Cairo stopover programme on Egypt Air?

Old Oct 25, 2010, 8:20 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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All I can say is... don't bother!

I arrived in CAI yesterday and boy, was it a stressful experience trying to get the complimentary day room! Wish I hadn't tried... but I thought, some horizontal rest during my 7 hour layover would do me some good. At the end, I wasn't too sure whether all the stress was worth it.

Initially I had wanted to go for a short tour of the pyramids. Approach a staff of Karnak Tour and he refused to let me go on one. Because I hold a passport from a country that doesn't require an entry visa, this means my passport needs to be stamped when I exit the airport and upon re-checking in. I was told that I needed to be back at the airport 2 and a half hours (!) before my scheduled flight at 12:30 pm. That's the rule, no exceptions. The tour would depart at 7 am and return by 11 am - insufficient time he declared. Had I required a visa, this would've been no problem as he could drop us all back at the gate at 11 am.

Anyway, I was disinclined to argue. I've seen the pyramids about five years ago anyway, so decided to get a complimentary day room instead.

The Egyptair counter was manned by 3 staff, each of whom took turns going in and out of the counter for some unknown reason. I assumed it was to check room availability.

Yes you hand over your passport, and pray the staff doesn't misplace any of them or accidentally swaps yours with some arriving passenger from Sudan.

There are absolutely no signs of what you're supposed to do. Had it not been capdail2006's earlier and godsent description to demystify the whole process, the experience could've been a lot worse.

Why the staff couldn't anticipate the arrival of passengers with pre-filled forms, go figure. Surely they have the itineraries of all passengers travelling on their planes. A lot of time (in my case, 1 hour 45 minutes) wasted just standing there and waiting for my paperwork to be done, as the staff ferociously fill in pieces of paper... typical overwhelmed and inefficient modus operandi of Egyptair.

After they think you've prevailed in your waiting, someone will call your name and shove a filled accommodation form into your hands. You then go through immigration and go outside, only to wait (again!) for the Iberotel shuttle bus. And when it gets filled, the shuttle bus will trudge to the nearby Iberotel and all passengers from that bus will congregate around a hapless reception staff, wanting to be assigned a room as soon as possible. By which, more time (in my case, another 45 minutes) was wasted. And my fellow passengers were turning annoyed and making a scene for having waited so long. I actually don't blame them.

The hotel manager came out to supervise the check-in process. I mentioned to the hotel manager that he should look at staffing up reception so people can more expediently check-in in the morning, when Egyptair is expected to bring bus loads of passengers to his doorstep. He immediately denied it's the hotel's fault, claiming Egyptair had an allotment of 20 rooms, but chose to send double the number of passengers his way! Someone truly had screwed up in the planning process, but clearly the hotel manager's finger was pointed towards the airline.

Breakfast was like a zoo, with lots of Chinese tourists scooping food like there was no tomorrow.

And when I got to the room, it reinforced in me why I had even bothered. The room was old and dingy, with decrepit furniture, broken wardrobe, worn out carpets and a very badly stained bath tub. No point saying more... just go to Tripadvisor and read about the horrors.

In the end, I just had a quick breakfast, shower and half hour lie-in before deciding to head back to the airport.

Really not worth all the effort. Never again.
carrotjuice is offline  
Old Nov 7, 2010, 12:35 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingPharaoh
Well lets look at it this way:

6:00 am - arrive
7:00 am - Clear customs, pick up luggage etc, and be outside the airport (it wont necessarily take an hour, but this hypothetically speaking).
!
i am also int in stopover in cairo,
i dont understand this bit-why do you need to pick up your luggage and ck in again later if you are on a stopover..
bryanwallace is offline  
Old Nov 7, 2010, 4:55 pm
  #48  
 
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just trying to understand all the info on here:

when you arrive in cairo-you can choose either to take a hotel for free or a karnak tour (pay) - in both cases is it right you dont need the 15$ visa??

if you take a hotel-you can also take a karnak tour from the hotel..

are the karnak tours the same price from hotel and from airport??
does anyone know rates for families?(2adults ,3 little kids)
is it just as easy and cheaper to hire a taxi and go yourself or do you miss out on a lot?

and last thing-what happens to your luggage?do you pick it up and drop it off somewhere,or does it just stay in transit??

cheers!!!!!!!!!
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 1:26 pm
  #49  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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The Karnak tour prices are the same from the hotel vs. from the airport. They have the same brochure with the same prices listed in both locations. If anyone has done the tours with Karnak as well as a private taxi driver they can tell you whether there's a difference in price or other aspects of the visit.

Your luggage generally stays in transit in Cairo (you don't see your luggage until your eventual arrival point) unless you asked otherwise.

Regarding the visa to enter the country, it may depend on your nationality. Many nationalities are given permission to enter the country for up to 24 hours without a visa (and leaving their passports behind at the airport with EgyptAir).





