I flew 7 hours in EgyptAir economy class and it showed me even the most basic flag carrier can be better than most American airlines
- EgyptAir is the flag carrier of Egypt and a member of Star Alliance, operating in 75 cities around the world.
- While EgyptAir isn't known for winning awards and has a spotty history of accidents, I decided to take a chance on the international flag carrier for a recent long-haul flight from Cairo to Morocco. I wanted to test my theory that any flag carrier is better than most US-owned airlines.
- EgyptAir can't compete with top flag carriers like Etihad, Emirates, or Singapore Air for luxury, but it was certainly in the same class as second-tier flag carriers like Turkish Airlines or Air Astana. The service was excellent, the food was good, free newspapers were distributed, and the plane was clean and new.
EgyptAir wasn't my first choice of airline.
Usually, when looking for airlines to fly, I'm searching up and down the list of consumer-aviation website Skytrax's list of the world's top airlines and cross-referencing that with the best deals.These days, that list is dominated by international flag carriers - airlines owned or previously owned by a government - like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, among others.
But when I was searching for a flight from Egypt to Morocco this winter, there weren't a lot of good deals to be had. I was due to fly right around Christmas, one of the peak times for visiting Morocco. The pickings were slim.
One could understand why I was a bit nervous when I punched my ticket for an economy-class ticket on EgyptAir. EgyptAir isn't known for winning tons of awards like other flag carriers. Instead, it's probably better known for the various incidents and accidents it's had over its 86-year history, the most recent being a crash in 2016.
I figured that, at the very least, it would test my hypothesis that just about any international flag carrier is better than the biggest US airlines.
Now, having flown EgyptAir, while I wouldn't say it was the best airline I've ever flown, it was enjoyable, on-time, comfortable, and with no extra fees. Color me pleasantly surprised.Here's what I thought of my flight on an Etihad Airways Airbus A320, departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Cairo International Airport.