have your e-ticket number?”

Uh oh. Clearly there was something wrong with my reservation.

I provided that and asked “is something wrong?”

“Please just be patient.”

Little did they know how patient I had already been for the past several hours. 😉

This ended up taking 45 minutes, so by the time I was walked back through security, my flight was supposed to be on final boarding.

But wait, there’s even more!

This is more of a “jerk” situation than a real problem, but I have to share it nonetheless. As I boarded the plane my boarding pass scanned, and I was told I needed to go back to the desk, because my seat on the plane was broken.

The one gate agent shouted over to the other explaining the situation, and once she was done with that I said “sir, whenever you’re able to select my seat, could you please make sure I get a window seat” (since this was an A330 with Apex Suites, and window seats are much better).

I don’t know if the guy was having a bad day or what, but out of nowhere he said “why don’t you shut up and let me do my job? Can’t you see I’m logging into my system?”

Well no, I can’t see that you’re logging into your system, and why the attitude?!

So I didn’t say anything, and then he printed me a boarding pass… for an aisle seat.

I’m usually too passive, and had certainly been so for the past five hours, but I couldn’t help but least let this guy have it a little.

“Rather than being a jerk, maybe you should have listened to me. I was trying to save you time, and that’s exactly the seat I didn’t want. I asked for a window seat.”

Bottom line

In a backwards way I’ve always enjoyed transiting Cairo, in the sense that it was always an adventure, and always felt like organized chaos. Suffice to say that’s not the feeling I got this time around. Having a layover of over six hours and nearly missing my flight wasn’t fun, especially since I felt like nothing was within my control. Add in the check-in issues, and it was one of the least pleasant airport experiences I’ve had.

The lesson I learned is that in the future I’m just going to enter Egypt (even paying the visa on arrival fee) so that I can avoid the mess which is sterile transfers between terminals. That way I at least won’t feel totally hopeless, and can take whatever situation arises into my own hands.

Comments

  1. Lucky,

    We all appreciate the lengths you go to. But transiting through Cairo in what as you describe are “unofficial” procedures is something I would just not attempt.

    It’s a wonder something like this has not happened to you before.

  2. I don’t know who this whole Cairo transiting would be good for.
    I would never ever go through this ordeal to save some money so I can fly a detour on business class.

    If I have to fly a detour to stop over for numerous hours in Cairo and go through this gut wrenching ordeal, I’d much much much rather save even more money, fly direct, non-stop in economy or premium economy and call it a day.

    The couple of hours of extra comforts in business don’t make up for the hours of horribleness to transit unnecessarily through Cairo.

  3. Your definition of the word “adventure” as related to airport travel is so ridiculous/nonsensical/twisted (pick an adjective) that I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I should say thank you for suffering through these experiences so readers like me know to absolutely NEVER do this. Can you imagine a family of 4 (with small children) sitting in that smoke filled room for 4 hours?

  4. That’s what makes the price “cheap!” You just should avoid those lazy people and countries. They have a 7 centuries retard and I’m pretty sure within 7 centuries it will be 14 centuries!

  5. nothing to see here,
    this sounds like a regular Cairo transit experience.
    at least Terminal 1 was not involved, so it could always be worse

    relax Lucky, I thought you were an experienced traveler

  6. come on Jay, why would someone do this with a family?

    bytheway, you are not forced to sit in that room, you can move freely in the arrival zone, read, sleep, do whatever you want

  7. Guess the story’s morale is if you want a smooth transfer, leave enough transit time and pay the visa.

    Otherwise, don’t get frustrated with the Egyptian transit experience. You would have gotten on the plane despite your persistent chasing. This is how things work in Egypt. Looking forward to the next ex-Cairo trip report!

  8. Because they don’t know any better? I don’t know if I’d take the four of us through Cairo for vacation, but if I did I could see this happening to me and my family. I wouldn’t first think to pay the entry visa fee, walk to the other terminal (or take a bus), and then check-in the normal way. I would first ask about transiting the way Lucky did. Hence the “thank you” for writing about these things cause now I know better.

  9. So, did you get your window seat?
    Plus the whole situation sounds like it’s mostly Oman Air fault: lazy representatives who don’t answer phones, problems with reservations and broken airplane seats.
    I would definitely complain to Oman Air.

