Being able to sleep on a plane is a fruitless expectation. Realizing we had an almost four-hour layover in Cairo and then another nine hours of travel time, we decided to request an upgrade to business class. (Many international flights don’t have a first-class, only business class which was the case on Egyptair).
When we booked the flight, selecting the business-class almost tripled the fare. Last night, we were able to upgrade for both of us for a total of US $894.27, ZAR $10000. Need I say it was worth it, except we weren’t able to sit together which we’d agreed in advance would be acceptable. In this case, it was sleep we needed more than each other’s companionship.
On a waitlist, we were called a half hour before takeoff that two separate seats were available in business class and we jumped all over it, paying the additional fees at the gate. By 9:30 pm we were both seated in the same row of six across, in an aisle seat, two center seats between us.
Having had omelets for dinner less than an hour earlier I refused the offered meal. I wasn’t about to pick over a meal that wouldn’t be acceptable to my way of eating, nor was I hungry. I never eat when I’m not hungry.
The offered meal was laden with bread and rolls so I was fine that I’d refused. The flight attendant seemed worried that I didn’t eat, showing me several options. Graciously, I declined.
When booking the flights there were no options available befitting my way of eating. Thus, I made no meal selection, comfortable that we could eat in a restaurant during one of the multiple layovers. Usually, there is a grilled chicken salad or an omelet that works.
Sleeping? Ah, not so much. With two stiff paper wrapped pillows and a fly-off-the-bed synthetic blanket, even reclining as far back as the seat would go, I couldn’t find a comfortable spot.
Instead, I dozed off and on often, interrupted by the bright lights in the crew galley area when they moved the curtain aside to attend to the other passengers as they swished down the narrow aisles.
After dozing for a half-hour I awoke to the sound of voices. A large man in the seat behind me was standing directly next to me as the crew worked on his broken seat that wouldn’t recline. He stood within inches of me for over an hour.
Annoyed, I decided to read a book on my phone as a distraction. At one point, I dozed off, the phone still in my hand which often occurs when I read in bed. Suddenly, the crew working on his chair accidentally hit the back of my chair startling me awake. My hand flew and along with it, my phone went flying through the air, landing somewhere near the feet of the woman sitting next to me who spoke no English and was sound asleep.
There was nothing that could be done at that time to retrieve the phone. Later, after 4:00 am breakfast was served (again, I didn’t eat, never thinking of food at 4:00 am), the kind flight attendant helped me look for the phone which she found under the woman’s seat. Relief!
I stayed awake reading for the remainder of the flight, unable to fall back to sleep. Overall, I believe I slept three hours, which although not enough, would help me manage through the rest of the trip. Tom slept about the same amount of time, often awakening and looking over at me to see if I was OK. I was.
We wore our compression socks during the long flight and will do so again when we board in a few hours for the upcoming six-hour flight. With free WiFi throughout the Cairo airport, I am able to write this now.
I’d like to include photos but, out of respect for the crowd looming around the airport, I chose not to. When we arrive in Marrakesh, we’ll be taking plenty of photos of a man with a wooden cart who’ll be waiting for us, hauling our luggage through the narrow streets where motorized vehicles aren’t allowed, as we all make the hike to our new home.
If we have a signal in Casablanca we’ll stop back with an update.