In Flight: EgyptAir Business Class New York to Asia


Settling in on the EgyptAir business class for the 777-300ER ride to Cairo
Settling in on the EgyptAir business class for the 777-300ER ride to Cairo; 2-3-2 layout doesn't win many awards these days

EgyptAir catches plenty of flak from some travelers for its product. Business class is still a 2-3-2, angle-flat seat on the 777s and the airline does not serve alcohol on board. For those who aspire to private suites, champagne wishes and caviar dreams this is most definitely not the carrier to fly. But finding award space (or cheap revenue flights) is relatively easy and the schedule worked for our trip, including a long layover in Cairo to see the pyramids. Why not give it a try? And, I have to say, going it with only medium expectations I found myself pleasantly surprised at the product delivered.

In JFK EgyptAir uses the Swiss lounge at T4. This is a very nice facility, offering free pour booze and hot food options in addition to snacks in the business class side of the lounge. We had a couple glasses of bubbly and a light (half)dinner just in case the food on board was no good. But it is a relatively early departure so we didn’t dally much. Off to the gate and on to the plane for an on-time departure to Cairo.

Enjoying a (large) glass of bubbles in the JFK Swiss lounge before my EgyptAir business class flight to Cairo
Enjoying a (large) glass of bubbles in the JFK Swiss lounge before my EgyptAir business class flight to Cairo
Settling in on the EgyptAir business class for the 777-300ER ride to Cairo
Settling in on the EgyptAir business class for the 777-300ER ride to Cairo; 2-3-2 layout doesn’t win many awards these days

Yes, it is 2-3-2 on board. But the seats are sufficiently wide and long for me. We had the outside pair on the first flight and two of the middle three on the second flight. Traveling as a couple that was really not a problem for us at all. And, in what turned out to be a most wonderful surprise, the food out of JFK was actually really good (by airline standards). I’m not a huge fan of the everything on one tray approach to service and this was mostly that, though not entirely. We got a tray with fruit and cheese for dessert but also the appetizer (smoked salmon and grilled shrimp) to start. Later the appetizer plate was swapped for the main course (I had the sea bass). And then everything was swapped for cakes if that was your dessert desire. It is a bit strange from a dining perspective but I’m sure more efficient from a catering packing perspective.

Seafood & salad appetizer in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Seafood & salad appetizer in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Dessert in EgyptAir Business Class on JFK-Cairo
Dessert in EgyptAir Business Class on JFK-Cairo
Appetizer is served in EgyptAir business class with the after-meal cheese on the same tray
Appetizer is served in EgyptAir business class with the after-meal cheese on the same tray
Fish and roast veggies in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Fish and roast veggies in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Good fresh fruit and awesome dishes in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Good fresh fruit and awesome dishes in EgyptAir business class JFK-Cairo
Dessert in EgyptAir Business Class on JFK-Cairo
Dessert in EgyptAir Business Class on JFK-Cairo

We skipped breakfast in to Cairo, waking up just in time to snap a photo of the pyramids out the window on final approach.

Coming in for a landing at Cairo, spotting the Giza pyramids out the window
Coming in for a landing at Cairo, spotting the Giza pyramids out the window

For the second flight the midnight departure meant going straight to bed on board after dinner in town. We woke up for the breakfast – served at 1pm local time in Bangkok – as we were descending but I mostly wish we hadn’t. To say that it is a downgrade from the ex-JFK catering is an understatement. And I really dislike the habit of airlines serving meals based on the time at origin rather than destination at the end of a long-haul flight. Similar to the first flight we mostly slept and I found the bed very comfortable. I know it is not full flat but it worked for me.

Breakfast in EgyptAir business class on the Cairo-Bangkok segment. Very not good.
Breakfast in EgyptAir business class on the Cairo-Bangkok segment. Very not good.
Breakfast in EgyptAir business class on the Cairo-Bangkok segment. Very not good.
Breakfast in EgyptAir business class on the Cairo-Bangkok segment. Very not good.

I also have to say that I’m impressed with just how much of the cabin is branded with the EgyptAir logo. Blankets and napkins I get. The seatbelt buckle is less common but a few other airlines do that, too. This is definitely the first time I’ve seen the cover to the IFE box branded, though, and I have to say I liked it.

Absolutely everything is branded in the EgyptAir business class cabin. Even the vent for the IFE kit has the logo stamped in the metal!
Absolutely everything is branded in the EgyptAir business class cabin. Even the vent for the IFE kit has the logo stamped in the metal!

And, while overall I was pleased with the service and product having set expectations appropriately, I will say that there were a couple small things which did not go to plan on the flights, things which should not have been that way. The company has stickers in the amenity kits, for example, which you can put on your seat to tell the flight attendants if you want to be awakened for meals. I love this, at least the concept of it. Alas, execution was a disaster, with the flight attendants mostly ignoring them and waking up some very, very surprised passengers along the way. Oopsie.

Cool idea with the stickers for EgyptAir business class passengers; would be even better if the FAs paid attention
Cool idea with the stickers for EgyptAir business class passengers; would be even better if the FAs paid attention

Definitely not the best business class product I’ve flown long-haul but also probably not the worst. And given the price point or award availability not necessarily a bad option to have in your pocket.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

7 Comments

  1. If you could post some pictures of the business class seat “flat” that would be great. The other thing is that the legroom in economy class is actually not that bad 34 I believe?

    1. Towards the bottom of the post is a photo of all the branding on the seat. That’s the only shot of it I have “deployed” for sleeping. It is angle flat to be sure, but I slept pretty well.

  2. I also flew CAI-BKK on Egyptair Business, and I too was pleasantly surprised. I found the food surprisingly good, the seats/beds were comfortable, and there was a good selection of movies. More importantly, points addicts sometimes forget about the point of travelling. Maybe I could have flown another airline, but Egyptair allows you to have a day in Cairo and see the amazing pyramids and the Egyptian Museum (did you go? I loved it). It doesn’t even have to count as a stopover, since a 23 hour layover is enough for the highlights.

  3. It’s strange how you say there is widespread availability. I remember booking with United miles from Cairo to Dubai, the plane went empty in business class, but coach was quite full. Looking with United miles even showed it as unavailable.

    1. No guarantee that seats will open on any particular flight, but my experience is that it is there more frequently than most carriers.

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