  10. So, as far as I can tell, the base issue that was causing the hold-up was Oman Air’s check-in desk refusing to pick up the phone. Would be worth complaining about, especially as a business class traveler, but it doesn’t seem like they would care.

  11. If you had 6 hours why couldn’t you just clear immigration by yourself and go to the check in counters.

  12. Lucky — trying to get to South Africa on Star Alliance in business class nest year and nearly every routing takes me through Cairo in Egyptair, which I truly want to avoid (both for the inferior business class product and to avoid the layover).

    Is the inferior product and hassle worth it or should I just book economy with cash or Virgin Atlantic through Elevate (with high fees)?

  13. You waste so much money for nothing and you dont want to pay 20 usd to entry the country and have absolutely no problem. Shame you did make it. This is nothing but mess in your travel plans, not in unofficial Cairo transfer.

  14. As some others have commented this clearly seems like the root problem was Oman Air’s terrible representatives.

    I would certainly be making a detailed complaint to them about the staff there and in particular being told to “shut up” by a representative is totally unacceptable – doubly so when you are flying paid first class! I certainly would have lost my temper at that point and demanded a manager.

    I can’t imagine ever doing this transfer though. I have always been confused by your Cairo travel reports as I thought this process sounded lengthy, inconvenient and dangerously unofficial to avoid a small visa fee.

  15. I don’t understand why you won’t just pay the $20 for a visa and avoid this convoluted situation?

  16. I have no idea why so many of you keep questioning “what/why/how/what not”, Lucy did…

    His *job* is to review seats. Business class seats. In order to review Oman Air seat, he went for the cheaper (or cheapest even?) option, which was via Cairo Airport.

    As Lucky knew what to expect when transmitting (see his post linked above), he decided to go for his ‘traditional’ route. Lesson learned – Oman Air’s customer service is piss poor. And as someone mentioned above – a seat in business broken. Are these supposed to be new seats?!?

    Lucky, sorry to hear you had to go through this mess at Cairo. Again, at least we now know which airline not to choose if we want to remain sane.

  17. Clearing immigration is the way to go here. We’ll be flying CAI-AMM-ORD later this year for the cheap biz fares coupled with RJ flash sale last year for 50% off to celebrate the total was $750/pp biz which we couldn’t pass up. The good news is we’re actually going to stay in Cairo for a couple days and then use the Ahlan VIP service when we depart so hopefully things go well.

  18. Did this really happen?

    ….but I couldn’t help but least let this guy have it a little.

    “Rather than being a jerk, maybe you should have listened to me. I was trying to save you time, and that’s exactly the seat I didn’t want. I asked for a window seat.”

  19. Tipping doesn’t work here (tried) and not everyone wants an Egyptian visa in their passport.

  20. … forgot to add, did anyone else laughed at Lucky getting upset with the airline rep? I just cannot imagine him being angry or else 🙂

    “Rather than being a jerk, maybe you should have listened to me. I was trying to save you time, and that’s exactly the seat I didn’t want. I asked for a window seat.”

  21. I am sure the guy at the transit desk was waiting for a tip to expedite things. This is what I always do when needing something done in a third world country.: give tip to expedite things. I consider tipping a necessary part of my travel expenses and do it automatically if I sense it will give me a “fast track”.

  22. I appreciate your reviews because they help tell me what to do in situations you do all the time, and that I’ve never done. Which seat to choose. Which lounge to use. But this sounds so incredibly offed up. The example of how it’s supposed to work isn’t close to “something working.” And then what actually happened to you is even worse. Now imagine it’s someone who doesn’t read your blog. You like it because it’s an adventure. You shouldn’t be recommending that any of us do it. C’mon.

  23. That picture of the hall brings back bad memories. We had a very loooooong wait for the transfer in that same spot. Between the cigarette smoke, uncomfortable chairs, no communications, never ending ringing of the phone, no shops, it was the most miserable transit experience ever. Yes, we will enter Egypt next time if we are ever in that situation again.

