Review: EgyptAir Business Class 787 (CAI-CDG)

Review: EgyptAir Business Class 787 (CAI-CDG)

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FROM: CAI
TO: CDG
CABIN: Business
DATE: February 2023
REVIEW RATING:
SEAT MAP: 787-9
BEN SAYS: While EgyptAir's 787s have competitive business class seats, that's where the good aspects of the experience end. The airline has terrible entertainment, non-functioning Wi-Fi, bland food, and indifferent service.
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After a long night at Cairo Airport enjoying the EgyptAir Lounges (okay, “enjoying” might not be the right word), it was time to fly EgyptAir’s Boeing 787-9 business class to Paris.

I had previously flown EgyptAir’s old Boeing 777-300ER business class. I was excited that EgyptAir has modernized its fleet with new aircraft and an updated business class product. Unfortunately other than new planes, it’s the same old EgyptAir…

How I booked my EgyptAir business class ticket

I booked my EgyptAir business class ticket using Air Canada Aeroplan points. This was quite a good deal, as I could book the following for 20,000 Aeroplan points plus $79 in taxes & fees:

2/08 MS799 Cairo to Paris departing 9:35AM arriving 1:25PM

Booking an EgyptAir flight through Aeroplan

Admittedly there are much more creative awards you can book with Aeroplan points, but this was still a very good value. Aeroplan points are easy to come by, as the program is transfer partners with Amex Membership RewardsCapital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. On top of that, there’s the Aeroplan® Credit Card (review) in the United States, which is phenomenal.

EgyptAir business class lounge & boarding

In the last installment I reviewed the three EgyptAir Lounges at Cairo Airport. Boarding for my 9:35AM flight was scheduled for 9:05AM, 30 minutes before departure. My flight was departing from gate F2, and there was a whole security checkpoint at the gate.

Even though there was a fast track sign at the entrance to the gate, there wasn’t actually a separate line. So I’m not sure if there isn’t fast track for premium passengers, or if you’re just supposed to cut the line on your own. I just waited.

Cairo Airport departure gate

The security process at the gate took forever, as the security agents were thorough, but also didn’t very clearly communicate what needed to be removed from bags. As a result, it seemed like every other bag got pulled aside for a secondary inspection.

Eventually I was in the “sterile” gate area, which had nice views of the plane.

Cairo Airport departure gate

I’d be flying the nearly four year old EgyptAir Boeing 787-9 with the registration code SU-GET. I really do like EgyptAir’s livery, and find it to be one of the more modern and distinctive ones out there.

EgyptAir Boeing 787 Cairo Airport

EgyptAir 787 business class cabin & seats

I boarded through the second set of doors, and then turned left into the business class cabin. Business class takes up the entire space between doors one and two, and consists of 30 seats. EgyptAir has Collins Aerospace reverse herringbone seats on its 787s, all of which are flat beds with direct aisle access.

This is a product found on so many airlines (heck, I feel like I’ve spent half of the past couple of months in these kinds of seats), so it should look familiar. EgyptAir’s cabin finishes are pretty generic, and don’t contain many airline specific touches or branding.

EgyptAir business class cabin Boeing 787
EgyptAir business class cabin Boeing 787

If you’re traveling with someone, you may prefer to sit in the center section, so that you can (somewhat) easily communicate with them during the flight. The partitions are naturally in the lowered position, unlike on some other airlines.

EgyptAir business class seats Boeing 787

Meanwhile if you’re traveling alone, the window seats are the way to go, so that you have a view while also having direct access to the aisle.

EgyptAir business class seats Boeing 787
EgyptAir business class seats Boeing 787

I assigned myself seat 15A, the window seat on the left side in the second to last row (I usually like to assign myself a seat in the last row, but that was taken).

EgyptAir business class seat Boeing 787
EgyptAir business class seat Boeing 787
EgyptAir business class seat Boeing 787

With these seats, the tray table extends out from underneath the fixed monitor, and you have to flip the tray table over to make it the full size.

EgyptAir business class seat tray table

There’s a counter to the side of the seat, with two separate compartments that can be opened.

