Airport and Luggage, Cairo
If you are going to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel or wherever , Do not take the taxis that park inside the airport , they will charge you more because they pay 5LE for each hour of parking , of course they will claim that they parked for 4 hours waiting for you!!!
so simply , take the free bus from the terminal to outside of the airport .
As soon as we landed at the Cairo International Airport, hassles begin.
We followed other tourists to the queau which is supposed to be the immigration officer. After about 5 minutes, I can see those who were at the immigration window was turned away and asked to go to another cubicle which is a little bit away which looks like a currency exchange. I have discovered that they were asked to pay on that window the US$15 for the tourist visa and then go back to the end of the line to have a tourist visa sticker stamped by the same immigration officers.
There are no signs or direction that paying visa is separate from stamping of visa. I seldom see this procedure in other countries. In my opinion, it is a waste of time and money. This can be done by the same immigration officer and not from the currency exchange window. We'll, in my opinion, the trick there is....you go to that window to pay and also have to change your money from dollars to local currency. Two birds in one shot!
In fairness to people I mentioned above, I know they are just doing their job. My guess is that this procedure is implemented to avoid cheating and corruption. If not eliminated, at least minimized.
Inspite all this, I still love Egypt and still like the people and am coming back for another tour. At least we already know what to expect next time.
As soon as we are done with the hassles at the immigration and have collected our luggages, here comes another one. A woman approached us. Do you need a taxi? Thinking that she is an employee of the airport (because she is wearing an ID), I said yes. Ok follow me, she said?
We followed her to the second floor by taking the elevator. She endorsed us to the guy in one small office. And then the story goes.....
He will provide us a taxi to our hotel for such an overprice fare which he said is cheap for 250 pounds. But he said before doing that he is offering a tour of Cairo for another overprice fee. I just did not think twice. I said no, and left with all our luggages.
Went back to the 1st floor to find a taxi. The hassles did not end there.....See my next Warning! There are too many, I tell you.
No matter what happens I still love Egypt and still like the people.
Make Sure the Driver Knows the Way to Terminal 1.
I requested the front desk staff of my hotel, Pharaoh Egypt Hotel to call a taxi/van to go to the airport for our departure. 100 Egyptian pounds is high price to take us to the airport. I agreed anyways. He did call a van with a driver and as soon as we are seated comfortably, I told the driver we are going to Terminal 1 for EgyptAir. He said a simple answer, 'Yes'.
Now here comes the problem. He dropped us at Terminal 2 (which I did not know it is Terminal 2) and left. We went inside the airport and found out that EgyptAir does not fly from there. We went back outside to call another taxi but cannot find one. Approached a guy with an ID and told us shuttle bus is coming in few minutes to take us to Terminal 1. It came after 30 minutes. Whewwww! We arrived at Terminal 1 a little over an hour before our flight. Thank God we are here, I told my family as we lined up a long queau to check in.
Do you think the hassle ended there? The answer is No. See my Warning about the Ground Staff of EgyptAir at the check-in counter as this particular incident is the one thing I cannot easily forget.
Its bad, very bad...
Our trip started with an interesting time in the Cairo airport. The best way to describe the luggage retrieval process at the Cairo airport is to imagine 400 kids diving for 100 pieces of candy when a piñata breaks open!! Even though we had the tour agency “meet and assist” person, it was chaos!! Surprise - one of our bags was missing. Someone mistakenly walked off with a bag that looked like his or hers. We thought for sure that it would not be found. We did some shopping for that night, purchased some new clothes, prayed about our lost luggage and it was returned to us two days later…A great lesson of God’s goodness for us.
It was the worst that happened to me in my 4-country tour late last year. My trip in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus were almost all hassle-free. The incident that happened at the Check-in Counter at Cairo International Airport - Terminal 1 is something that I cannot easily forget.
We arrived at Terminal 1 only over an hour before our flight due to the mistake of the hotel driver, and the unhelpfulness of the EgyptAir Office Staff in Terminal 2.
