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Iberia TR: Cairo-Madrid (Very Long!)

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  • TAP-A343
    Very entertaining and well-written trip report.

    As for the "not enough meals" announcement I find it not acceptable. I can understand that the catering workers were on strike at MAD but what about catering at CAI? Were passagers not getting their meal offered any kind of compensation by Iberia?

    The "no headphones" seems reasonable to me though, given the circunstances.

    What about the FA's service? What about the comfort/maintenance/cleanliness/tidiness of the aircraft?

    Overall, how do you rate Iberia's service?

    I'll be waiting for your MAD-JFK trip report. Thanks.


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  • herpa2003
    Originally posted by uy707
    Keep going, you can't left us stranded at Bajajas unless you promise either a tour downtown or a spotter's one around
    But Alain, even a 767 trip across the pond cannot compare to many of the rare aircraft and airlines that you have had the priveledge of flying on.

    More of the report will be posted tonight...

    Thanks, as always, for your comments!

    Leave a comment:

  • uy707
    Keep going, you can't left us stranded at Bajajas unless you promise either a tour downtown or a spotter's one around

    Leave a comment:

  • herpa2003
    started a topic Iberia TR: Cairo-Madrid (Very Long!)

    Iberia TR: Cairo-Madrid (Very Long!)

    To Cairo

    After spending a month wining and dining with soldiers from numerous countries, playing squash with Colombian soldiers whom I couldn't communicate with, and learning about desert rotary-wing aviation from the US Army's very experienced Huey pilots, it was finally time to make the transition back to the comforting monotony of everyday life in Watertown, NY. I would be traveling back to my hometown, where shoplifting makes the daily paper, after spending weeks listening to the subtle (and some not so subtle) rumbles of the fighting in Gaza, just a few miles away.

    After a somewhat sleepless night spent contemplating the incredible journey that lay ahead of me, I awoke early in the morning and along with my father received a ride to breakfast at the dining facility. That was over soon enough, and the soldier who drove us to breakfast was kind enough to stick around and give us a ride back to our quarters so we could get our suitcases in preparation for the early morning bus departure for Cairo. We assembled our luggage and walked the few dozen yards to the bus stop. I spent my last minutes on the MFO compound savoring the peaceful desert surrounding me for what could be the last time.

    Soon, two buses pulled up. One would be carrying soldiers on a sightseeing trip, while the other would be carrying myself and a few others on the 7-hour journey to Cairo. We were all issued a box lunch for the trip, and soon we were in motion. The bus drove around the compound before driving past the home where I had lived for thirty days. There was the all too familiar left turn towards the gate, one that I had seen completed many times during my stay but had until then had never turned onto, as there was really no place to go and I didn't want to risk anything. The heavily armed soldiers guarding the entrance to the base watched us out, and soon we were being escorted along the desert route by Egyptians (I couldn't tell if they were military or police, however they were heavily armed).

    Outside the windows of the bus we were greeted with the desert hues of endless sand dunes, as well as curious glances by the local Bedouins. Their homes, which they had spent generations living in, were a far cry from even the lowest standards in America and Europe. No roofs over their heads, no plumbing, and certainly no electricity. The women would be working diligently in the sand dunes, trying to find food for their families, while the men and children took a more supervisory role, as it appeared to me.

    The lack of sleep from the night before made it easy to doze on the long ride, and before I knew it our bus was pulling into a Cairo hotel (for security reasons I'm not going to elaborate which one). It was shortly after noon, and our Iberia flight to Madrid didn't leave until 1 AM. My father and I made our way into the hotel lobby, where we would spend the next 6 or so hours reading, playing chess, and occasionally ordering a drink at the hotel's bar. The time passed, slowly but surely, and after a wonderful Chinese dinner we were off for the short cab ride to Cairo Airport.

    Leg 1: Cairo to Madrid

    Airline: Iberia
    Flight Number: 3735
    Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
    Registration: EC-HIS
    Routing: Cairo (CAI)-Madrid (MAD)
    Departure time: 1:05 am
    Arrival time: 5:15 am
    Length: 5 hours 10 minutes

    I was greeted upon arrival at Cairo Airport by an all white 737-200 taking off into the tannish desert sky, with thick black smoke puffing out of is long and narrow engines. Our taxi driver dropped us off at the airport, and we were immediately bombarded by numerous Egyptians, asking us if they could carry our bags (for a fee). We declined, and declined again (and again), and eventually made our way into the terminal. We tried to check in for our (very) early morning flight, but we were unable to because we were so early. We eventually found a quiet place to sit until we were able to finally proceed through security.

    Security at CAI was strict, and it made me feel safer considering the high-profile terrorist incidents that have occurred in Egypt in the past. After going through one security checkpoint we reached the Iberia counter and checked in, before we had to pass through another security checkpoint. My father was flying business class (the military negotiates a special business rate with Iberia in Egypt), so we were both given access to Cairo's business class lounge. The lounge was empty with the exception of me, my father, and a young British man who was dressed in a trendy but semi-casual outfit. There were drinks, finger foods, a TV, and comfortable chairs that helped us pass the time easily. After a little while I looked out the window and saw our 757-200 EC-HIS pulling up to the gate. A few months earlier I had browsed and, admiring the beautiful colors of Iberia. I had no idea that I would soon be flying on them, to Egypt no less.

    We left the comforts of the business lounge and made our way to the gate, which was packed with European tourists and Egyptian businessmen. Soon it was time to board, and everyone filed into a second departure gate area for a few minutes before finally being allowed to board the plane. My father decided to turn down his business class seat so that we could be seated together, so I took a window seat by the wing while he occupied the middle seat next to me. It was dark so there was little to see outside the window as we pushed back and taxied out for departure. The cabin lights were dimmed, and soon the comforting roar of the twin engines at takeoff power resonated throughout the cabin.

    Our climb out of Cairo was spectacular, with gigantic spotlights making the Pyramids visible to us even from the sky. The lights of the huge metropolis of Cairo spread beneath us, and we were on our way. The lights of the city gradually faded away as we flew west, out over the desert and towards the Mediterranean.

    Then, the dreaded PA announcement came on. "Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the inconvenience, but due to a strike by Iberia workers at Madrid there will not be enough meals for everyone on this flight. In addition, there are no headphones so you will not be able to listen to the IFE. Thank you for your understanding."

    Many people turned down meals so that their fellow passengers could eat, but I decided to eat because I had another day of traveling ahead of me. The meal was good, and the entertainment was a Spanish movie as well as the Canadian show "Just for Laughs", both of which were inaudible to everyone on board due to the lack of headsets. The lights of Greece and its many islands were enough entertainment to get me through the flight.

    Soon we were over Spain and descending towards Madrid. It was still dark out, as we were a bit early and it wasn't yet 5 AM. However, the city lights were visible to us on our descent. We touched down on the runway and taxied to a remote stand where we were put on a bus and taken towards the terminal. Our bags were somewhat late, however I wasn't too disappointed (my main thoughts at the time were focused on the VERY attractive women that they have in Spain).

    Facing an 8 hour layover in Madrid and three more flights, I said a quick prayer of thanks for getting me through another flight safely and then prepared for the rest of the journey.

    If I get a decent response to this report I will follow up with MAD-JFK, JFK-CVG, and CVG-SYR. I know it is a lot to read, but this report is mainly for me so that I can remember the little details in the years to come.