  24. I have no experience with CAI. But I am confused why you didn’t just enter the country when there was no one answering the phone. Is it not possible to go through immigration once you’ve decided to transit (i.e., once you are driven to that room in which you waited for several hours, is there no way to go through immigration and enter the country?).

  25. “Some of us intentionally book travel through Cairo in order to score low fares, since many airlines publish really low premium cabin fares from Cairo.”

    There is a reason for those low fares – low demand because not many people want to connect in Cairo. You get what you paid for.

  26. To be honest, you never learn from the mistake, this is not the first time you getting lesson while transit in Cairo, overnight transit there is really not worth the time for being so much worries?

  27. LOL. I guess no matter how much they travel, Yanks are just not good travellers. Geez, just pay the Visa on Arrival fee to remove the hassle and don’t be such a tight arse! Made even worse because this was completely foreseeable due to past experience.

  28. Why on earth would you do that? You had six hours! You could have paid the visa fee and transited through Cairo like anyone else. That process is literally created for people too cheap to pay the fee. Who then pay double in tips. Cairo is easy. Just not the way you do it.

  29. Andrew – He does specifically state that he asked to clear immigration instead and they told him no…

  30. As others have said, this has nothing to do with Cairo’s airport nor immigration procedures. It has everything to do with the airline or its agent not doing their job. Why you are criticizing the airport is beyond me. Sure, it’s an inefficient way of processing connections but, ultimately, the airline wasn’t answering the telephone.

  31. Perhaps you’re also on the naughty blogger list. They obviously scanned your passport at some point.

  32. I had to go back and double check that you said right at the beginning you were in FIRST CLASS?! Yikes.

  33. I’m sorry, you did not “let this guy have a little”. You were way too patient, way to passive and wayyyy to nice in light of how they treated you.
    Honestly, I don’t understand how you keep so calm!
    I’ll write this in German, cause I don’t know how to say it in English properly:
    Manchmal bringt dich Dreistigkeit und eine große Klappe einfach weiter als Geduld und Freundlichkeit.

  34. Wikipedia tells us: “Holders of onward tickets can transit for a maximum time of 48 hours. This is not applicable to nationals of Iran who are required to hold a transit visa. Leaving the airport is permitted for passengers with transit time between 6 and 48 hours. Passengers with transit time of less than 6 hours may leave the transit area but not the airport. This is not applicable to nationals of Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine and Philippines who must remain in the transit area (airside) and must continue by the same or first connecting aircraft.”

    If this holds true, you could have taken a cab to the pyramids and back in those 6+ hours, with no visa required.

  35. A tip in this situation would make no difference. They would have just taken the $20 and laughed at him while smoking.

  36. Had that experience as well but learned that it’s way easier to go out through immigration then walk over to T2 instead of sitting around and wait. I often go out and visit Le Meridien next to T3 and enjoy the WiFi, AC and sometimes dinner/coffee. “Tipping” your way in Cairo may sometimes work but not always.

  37. “You’re then walked through all sorts of “do not enter” areas, the guy escorting you hugs and kisses just about every airport security worker”

    This had me in stitches. Every single Cairo transit has this. They’ll even stop and chat for a few mins like they don’t have a transiting passenger with a flight departing in less than an hour to escort. In the past when I’ve been transiting on Qatar Airways I’d ask them to contact Cairo station and let them know I’ll be transiting and if they could please have someone meet me there. This has sped it up in the past.

  38. 12 times transitting through Cairo last year and 6 this year to date, get a visa on arrival, enter the country and go through immigration again, its the best way to be in control of your own situation, wuite often I stay overnight at Hilton Ramses for 5000 or now 10000 points, to relax and take a deep breath before I attempt CAI fir the outbound ir onward flights

  39. Worst int’l Airport on the planet and has been for decades not surprised in the slightest and things will never change , ‘nuff said

  40. makes my san juan pr experience getting through the TSA look like cake. My license was slightly de-laminating and the guy checking license’s showed his boss where in the TSA bible it wasn’t valid. I got through but it wasn’t fun.
    Lucky I for one enjoy theses stories.

