In Washington, the EgyptAir agents could not print out my boarding pass from Cairo to London, forcing me to visit the EgyptAir transit counter in Cairo. That not only took 30 minutes of my time, but nearly torpedoed my trip.
Transit In Cairo: EgyptAir Staff Think I’m Crazy
After landing at 3:55am in Cairo, I walked to the transit counter, which is located immediately before the immigration counters. All staff members were male and most ignored me, but one agent at the far end of the counter motioned for me to approach him.
I explained that I was in transiting from Washington Dulles and needed to collect my onboard boarding pass for London. He took my passport and pulled up my itinerary on his screen.
Then his jaw dropped. Literally.
AGENT: You began in Los Angeles?
AGENT: You go to London, then Tokyo, then Bangkok?
AGENT: Why you go this way?
ME: I like to fly.
AGENT: Why not go direct to Bangkok?
ME: No direct flights from Los Angeles.
AGENT: But why so many stops?
ME: I wanted to fly EgyptAir and ANA on this trip.
He then asked for my COVID-19 PCR test. I presented it and after examining it, he said it was too old (it was less than 48 hours old) to enter Japan. I told him I was not entering Japan. He then reminded me I have a 20 hour layover there. But I told him I would just be transiting.
Next he asked for proof of purchase of my quarantine test in London. I again explained that I was just transiting London.
He told me to take a seat.
His colleague finally called me over and explained that my PCR test was too old. I chose not to argue…never argue with an airline employee holding your onward boarding pass.
Instead, I told him it will be no problem for me to get a COVID-19 test in London during my seven-hour layover. That way, I’d have a fresh test to enter Thailand with.
(In reality, the rule states that the test must not be more than 72 hours old from your first port of departure. Even though I flew with so many stops, because they were all layovers, not stopovers, the 72-hour clock began 72 hours prior to my departure from Los Angeles)
After conferring with more colleagues, the agent issued my boarding pass for London and I was finally on way upstairs. He also offered me a cup of coffee, which was a kind gesture:
He still said I was “crazy” for such a “long” itinerary.
I was really hoping to avoid the transit counter in Cairo because the fewer people I have to explain this trip to, the better…but it all worked out fine in the end. Barely. And I even experienced Egyptian hospitality with a strong cup of coffee.
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