Nov 17, 2015

Posted by in Destinations, Features, Travel News, Trip Advice | 67 Comments

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Should I travel to Egypt?

As a result of a plane crash on October 31 in Egypt’s Sinai region that claimed the lives of all 224 passengers, the British government has suspended flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.

Sharm El Sheikh

The situation left a number of British nationals stranded in Egypt, and, due to the nature of the incident, it may also be causing concern for those scheduled to fly to the popular resort in the coming weeks and months.

UK carriers have temporarily suspended flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh Airport and up until November 17 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) worked with airlines to put special security measures in place to allow holidaymakers to return to the UK.

I’m currently in Egypt – what should I do?

It’s important to understand that the FCO has not changed any of its advice regarding staying in Sharm El Sheikh itself. As it stands, only the transport via flights in and out of Sharm El Sheikh Airport has been affected.

Other popular tourist resorts, including the Red Sea resort Hurghada, and other destinations including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, remain open to tourism and it’s business as usual.

Holidaymakers who were in Sharm El Sheikh when flights were suspended on November 4 should now be back in the UK following a number of flights where special security measures were put in place.

During the delays after the suspension of flights, those on package holidays covered by the ATOL scheme should have had any extended accommodation arrangements organised by their tour operator while those travelling independently should have been offered a welfare package from EU airlines including accommodation and meals, and should refer to their travel insurance policy to find out if any additional costs will be covered as a result of the delay.

I have a holiday booked to Egypt in the near future – can I change or cancel my booking?

The current situation in Egypt is fast moving. If you have a holiday coming up and are concerned, we suggest you contact your tour operator or airline to see what your options are should you want to cancel or choose another destination.

Thomas Cook, for example, has cancelled all flights and holidays to Sharm El Sheikh up until and including December 10, 2015 and is allowing customers travelling until then to cancel or rebook another holiday free of charge, with a £25pp discount on the future holiday. Customers travelling up to and including December 16, 2015 will be offered a free amendment to their holiday. See further information here.

Similarly, Thomson has cancelled all flights to Sharm El Sheikh up to and including December 9 and is allowing customers travelling up to then to amend their holiday or claim a full refund. If the new holiday is taken before April 2016, there is a £30pp discount. Customers travelling up to and including December 31 will be able to amend their booking free of charge to any holiday until the end of April 2016. See further information here.

British Airways has cancelled all flights up to and including January 14, 2016 with flights for the rest of January under review. Customers on these flights have been contacted with the option to claim a full refund, rebook on a later date or change their destination. See further information here.

Individual companies will have different policies so find out what your individual provider’s policy is.

If you are travelling further in the future, keep an eye on events in the news and on the FCO site as, if you cancel now, you may be liable to the usual cancellation fees.

I have a holiday booking in 2016, but don’t want to go now – what can I do?

If the FCO advice on the safety of the Sharm El Sheikh resort continues to remain the same it is unlikely that you will be able to cancel your holiday and receive a refund. However, as mentioned above, different companies have different policies so check with yours.

Egypt’s popular tourist resorts are currently deemed safe to travel to by the FCO and so carriers and tour operators will continue to take bookings as normal and apply normal booking conditions to those holidays and flights in case of cancellation.

We advise you contact your provider directly if you are concerned about a holiday you have booked for 2016 and beyond.

I have made independent arrangements to travel to the country – do I have any rights?

If you cancel your trip you may lose money if the travel company you have booked with is not offering free cancellations on its arrangements. Independent travellers with future bookings should contact their airline and hotel companies to discuss options open to them.

You should also consult your travel insurance company to ensure that your policy is still valid and you are aware of the cover you have extended to you for travel disruption, for example.

General safety advice for Egypt

Currently, certain parts of Egypt are deemed as unsafe for British nationals and the FCO advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and all but essential travel to South Sinai (with the exception of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq), and the areas west of the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta regions. However, this is not new advice.

What if I travel to parts of Egypt against the advice?

If you decide to visit areas the FCO advises against, your insurance cover will be invalid from all companies.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket comments:

“The most important thing around holidays to Egypt is to keep abreast of the situation using reliable news services and, of course, the FCO travel advice. This should be viewed along with the advice of your operator or airline and that advice should be followed at all times.

