It’s taken a while to catch up on these posts – I hope I can do better from here on in but there are no promises! Life gets in the way. Anyway, I’ll continue with some reviews of our most recent South Africa trip!
While in Johannesburg my wife and I stayed at the Faircity Quatermain Hotel in Sandton. We chose that location because it was nearby to my family and some of the sites we wanted to see, as well as Sandton City – a mall – in case we needed to purchase anything (which we eventually did – you will find out about that in the next post on our delayed luggage).
The hotel itself was secluded behind large walls and a security entrance, as many accommodations in Johannesburg are. The grounds were beautiful, although we didn’t get a chance to use them much as we were traveling to see friends and family so much of the 2.5 days we were visiting. The room we had was comfortable with a lot of seating and amenities. It had both a shower and a bathtub – something my wife loves to partake in – with lots of lighting. The bed was moderately comfortable and there were plenty of places to put our clothing and suitcase (even though we didn’t have it).
The breakfast we ate was quite tasty – a wide array of fish, egg, bread, fruit, and cereal options, as well as various cold and hot drinks. The staff were quite considerate and tried their best to call the airport frequently for us to get our bags shipped over (which ended up not happening, anyway). There was also a lovely lounge area in the front that could be sat in for relaxation but we were moving so much we didn’t take advantage of it.
Overall, it was a lovely place to stay and a good value. We highly recommend it!
Once fully showered and changed (we brought an extra set of clothing according to our plan) we arrived at Cairo International Airport about 1.5 hours before our EgyptAir flight was set to depart. We had little difficulty checking in as we had a separate line (as had been the case a lot during this trip). Interestingly, there was also a designated kids check-in counter, although no one was staffing it and we had no idea what its intended purpose was. Once we dropped off our luggage we filled out customs cards and passed through border control with no difficulty. We quickly noted the new electronics restrictions on flights towards the US.
After security we headed towards the lounges we had access to as business-class passengers. There were two on our very long walk to the gate. One was a designated smoking lounge so we avoided it. The other was near-ish to our gate and we spent a majority of time there. It had comfortable seats with internationally adapted plugs for our devices. There were private bathrooms for us to use, a small business center, and plenty of food and drink (not of the highest quality, but definitely there). Since we knew we would get food on the plane, we did not gorge ourselves too much.
The gate had an interesting added security station to pass through before boarding. It took us a bit more time to get on board because of it. Also, there was a nod to the electronics travel ban to the UK at that location (I guess sometimes planes leave from that gate to London as well).
The seat was comfortable enough, with plenty of leg room for us and an in-flight entertainment system with many options. Since I wanted to maximize how much sleep I got on the flight I decided to forego whatever meal would have been given when we reached cruising altitude and just went right to sleep. This is where my major gripe comes in about this seat: it is not fully lie-flat. There is an ever-so-slight angle to the seat, causing you to slide forward over time and have your feet become somewhat weight-bearing at times. While I was still able to sleep because of my exhaustion, it was definitely not desirable in the least.
My wife put a provided sticker on my seat as I was asleep, asking for me to be woken up for breakfast, which was not the most appetizing thing in the world, but still better than economy-class food.
Overall, the flight was uneventful because we just wanted to sleep and arrived rested in Johannesburg. Getting through customs and passport control was not as big an “ordeal” as it had been in Cairo because there was a lot of organization, but the lines were so long it took us an extra 45 minutes to get through to baggage claim. Unfortunately, our bags had not arrived with us…. but that is a story for another blog post.