EgyptAir business class seat console

One compartment is shallow and could be used to store something small (like a phone or glasses), while the other is deeper, and also houses the entertainment controller, power outlets (AC and USB-A), and headphone jacks.

EgyptAir business class seat storage
EgyptAir business class seat power outlets

There’s also a monitor underneath that for controlling seating positions.

EgyptAir business class seat controls

Underneath all that is a small exposed storage compartment.

EgyptAir business class seat storage

The aisle-side armrest can be raised or lowered. There’s also a button you can push to open a storage compartment, where you could store headphones or a bottle of water.

EgyptAir business class seat storage

While this EgyptAir 787 had the typical modern Dreamliner overhead bins, it unfortunately didn’t have individual air nozzles.

EgyptAir Boeing 787 overhead console

All-in-all, this is a solid business class hard product. The seat is the best part of the EgyptAir experience, and is globally competitive. If only that were true of the rest of the experience…

EgyptAir business class amenities

While EgyptAir has invested in new cabins, the airline hasn’t invested in new amenities compared to the last time I flew with the airline. Each business class passenger was given a pillow and blanket. While the pillow was pretty decent, the blanket was scratchy — it was a similar material to what you’d usually get in economy, rather than some plush duvet.

EgyptAir business class pillow & blanket

The headphones were really low quality, among the worst I’ve ever been offered in business class.

EgyptAir business class headphones

On the plus side, I was impressed that business class amenities were offered on this short 4.5 hour daytime flight. It seems that EgyptAir provides its full long haul service on these kinds of routes to Europe, which is nice. The amenity kit had lots of EgyptAir branding, and contained eye shades, socks, a dental kit, a pen, a sanitizing wipe, earplugs, and a hair brush.

EgyptAir business class amenity kit

Shortly before departure, the crew handed out bottles of orange juice, which seemed to be the carrier’s approach to pre-departure beverages.

EgyptAir business class pre-departure juice

EgyptAir 787 business class entertainment & Wi-Fi

Unfortunately EgyptAir’s entertainment selection on the Boeing 787-9 leaves a lot to be desired. While the system is modern and easy to use, the selection of movies and TV shows is very small, among the smallest I’ve seen on any airline.

Due to the way the entertainment system was organized, it was hard to tell exactly how many options there were. However, I’d estimate that there were maybe a bit over a dozen movies in English, and even fewer TV shows than that.

EgyptAir business class entertainment system
EgyptAir business class entertainment system
EgyptAir business class entertainment system

Options were much better in Arabic, and if you want to listen to the entire Quran, you’re in luck — that’s probably half of EgyptAir’s entertainment selection.

EgyptAir business class entertainment system

The entertainment system suggests that there should be live TV, but of course that’s not actually available.

EgyptAir business class entertainment system

One more issue — unfortunately my audio jack was broken, so I couldn’t even listen to any of the entertainment options. That wasn’t much of a loss, though, since there wasn’t anything I wanted to watch anyway.

Instead I just kept the map feature on the entire flight, which I enjoyed. I appreciate how customizable it was.

EgyptAir map feature Boeing 787
EgyptAir map feature Boeing 787
EgyptAir map feature Boeing 787
EgyptAir map feature Boeing 787

I was excited that EgyptAir’s Boeing 787s are supposed to have Wi-Fi, since that’s a big development for the airline. After takeoff I noticed the Wi-Fi wasn’t working. I asked the cabin chief about this, and he confirmed it was broken. Ugh.

EgyptAir Boeing 787 Wi-Fi system

As you can tell, unfortunately entertainment is a weak point of EgyptAir’s Boeing 787s, at least based on my experience.

EgyptAir 787 departure from Cairo

The boarding process took quite some time (presumably due to security checks), and by 9:50AM boarding was complete and the cabin door closed. Business class was initially mostly full, with just a handful of empty seats.

But of course this is EgyptAir, so there are always the “friends and family” upgrades once the door closes, and that was the case here. Business class ended up going out totally full. In this case those onboard upgrades consisted of a family with two infants, seated across from and behind me.

At 9:50AM, the cabin chief announced our flight time of 4hr30min, and at that point the safety video was screened (which is actually kind of cool).

