Cairo International Airport (CAI)

Cairo International Airport (CAI) Travel Guide

Many news and book outlets in the airport are operated by Al Shorouk, Egypt’s largest publishing house. Here you’ll find nonfiction and literature in three languages: English, French, and Arabic.

If you anticipate needing a hand with your heavy suitcase or a complicated connection, hire a Cairo Airport staffer, who, for just $50, will greet you upon arrival and guide you through immigration, baggage claim, and customs clearance.

Though this small shop sells Segafredo espresso and plenty of small bites, in-the-know travelers come to Coffee Time for Egypt’s local beer, Sakara.

Craving a hot cup of tea and crumpet? Take a seat on the tufted leather couches at the airport’s English Lounge. Are pasta and a glass of Chianti more your thing? You’ll find bliss in the blue-and-white Italian Lounge.

Although there are 550 Bijoux Terner boutiques worldwide, the affordable accessories shop has only two outposts in Egypt, one in Cairo International (the second in Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport).

For those looking to arrive at their hotel in style, use this car service (the shuttle bus name is a bit of a misnomer—it’s a high-class car company). Pick-up spots are found at all three terminals, and drivers will bring travelers from the airport to any destination in Egypt.

Tucked behind security and customs, the new pubby Heineken Bar has light and local brews on tap, as well as an international menu if you’re looking for a quick pre-flight pick-me-up.

Located at the airport’s front entrance, near Orouba Road, this elaborate outdoor patio is meant to conjure up visions of the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, or Sun City. Don’t Miss: The desert gardens and deep-blue pools.

Looking for a specific luxury brand? You’re likely to find it in Cairo’s new Terminal 3. Bally, Rolex, Tumi, Hugo Boss, and Shiseido, among others, are now located in EgyptAir’s almost 40,000-square-foot duty-free flagship store.

Though self-service check-in is less than surprising for U.S. travelers, it’s big news in Egypt. At Cairo Airport’s kiosks, passengers heading on to other Egyptian cities can check in and print boarding passes without waiting in line.

Cairo’s most famous bookseller, Al Diwan, will open at Cairo International in late 2009. At the shop you’ll find Egyptian titles including No One Sleeps in Alexandria by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, as well as novels in English by the Cairo-born Nobel Prize–winning author Naguib Mahfouz. 

VIPs who pay $1,000 for your-round access get ultra-special treatment in this sleek space that looks more like an urban loft than an airport lounge.

In 2011, the airport’s People Mover—which is modeled after the old-fashioned cable car system—will soon begin its loop between the terminals and the multistory parking lot, also under construction.

Youngsters looking for fun before takeoff should head to the play areas in every departure terminal. Look for plastic seesaws and playhouses from American toy company Step 2, touch-screen video games in Terminal 3, and a climbing wall outside the food court in Terminal 3.