“By booking an ATOL-backed package rather than a DIY holiday you have extra protection for your trip so that if this kind of situation arises you will be looked after by your holiday provider rather than having to fend for yourself. You should also consult your travel insurance policy to ensure you know what you are covered for and if in any doubt contact them before committing to any additional expenses.”

Please note: All facts were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  1. Maggie Whitbread says:

    Thank you for a very interesting factual report on Egypt. I have booked to travel to Sharm El Sheikh on August 6th.

    Your report has made me feel comfortable and happy that our family holiday will go ahead.

    Obviously it is a sad time for the Egyptian people. I sincerely hope the situation will be resolved soon.

    • Jamie Humphreys says:

      Have just returned from another amazing week in is a bit quieter than usual, as ive been a number of times.but no signs at all of what is going on in Cairo. .have some good friends in sharm and the trouble in Cairo is NOT refected in sharm, and never will be.

      • Mrs Julie Channon says:

        We dont go on holiday to feel trapped we like to see the people culture and country we are visiting at the moment because of Egypts problems you can not go on any tours. Because of safety reasons you have to stay in the resorts. British airways who we had booked with would not allow us to switch destinations even though we where willing to pay for the change and difference in the price they say fco deem it safe. Well ok but not going on my holiday to be held to hostage in hotel because british airways say its safe but you are not allowed out of hotel because it is not safe. We are not going British airways can keep our money.

        • Jan stark says:

          Have just returned from sharp el sheik 14/11/2015. Did not affect us going out of hotel or going on trips. The area is very quiet at present as not many airlines are flying in. I personally did not find much outside of resort hotel but then at 60 I want rest and relaxation. The main issue is with the airport security at shark airport not with the resort. We found the Egyptians working in the hotels very pleasant and hardworking. We treat people how we like to be treated and this does make a difference. Some holiday makers are quite rude and treat staff as being lower than themselves forgetting they would not have their holidays if not for these hard workers. Hope you enjoy your holiday.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree with all your comments, my son is there at the moment and he says all of the people he has come into contact with there have been brilliant. He feels very sorry for the businesses in Sharm as it is very quiet but he is stopping in Dahab and he says it is great.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m due to go there March 16 so hoping all will be ok I do think I could just as easily be in danger if I went to London or anywhere else

          • concerened says:

            I agree with your comment, there are safety issues world wide, I have lived in Sharm for 9yrs now, and have seen a difference since Mubarak was ousted especially the attitude of the men, I actually went to Alexandria for some peace,unfortunately It was no better. If you are staying in a Hotel you will have a great time, and the staff are very accommodating, many of my friends work in the hotels. My heart goes out to most of the workers as their families rely upon them to put food on the table, I have first hand experience as to how poor the Egyptian people are after staying in their homes from Cairo to Aswan. My one wish is to see Sharm getting back to the bustling resort I came to love and call my home

          • Hi Jan

            Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

            Kind regards


  2. Ace of Herts says:

    Most informative and helpful article!
    Good to read a straightforward piece, with very sensible advice, without any spin! – Thank you

  3. amelia says:

    Can anyone help? i booked a holiday to luxor in September and feel very unsafe going i asked my travel agent for a refund but they said it was too early and even if my holiday is deemed unsafe nearer the time they said i wasn’t allowed a refund but only allowed to switch holidays, is that correct?

    • I am also booked to go to Cairo and Luxor early Sept. My agent tried to get a refund for me but was told that the flight part of the package was already ticketed and therefore I couldn’t get a refund or even transfer to a different holiday. I have to wait until 4 weeks before the travel date. My argument/question is that if FCO advice says no travel then surely I must be entitled to a full refund? But is there any regulation on how far in advance of travel I can demand the refund. My insurance doesn’t cover me for civil unrest so I can’t use that either.

    • Anonymous says:

      I went to Luxor and along Nile last year and although we had a good time there was a time when we decided not to get off the ship due to a protest that kicked off. I believe that going to Egypt would be a bad idea apart from maybe the Red Sea area and then I would be anxious.

  4. Jules says:

    We have booked a cruise for the 26th December flying to Sharm and visiting egypty, Jordan and Isreal. Do you think it will be safe, could we change the cruise or would the cruise operator change the itinary if there is danger?