At 9:55AM we began our very long push back — we weren’t just pushed back, but a tug actually taxied us forward quite a bit as well.

Pushing back Cairo Airport

During this time the crew performed some pre-takeoff safety checks. EgyptAir has some strict rules, like requiring that all pillows and blankets either be placed in the overhead bin or behind your body.

At 10:05AM we began our taxi to the runway. We had a long but fast taxi, and I enjoyed all the planes on the way to the runway, including passing EgyptAir 787s, 777s, A330s, and A220s.

EgyptAir Boeing 787 Cairo Airport
EgyptAir Boeing 777 Cairo Airport
EgyptAir Airbus A330 Cairo Airport
EgyptAir Airbus A220 Cairo Airport

What an interesting selection of airlines, including the Air Leisure A340-200!

Aircraft parked at Cairo Airport

By 10:15AM we were cleared for takeoff.

Taking off Cairo Airport

I enjoyed looking out the window during the climb out, though unfortunately we weren’t treated to any pyramid views.

Taking off Cairo Airport
Taking off Cairo Airport

We had a smooth climb out, and the seatbelt sign was turned off just five minutes after takeoff.

EgyptAir Boeing 787-9 business class cabin

EgyptAir business class lunch service

I was curious what kind of inflight service EgyptAir would offer on a 4.5 hour flight departing shortly before 10AM and arriving shortly after 1PM. I figured it would be lunch, though the way the airline went about serving this was interesting.

35 minutes after takeoff, the crew passed through the cabin with the choice of two kinds of muffins in plastic wraps, intended as an after takeoff snack. I selected the chocolate muffin. After spending the night in the EgyptAir Lounge, I was excited to eat something other than the carrier’s lounge food. Go figure these were the same exact muffins EgyptAir has in all of its lounges.

EgyptAir business class snack service

I also ordered some tea to drink, which was served in a tiny cup.

EgyptAir business class tea

That was the extent of the after takeoff service. Then roughly two hours into the flight, while over Greece, the lunch service began.

Map enroute to Paris

EgyptAir doesn’t have menus in business class, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Service began with drinks. Keep in mind that EgyptAir is a dry airline, so there’s no alcohol. I ordered a Diet Pepsi to drink (EgyptAir doesn’t have Coke products).

EgyptAir business class Diet Pepsi

The meal service began with a starter tray, consisting of a salmon and shrimp appetizer with beetroot, a salad with mushrooms and pomegranate, and a small cheese plate. There was also a selection of bread. Everything was served with covers on, though I removed those prior to taking a picture.

EgyptAir business class lunch service

The main courses were all brought out on a trolley so that you could select them from there (I appreciate when airlines display options in this way). The options included vegetables with rice, shrimp with rice, or beef with potatoes. I selected the shrimp with rice, and the dish was… not good. The presentation was pretty bad, the shrimp were extremely chewy, and the dish was bland.

EgyptAir business class lunch service

Once main courses were cleared, the dessert trolley was brought out, with the choice of cake or fruit. I selected the red velvet cake, and had a coffee to go along with it (EgyptAir doesn’t have espressos or cappuccinos).

EgyptAir business class lunch service

The meal service was complete just over 90 minutes prior to arrival in Paris.

Map enroute to Paris
Map enroute to Paris

Then around 45 minutes before landing, the crew served packaged mixed nuts.

EgyptAir business class snack

To EgyptAir’s credit, the inflight service was extensive, in the sense that there was lunch, plus a snack after takeoff and a snack before landing. As someone who was hoping to sleep a bit on this flight, that service flow wasn’t ideal, since there wasn’t actually a real “quiet” time during the flight. But I also get that most people probably didn’t have as long of a night as I did.

While EgyptAir does well with the quantity of food it serves, quality is a different story. I find EgyptAir’s catering to be so bland and heavily western focused. Aside from the pomegranates in the salad, there was almost nothing even remotely Egyptian about the service.