  41. Wow. I can believe that. Sorry about that experience. I’ve traveled through Cairo back in 2003 & the chaos there has made me avoid that airport as a transit point since then. Our flight arrive about 5am & as soon as we disembarked transit passengers to London were called out and we were rudely shepherded to what seemed like a holding area. As we were led into it our passports were taken away and they “secured” us inside. Every now and again transit passengers to London from other flights were also brought to the same glass-walled room. After an hour or so, I tried to leave to get something to drink and I was rudely told by the airport staff “guarding” us that no one inside could leave. About 30 mins to boarding they brought back our passports and started reading out names, but no one answered to any names called. Then they realised they were reading out passports for passengers going somewhere we were not. There was some arguing amongst airport staff, then a disappearing act and after another 10 minutes or so the same person came back with another set of passports and started reading out names again. This time passengers started responding, including myself. We were handed our passports and boarding passes and asked to wait again. After about another 10-15 mins another group of airport workers came in and asked us to follow them towards the boarding gate. As we walked out we had to show them we each had our passports and boarding passes returned to us. Boarding to my surprise went on without a problem and upon take off I swore if I could control it I’d not transit through Cairo again.

  42. Uh–just a thought as I have witnessed/known in certain M.E. countries, that once a passport has Israeli visa stamps, sometimes things do not work well…

  43. Thank you, Lucky. I do not understand all of these people criticizing you. You did a great job of reporting the situation here. Many of us like the adventure, but we also want to make our connections. I have transited Cairo many times and even flew Egypt Air for partner miles. I have an upcoming trip and this is very helpful to me. For most anyone, unless they get a report like yours, they would normally go to the transit desk. In fact, for some countries entering the country sometimes has its own issues. I have done the transit desk in Cairo in the past and it worked, but it took time like you said. It is not a matter always of what is less expensive, but what works best in practice. You just gave us some good background. As to a free transit visa, even when staying at the airport, that did not work for me when I asked so I just paid the $25. My next trip through Cairo was supposed to allow me to sleep at the airport hotel, but the flight times changed and now will only have about three hours so your information is much appreciated. I wonder if it might be easier if both flights are in the same terminal?

  44. I transit through Cairo all the time (last time a couple of weeks ago, WY to A3), and can appreciate your experiences.

    When transiting, I always enter Egypt with a visa on arrival, except when I’m arriving in T3 and transferring to Egyptair, when they will issue a boarding pass straight away and you can go to the lounge.

    Otherwise, it’s totally unpredictable, as you discovered.

  45. For those who are interested, there are companies that will pick you up at CAI, give you a tour for the hours you have, and bring you back to catch your next flight. There are plenty of remarkable sights within reasonable driving distance, which very much beat sitting in an airport.

  46. Tip:
    * Any person transiting in Cairo especially between the terminals should all prior to arrival get an Egyptian visa. It saves so much time & is stress-free.
    &/or
    * Arrange prior to arrival a ‘meet & greet’ service via your hotel or direct via services like https://capsegypt.com/ – They only charge $25 USD & you’re treated like a VIP

  47. are you taking the return leg of your flight or DROPPING IT again and breaking the T&C of the ticket, just like you did on the Emirates YVR-LAX flight – shame on you for promoting these positioning flights and then breaching the T&C rules !!!

  48. Is it that hard to put a modest amount of money folded in the passport? It avoids the awkward open handed *cough*tipping*cough* and everyone wins. When in Rome….or Cairo….

  49. Having heard this from _ _ airlines (not allowed to say). You are very well KNOWN! But you have not learned how to respect the airlines tariffs. If someone finds a great fare and uses it, fine. Advertise it to the whole world, no…especially repeatedly. Oman Air wants people to fly regular routings, and not re-positioning to CAI to circumvent tariffs. So if the airline is unhappy with you either from HQ or even locally… perhaps even unofficially someone at CAI dislikes you, then they can and did put you through this on purpose and there is NOTHING you can do.

    Also you were in the Middle East, people read your blog, many know your gay., many who do not get to travel like you are envious and want to get you somehow. If a particular rep or manager at Oman Air is homophobic then he or she could do this on purpose.

    Honestly, Im not having a go here, I just think in all the excitement and dashing about nonstop that these things might not register with you, or can be easily dismissed.

    Airlines (some employees do not like what you do) and obviously being gay in the Middle East is not the best.

