Oh EgyptAir. Such potential, but such a failure to deliver. My journey from Washington to Cairo featured a new aircraft with an objectively nice business class seat. But the soft product left me speechless.
EgyptAir 787-9 Business Class – A Flight To Forget
First, the good. EgyptAir deserves credit for its new business class seat, a reverse herringbone configuration that is both attractive and comfortable. The new seat marks a big step up from the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 business class seat. I wasn’t able to sleep (blame my nap before the flight and the noon ET departure) but the seat was comfortable.
Second, the flight attendants working the business class cabin were very nice. They were all older ladies and were warm and attentive…but they were given very little to work with.
EgyptAir is engaging in hygiene theatre (cost-cutting masquerading as a concern for public health) in a big way. Porcelain dishes, glasses, and silverware are gone. Meals are served in plastic or foil disposable containers. Cups and utensils are plastic. Menus are gone. Fresh juices are gone. Espresso is gone. Of course EgyptAir has always been a dry airline.
One thing the flight attendants could have done better is describe the entrees. A flight attendant came around before the flight simply asking, “Beef, chicken, or fish.” No further description (and I don’t think they were provided one, but they could have actually looked at the meals before turning the ovens on to warm them).
But it goes beyond that. The food tasted horrible too. I ordered fish for my main course and found it to be disgusting…and I’m usually good with most fish set before me. I could not even figure out what type of fish it was, but the fishy smell was overwhelming. The fettuccini pasta underneath it had only a few drops of sauce.
Breakfast was even worse. I was hoping for a hot egg dish, but nope. A tray of ice cold sandwiches and bread was plopped down before me with sugary yogurt, a bottle of orange juice, and a few chunks of fruit.
This is business class? The croissant was both nearly-frozen and stale (I took one bite and spit it out).
Then there was IFE and wi-fi. The selection of movies was extremely limited and wi-fi cost $23 per 100MB. Are you serious? Checking my email would wipe more than that…so I passed.
Don’t get me started on the lounge situation in Cairo when I landed (stay tuned for that…)
I think what gets me is that EgyptAir has so much potential. I praised EgyptAir highly last time I flew the carrier (from London to Cairo). The food used to be good. So was the presentation. It’s abjectly horrible right now. Wi-fi could be reasonably priced. Additional movie selections could be added. Service is so limited that unless you truly just want a lie-flat bed to sleep in, I cannot recommend EgyptAir. It’s not a business class product.
@ Matthew — Tragic? Seems a bit over-the-top. It’s a flight on an airplane and no one died.
Tragic in the missed potential. I absolutely stand by that. EgyptAir could be a really great airline.
Tragic, you say?
To quote Tom Waits…
“the heartbreak of psoriasis…
Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy…”
Not to pile on but when I first saw the headline I thought someone died on your flight. I’m no millennial snowflake but “tragic” seems to have more appropriate uses during the era in which we live.
Exactly my first thought when I read the headline! Did someone die? Did someone lose a pet?
No, the service wasn’t good. yeah, ok.
“..cost-cutting masquerading as a concern for public health..” Perfect description of that which is being done across all industries.
Worse than theater. The food is slightly worse (because of the terrible fish) than an economy class meal in other airlines. Think of it that you bought the seat real estate and a few AVOD movies.
EgyptAir still frightens me that the pilot will intentionally crash the plane even though that is very rare but has happened.
You just can’t help yourself…
How about Lufthansa (Eurowings) and the flight 9525 in 2015? It also happened.
Many of us prefer this type of food service as it minimizes both the risk of surface transmission and interactions between passengers and crew. Safety is cool.
And seriously, who would complain about a Otis Spunkmeyer blueberry muffin anyway?
Stay home – restaurants are open around the world serving multicourse meals. Time to move on.
Would you expect a cold wrapped sandwich for a meal on an intercontinental flight in business class? My expectations would be higher. Unless the seat cost is low (which I doubt), this would be a rip-off.
“Surface transmission”? What science can you cite to back this claim? Idiocy like this is why this reprehensible and pointless practice continues.
You have seen the future. and you will not complain about it either, lest you get social credit score demerits that will not allow you to fly at all.
This is kind of my experience all over Egypt. Things are either amazing or terrible. Most of the terrible places I blame on too aggressive marketing and not living up the the potential (usually higher end places). And when you have a great experience and go back the places often end up disappointing. Consistency is just not part of the landscape. But my what an amazing country.
I second the blatant misuse of the word “tragic”. Flights that crash are tragic. Concerts where kids are stampeded…tragic. Matthew being underwhelmed by the food on an Egyptair flight in which he was comfortable in business class? Not tragic.
Matthew, at least you should not be expecting much from Egyptair.
It’s much worse when is company that advertises something great and then …………….drop the ball.
