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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:43 pm   #1
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Guide to BA at Cairo airport - ex-CAI trips

This guide is intended for those brave of us who embark on ex-Cairo trips to parts of the world in view of cheap Business/First class tickets, and want to safely transfer B2B or stay at Le Meridien overnight.

Arrivals:

Both BA and QR arrive/depart form newly built Terminal 2 at Cairo International Airport (CAI).

Follow the signs for arrivals. Keep moving down the long corridor with moving walkways at the end of which, slightly to the left, are 2 escalators down to immigration hall. At the end of escalators could be waiting your pre-arranged hotel pickup/guide, who would take care of you, but if you, like me, are staying at the Le Meridien at CAI you don't need that at all.

For most British/EU citizens, you will need to have a visa or you can buy one at the airport valid for single entry. Multiple entry visa in advance costs around $50, whilst a single entry at the airport is $25, so you make your sums.
@IAN-UK gave up on multi-entry visas when they stopped the in-country extension system. Position the stamp carefully on your passport page if you expect to make more visits: I am there frequently and the visa sticker plus the immigration stamps take up an awful lot of passport space.

If you have a visa, go to immigration queue.

If you need to buy one, turn sharply right after the escalator and proceed to the booths at the far end of the immigration hall. The one on the left was the most efficient IME, but other users suggested all counters are good. Have $25 ready, no questions asked. They do accept Euros and Pounds, exchange rate given is the official one, but takes ever so slightly longer to process.

Now that you have your visa go to immigration queue.

After immigration you pick up your luggage and go through customs. If there are touts bothering you a simple 'la shukraan' (no thanks) does the job fine.

As you exit the arrivals there will be taxi scammers waiting, but ignore them.

Exit the terminal building and cross the carpark, turning right before the departures building of T2, at the end of the building take left, there is a road going slightly down. As you turn corner you should see T3 building. Keep walking straight along T3 building. In the middle of T3 is a bridge connecting with Le Meridien hotel.

Now you have 2 options (outlined in the schematic below):

1. Enter T3 building (security etc...) and at the far end is an elevator that takes you to the bridge to Le meridien. At the end of the bridge take a lift all the way down again.

2. Turn right approx 1/3 of the length of T3 building, descend the stairs, cross the carpark, cross the 2 way road and you are at the entrance to Le Meridien


Departures:

Reverse your direction of arrivals, entering the departures T2 building, pass initial pre-check-in security(beware of official helpers, who will take your luggage and skip the queue for you but will ask $2-5, then check-in.

BA check in desks are pretty much in front of you as you exit the security. Club on the left hand-side. QR desks are right next to BA, with Economy left Business/First right hand side.

Then upstairs on escalators (these are to your left) to reach emmigration. No fast track anywhere here.

After that you cross yet another bridge to reach the T2 ARRIVALS building where you where the night before, yet another security check. Now for lounge access, turn immediately right after the security, before the duty free, follow the long corridor at the end of which you will pass a different security station screening but in the opposite direction (as if exiting secure area), turning left behind the corner, crossing the staff cafeteria and entering lounge in the opposite corner of the next room (No, I am not kidding, it's like a labyrinth).

You have made it, now relax in the luxurious well appointed lounge of CAIRO T2.

BACK-2-BACK GUIDE:

OPTION 1 - TERMINAL TRANSIT
Yet to come

OPTION 2 - EXIT AND RE-ENTRY

Originally Posted by dakaix
Be aware that I held the Egyptian multi-entry visa and so skipped the VOA desks; plan another 10-15 mins in if you need a visa on arrival.

Queues were largely the same both times I went through. Passport control is probably the biggest variable here, there was virtually no queue when I arrived, however if you get held up it might not be the case for you. The below times assume you're travelling J, and using the priority checkin desk (239). The Y check-in lines are a zoo.

Landed: QR1301 Monday 16:29L
Off Aircraft: 16:38
Passport Control: 16:46
--- walk across road, dodging taxi touts ---
Check-in security: 16:49
Check-in: 16:55
Departure immigration: 17:10
Departure security: 17:15
Airside: 17:20
Lounge: 17:22
Total Time: 44 minutes.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Cairo guide.pdf (160.0 KB, 30 views)

Last edited by nufnuf77; Jul 16, 17 at 3:42 pm
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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:45 pm   #2
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Guide to arrivals:
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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:48 pm   #3
  
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This is great, thanks for pulling this together nufnuf77. It's an easy walk when you know the way and far better than taking the shuttle from the Le Meridien hotel.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:50 pm   #4
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This is great, thanks for pulling this together nufnuf77. It's an easy walk when you know the way and far better than taking the shuttle from the Le Meridien hotel.
Exactly, I remember my first arrival at CAI at past midnight not knowing where to go. This should hopefully ease the nerves of some of fellow FTers.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:51 pm   #5
  
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Fantastic guide, thanks so much for taking the time to do this especially as I've got three ex CAI trips upcoming.......
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Old Jul 16, 17, 12:54 pm   #6
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Fantastic guide, thanks so much for taking the time to do this especially as I've got three ex CAI trips upcoming.......
Thanks!