Originally Posted by bryanwallace
just trying to understand all the info on here:

when you arrive in cairo-you can choose either to take a hotel for free or a karnak tour (pay) - in both cases is it right you dont need the 15$ visa??

if you take a hotel-you can also take a karnak tour from the hotel..

are the karnak tours the same price from hotel and from airport??
does anyone know rates for families?(2adults ,3 little kids)
is it just as easy and cheaper to hire a taxi and go yourself or do you miss out on a lot?

and last thing-what happens to your luggage?do you pick it up and drop it off somewhere,or does it just stay in transit??

cheers!!!!!!!!!
capdail2006 is offline  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 1:35 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Correction: Karnak Travel's brochure does not list the prices, only tour duration.

I scanned the brochure that shows the tour options with expected duration departing from the airport or the nearby airport hotel. Here are the links:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/7z31fj

http://www.sendspace.com/file/cjw60d
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Old Apr 11, 2011, 2:57 am
  #51  
 
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Looking at flying from ADD-IST via CAI. Does MS offer a free stop over like other airlines do? I was hoping for a few days before continuing on to IST.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old Jun 30, 2011, 6:44 pm
  #52  
 
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This has been a very helpful thread. I will be heading through Cairo Airport next week with a 10 hour layover. Anyone have any updated information?
Nevsky is offline  
Old Jul 13, 2011, 3:01 am
  #53  
 
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transit visit?

Hi every one, i listened that Egypt airline offer a package of 1-3 days visit of egypt during *transit of travelling. I am travelling from Italy to Pakistan.. so can i get package (visit of egypt) offered by airline. does anybody know about this??

* fly from Italy to Egypt + visit of Egypt + then fly to Pakistan
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 1:41 am
  #54  
 
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Very helpfull thread. But too late for me. When I flew from JFK to BKK via CAI some days ago, I organized a dayroom at the Radisson blue Heliopolis on my own account. Had been 50 Dollars,so not too bad.
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Old Nov 3, 2011, 2:09 pm
  #55  
 
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As of Sep 2011 the free day room program is still running.

As a business class passenger I had to wait in line for 1 hr to get my hotel papers. The line wasn't long, yet the staff was sloooooow. Much longer line for economy class.

The city tour wasn't free, but well worth it. The Karnak Tour office is open 24/7, right near the Egypt Air desk. I reserved a private tour online well in advance, but still had to wait quite long at the office for my tour guide/driver to arrive at the airport. Still it's better to make arrangements in advance. Just tell them when/where you want to go, no deposit required. The airport office tel: 002-011-4374369 open24/7, or email [email protected]. OR [email protected]. They speak good English.

If you have a short layover, then probably don't bother. If you have a long layover (and maybe an intentional one like mine), book a tour in advance. Once you arrive at the airport, get the papers for your free day room at the Egypt Air desk, go to the Karnak Tour office for your city tour, ask the driver to drop you off at the hotel after the tour, rest and maybe take a shower in your free day room, take the free shuttle bus back to the airport.
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Old Nov 3, 2011, 2:14 pm
  #56  
 
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btw you do have to leave your passport/boarding pass at the airport. No need to purchase any tourist/transit visa. When the Egypt Air/Karnak Tour representative escorts you through immigration control, the staff at the desk will collect your passport and boarding pass. When you return to the airport later, go to the Egypt Air window and collect your boarding pass/passport.
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Old Nov 17, 2011, 9:48 am
  #57  
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Didnt see anyone confirm if award tickets were eligible?

And option is only FREE hotel, not tour anymore?

How about voluntary/forced layover?

If taking free hotel, quick tips on price for doing private pyramids tour? 2 pax.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:52 pm
  #58  
jso
 
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Hi all.

I am flying SSH-CAI-CMN (so domestic connection) on a combination of Y & J.

a) Do I get the free hotel room - I will pick flights so I get there with a 8+ hour stop over
b) what if I redeem with points
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 10:14 am
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I just flew with Egypt Air in Dec 2013. I had a 9.5 hour layover. I had called the airport office (+20 111 437 4369) beforehand and they told me I didnt need to make any reservation for the tour. When I arrived, I went to the egypt air/Karnak tour desk in Terminal 3 (they are right next to each other). They took my passport and organized a tour + hotel room. I originally had given them $60, but the attendant later gave me $25 back. They said the price depends on how many people do the tour. Since a lot of people were on the tour, we only had to pay $35. They kept the passport and we went through immigration and to the pyramids and sphinx. Then we went to the oil/perfume shop and after the hotel where we were able to shower and eat a really good meal. Then we went back to the airport where we got our passports back. Was really great!
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by imoto
I just flew with Egypt Air in Dec 2013.
What a time machine

Others would argue the more correct would be 1913
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