The Milelion’s RTW Trip 2018: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge T3 SIN
SWISS Intl Airlines B77W Business Class SIN-ZRH
Cosmo Hotel Berlin
Westin Grand Berlin
The Intra-Europe Business Class Experience, 2018 Edition
Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class IST-AMM
Sheraton Amman Al Nabil
Royal Jordanian Crown Lounge AMM
Egypt Air B737 Business Class AMM-CAI-NBO
Tribe Hotel Nairobi
Ethiopian Airlines B737 Business Class NBO-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines B787 Business Class ADD-GRU
Marriott Sao Paulo Airport
Avianca Brasil A330 Business Class GRU-SCL
San Cristobal Tower Santiago
Air Canada B77W Business Class SCL-YYZ
Air Canada Express E175 Business Class YYZ-BOS
United Airlines B757 First Class BOS-SFO
W San Francisco
United Airlines B77W Polaris Business Class SFO-NRT
ANA B787 Business Class NRT-SIN
Egyptair’s long haul business class product is mediocre at best, which is why I can’treally condone redeeming your miles for that. However, if you’re looking to transit within Africa, you might find yourself on a narrow-body Egyptair aircraft in the near future, which is where this report may come in handy.
Let’s do a run down
The Seat & Cabin
Your short/medium haul Egyptair business class experience depends heavily on the type of aircraft you get. Egyptair operates two types of 737-800s-the old, rundown ones (which I got from CAI-NBO) and the new, modern next-gen ones (which I got from AMM-CAI). It’s a bit of a shame they deployed the new one on the short flight and the old one on the long flight, but I’m guessing their assessment of market lucrativeness also affects the deployment of such aircraft.
How do you know if you have the old or new one? Simple. Check out the seat map at the time of booking. If you see 24 seats in business class, you have the old cabin. If you see 16 seats in the cabin, you have the new one.
The difference is night and day when you step into the aircraft. Here’s the new business class. It looks modern, sleek even. The leather is new and fresh, without signs of wear.
There are very nice small touches on the seat, like the way they’ve embossed the Egyptair logo into the headrest.
You’re looking at good amount of legroom, even if the IFE box beneath the seat eats into some of it.
The seat controls even brought back memories of the ones I saw on my first ever Silk Air business class experience a few months back…
I liked how sturdy the tray table was. I’ve remarked in the past how narrowbody business class tray tables perpetually felt like they’d give way and spill my drink into my lap, but this one was as solid as they come.
The seats also have power plugs down by your legs that will take Singapore plugs.
Nested into the side of the seat was an IFE remote. Unfortunately, the crew hadn’t cleaned this properly and there were some visible stains (coke?) on it.
I decided not to touch the IFE remote, and didn’t really need to because the IFE screen is touch sensitive. You can’t see it in this photo because of the contrast, but there’s also a USB port at the bottom that you can charge your devices with.
The selection of movies was more than decent- several new releases from Hollywood and beyond. They got the double dose of censorship that you can only get (1) flying on an airplane and (2) flying on an airline from a socially conservative part of the world. You can’t show too many plane crashes in Dunkirk, for example…and did you know there’s a special version of Baby Driver where everyone says “freaking”?
And now looking up: individual air vents for all! Plus check out that mood lighting.
As per Seatguru, the new 737-800s have “Boeing’s Sky interior with sculpted sidewalls, expanded overhead bins, and adjustable LED lighting”
The mood lighting made for a nice pillow shot. It sounds silly saying this, but seeing those subtle horizontal lines on the pillow made it fee classier than your average airline pillow.
The bathrooms on the new 737 have tiny, tiny sinks, but they have this cool illuminated flush button.
That’s the new seat and cabin. Now, if you get Egyptair’s old business class product, however, you might be in for a disappointment. Here’s what the cabin looks like. Note the older, worn, cloth seats. The cabin is bigger (in terms of more seats), but it’s decidedly last decade.
You’ll note the rectangular windows this aircraft has (versus the round windows of the new 737)
Legroom was perhaps even slightly better than the new business class, however.
However, there are two IFE boxes beneath the seat (versus one for the new 737), and that really eats into the space you have to store things beneath the seat. Not that you’d really want your bag to touch the floor, given the state of the carpet. Who knows what fluids its absorbed over the years…
Egyptair has put in seat power on its old planes too, but the sockets take fewer types of plugs.
I believe this aircraft only has personal IFE in business class, which is why the safety video plays from dropdown video screens in the ceiling.
The seat controls are decidedly last gen. Push the button and use as much force as you can to move the seat.
The IFE screen here is also touch sensitive, but much less so than the new business class. And you’re not going to win friends with the person seated in front of you if you keep pushing the back of their seat real hard.
I didn’t get a pair of headphones on the new business class, presumably because it was a 90 minute flight (you could plug in your own earphones into the system though). On the CAI-NBO flight I received a pair of headphones which were poor quality.
Both the new and old cabins were comfortable enough, but you obviously if you can you want to book yourself on the new 737s. I quite enjoyed the new business class, it was well above my expectations for Egyptair.
Egyptair is a dry airline, so no booze for you. I kept waiting for them to break out the champagne, then realised after my second orange juice that it just wasn’t happening. Welcome drinks consisted of water, orange juice and guava juice.
The meal on the short 90 minute flight was cold. Salad, cake, cold cuts.
The longer flight had a hot meal, but the quality wasn’t great either.
There was no snack menu available on the longer flight either, but some pre-packaged biscuits were served before landing.
I didn’t go into the flight with high expectations for catering, as I’ve found I generally dislike catering out of the Middle East. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Egyptair Lounge in Cairo
A quick word about the lounge in Cairo- I only had a brief layover but I managed to pop into the lounge. There are three in total in Cairo, and they are universally terrible. Save your time.
There is no hot food whatsoever in the lounge. Pastries and fruits are the order of the day
There was plenty of seats, perhaps because everyone figured out the lounge wasn’t worth visiting.
In the end I abandoned the lounge and went to the food court. Cairo airport is a miserable place to be stuck during a layover, so I advise you to keep your stop as short as possible.
I honestly wasn’t looking forward to this leg of the trip (it probably had something to do with arriving in NBO at 0445 after a narrowbody flight), but it turned out to be better than expected. If you fly on Egyptair’s old business class, you’ll probably find the experience to be average to below average, but the new business cabin quite impressed me.