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Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

Minneapolis
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Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

Has anyone traveled with Smithsonian Institute or National Geographic tours or the University of Chicago? Or similar tours?

My husband would like an Egyptologist as a guide, but still is concerned about cost.

I am mostly interested in seeing all the monuments I have been dreaming of for years , like Edfu, Philae, Hatshepsuts temple, Luxor, Karnak, Valley of K & Q, Aswan, etc.

We both would like to include a side trip to snorkel in the Red Sea.

.

I don't fly well, (airsick, like carsick) has anyone any opinion on the small plane flights from Cairo to other parts of Egypt?

We will appreciate any and all responses. Thank you.

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haysville,kansas
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1. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

I am booked with archaeological tours for this coming Feb. They have a 2 week and a 20 day tour. They only have one tour of each each year. The 2 week one is in November of this year. I have been in touch with someone that has used the company multiple times and they gave glowing reports. I am also adding a side trip to Petra after the Egypt trip that they are arranging for me. I spent a year researching different itinaries and for what I was looking for they had the best plan with the best cost. It's not cheap but diffenately not the most expensive. I'm sure you are counting the days till you get to go as I am.

West Country
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2. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

I can't comment on the tours but flying within Egypt, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan etc is done on full size "normal" aircraft and therefore are no better (or worse) than your usual flight. They may be smaller, that is, they are not 747s but they are not tiny with no facilities type because they will be transporting hundreds, not tens, of tourists.

Being well over 6' tall I am very conscious of plane size and being cramped or confined and have to say I have never experienced that on an Egyptair international or domestic flight.

The Scottish Borders
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3. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

I have been on two different types of aircraft flying within Egypt.

Egyptair Embraer 170 which has a 2 x 2 configuration and around 20 rows of seats, I can't find a seat plan for Egyptair but this one from Seat Guru / Continental Airlines is quite similar in style

seatguru.com/airlines/US_Airways/US_Airways_…

Egyptair also run Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 planes on domestic routes.

I have also been in a small propeller plane operated by PAS ( http://www.pas.com.eg ) which held around 25 people.

I am a very nervous flier (although I don't suffer from sickness) and often take diazepam before take off. The Egyptair domestic flights were no worse than any domestic flight I have taken here in the UK (using Easyjet or British Airways) infact the Embraer was more comfy with having more leg room, wider seats etc.

Even with the propeller plane it was a fairly smooth journey.

I know it's easier said than done but try not to worry too much

Suzie :-)

London, United...
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4. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

I don't think it is at all helpful to an OP seeking information, when various posters, albeit perhaps with good intent, simply 'guess' at an answer, due to having no experience of a particular situation.

I have taken numerous flights within Egypt (Cairo to Luxor, etc) and have been surprised to find that the plane has been of the small propeller type (as Suzie mentions) and in one particular instance, the plane was only a 20 or so seater.

There was never any indication when booking, or checking in, of the size of the aeroplane that would be taking us, so it tends to depend on passenger numbers etc, but use of 'smaller' aircraft is very common.

West Country
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5. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

With respect it was not a "guess" nor one of which I have no "experience" but merely a comment on the aircraft I travelled on at the time.

I fully accept that there are many different sizes of planes and such size may well be dependent on traveller numbers. Suzie M and KV have travelled in smaller planes whereas I have not ( or not in Egypt at least).

I am sorry if the OP feels misinformed but everyone's experiences are different.

London, United...
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6. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

You should perhaps read your own post (reply no.2) again SWmuse, where you practically 'guarantee' the OP that small planes are NOT used for tourist flights within Egypt, when both my own and Suzie M's experiences of such flights clearly show this to be NOT the case.

Your own experience of an internal flight may have been aboard a larger, or as you put it 'normal' sized aircraft, but this does not mean that will ALWAYS be the case (as our experiences clearly show) and IMO you are not helping the OP by making that assumption, as it is inaccurate information you are giving them.

Scotland, United...
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for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
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7. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

As the forum's resident plane spotter (or one of them possibly) I have flown in:-

2 seater Chipmunk (Upside down). 8 Seater Cessna Twins (Sideways in the Grand Canyon), 20-50 seater high wing Dash-7s & Dash-8s and various predecessors like Friendships and Heralds, 2 rear-jet people movers - DC9 & Tu134, 3 rear-jet People movers - B727, Trident and Tu154, 2 under wing jet people movers of various sizes Airbus & Boeing families, 3 Engined L1011's and DC-10s and 4 engined Airbus/Jumbos/Ilyushins etc. and a Dakota.

.

The B737s I have flown in, in Egypt (and the Embraer 170's, and although I haven't flown with them, the Dash7's (4 engines) & Dash 8's (2 engines) of Petroleum Aero Services) I would certainly regard in the 'diddy' people-mover class. EgyptAir has the older, shorter versions of 737's (500 series) and has not bought any similar to the much larger size of Ryanair 800 series ones, or at least hadn't the last time I looked.

For their fleets see www.airfleets.net/flottecie/Egyptair.htm for Egyptair itself and airfleets.net/flottecie/…20Express.htm for the Egyptair Express feeder line who use the 170's

Clicking on the aircraft will show their age and numbers of each type.

Edited: 23 August 2011, 17:56
Scotland, United...
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for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
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8. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

P.S. I forgot the helicopters!

Minneapolis
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9. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

Thank you to all of you for responding. I certainly did learn alot from your posts about what I might encounter while flying from one site to the next in Egypt. I will just have a supply of Scopolame (my drug of choice for flying ) on my person : )

Can anyone be more specific as to which Tour group they enjoyed most. We are still leaning towards Smithsonian for Nat Geo.

Another question, Has anyone taken a tour where you were on a small or big ship going down the Nile? It appears most tours do this ( I get sea sick , too :{ )

Thanx again, Birdie2

The Scottish Borders
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10. Re: Smithsonian tour vs National Geographic tour??? Please help!

Hi again Birdie2

I've only ever cruised on the larger style boats and there is no rolling movement like you would get on a boat on the ocean, I hardly feel the boat moving along at all.

You may be offered a short felucca (sail boat) sail in Luxor or Aswan, as I'm not quite sure on just how bad your motion sickness is it would be wrong of me to say you would be 100% fine but I've always found felucca sails to be a very relaxing way to spend an hour or two (especially around sunset time) and again they are nothing like being out on a boat in the ocean.

Suzie :-)