Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
Review: Cairo Airport Lounge Terminal 2
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
Review: Royal Jordanian Lounge Amman Airport
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles
My flight from Toronto to Cairo was scheduled to depart at 12:45PM. In the morning the flight still showed on-time, though like any experienced traveler I checked the status of the inbound flight, as I knew the plane was coming from Cairo. Well, the plane was way late — it departed almost seven hours late, and was due to arrive six hours late.
Fortunately EgyptAir plans a lot of ground time for the plane in Toronto, though I still expected we’d have a 2-3 hour delay, given that the plane was arriving in Toronto 15 minutes after we were scheduled to depart.
I still decided to head to the airport at around 11AM. I took the train to Terminal 1, where I found a long line for EgyptAir check-in. Fortunately I had already been issued my EgyptAir boarding pass in Tampa, so was able to bypass that and head straight to the lounge.
The airside at Toronto Pearson Airport Terminal 1 is quite nice, and I headed straight for the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which EgyptAir uses for their premium passengers. I won’t be reviewing it again, given that I reviewed it just last year.
Eventually the flight posted a delay until 3:30PM, though at 1:30PM I decided to go to the gate and see what was going on.
My flight was departing from gate E72.
Rather than giving passengers food vouchers for the delay, they put out orange juice containers and sandwiches.
I headed back to the lounge for a bit, and then returned to the gate at around 2:30PM. Finally at 2:50PM boarding began for passengers in wheelchairs (there were lots of them), and then at 3PM business class boarding began.
Toronto (YYZ) – Cairo (CAI)
Tuesday, January 3
Arrive: 5:55AM (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 15C (Business Class)
I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by a smiling flight attendant and pointed right towards my seat. EgyptAir’s 777 business class cabin consists of a total of 49 seats. The seats are in a 2-3-2 configuration, with the forward cabin (between doors one and two) having four rows, and the rear cabin (behind door two) having three rows.
I had assigned myself seat 15C, which is the aisle seat on the left side in the last row of business class.
While the seats themselves were comfortable and legroom was excellent, I’m not a fan of the fact that they have middle seats in business class. Then again, even top notch airlines like Emirates do.
My seat had plenty of legroom, with the television screen on the back of the seat in front of me. There was also a magazine pocket, as well as a storage compartment for shoes.
The seat controls were on the aisle-side armrest, and were easy to use.
On the bottom left of the center console was the entertainment controller, which was the same you’ll find on many other airlines.
Also underneath the center armrests were power outlets.
While these seats don’t afford much privacy, I appreciated that there was a fairly sizable partition you could extend between seats, which seems especially handy when sleeping.
The tray table could also be extended from the center armrest, and could be folded over so you could use the whole thing, or just half of it.
Waiting at my seat were a pillow and blanket. While I commend EgyptAir for branding everything, I wasn’t a huge fan of the blanket, which wasn’t competitive with what other airlines offer in business class. The pillow was nice and firm, though.
Row 15 is right next to the front of the engine, so has a great view.
A few minutes after I settled in, someone took seat 15A. She was a lady in her early 30s, and I’d guess she was Canadian-Egyptian. She boarded with a big bottle of water, and seemed to just want to sleep the whole way.
Shortly before boarding I had looked at the seatmap and saw that the five seats to the right of me showed as blocked, so I was curious what the story there was. I was hoping to switch to one of them so I could have an empty seat next to me.
The flight boarded pretty efficiently, and interestingly after about 15 minutes they closed the curtains between business class and economy class. I suspect this was due to the number of people who tried to self upgrade after seeing empty seats in business class.
Once the curtains between cabins were closed I asked if I could switch seats, and the flight attendant said that was fine. So I moved to 15D, the center aisle seat, hoping I’d have the whole row of three seats to myself.
As boarding finished up, the crew came through the cabin with warm towelettes.
Then at around 3:45PM they offered everyone pre-departure beverages, with the choice between guava or apple juice — I chose the guava juice, which was refreshing (not that there’s much of a need to be refreshed in Toronto in winter).
A few minutes later they came around the cabin with a cart containing newspapers, headphones, amenity kits, and service stickers.
The service stickers are a cute concept, as you can state whether you want to be woken for food, duty free, etc.
