Above: View from the famous Cairo tower - GIVAGA / GETTY IMAGES

Cairo Airport Strategies

Panorama of Cairo cityscape taken during the sunset from the famous Cairo tower, Cairo, Egypt - Givaga / Getty Images

First-time visitors to Cairo might like to have some assistance with the bureaucracy at the airport, especially nowadays. Fortunately, it’s easy to book services to expedite both arrival and departure, and the small expense is well worth it. Your travel advisor or hotel concierge can make the arrangements.

When we arrived in Cairo from the United States, we could have just reserved a transfer to our hotel, but we paid an extra $50 per person for a Meet & Assist service (plus $35 per person for the required Egyptian tourist visas). First, we exited the plane and presented our vaccination records. Our greeter awaited us at the entrance to baggage claim. He took our passports and procured the required visas, returning them to us at the luggage carousel just as our suitcases came around. We swiftly passed through immigration and customs, and he pointed out an ATM machine. After I acquired some cash, he led us to a Mercedes that took us to our hotel.

Seating in the VIP Lounge, Cairo airport - Andrew Harper editor
Buffet, VIP Lounge, Cairo airport - Andrew Harper editor

Even better was the VIP Lounge service that we booked for our departure from Egypt. It was more expensive, costing $200 per person, but it merited the money. As we exited our car from the hotel, a man from the lounge met us and brought us to a private security checkpoint. He took our large suitcases, passports and COVID-19 test results to present to the airline, in order to check us into our flight. Meanwhile, we settled into the spacious and sparsely populated lounge. We sampled a few snacks from the simple buffet, stocked with hard-boiled eggs, ful medames (fava beans), basic sandwiches, pastries and yogurt. A waiter came by periodically to bring us espresso, water and/or juice.

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