I just finish a rountrip Newark/Sao Paulo on the United 777 Polaris and the soft product could not be worse: Champagne served on a plastic cup, dinner served all at once on a tray with subpar food and desert. Forget about fruit and cheese after dinner, forget about glasses, and believe it or not the pillow was actually a pillow case filled with an old blanket.
I’ve been an AAdvantage Executive Platinum for over a decade and wanted to give a shot to UA especially as they were offering reasonable Business Class fares, but my experience was a very poor one. By the way, to be fair, the Polaris seat is good, pretty much in comparison with the AA 777-300.
United should be ashamed of such a poor catering and service.
In United’s defense on the pillow, they are banned currently on flights to Brazil due to Covid. Not an airline issue. It’s a Govt. regulation. Fairly silly one I would say!
@Stuart: I searched all over the net and could not find a single article neither in English nor in Portuguese about the Brazilian Government banning pillows on planes because of Covid. Now, I did find an article in Portuguese where Anvisa (the equivalent of the CDC in Brazil) notified a US airline in 2020 (not mentioning name) because they found out they were not washing pillows between flights and that was alarming because of Covid. Are you sure that was not a decision made by United so they had an excuse?
https://liveandletsfly.com/united-airlines-brazil-business-class-review/. Matthew talks about it in this post.
@Stuart: seriously??? This is what a FA at his United flight told him. I said there is absolutely no article whatsoever talking about this pillow ban from the Brazilian authorities BUT there is an article saying the same Brazilian authority informed a US airline that they were not washing the pillows on their planes which generated concerns due to Covid. Thus, to me this is another United BS where they were cheap and dirty and not washing their pillows and now are blaming Brazil for not offering pillows. They probably saw they would get a fine for not being clean and decided to cut costs and blame Brazil.
PillowGate. In 2020 it created quite a storm in the blogger world when Matthew wrote the original post citing a memo to UA flight attendants. To this day, United continues not offering them on Brazil flights. However, reports are that other airlines are. You can google the various posts from different bloggers. and it really is quite funny.
I personally think it was an attempt by The Pillow Guy to gain more attention.
Matthew’s original post is here: https://liveandletsfly.com/brazil-bans-pillows/
Thanks Stuart. Indeed, I’ve seen the memo – of course UA is the only airline that doesn’t actually offer pillows…
Please leave me out of this Stuart
So it definitely proves there is no Brazilian ban to pillows on planes and United is the cheap one not offering them.
My reaction was that it seemed just like UA Polaris. On FT, people are always saying to overlook UA’s bad soft product because the hard product is fine, but I think good F&B is also important.
Well, maybe the soft product was bad but that is not an Egypt air thing at all at the moment…
I flew IAD ZRH United Polaris 2 weeks ago and that is basically what I got onboard as well: everything serves on one tray, wrapped in plastic, not much in terms of drink selection, no coffee or tea service. Good quality was basically on par with economy. And overall flight attendant not particularly attentive. So yes, COVID is an excuse out there but no need to go far to find abysmal service at the moment.
Wow that must have been rough.
Have you already tested both the Regency and the Grand Hyatt during Covid?
Which of these 2 would you recommend for Globalist members?
Matthew, I take your point, but gee, some of the stuff served on US carriers such as United is as bad if not worse.
My CA (not AC) flights between YUL and HAV served similar food, albeit with alcohol southbound. They didn’t have menu, either. I asked the FA how they were cooked, she went back to galley, came back with 2 main plates to show me! Sure it was a culture shock to me, but appreciated. It was pre departure when they came to take dinner order, pre covid.
Matthew, at least you had a meal at Polaris lounge before this. The food at HAV lounge was horrible, and breakfast on CA didn’t include hot dishes nor booze.
Agreed, this was very much a first world problem.
Sounds and looks like my last flight on UA from FRA to EWR in Polaris Business Class. Horrible catering all under the Covid precaution premise. Food looked horrible and also tasted bad and lots and lots of plastic cups.
No, nobody died. But business class is way more expensive than other flight classes and there’s an expectation that the service and food will match the dollars paid here. They didn’t. I recently flew biz class round trip from LA to London and it was worse in many ways than the experience Mr. Klint had. I’ll save my money next time.
You ordered fish on Egyptair? That’s like ordering sushi at LaGuardia, lobster at a diner or using the bathroom at a bodega. 😉
Fair enough, but I knew the beef would be massacred so I should have ordered the chicken.
Fish is a dangerous choice in any second-rate restaurant – but on Egypt Air, a courageous choice!
EgyptAir does let you bring booze on the plane and drink it.
I don’t need to read your Cairo airport lounge review to know where it’s going. Truly one of the worst “premium” offerings on the globe.
Terrible-looking catering indeed.