Unfortunately the headphones were flimsy and disappointing, similar to what you’d get in economy. That being said, I think many of us travel with our own headphones nowadays, so that’s not a huge deal.
The amenity kit was also quite disappointing. It was in a bag that seemed to be a similar material to a trash bag, and had eyeshades, socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and in-ear headphones.
By 3:50PM the door was closed, with 39 or the 49 business class seats taken, and almost all seats in economy taken.
As we pushed back a prayer played over the PA, and then moments later the safety video played. Rather bizarrely, the safety video shown was for an A330 — it showed the emergency exits for that plane, even though we weren’t on it. I’m not sure how that’s even possible — surely EgyptAir wouldn’t even bother programming a safety video for the wrong plane?
As we taxied out to the runway, the crew dimmed the cabin lights and turned on the ceiling stars, which is such a cute touch that really helps with sleeping at night.
As we taxied out, the lady in the window seat across from me had already reclined into the bed position. Despite the crew making another pass through the cabin, they didn’t ask her to put her seat upright for takeoff.
There were no announcements at all from the pilots, though the lead flight attendant announced our flight time would be 10 hours.
Our taxi was slow, and finally at 4:10PM we were cleared for takeoff.
About five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. I had a look at the forward business class cabin, which was mostly full.
I also checked out one of the two lavatories located between cabins. While they didn’t have much in the way of amenities, they were clean at least.
Service began with landing cards for Egypt being distributed.
After that the menu for the flight was distributed.
Maybe 10 minutes after takeoff the captain came into the cabin and greeted an older man seated in front of me who I assume he knew. A couple of kisses on the cheek later, he left again.
Around that time, a guy in a suit came and sat down in the aisle seat across from me. I was a bit confused by who he was. At first I figured it was a flight attendant, as that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen flight attendants simply sitting for most of the flight.
However, upon further investigation I reasoned that it was actually an Egyptian air marshal. The guy was wearing a suit that looked like a uniform, though he didn’t have any flight attendant “wings,” or anything. He and another guy switched seats a couple of times throughout the flight — I suspect they traded between sitting in economy and business class. He simply watched movies the whole flight, and (fortunately) didn’t seem to bat an eyelid at all of my picture taking.
I eventually tried to recline my seat all the way to get a picture of it, though once it got about halfway down, it wouldn’t move. I called over the crew, and they didn’t seem to be very surprised. They disassembled the seat a bit, and then it worked again.
At around 5PM, 50 minutes after takeoff, tables were set in anticipation of the meal service. The menu read as follows:
The drink list read as follows (yes, EgyptAir is a dry airline):
As soon as tablecloths were placed down, the crew immediately distributed the trays with the appetizer, salad, and cheese. They actually only came through with drinks afterwards, so the below picture was taken about 10 minutes after the tray was served, once I had a glass of water.
I find it a bit odd that EgyptAir doesn’t first do a round of drinks with nuts or canapés. However, I suppose that drinking isn’t quite as “festive” on a dry airline. At a minimum they should serve drinks immediately with the appetizer, and not afterwards. Speaking of drinks, while I respect their choice to be a dry airline, the complete lack of inspiration when it comes to soft drinks was disappointing. They didn’t even have sparkling water.
My starter consisted of marinated shrimp, smoked salmon, and mango salsa. It looked pretty decent, but didn’t taste very good.
The side salad was perfectly nice, and had tomatoes, peppers, etc.
The cheese plate, while small, at least had decent quality cheese.
I was also offered a bread roll with the meal.
While the Carr’s crackers are pretty good, the fact that they use Kraft dressing is a bit… cheap.
Once appetizers were cleared, the crew rolled a cart down the aisle containing the main courses, so you could look and decide which one you wanted. I chose the cod fillet and shrimp with nantua sauce and rice, baby carrots, and french beans. The dish looked pretty decent to me, but was tasteless. The shrimp tasted off and the sauce wasn’t good (in fairness, I had no clue what “nantua sauce” was, which might be the problem).
After that a cart was rolled down the aisle with fresh fruit, and you could choose what you wanted. I chose some melon and pineapple, which were good.
Lastly there was a cart with dessert. I chose the chocolate cake with raspberry coulis. The cake was downright hard, so was disappointing.