EgyptAir 787 business class bed

I tried to get a bit of rest on this flight, both prior to and after the meal. Collectively I think I got about 45 minutes of sleep. I found EgyptAir’s 787 seat to be quite comfortable in bed mode, though it would have been nice to have better bedding.

EgyptAir business class bed Boeing 787-9
EgyptAir business class bed Boeing 787-9

EgyptAir 787 business class lavatories

EgyptAir’s Boeing 787-9s have one lavatory at the very front of the cabin (by the cockpit). There are also two behind the cabin, but they seem to largely be used by economy passengers as well, so there can be queues. The lavatories were standard Dreamliner ones — they were modern, but weren’t large. There was nothing in the way of special amenities.

EgyptAir business class lavatories Boeing 787-9
EgyptAir business class lavatories Boeing 787-9

EgyptAir business class service

Egypt can be a hospitable country, but unfortunately that isn’t at all reflected on EgyptAir, in my experience. The crew wasn’t rude, but they also couldn’t have been any more disinterested in their jobs. I don’t remember the last time I’ve had such a forgettable crew, in terms of how little they communicated.

On the plus side, I didn’t notice any smoking on this flight, which has historically been an issue on EgyptAir. Then again, I believe the airline may have cracked down on that a bit since an EgyptAir aircraft crashed on this exact route due to a fire started by a smoking pilot?

EgyptAir 787 arrival in Paris

At around 1:05PM we began our descent toward Paris, as we were just over 150 miles out.

Map enroute to Paris
Map enroute to Paris

The crew began landing preparations pretty early, and were seated around 20 minutes before landing, which is also when the seatbelt sign was turned on. It was a gorgeous day in Paris, and we had some beautiful views on the approach.

View approaching Paris
View approaching Paris
View approaching Paris
Landing Paris Airport

We touched down in Paris at 1:40PM, and then had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate at Terminal 1. We pulled in next to an Air Canada 777.

Taxiing Paris Airport
Arrival gate Paris Airport

Once in the terminal, I headed toward the Sheraton CDG Airport, where I’d be spending the night, prior to connecting to Air France’s 777 business class the following morning.

Bottom line

On the plus side, EgyptAir has a solid business class hard product on its Boeing 787s, much better than on the carrier’s older aircraft. Unfortunately that’s where the good aspects of the experience end. EgyptAir has lackluster entertainment (and on my flight the Wi-Fi wasn’t working), bland meals, and indifferent service.

It’s sad, because I feel like with a bit of effort, EgyptAir could offer a cute and competitive inflight experience. I was hoping that when EgyptAir started heavily refreshing its fleet, we would also see an updated soft product. Sadly that hasn’t been the case.

What do you make of EgyptAir’s 787 business class?

Conversations (24)
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  1. Charley Guest

    I agree. A disappointing experience that could have been so much better.

    The 'no-alcohol' policy is a spoiler for starters. I usually relish tasting the range of excellent wines that most airlines provide in business class. This time I had to settle for a Pepsi as the least of the available evils.

    Given the quality of the food, decent wine would have been a waste anyway. What we got was - china plates and...

    I agree. A disappointing experience that could have been so much better.

    The 'no-alcohol' policy is a spoiler for starters. I usually relish tasting the range of excellent wines that most airlines provide in business class. This time I had to settle for a Pepsi as the least of the available evils.

    Given the quality of the food, decent wine would have been a waste anyway. What we got was - china plates and metal cutlery aside - a small notch above economy class food.

    And the service from the cabin crew was abysmal - none of the personal touches and individual attention that one has come to expect from premium class.

    Won't fly them again in business class unless I have to...

  2. // Guest

    Wait, why is it only 20k miles and not 25k as Aeroplan's chart dictates, does it fluctuate or something?

  3. George Papathanasiou Guest

    You should appreciate that MS is using a B787 in that route when all Europeans Airlines are using short-haul aircrafts with the Eurobusiness (the shame of the industry).

  4. jeff Guest

    The soft product looks like Greyhound bus lines could beat this offer; really sad.

