Continuing on from Bahrain, I was eager to try another member of the Star Alliance: Egypt Air. I flew on Egypt Air’s 737-800 from Bahrain to Cairo in economy, which may have been better operated by one of their new A220’s.
I arrived at Bahrain International Airport two hours before my 8:15pm flight and made my way to the sole Egypt Air counter in the terminal. At the check-in, the agents were very friendly and asked whether I would prefer a window or aisle seat after checking my complimentary suitcase. The check-in process was extremely quick, and I was through security in under a total of 10 minutes time.
After making my way through the airport to gate 12A, I had a full two hours to kill before takeoff.
Fast forward, I returned to the gate for the boarding process, only to be confused by the screen projecting that the flight was destined for Riyadh, not Cairo. However, despite this confusion, boarding began on time. The agent called up all passengers at once, making for a mad rush to reach the front of the line. However, after scanning my boarding pass, I proceeded to a basement room where I camped out for an additional 45 minutes waiting for our flight.
Now nearly a half-hour late, the buses arrived to shuttle us to the remote parking spot of our ride of the day: the 737-800. Everyone quickly shuffled onto the bus, with every passenger fitting onto only one bus.
As the flight appeared over half empty, there was ample overhead bin storage, and I was lucky enough to have the full exit aisle to myself. As I checked my watch, the captain fired up the engines and raced to the runway, taking off over beautiful Bahrain in the evening
The plane was extremely clean and evidently well maintained. There was no dirt or debris in the isle or seatback, which can be uncommon on short-haul flights. Additionally, I was assigned seat 24A, landing myself extra legroom. This was the highlight of my flight as I had plenty of room to stretch out and nap.
The seats were evidently antiquated, still having a manual radio remote attached to the armrest. While they were comfortable, they are in need of refurbishment in the future.
The large issue with this flight was the lack of an in-flight entertainment system (IFE). The only entertainment provided was two overhead screens which played a cartoon for the full duration of the flight.
While this may be a case of cultural differences, the flight attendants came across as blunt and rude. When flagging one down to ask a question, he put his finger up as if to say one moment) and walked away, never to return. Furthermore, when trying to catch the attention of another flight attendant, she simply looked at me and walked by. This lack of flight attendant attention detracted from the quality of the flight.
However, the onboard meal was of surprising quality. Out of fish, chicken, and beef, I opted to try the chicken. I was served a large healthy meal consisting of a chicken breast, vegetables, salad, bread, and dessert. This was one of the more balanced meals I have had inflight, and it all tasted very good as well.
I also noticed that Egypt Air did not mention any sustainability initiatives in any of the flight materials. I suppose this is as they are one of the top 10 least environmentally friendly airlines.
As we made a smooth landing into Cairo, the lights of the largest Arabic city blurred together. While the flight was by no means terrible, Egypt Air has many areas to improve in. If this full-service airline added quality IFE and introduced better cabin service, I would gladly fly their short-haul route again. Additionally, I would love to see if the service and plane quality is different on their key long haul routes.