I had a mint tea to go along with the meal — I love the Egyptair teacups, and the mint tea was tasty as well.
At the conclusion of service bottled water was distributed.
The entire meal service was complete about two hours after takeoff. The crew serving me was quite friendly — they were all well intentioned, said “you’re welcome” when I said “thank you,” and smiled. However, they certainly weren’t attentive, and I thought the overall service procedures were a bit sloppy (for example, not only was my first glass of water served 10 minutes after the appetizer, but I was never offered a refill).
As far as the food goes, I was disappointed by the quality. They should really be able to do better than this. Perhaps my biggest disappointment was the lack of Egyptian food. I’ve had some fantastic Egyptian meals, so it’s puzzling to me why they don’t have food from the region.
After dinner, with about eight hours left until our arrival in Cairo, I browsed the entertainment selection.
The movie selection was pretty good, and there were a couple dozen movies that were decent enough.
However, there weren’t very many sitcoms. There are some sitcoms you’ll find on almost any airline, though not on EgyptAir.
EgyptAir has the same airshow system used by many airlines, which I quite like, thanks to how customizable it is.
At this point we were starting our Atlantic crossing, as we were just north of Gander.
I’ve read conflicting reports as to whether or not EgyptAir’s 777 business class seats are fully flat. I always thought that was odd, since it’s usually pretty apparent. Well, now I get the confusion. In terms of the bed, EgyptAir’s business class seat is virtually identical to Emirates’ 777 business class seat. That’s to say that it’s technically not quite fully flat, but damn close. However, given that planes are at a nose-up angle at cruise, I’d say it’s fully flat, for all practical purposes.
I’m someone who is very sensitive to angled seats, but I found it very comfortable in the reclined position.
Even though the bedding wasn’t great, I managed to get some solid sleep thanks to how comfortable the bed was. I slept for about five hours, and woke up 2hr30min before landing. The flight was really smooth, which probably helped.
Around the time I woke up, the crew came through the cabin with sandwiches and mixed nuts. It’s nice that they have snacks, though probably unnecessary, given that it was almost time for breakfast.
I got a bit of work done on my laptop, and at this point we were over the Aegean Sea.
About 90 minutes before landing the breakfast service began. The menu read as follows:
First they distributed trays with everything except the main course, and then they rolled a cart down the aisle with all the mains. Unfortunately they were out of foul medames, which would have been my first choice.
So for the main course I selected the creamy mushroom omelet. It was tasty, though the quantity of cream was perhaps unnecessary. 😉
There was a nice little bowl of fruit served with the meal, and a small plastic container with yogurt.
Then there was some cheese and tomato, as well as a croissant and pita.
The orange juice I had with breakfast did indeed seem to be freshly squeezed, which impressed me, as there aren’t many airlines that offer that.
At around 8:30AM local time we began our descent. Around that time I tried to put my seat back into the upright position, though it wouldn’t move. Therefore I had to sit in the middle seat, next to the air marshal, for landing.
At around 9AM we touched down in Cairo. I wish I had a window seat, as the views looked great, from a distance.
At 9:05AM we arrived at a remote stand.
Usually I hate remote stands, though I was sort of excited about it in this case, because it would afford me a good view of the exterior of the plane, which I didn’t have in Toronto. EgyptAir’s 777 livery is gorgeous.
They also had a bus exclusively for business class passengers, so the bus left quickly, and within a few minutes we were at the terminal.
EgyptAir business class bottom line
No, EgyptAir’s business class isn’t world class, though it many ways wasn’t as bad was I was expecting.
They can improve the food, bedding, and service procedures, for sure. The fact that they showed the wrong safety video altogether is also a bit concerning.
However, the seat was extremely comfortable for sleeping, the flight attendants were well intentioned and friendly, and there didn’t seem to be any smoking during the flight. That might seem like an odd point to make, but I’ve heard stories of entire EgyptAir crews smoking in the galley, which can ruin a flight pretty quickly, as I learned on a recent China Eastern flight.
So if the fare is right or they fly where I need to go, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly EgyptAir again. But I also wouldn’t go out of my way to fly them, and there are a lot of airlines I’d choose over them. Still, a (mostly) flat bed is a (mostly) flat bed.