  5. Sandra Guest

    Flying IAD-CAI in November because we wanted non stop. Have heard terrible things about Egypt Air, but the point deal was too good to pass up on a non stop in biz. I guess we’ll be bringing our own pita and hummus, along with a nice Chardonnay. I assume you can bring alcohol on the plane? What a step down from our nonstop from JoBerg -ATL on delta one last month

  6. CXP Member

    @Ben Maybe I have been flying United too much but what struck me was how clean the tray tables, etc looked in the photos haha (and they looked like they had just been wiped down). Was is actually clean or does it just look like that in the photos?

    1. Carrie Gold

      Bizarrely, I was also drawn to the obvious wipe mark on the open tray table and mused as to who was responsible for the swipe or was it just a permanent stain through the misuse of an inappropriate cleaning product ...... I really need to get a life!

  7. Dolphin Guest

    Cool idea for another review trip: how about some US low-cost carriers - specifically the transcon first class on Breeze - and also some mix of Allegiant, Avelo, and Sun Country? And I definitely second the idea of a Zipair review!

  8. Hiro Diamond

    Umm... The main dish looks quite Egyptian, so is the little cheese/olive side plate. Egyptian food is close to Mediterranean cuisine, so technically Egyptian food can be classified as "western" to a little extent. Moussaka, Macaroni (or Makaroona as Egyptians call), Feta cheese to name a few.

  9. Jones Guest

    What, for the ENTIRE flight it NEVER once occurred to you to click on 'Imperial' before taking Flight Information photos?

    1. XPL Diamond

      Why would he? The entire planet minus one outlier uses metric, and this blog attracts a world wide readership.

    2. HereHare Guest

      Oh, hey, don't forget Myanmar and Liberia :)

    3. XPL Diamond

      "Oh, hey, don't forget Myanmar and Liberia :)"

      I did forget them. To readers from Myanmar and Liberia, I apologize :)

    4. BBK Diamond

      One 'outlier' who happens to be the most powerful country on the planet by a long shot, and coincidentally the country of birth of the blogger? there are many ways to express jealousy and insecurity. The comment of Jones is quite valid.

    5. Joe Guest

      What, for the ENTIRE time you were writing that comment it NEVER once occurred to you that it was rude and unnecessary?

    6. Schar Diamond

      how about YOU join the entire rest of the world and use metric? ;)

    7. BBK Diamond

      Why would they? is your country flag on the moon? mine doesn't either.

    8. Nigel Guest

      You won't find kilometres anywhere in Britain on any road sign. We use miles, so have not converted to metric equivalents. And mist people will ask for meat, fruit and vegetables in lbs and oz, rather than grams and kilos, whilst currently, due to EU legislation, it has to be displayed in metric. But with Brexit that can change.

  10. Kevan Guest

    Those first two maps make it look like Paris is about the same latitude as Cairo when in fact Paris is about 19 degrees north of Cairo.I suppose it's something to do with the angle going west.

  11. Ben Holz Guest

    Hey Ben, going forward will you no longer be adding the flight details (flight number, seat, ETD/ETA, etc.) at the beginning of each flight report?

    Nonetheless good to see unconventional airlines being reviewed!

    1. Kenzo Guest

      On the topic of unconventional airlines, will we be seeing a Zipair 787 review anytime soon?

  12. Julia Guest

    I wonder how bad the beef and veggie options must looked for Lucky to select the shrimp.

  13. YinDaoYan Diamond

    What do you make of EgyptAir’s 787 business class?

    Won't be on my bucket list anytime soon

    1. Sandy Guest

      We are so NOT looking forward to our biz class flight on Egypt Air from IAD-CAI in November. Heard terrible things about the airline, but We wanted non stop and the dry airline is just an added benefit we just got back from Africa on Delta One nonstop to ATL. Boy, I am going to miss Delta One after Egypt Air.

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Schar Diamond

how about YOU join the entire rest of the world and use metric? ;)

3
XPL Diamond

Why would he? The entire planet minus one outlier uses metric, and this blog attracts a world wide readership.

3
Dolphin Guest

Cool idea for another review trip: how about some US low-cost carriers - specifically the transcon first class on Breeze - and also some mix of Allegiant, Avelo, and Sun Country? And I definitely second the idea of a Zipair review!

2
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