Wide Open: EgyptAir 787 Business Class Awards To/From Washington

Several weeks ago EgyptAir announced that the airline will be launching flights between Cairo and Washington Dulles as of June 3, 2019. The airline will operate the flight 3x weekly, with the following schedule:

MS981 Cairo to Washington Dulles departing 11:30PM arriving 5:40AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Fri]
MS982 Washington Dulles to Cairo departing 12:00PM arriving 4:50AM (+1 day) [Tue, Thu, Sat]

This only represents EgyptAir’s second route to the US (after New York JFK), and third route to North America (as they also fly to Toronto). What’s most exciting about the route to me is that EgyptAir will use a 787-9 for their Washington Dulles route.

EgyptAir is just about to take delivery of their first of six 787-9s, and this will be the first longhaul route that’s scheduled to feature the plane. While EgyptAir hasn’t yet revealed pictures of their new business class, we know that they’ll offer reverse herringbone seats, which are a huge improvement over their current business class seats.

What we do know is that EgyptAir is very excited about the plane, and they’ve spent a lot of money creating accurate computer representations of what the plane will look like landing.

Anyway, while EgyptAir’s flight to Washington has now been on sale for a few weeks, up until now the airline hasn’t made any business class award seats available. That has finally changed.

EgyptAir now seems to have three business class award seats available between Cairo and Washington every single day the flight operates. This availability was loaded in the past 24 hours, so I’m quite excited about that.

As far as award pricing with some major programs, you can expect to pay the following for one-way business class between the US and North Africa:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 82,500 miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles: 78,000 miles
  • United MileagePlus: 85,000 miles

The great thing is that EgyptAir has a robust route network in the region, so this can be a great way to get to other points in Europe, Africa, Asia, etc.

There’s potentially even a way to get significantly lower pricing. For example, I really want to review EgyptAir’s 787 business class, and I know exactly how I’ll do so. I’m going to Greece this summer.

I could book a one-way ticket from Washington to Cairo with Aeroplan miles for 82,500 miles:

Or I could book a one-way ticket from Washington to Cairo to Athens with Aeroplan miles for 57,500 miles:

This is possible because many programs charge based on your origin and destination, even if you transit a more expensive zone.

Anyone else plan to book a business class award on EgyptAir’s 787 to/from Washington?

Comments

  1. Exciting & refreshing news to me (an expat lady based in the Gulf) while QR blockade situation still feels quite painful. Often go to Cairo, will look into revenue biz ticket CAI to DC, btw it’d be great if MS places these B787 for the routes to either HKG or RUH.

  2. Which other airline programs would allow us to transit north Africa on our way to Europe? Does LifeMiles allow this?

  3. As an archaeologist who specialized in Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, I worked on and off for several decades at a number of archaeological sites in Upper Egypt. I love that country so much! But over the past few years I’ve begun to feel unsafe there; partly because I’m American, but also because I’m gay. Currently I have no plans to return to Egypt, which saddens me greatly. I hope the situation improves, but I’m not very optimistic.

    So it would take a lot more than the introduction of a 787 to tempt to fly to Cairo. (And when I *was* traveling regularly to Egypt I avoided Egyptair – with its dirty aircraft, poor food and indifferent service – whenever possible.)

  4. @ Super VC10 — You should consider returning. I’ve been here for the past week or so, and there hasn’t been anywhere that has felt actively unsafe; much different from a couple of years ago, though of course I’m sure our exposure is much more limited given we’re here as tourists. We’ve also had several flights on EgyptAir, and yes the 777 we flew on was ancient, but the newer planes (including the regional jets) have been tidy, and the crews have all been friendly and helpful.

  5. To follow-up on my previous comment – it seems like only Aeroplan has access to the J award seats (at least online)?

    I can see Y award seats when searching through other Star Alliance carriers (e.g. UA, OZ, TG, SK) but no J availability shows up.

    And LifeMiles can’t see any award seats in either cabin.

    Does it take some time for availability on new routes to propagate through different systems? I don’t understand how that would explain availability showing up for Y but not J, however.

  6. “Many programs charge based on your origin and destination, even if you transit a more expensive zone” – this isn’t true for AAdvantage, right? Doesn’t it just block you from transiting through more expensive zones? Sorry for the unrelated question.

  7. @ Alex — It’s not necessarily that AAdvantage blocks you from transiting more expensive zones per se, they don’t allow many third-zone routings even when they are less expensive.

  8. I have tried so many dates in July CAI-IAD however I am unable to see any availability. Is there a specific place I should be looking for the availability?

  9. “This is possible because many programs charge based on your origin and destination, even if you transit a more expensive zone.” Is it possible to book to Greece but jump off in Egypt? I know some airlines are getting really pissy about that.

  10. Does the availability extend into Jan 2020? I’m looking for 3 one way seats CAI-IAD around 1/5. I’m based in SFO, so preferably w/o stops. It looks like only availability in January is to YYZ on the old 773 (which Aeroplan still has on that route while they display IAD, JFK on 789).

  11. @Tiffany

    I appreciate your comments, Tiffany, and am glad you’ve enjoyed your time in Egypt. Being there as a tourist, however, is quite unlike working in the country. Tourists travel to an area (often the well-trod sites at Luxor, Edfu, Esna, Kom Ombo and Aswan) and soon move-on, mostly traveling in a bubble of protection provided by Egyptian security forces. Living in a small Egyptian town or village for months at a time, where one’s daily routine is observed and noted, is quite a different experience…

  12. Booked IAD – ATH for 57.5k Aeroplan, peak season June. .03 per mile, wishing for more but will take it.

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