Flight MS913, Dubai to Cairo
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
EgyptAir is a member of the Star Alliance which includes Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand.
Economy class, seat 21D
Three hours, 30 minutes, non-stop
The flight generates 0.319 tonnes of carbon emissions for one economy passenger, according to co2.myclimate.org. The airline states that updating its fleet with A220-300s and A320NEOs has enabled it to reduce fuel consumption by 20 per cent and subsequently lower its emissions.
The busy Dubai-Cairo route runs up to four times a day, going head-to-head with Dubai's flag carrier, Emirates.
At the time of writing, passengers must wear a mask, carry proof of vaccination and a negative PCR or RAT test. Of course, that may well change by the time you fly, but don't rely on Egyptair's rather information-light website to tell you that.
Dubai Airport is as busy as it's ever been, as the queues attest. Everyone's packing heavy, so every check-in requires elaborate negotiation of kilos. It's slow going; use the charm offensive if you're overweight in the baggage department.
The seat configuration is 3-3-3 and every one of them is full. The antimacassars (those cloths placed on the headrest to catch your hair oil and dandruff) prove to be a handy advertising zone. Today, they're promoting the upcoming Egypt Defence Expo, with pictures of tanks and helicopters in front of the Pyramids. On this aircraft, economy seats have a 31-inch (78cm) pitch and a generous (by industry standard) 18 inch (46cm) width. So loosen your seatbelt and tuck into the generous meals.
One piece of checked-in luggage up to 23kg and one piece of carry-on luggage. The weight limit for carry-on is unspecified on the ticket, which may explain why everyone's trying to stuff suitcases the size of King Tut's sarcophagus in the overhead luggage bins.
A worthy runner-up in the fight for best safety video, Egyptair's latest offering is inspired by the Pharaonic era – special mention for the guy whose cigarette gets shot with an arrow from a passing charioteer while smoking. (see it here on YouTube) There's a range of Hollywood movies, with a heavy dose of car chases and gun fights.
The staff are charming and patient, especially toward elderly complainants and small children. I only wish they'd stopped the man in the row in front of me from spritzing himself (and everyone in a two-metre radius) with cheap, throat-closing cologne every half-hour. If only he'd show some common courtesy and douse himself in expensive duty-free perfume like the rest of us.
You'll never starve on an Egyptair flight – despite a late-afternoon departure on this three-hour trip, we are served dinner. It arrives in a heartbreaking amount of plastic. Inside the blue box is chicken or beef, a chilled white roll, a slab of chocolate sponge, a salad of cucumber and olives, water, a container of mango juice and a triangle of La vache qui rit cheese beloved by Egyptians. The staff even fit in two rounds of tea and coffee on this alcohol-free flight.
ONE MORE THING
Egyptair's English-language website is a stultifying dinosaur designed – it would appear – to dull any of the joy of travel. And that's when it's working.
EgyptAir, which turns 90 this year, doesn't have the bling of its Gulf rivals, but is a worthy alternative that is often cheaper on this busy route to its home country. See egyptair.com
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Belinda Jackson travelled at her own expense.