My/our confirmed flights on my hand. Gave it to one of the ground staff when I had my turn after a long queau. I also gave our passports and all our Aeroplan Cards. He seemed to enter all the information and handed me our Boarding Passes. Although we are in a hurry to go for immigration formalities, I checked our boarding pass for accuracy. There was a mistake. The guy changed our confirmed seat . They put my daughter on a seat at the back very far from us. I told him the mistake and asked him to give us our confirmed seat. What he did....he gave it to the other ground staff on the next counter and the guy there gave it to the next and ended up to the hands of the supervisor. The supervisor said to wait for few minutes as they will fix it which happened to be 30 minutes. Do you think it happened....No, it didn't!
I was the third one arguing with the EgyptAir Ground Staff. Before us, there was an older guy and another older husband and wife yelling for some reason regarding their checking in. I have been flying via EgyptAir several times several years ago and have high regard on this airline.
Why is the customer service went down that low. Full of inaccuracies. I wrote the Chairman of Egyptair in Cairo to report the incident and have remedial measures. His/her representative wrote back after a month and told me it will not happen again. How can I be sure it is not happening again? Do I write them again and ask for feedback? Do you have any suggestion so that same incident can be minimized, if not eliminated?
I was whisked through Cairo airport, both ways, but the impression I had was that it was pretty chaotic. It's a very modern airport, but.......
You and your luggage have to go through a scanner to even get into the check-in area; there was only one, and there was a very, very long queue which we jumped, courtesy of our bossy guide.........trouble is, that slowed down the queue even more, and I imagine it's entirely normal practice.
I found the check-in area very crowded, and the signing confusing. Signs are in English as well as Arabic, but the noise and sheer number of people made it difficult.
I think, if one is flying from Cairo, it would be very sensible indeed to get to the airport well in advance of one's flight time.
Very disorderly and aggressive. Went back to the first floor to take a taxi after a local woman took us to the second floor which really made me upset for a minute because I told her I need a taxi to my hotel. It is okey because they are doing their business but not to the extent that they are misleading foreigners.
Now, here comes the 1st Floor. I was approaching a round counter in the middle of the airport lounge to get a taxi. They saw us coming and around 10 men aggressively try to take the cart of luggages from me and at the same time offering a taxi. I ignored him and went to the counter instead. I was talking to the person and almost all the other 10 people are also talking to me all at the same time. Now, I made the decision and have my receipt and heading to the taxi outside with one driver. Before we left the counter, the person in the counter and the driver who first approached us were arguing. I feel sorry for them but there is nothing much I can do. It is a pity.
I still love Egypt and still like the people.
Our hotel driver dropped us at Terminal 2 for our departure flight by mistake....or due to his negligence or carelessness. It happened.
We were supposed to be flying via EgyptAir from Cairo International Airport Terminal 1 bound for JFK Airport New York on that day. I tried hard to calm down as we are running out of time to check it at Terminal 1. I went around Terminal 2 to seek assistance. I found EgyptAir office and asked if they have shuttle bus between terminals. That guy looked blank....and just said, No. How can this people sit there for customer service and not doing their job. I told him a very short story about the drivers' mistake and that we are flying via Egyptair and that is why I chose their office for help, but to no avail. Not many employees can speak and understand English - not even the Security Guards.
In Cairo Airport, there is no room for mistakes or you will miss your flight. I have had bad experiences with at least 5 airport employees at different ocassion at a very short stay in Egypt.
I do not want this to happen to you.
No, matter what happened, I am still coming back to Egypt as I still love this country.
1. Know your terminal. We were flying from Cairo to JFK in New York and those flights leave from Terminal 1. Our driver left us at Terminal 3. They have free shuttle buses from the terminals right outside at the beginning of the building. Be sure you get off at the right terminal. The bus makes a stop in between at a small bus depot area that is very far from Terminal 1. You also have to walk for a few minutes from the drop off area once you do get there.