    No doubt this experience relayed on here will discourage some people from doing this. In the future, clear immigration which is something I do. Perhaps its time to stop advertising in advance certain trips and just report after you’ve cleared country or two. There is no benefit to any of us having it in real time anyway.

    Sorry you went through this, but I’m not surprised. When it comes to the M.E. I’m discreet, period. I think for many with grindr bursting at the seems (obviously) in every Middle Eastern country, its easy to let ones guard down.

  50. i would never do this lol sounds way too insane, not worth it. but props to you to get the review!

  51. You need to download Angry Birds for situations like that. The, when things get bad, you can really nuke the little f**kers.

  52. I vacationed in Cairo several years ago.

    The traffic is epic- 6 hours will get you to the pyramids from the airport but not back.

    When my devoted wife and I departed Cairo, at curbside our baggage was handed off to six different “helpers”, each working in some coordinated areas and invisible borders, and I gave each $20 USD.

    We were escorted to the front of the line at 4 different checkpoints or areas.

    We were escorted to the front of the line at the ticket counter also.

    This was after we took a horseback and camel riding tour of the pyramids, where there were countless checkpoints and guards where we were waived clear passage.

    At the pyramids, our guide talks to the guard, the guard walks away out of view, and the guide tells us that we could touch the pyramid and even climb up on it, just be careful not too high in case we would fall.

    Definitely will return.

  53. They left you waiting on purpose assuming you would finally wake up and give them a bribe.

    It’s Egypt. That’s how it works and I am surprised you didn’t know that already.

  54. @ global traveller — This is a one-way ticket from Cairo to Muscat to London, and I can assure you I took the Muscat to London flight. 😉

  55. Man supports bribery generally. Doesn’t bribe for once and then complains. Finally decides to pay for a visa

  56. Why you wouldn’t just do the Arrival Visa for $25 and be out and to the next terminal is beyond me. Do the arrival visa, it took me 2 minutes and I was out and racing to my next gate. I had a 50 minute layover and made it.

  57. Even if you clear immigration and walk from T3 to T2, you might encounter an utterly chaotic and super long security line just to ENTER the terminal. After check in, you might get caught in another 100 pax strong immigration lines with only 2 officers manning the exit immigration counters. Before you know it, your built in 5 or 6 hours transit time just goes up in smoke and you’re squarely back in the same predicament as Lucky: fighting to make you onward flight on time. I encountered just that exact situation above last year. Arrived with A3 at T3, paid my visa, overnight at the Le Meridien then walked to T2 5 hours prior to flight time only to make my EK flight during final boarding calls. I have never encountered a more chaotic and disorganized airport experience than CAI.

  58. I’ve never ga dan issue with transiting manually. Sterile transits between airlines not on the same ticket is a bad idea. Usually, 3 hours is plenty fine for domestic connections, and 4 for international.

  59. Lucky, were you using your US or German passport? I ask because I was in Egypt in February and traveling with a friend who is Chinese (American citizen but born in China). There were a few places that we went and I was just behind her and got stopped. I was stopped for having a camera in my bag multiple times whereas everyone in front of me went straight through (my friend had the same camera in her bag as well). I’m convinced that it was because I was American and they were looking for a bribe. One of my tour guides even said I should say I was Canadian because Americans are seen as rich.

    Just wondering if your past transits that were more easy were on a different passport..

  60. I flew Egypt Air a few years ago to Nairobi and had 10 hours in Cairo, the airline arranged a hotel , but it took 3 hours to get there and check in ( 10 minutes ride and 2hours 50 minutes waiting ) and they picked us up 3 hours before the flight so I had 4 hours in bed .
    Never again .

  61. Richie then you cannot have travelled to Israel… Because if you had, you would know that the Israeli do not stamp the passport (knowing shithole countries and their bias towards the only working democracy in the Middle East) but a piece of paper…

    However; you DO get stamped if you specifically ask for it.

  62. It’s not as though you missed much for not getting to transit area sooner….the lounges are truly awful. Better to Overnight at Le M and get an onward morning flight.
    OTOH, the visa is a PITA because it’s a whole page and , although tempted, it’s probably not wise to stack the new over an old one.