I have done 3 so far with 3 more at least coming up.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 1:02 pm   #7
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Worth pointing out an immigration card is required. If not distributed on board they are available in the immigration hall but may require a bit of hunting to find one.

Le Meridien is a good hotel and an excellent Starpoints redemption.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 1:05 pm   #8
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Worth pointing out an immigration card is required. If not distributed on board they are available in the immigration hall but may require a bit of hunting to find one.

Le Meridien is a good hotel and an excellent Starpoints redemption.
Absolutely, I stayed on points before 3000/4000 depending on season i suppose. There are also one good corporate rate for employees of german electronics company that works a treat as my friend can confirm.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 1:30 pm   #9
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Very good, I can retire shortly! [Including a Common Route for the Common People presumably?]
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Old Jul 16, 17, 1:52 pm   #10
  
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I documented B2B timings in the QR CAI thread (also in T2) earlier this year, quoted below as an additional datapoint for those doing this on BA!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakaix View Post
Be aware that I held the Egyptian multi-entry visa and so skipped the VOA desks; plan another 10-15 mins in if you need a visa on arrival.

Queues were largely the same both times I went through. Passport control is probably the biggest variable here, there was virtually no queue when I arrived, however if you get held up it might not be the case for you. The below times assume you're travelling J, and using the priority checkin desk (239). The Y check-in lines are a zoo.

Landed: QR1301 Monday 16:29L
Off Aircraft: 16:38
Passport Control: 16:46
--- walk across road, dodging taxi touts ---
Check-in security: 16:49
Check-in: 16:55
Departure immigration: 17:10
Departure security: 17:15
Airside: 17:20
Lounge: 17:22
Total Time: 44 minutes.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 2:01 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by dakaix View Post
I documented B2B timings in the QR CAI thread (also in T2) earlier this year, quoted below as an additional datapoint for those doing this on BA!
Thanks, My B2B was planned around using the transit facility at T2, avoiding exit and reentry of the terminal building or having to get visa. But I will iclude this in the guide too
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Old Jul 16, 17, 3:37 pm   #12
  
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Originally Posted by nufnuf77 View Post
..If you need to buy one, turn sharply right after the escalator and proceed to the booths at the far end of the immigration hall. The one on the left is most efficient, have $25 ready, no questions asked. They do accept Euros and Pounds, but exchange rate given is poor...
I gave up on multi-entry visas when they stopped the in-country extension system. So my addition to your excellent guide is to position the stamp carefully on your passport page if you expect to make more visits: I am there frequently and the visa sticker plus the immigration stamps take up an awful lot of passport space.

My only quibble is with the visa payment. The exchange rates offered at the airport bank guichet are the official ones. It would not be at all efficient to purchase USD bills in the UK in order to pay the fee: if you have left-over bills in your wallet that's another story....

I'm not sure it's wise to single one position out as being most efficient: you'll choke it off with FTers following your guide I just head for the closest manned counter with no queue, or short queue: the purchase of the visa takes no time at all.


And for those who don't have Starwood points and baulk at USD150+ for an overnight stay, there's an airport Novotel for well under half that rate. A free pick-up and drop-off can be arranged (you can get across the car parks to it, but it's a bit of a hike and not recommended).

Last edited by IAN-UK; Jul 16, 17 at 3:47 pm Reason: the gem about the novotel :)
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Old Jul 16, 17, 3:40 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
I gave up on multi-entry visas when they stopped the in-country extension system. So my addition to your excellent guide is to position the stamp carefully on your passport page if you expect to make more visits: I am there frequently and the visa sticker plus the immigration stamps take up an awful lot of passport space.

My only quibble is with the visa payment. The exchange rates offered at the airport bank guichet are the official ones. It would not be at all efficient to purchase USD bills in the UK in order to pay the fee: if you have left-over bills in your wallet that's another story....

I'm not sure it's wise to single one position out as being most efficient: you'll choke it off with FTers following your guide I just head for the closest manned counter with no queue: the purchase of the visa takes no time at all.
Thanks, will update as suggested.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 4:52 pm   #14
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nufnuf77 View Post
Thanks, My B2B was planned around using the transit facility at T2, avoiding exit and reentry of the terminal building or having to get visa. But I will iclude this in the guide too
Sure, however the transit route is potentially more risky in T2 as you're entirely dependent on the police officer in the transit lounge making contact with one of BA's check-in staff in a timely manner. You then have to wait for the check-in agent to come and deliver the boarding card... which could take 20 mins, 40 mins or 2 hours.

This is probably less of an issue for BA given the schedule currently has a couple of hours turnaround time, but would still be worth making people aware of.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 4:56 pm   #15
  
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Good old Cairo. Mental place. Check in is indeed a bit of a zoo.
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