Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Insha'Allah Air

While out with a Cairo ex-pat group last week the conversation turned to airline travel. Eventually, and inevitably Egypt Air was brought up. Everyone had his/her own Egypt Air story. Mine is this: I was waiting at JFK in the gate area and looking out the window at the plane being prepped for boarding. My attention was drawn to three guys under the plane shining a flashlight on the underside and looking up as if examining something. They kept looking at each other and shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders. That was the moment I had my first official panic attack. "I'm not getting on that plane" I said out loud over and over. An Egyptian guy sitting next to me briefly glanced up from his newspaper. "This is Egypt Air. It happens everyday." He went back to his paper. I ended up getting on the plane and everything was fine despite the fact that we took off 2 1/2 hours late.

'G', who is British and living in Egypt just under one month, told of a similar delayed take off on his first Egypt Air flight. He had been sitting in his seat for quite a while still on the runway. The flight crew were no where to be seen. The guy sitting next to 'G' asked him if he wanted some juice, then he disappeared into the galley and came back with two cups of juice. "This is how you have to do it here - serve yourself" he said handing 'G' a cup.

We compiled a short list of things you will say on other airlines after flying Insha'Allah (Egypt) Air

1. What do you mean I have to put my seat back in the upright position for landing? I've done plenty of landings with Insha'Allah air with my seat back, the tray table down, and while talking on my cell phone. And nobody died.

2. What do you mean I have to stay in my seat with my bags stowed until the plane comes to a complete stop at the gate! How else am I supposed to be the first one off the plane?

3. Why isn't anyone applauding the landing?

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