2. At most airports, the boarding passes are issued in the main area of the terminal. Not here. You must walk to the end of the terminal where your airline is located and look for the area with the xray machines. Find the guard. Your name is on a 1980s type dot matrix printed list, the guard looks at your passport, checks you off the list and THEN you put your bags on the x ray machine and go through to the next area. You get on another line and then you get your boarding pass. You will have to go through at least 2 - 3 more xray machines and checks before you reach your gate.
3. Our flight was leaving from Gate 5. This was the final check point before we would be able to sit down and wait for our flight. There are no restrooms in this very small area. Sit near the entrance because this room fills up fast. And if you buy water at any of the stores in the airport, you will not be allowed to bring it into this area. So use the restroom and drink your drink before you enter. Also, your bag will go through another xray machine AND it will be checked visually at this point so make sure your undies are in good shape - LOL!
4. When they tell you to be at the airport 3 hours early, it's good advice. This was the most ridiculous airport I have ever been in. There's no rhyme or reason to why it's set up this way so be prepared to deal with lots of nonsense on your way to home sweet home.
Cairo Airport is a little confusing. OK, a LOT confusing, no one seems to know where things are or have the right answers, directing you from one place to to another and back again.
Compounding that a policeman, in full uniform, hit us up for money to allow us into one of the airport terminals. It started off with him standing in our path with a request to show passport, after we obliged he asked for money -- still holding our passports -- and said we couldn't get through without paying him basheesh (in this case, a bribe). My traveling companion was going to give him a 10 pound note, he saw 30 in his hand, and grabbed it all (the last of our Egyptian money). We asked for our passports and walked through an entry we'd previously walked in and out of several times trying to find our gate a couple of days previous.
It is confusing sometimes to know which terminal to go to. Cairo airport is undergoing reconstruction, and people talk of "mattar el Gadeem" [Old Airport] and "Mattar el Jadeed" [New Airport]. However signs point to Terminal 1, 2 and 3.
We went to meet a friend coming from Beirut on Middle East Airways., and headed for Terminal 1. There we could find no flight registered on the board and could find nobody at the information desk.. Eventually we found a man with a label round his neck who told us to go to the other airport which is where Egypt Air flights are. Sure enough,after driving there to Terminal 3 ,we found the flight shown as landed.
The best thing to do is ask at the parking ticket booth, the men there seem to know exactly which airlines use which terminal.
i just wanted to let you know the strange experience we had at cairo airport on a flight to sharm. firstly, the flight was delayed for ages, but thats nothing strange. then, there was this big black abandonded handbag, just lying in the corner with no one around it so we said to the (many) men with guns about and they were like 'yea yea we know we'll get it later' and left it. obviously i was freaking out a little being from northern ireland. then the plane eventually landed and they needed to get us on quickly so they just handed out random boarding cards to everyone (my name was mr paterson) and hustled us on the plane. no one checked passports, i was blatantly not mr paterson, and there was one too many people for the flight and someone had to sit on an air hostess seat!!
having said that , the views were amazing.
On arrival at the airport, if you are alone or with one person you may be approached by a man with an official looking badge saying he is with some Tourism board or hotel chain but in reality he is a tout for a hotel. He along with taxi drivers are touts for local hotels and they get a commission for getting you to their hotel. If you dont feel comfortable tell the taxi drivers to let you out at Midan Tahir as there are tons of hotels in the area.
I was passing from Cairo in order to go to Bangkok, Thailand. My flight was: Athens-Cairo-Bangkok-Cairo-Athens. I was travelling with Egypt Air. We were supposed to stay in a hotel during the night. Apart from the fact that they delayed it for 3 hours, they did not offer transportation for the hotel. Finally, about 3 o' clock at night we took a taxi and went to the hotel. They said this was due to their national holiday.
Next day we flied to Bangkok without problems.
But after my trip was completed, ( I had a closed date, properly booked) and went to the airport to check in, I was told that the flight was overbooked (oops, again because of their national holiday!!!). They did not pay any damages, refused to put us (I was travelling with my ex boyfriend) in the next flight, saying it was also overbooked!!! The only solution was to book, and of course pay from our pocket, another ticket for Athens. (we chose the turkish airlines, which was fine). Concluding: beware of Egypt Air!!!