  63. I’ve lived in Cairo and this is typical. Don’t expect better service when hiring painters, cleaners, etc… While there I had painters paint around pictures on the wall, drapes, furniture, etc… I once had my kitchen floor painted, and they literally painted around cardboard boxes – and this is from “experienced” painters who came to me looking for work and hoping I would recommend them to my friends.

  64. To be honest you’re all asking for this by not paying for the transit visa and being cheapskates buying tickets from obscure places just to save a few bucks…

    @Niklas Petter Aren’t you always telling people they are douches? Be a gentleman!

  65. This is clearly on Oman Air. I don’t understand why people are blaming CAI airport, which provides a speedy and well-known alternative (visa on arrival, 30 mins at most). How would we fare at US airports if, instead of following the mainstream procedure, we chose to create our own private adventure?

  66. I remember a while ago you switched to T-Mobile for free international data. If you don’t need high bandwidth, you can tether your phone by using as hotspot.

  67. Your transfer in Cairo sounds horrendous. My husband and I are flying LXR-CAI (arriving @ 6:30am in Terminal 3) and flying CAI-AMM (departing 8:15am in Terminal 2). We’ll already have a visa from entering Egypt initially. In your opinion is this enough time for a transfer? Would it speed things up if we just went to the front of every line and offered the attendent/security a $20 bill? We are going next week and I’m trying to figure out if we need to change our flight. Thanks!

  68. @Ariel Checketts For me, since you are arriving on a domestic flight, the key would be the initial security check queue to get into the Terminal 2 check in area. You just dont wanna get stuck behind those snaking lines if there is departures to either Dubai on Emirates or Abu Dhabi on Etihad because those 2 airlines usually pack their flights with Egyptian workers who carry LOTS of luggages with them therefore significantly slow the security check. If there is no EK or EY flights timed near your RJ flight, I think you should be OK.

  69. Thank you Ron for the reply! We decided not to chance it and booked a later flight. The next day we have a tour to Petra and after weighing the costs, it just made us less stressed to have a bit more time for our transfer.

  70. I first visited Cairo Airport more than 20 years ago and business has dictated that I have had to travel to Egypt many times since – most recently earlier this year. The airport is chaotic and terribly frustrating and notwithstanding the new terminal buildings, it always has been.
    After the revolution the place has actually got worse -mainly because the Egyptian people appear to be generally less friendly these days. I can tolerate incompetence and inefficiency if the perpetrators are at least attempting to do their best and are not being rude – however, this is not the case with this place.
    If you can avoid it, do so.

  71. Oh dear. I have a transit in CAI coming up soon 🙁

    Land at 02:30 in T2 from BA.
    Take off at 07:45 at T3 with Egypt Air.

    Not being in the same alliance and on different tickets I’ll need to collect my check-in bags and cart them around the airport 🙁

    Need to look into how to do this in more detail.
    Was hoping to find somewhere to lie down for a few hours (on the floor I appreciate !). I arrive in BA biz, fly on in MS biz, have O/W Saphire status and priority pass. Need to look into lounges but more importantly getting from one terminal to the other without the need for a visa. Sounds a PITA !!

  72. Think I’ll pay the $25 visa fee to avoid this faff. How far is T3 from T2 ? Are there easy buses or is a taxi required ?

    Wondering whether its best to spend the hours in T3 or T2 ??

  73. @JimmyJones T3 is not that far from T2, definitely walkable. Problem is there is a lack of proper sidewalk between the 2 terminals so you might need to walk ON the access road in a couple of stretches. I would head directly for the T3 attached Le Meridien hotel to wait out the EgyptAir flight rather than wait in terminals.

  74. Below is what I’ve been experienced in last June.
    Arrived from DXB with Emirates and next flight also is the same flight – Emirates.
    DXB-CAI in Business Class
    CAI-DXB in First Class

    Ground staff called me and I explained about the my ticket and journey then they sent one of their colleague and handover my boarding pass and escort me up to Emirates lounge.

    But, I have to wait 10~15 mins to wait passport office’s clearance even I am with Emirates staff.

    I am not sure that sending their staffs and escort quick turn passenger is normal procedure for everybody.

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