Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And then a revolution broke out...

The Mister and I are starting our semester break at the end of this week. We have a flight on Egypt Air to Cairo leaving at 3 in the morning on the 4th of February.

Unfortunately we won't be on that flight. In case you've not heard (all the talk of the Oscars is really cluttering the airwaves, so I understand), there's a revolution going on in Egypt right now. Foreign citizens are being voluntarily evacuated. Tour groups are canceling vacations for the foreseeable future. The State department is discouraging Americans from "unnecessary" travel in Cairo.

It was only logical that we cancel our trip. It was a hard decision to make. We're incredibly sad that we won't be able to spend the week with the Mister's sister who is living in Cairo at the moment (she's fine, she's not evacuating yet, she's sticking it out and watching the history of Egypt write itself from her rooftop terrace), but considering that this semester has been incredibly stressful and it wouldn't be certain that we could get from the airport to my sister-in-law, we've decided to change plans.

We booked our flight online, but since Egypt has no internet right now, the Egypt Air website is non-functional. Therefore we went to the Egypt Air travel office after school the other day to get our refund and find out our options. The conversation with the travel agent at the Egypt Air went something like this:

Me: Hi, we have booked a flight to Cairo for next week, but we obviously won't be going anymore.

Agent: Why won't you be going?

Me: ...because there are no flights going to Cairo anymore.

Agent: There are flights going Cairo, why wouldn't there be flights going to Cairo?

Me: ...because there's a political revolution going on.

Agent: Oh! That. Yeah we haven't gotten any official word that we should cancel flights.

Me: ...huh. Well, our country is recommending that we not go to Egypt, so we're going to take that advice.

Agent: So you want a refund?

Me: Yeah, I guess. We'd like to cancel our flight to Cairo and go somewhere else instead.

Agent: So you don't want to go to Cairo?

Me: Right.

Agent: Well all our flights connect through Cairo, so...

Me: So we want a refund.

Agent: Ok. I can give you a refund. How did you book the tickets?

Me: We booked them online through the Egypt Air website.

Agent: Tayeb [ok], so you need to go on the website and request a refund.

Me: Right, and that would be great if the website was working. But I think because there's no internet in Egypt right now, the website is down.

Agent: What do you mean the website is down? I have the website right here on my computer [he indicates to his computer, sitting right in front of him]

Me: Right, but I'm on my computer [I indicate to my netbook, sitting right in front of me], and the website is not loading.

Agent: Ok, so just wait till tomorrow, I'm sure the internet will be working by then.

Me: [sigh]

Long story longer: We still haven't gotten our refund, but we have booked our flight to Barcelona. We've reserved an apartment near Las Ramblas through airbnb and we're getting more and more excited about our new travel destination. I'm sad we won't be seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx, but they'll still be there after all this stuff settles down in Egypt. We'll be keeping a close eye on how things pan out whilst sipping sangria and eating some paella.

Vicariously yours,


  1. Hi Amber!
    Found your blog through a Google search. I'm having the same problem! We booked our Egyptian vacay through cheapoair.com and now they won't sell us insurance to change things around! We're also going to Athens before Cairo, and Madrid afterwards. No idea what we're going to do! I've been trying the EgyptAir website--to no avail--and also their toll-free number, where I spent 4 hours of my Sunday being on hold.

    Keep me posted on what you find out and I'll do the same!

  2. OMG! You have a fan! I have been very worried about Ellyn..glad to hear she is ok. Have fun in Barcelona. I just had a friend get back from there and he said it was awesome.