Review: Egyptair B737 Business Class Amman to Cairo to Nairobi

A review of Egyptair's new and old business class on their 737-800s.

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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.

LHS: EgyptAir B737-800 with old business class. RHS: Egyptair B737-800 with new business class

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.

Egyptair B737-800 New Business Class
Egyptair B737-800 New Business Class
Egyptair B737-800 New Business Class
Egyptair B737-800 New Business Class

There are very nice small touches on the seat, like the way they’ve embossed the Egyptair logo into the headrest.

Egyptair new business class headrest

You’re looking at good amount of legroom, even if the IFE box beneath the seat eats into some of it.

Egyptair new business class legroom

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…

Seat controls, Egyptair new business class

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.

Egyptair new business class tray table

The seats also have power plugs down by your legs that will take Singapore plugs.

In seat power

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.

Egyptair IFE controller

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.

Egyptair New Business Class IFE screen

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”?

Egyptair IFE selection

And now looking up: individual air vents for all! Plus check out that mood lighting.

Overhead air vents

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.

Egyptair pillow

The bathrooms on the new 737 have tiny, tiny sinks, but they have this cool illuminated flush button.

Toilet in new Egyptair business class
Sink in new Egyptair business class

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.

Egyptair old business class seat
Egyptair old business class seat

You’ll note the rectangular windows this aircraft has (versus the round windows of the new 737)

Egyptair old business class seat

Legroom was perhaps even slightly better than the new business class, however.

Egyptair old business class seat legroom

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…

underseat IFE box, Egyptair old business class

Egyptair has put in seat power on its old planes too, but the sockets take fewer types of plugs.

In seat power, Egyptair old business class

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.

ceiling dropdown video, Egyptair old business class

The seat controls are decidedly last gen. Push the button and use as much force as you can to move the seat.

Seat controls, Egyptair old business class

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.

personal IFE, old Egyptair business class

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.

Egyptair headphones

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.

The Meals

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.

Welcome drink

The meal on the short 90 minute flight was cold. Salad, cake, cold cuts.

Egyptair business class meal
Egyptair business class meal

The longer flight had a hot meal, but the quality wasn’t great either.

Egyptair business class meal
Egyptair business class meal
Egyptair business class meal

There was no snack menu available on the longer flight either, but some pre-packaged biscuits were served before landing.

Egyptair pre-landing biscuits

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.

Egyptair lounge in Cairo

There is no hot food whatsoever in the lounge. Pastries and fruits are the order of the day

Food selection, Egyptair lounge in Cairo

There was plenty of seats, perhaps because everyone figured out the lounge wasn’t worth visiting.

Egyptair lounge in Cairo-seating
Egyptair lounge in Cairo-seating

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.

Better than the lounge


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.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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