✅ Trip Verified
| Johannesburg to Medina via Cairo. In January this year we embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Cities of Makkah and Medina. Our flights had been booked on Egypt Air. The agent who’d arranged the logistics of our journey assured us that Egypt Air was a decent airline and that our journey would be pleasant. We trusted him, since the journey to Medina, via Cairo, had been pleasant enough. We weren’t overly concerned about the 23 hour layover in Cairo that loomed ahead of us on the return leg. He guaranteed us that EgyptAir would arrange accommodation for our group and that we’d be issued transit visas which would allow us to do a bit of sightseeing before setting off for home. The children were especially excited about this. A chance to see the pyramids! When we stood in the queue at their passport control, never had I encountered an immigration official this rude! He demanded that transit passengers sit down! So we sat. We were a fairly large group, it turned out. Twenty five South Africans and a smattering of Nigerians. Anticipating a long-ish wait, we got comfortable. Greeted our fellow wayfarers, shared what food we had among us and waited. It was two hours before a bus was sent to collect us. We were then driven to the main airport building where we were just told to go upstairs. Here we found an Egypt Air Customer Services desk where a handful of agents were dozing on desks. When someone finally rose to come and see to us, we were told that since we’d arrived early in Cairo, there was nothing he could do for us. There was no accommodation booked. We should go and sleep in the mosque. We were stunned. Egypt Air Customer services aren’t big on responding to the same question twice, clearly. The agent became rude and surly at this point. Seeing that we would make no progress with this particularly unhelpful help desk at near 3AM, we sought out the prayer room. The ladies’ section was just about empty. The ladies and children huddled in groups on the stone-hard floor and tried to sleep. It was freezing! For the men, the night would turn out being much more uncomfortable. The men’s section of the prayer room was full of men who had hours to wait before their connecting flights.