  5. Lynne says:

    I’ve booked a holiday to sharm and have been before, I was worried about my holiday and have now been put at slight ease, I will be leaving on the 25th July

  6. Teresa (Terry) Taylor says:

    And this is why I love being British!! Thank you a thousand times over. I have been so bored with explaining both the political situation in my chosen second home and nationality, Egypt, particularly Sharm el Sheikh, where following the death of my mother after a long gruesome death by Altzheimers, I chose to recouperate. I bought a 2 bedroomed flat for 52,000£. This was my memorial to my mother who loved to travel and go on adventures by herself.
    As a single lady of 57 years, I returned to Sharm every school holidays to watch my flat being built. I fell more and more in love with the Egyptian people. I always like to spend my time with local people, rather than the Brits. After all, I can chat to them in England. I have wonderful Egyptian friends, ranging from the biker boys, with whom I go storming through the glorious valleys of The Sinai Mountains, my clever, erudite Doctor, my gorgeous hotel manager just to name a few.
    I would like to urge anyone who reads this that Egypt for the single ladies is the safest place in the World. I can walk the streets of Naama Bay or Nabq, in the middle of the night, feeling 100per cent safe. They are the friendliest, kindest people who would do anything for you!! At my flat, guarded at each corner, I hold long conversations (sometimes in mime!) with the guards. if they could, they would carry me up the three flights of stairs to my flat.
    Also, the Egyptians love The Brits!! We are indeed their favourite tourists. I would like to let your readers discover this for themselves!! I beg you to leave the so called safety of the all exclusive Hotels. Do not go home thinking you have seen Egypt!! Talk to the locals, they love to practise their English and ask you about strange words!! Indeed, most of them speak several languages. Such a clever race of people.
    If you do get into any worrying situations, just look out for the white uniformed Tourist Police. They are there for you!! and woe betide any naughty Egyptian worker who steps on your toes (metaphorically speaking) If you report anyone, they can be shipped out of Sharm and returned to their home city. So please take care about complaints.
    well done for such a truthful and knowledgeable article, I will be proud to copy and paste it to my friends in Egypt!

    • beryl briscoe says:

      what a brilliant comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. love the Egyptian people and there country. I certainly will be going again. went last march 2012 and just come back july 2013.. unrest or not sharm you will be seeing me again and again. it is sad to hear whats happening in cairo and I hope they solve there troubles as cairo is fascinating and worth a visit.

    • Margaret Mitchell says:

      What an excellent letter! I am so pleased that some other lady has had similar experiences to me. I was travelling to Egypt on business 25-30 years ago, based mainly in Cairo. My English friends and family were worried about how I would be treated but I was able to assure them that I was treated with the utmost respect and felt more threatened in London than I did in Cairo. I sincerely hope the troubles there can be solved because the Egyptians are truly lovely people.

  7. Dave Wright says:

    With the present situation in Egypt deteriating by the day I am naturally concerned about my scheduled family holiday to Sharm El Sheik with my 2 young daughters.

    The FCO website advises against all “essential” travel throughout EGypt including the red sea resorts…..since when has a holiday been classed as “Essential” travel?

    On 14 August a curfew was applied to the whole country including the resorts of Sharm El Sheik.

    The hotel I am due to spend my up and coming 14 day holiday is a new resort which opened in March 2013. With just 3 weeks before I travel I have been informed by the holiday provider that many of the facilities of this new hotel are not available. Furthermore most holiday makers are reporting that there is no evening entertainment. As of 14th August all day trips have been cancelled, there is the threat of food shortages, a high state of alert for acts of terrorism and a curfew imposed between the hours of 7pm and 6am………and this is supposed to be a holiday!

    My holiday provider will not allow me to cancel my holiday unless I uncurr a 100% cancellation fee!!

    I am of the opinion that the FCO is “looking after” the holiday companies and to hell with the holidaymakers.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thank you for your comment. The most up-to-date advice from the FCO is that travel to the Sharm El Sheikh area is still permitted. The main reason for this is that the holiday resorts of the Red Sea areas are purpose built and well away from areas of local populations, so there is a very low chance of the kinds of trouble we are unfortunately seeing in the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria in the media.

      The current advice says: “In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab.” The curfew, which was put in place each evening from last night, is not country wide, although Sharm el Sheikh was one of the areas covered dues to its location in the South Sinai. This will be for the protection of tourists, something that the Egyptians take very seriously due to the importance that the country puts on this part of its economy and in direct response to yesterday’s events in the capital. Experience has shown that restrictions tend to be lifted fairly quickly – although it is important to keep an eye on the FCO advice on a daily basis while events are fluid.

      Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, travel has never been restricted for Brits going to the Red Sea and nearly three quarters of million people have travelled there on holiday in the last three years with no reported problems related to troubles in Cairo and wider Egypt. There have been no shortages reported during this time and hotels have operated as normal.

      While I completely understand your concerns about your upcoming holiday, please be assured that, if the situation in Sharm became dangerous to tourists, the FCO would change its advice and, should this happen, you would be entitled to a full refund on your holiday from your operator (if you have booked an ATOL-backed package).

      You also mention a number of issues around the hotel and its facilities. These should be raised with your tour operator/booking agent for you to discuss alternatives or options which they may be able to move you to. Occupancy rates in the area would make it easy for them to move you to one of their other properties, subject to availability and the booking conditions of your holiday. Have you spoken to your holiday provider about this? It may well be worth the call in order to set your mind at rest.

      • Dave Wright says:

        Hi Cathy, thank you for comments regarding my concerns with my imminent holiday to Egypt. I have today attended a main Thomas Cook holiday shop and can confirm that they are not in a position to offer alternative holidays or refunds, even though their stance is in breach of consumer law. The branch manager confirmed that a senior management meeting was taking place at TC head office in light of the present situation in Egypt and a statement will be released in due course although I am not holding my breath.

        It is inadmissible that as customers our consumer rights are ignored and only acted upon by travel operators once legal proceedings commence. If the truth be known the decisions made by the FCO appear to be influenced by the big three holiday companies. How is it possible to contemplate an holiday with so many unknown risks, near anarchy in the resort vacinity, curfews, the potential for food shortages, inability to travel outside the hotel and most recently a severe restriction and cuts in gas supplies to hotels. How can it be possible to enjoy a holiday under these circumstances?…….and the response from the travel companies is it is still OK!

        • Thank for your comments.

          There are two issues for you with Thomas Cook.

          The first is the actual hotel itself and the non-availability of features and facilities at the property compared to the description that you had at the time of booking. Any changes to these are covered by the booking conditions of the tour operator concerned which are governed by the CAA under the ATOL scheme. If the tour operator is in breach of those conditions then you have a case against them either to resolve the issue prior to travel or for you to take action through their customer complaints department followed by the ABTA arbitration scheme and as a last resort the small claims court.

          The second issue is on whether or not companies are allowed to continue operating to a destination. This decision is made by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Package holiday companies follow the advice to the letter and will evacuate customers from a destination where the advice is for no travel and will stop all new people going giving them alternative holidays or refunds as appropriate. These companies do NOT dictate the advice to the FCO. The legal liabilities on package companies taking tourists to a destination are taken very seriously and Thomas Cook will not take you somewhere where they believe it is unsafe or where a holiday is going to be seriously affected. However I do understand your concerns, but I must point out that having travelled extensively in Egypt, the Sharm area is a world apart from what you are seeing on the news in Cairo and Alexandria. I appreciate I may not have set your mind at rest and this is an issue between you and Thomas Cook, however it has to be your decision whether you wish to continue with your trip or whether you wish to cancel with any relevant cancellation charges you then choose to incur.

          Bob Atkinson

          • Amy Hudson says:

            We are due to fly out to Hurghada on Monday from Birmingham Airport with Thomson to the Iberotel Aquamarine Hotel. I see the Foreign Office are advising that guests do not leave their hotels in Hurghada due to someone being killed in violent clashes in Hurghada on Wednesday. Where do we stand with regards to this situation as obviously you do not book a holiday to stay the whole two weeks on site without be able to go off and visit the local area and places of interest?

            We are really looking forward to our holiday and want to support the tourism trade in Egypt however we do not want to be stuck in the hotel for two weeks. Obviously it is for own safety but we would rather go to a country where we can go out and experience the locality.

          • Dave Wright says:

            Thank you for your comments the contents of which I note.

            It appears that the situation within Egypt is becoming increasingly intense and worsening by the hour. Most EU governments with the exception of the UK have postponed and withdrawn ALL travel to Egypt, including the Red Sea resorts until 15th September as it is deemed unsafe. I have just checked with my travel insurers to ascertain my insurance cover given the present predicament in Egypt. They have confirmed that although my policy covers my family for all eventualities at present should any disturbances occur within the resort and we become embroiled or caught up in any escalation of the present unrest then our policy will become void should we have reason to make a claim on our policy. The given reason being that we are aware of the present situation of unrest prior to departure!…… many more people/families will be caught up in this scenario of having inadequate or no insurance cover?

