Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
Review: Cairo Airport Lounge Terminal 2
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
Review: Royal Jordanian Lounge Amman Airport
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles
It’s funny how this transit worked out. Initially I was supposed to arrive in Cairo at 5:55AM, while my connection on a separate ticket on Royal Jordanian was scheduled to depart at 10:15AM.
Then a few days before the flight I got notice of a schedule change on my Cairo to Amman flight, which was now instead departing at 12:10PM. So I was dreading the layover of six hours, though as “luck” would have it, my Toronto to Cairo flight was delayed by over three hours, meaning my connection would only be three hours.
So you’ve gotta love when stuff goes sufficiently wrong that it actually goes right. 😉
Upon deplaning we were driven to Terminal 3 (which is primarily used by EgyptAir), and from there I needed to get to Terminal 2 (which is the airport’s newest terminal). I explained the crazy transit process in a previous post, so I recommend checking that out for the full story.
To briefly summarize, there’s no organized airside transit offered between Terminals 3 and 2, meaning you have to clear immigration, take a bus to the other terminal, check-in, and then clear immigration and go through security again.
However, they have a back-alley airside transit opportunity, which involves talking to immigration and then bribing a guy to personally drive you to the other terminal.
So after sitting and waiting for a while, a guy escorted me through a bunch of back doors so we could get to the car that was waiting for me on the tarmac.
Then he drove me to the other terminal.
By the way, the new Terminal 2 at Cairo Airport is really impressive — it even has an A380 gate.
From there he took me through a bunch of back doors, exchange words with several security/immigration officers, and eventually I found myself in the check-in area of Terminal 2.
Again, I can’t emphasize enough how gorgeous the new Terminal 2 is, especially in comparison to Terminal 1, which I’ve primarily used in the past.
After being escorted back airside (given that I had technically entered Egypt and gone landside, but didn’t have a stamp to prove it, meaning I also had to be escorted back), I found myself in the main departures area. While the check-in area of the new Terminal 2 seems to be mostly completed, there’s still a lot of work being done airside, as you can see below.
Just past the security checkpoint I turned left and followed the signage towards the lounge. There’s a single lounge in Terminal 2 which is shared by all airlines operating out of the terminal.
I felt like I had to walk through a maze to get to the lounge. Perhaps the most bizarre part was that there was a metal detector when walking between the terminal and the lounge. When I approached the metal detector I looked at the security officer in a confused way, and he motioned for me to just walk through the metal detector with my bags. Hmmm…
Once past that, it was just a couple more turns, and I eventually found myself in the lounge.
There was a small reception desk, and then immediately the lounge’s main room. There were maybe a couple dozen leather chairs in the main room, as well as the buffet.
There was also a staircase that was roped off, so I’m not sure where it went, exactly. The terminal is still partly under construction, so perhaps there will eventually be something down there.
Then behind the main room of the lounge were two smaller rooms, which were roughly the same size. The rooms had several couches, in addition to chairs right by the windows.
The room to the right was similar.
These two rooms had a view of the gates. As you can see, Terminal 2 just recently opened, and most airlines haven’t yet transitioned, so the gate area was empty.
The buffet spread was back in the main room, and consisted primarily of sweet and savory carbs. In addition to all kinds of bread, there were finger sandwiches, donuts, dessert, and whole fruit.
There was also a selection of soft drinks, as well as a Nescafe machine.
The bathrooms themselves were nice, though as is common in the region, the toilet floors were full of water, since the preferred form of posterior cleaning involves hosing rather than wiping. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever get used to.
The one issue is that the wifi in the lounge didn’t work. There was a network, but for whatever reason I couldn’t connect. Frankly I didn’t care too much, since I still had data on my phone.
I only ended up having about 30 minutes in the lounge given how exciting the transit process was otherwise.
My flight to Amman was scheduled to depart at 12:10PM, so I headed towards the gate at around 11:20AM. When I walked towards the metal detector this time, I was asked to actually have my stuff scanned. It’s a bit odd that they have a security checkpoint after visiting the lounge. I think I’ve figured out why, though — the airport’s VIP service (which I’ve used in the past) seems to use a room next to the lounge, so my guess is that some people can access that lounge without having to go through security, which explains the need for a checkpoint.
My flight was departing from gate E03, which was just past the security checkpoint. The plane had a tight turn from Amman, so arrived at around 11:30AM. The gate area was pretty empty, though that was probably a function of the flight only being operated by an Embraer 175.
Finally at 11:50AM boarding began, which was 10 minutes later than scheduled, due to cleaning. There didn’t seem to be any priority boarding, though I managed to be first at the counter, since I was hoping to grab some pictures.
Cairo Airport Terminal 2 VIP Lounge bottom line
While the overall transit experience was amusing, the new Terminal 2 at Cairo Airport is such a massive improvement over the old Terminals 1 & 3. This is actually a beautiful terminal that’s pleasant to transit. I’m excited for more airlines to switch their operations to Terminal 2.
The lounge was also a significant improvement over the Terminal 1 lounge which I’ve always previously used. Cairo is a popular airport for cheap fares, and this new terminal makes traveling through there significantly more pleasant.