          • Insurance should remain valid UNTIL the FCO advises against all travel to the Red Sea areas as long as you are following the advice laid down by your tour operator and the FCO on their website. If you can be shown not to have followed that advice then your insurance would be rendered invalid. Therefore I would check with your insurer again as the wording in your reply suggests different.

            If the advice changed while you were in resort and FCO stopped all travel, then you’re your operator would put into effect a program to evacuate their clients in the same was as happened to those caught up in Tunisia back in the winter of 2011. The evacuation was swift and ensured that Brits were not put in danger and showed a great level of care from both the FCO and the tour operators involved, including Thomas Cook.

          • willow bell says:

            It’s ridiculous, Britain just picks and chooses dangerous places, regardless whether they actually are. Everyone goes on about Sharm but Sinai has been really contested for decades, with lots of bombs over the years. The British govt ensure the bucks continue to flow nevertheless, as The master race of colonialism flourish to this very day. Go where you want, unless there’s an actual war in progress, you can get run over, the biggest danger, anywhere.
            Its great for the insurance companies cos they can leave you to rot if you are seriously injured by a car in the quietist place, just because Britain doesn’t like the people, who live there, for instance any Arabic state socialists, who supported Gamel Abdul Nassau historically or in my case the Dr Bashar supporters, who inhabit Balbek, Lebanon.

  8. lindsay says:

    I am going to hurghada on the 9th of September, how far away fRom all the demonstrations are we???

  9. I am also booked for Hurghada (note most discussion mention Sharm area) at the end of Aug, and agree with comments of not wanting to stay inside the grounds of the hotel, or be curfew.

    As Germany are now advising against ALL travel to Egypt, why is the FCO not following the same line?

  10. Jamie says:

    Hi there,

    We have just returned from holiday in Egypt . 7 days in sharm el sheikh and 3 in Cairo . It was our 7th holiday to Egypt in the last 14 years. Sharmy is no different at all. Business as usual. No underlying threat. Bustling and happy as ever. As for Cairo. What a transformation. Armed military escort on coach tours to the sites and museum. Not allowed to leave hotel at night. Not that we wanted to as the gun fire and screaming in the distance was quite horrific. I warn you all to not go to Cairo. It is an area of great unrest and is quite disturbing to see what was such a wonderful city in such despair.

  11. There are a number of comments on here around refunds and booking conditions, so I thought it would be worthwhile just re-emphasising our advice

    If you have booked a package holiday sold under an ATOL licence, the tour operator will generally follow the advice of the FCO in whether or not they operate a holiday to Egypt or any individual part of it. As the Red Sea areas are currently deemed as ‘safe’ to travel to unless the tour operator decides to soften its stance (their decision) then normal booking conditions will apply for either a cancellation (and subsequent refund or for administration fees to change your holiday to another date or destination. Therefore anyone who currently does not wish to go on their holiday to the affected area will be liable for charges. If the holiday program is still operating then you will not be able to get a refund is the general advice.

    For anyone booked on an ATOL package to travel to other areas of Egypt, tour operators are cancelling trips on a rolling basis. Each one will make their own decision on how far out from the departure date they allow cancellation and a full refund, although most are doing this on anything from one to two months out from today. Do check with your tour operator for details.

    Anyone who has booked separate arrangements of a flight plus a hotel you are totally at the mercy of who you have booked with as they are not backed by ATOL and therefore do not follow the same general advice that ATOL holders follow as above. You will need to speak to your individual airline/hotel booking company to understand what their policies are on cancellation/refund. Mot will have some flexibility to delay or change your trip, however you do need to speak to them direct.

    I should also state that there is no legal obligation to offer a full refund to anyone in any of the situations above, it is just accepted practice that if the FCO were to advise against all travel to the Red Sea area, then ATOL covered holidays would be halted and full refunds permitted. Non ATOL backed trips do not have this as accepted practice, it is down to the discretion of the airline/hotels.

    Importantly ensure you keep in touch with the FCO advice on a daily basis and also to follow your own tour operators latest position on any changes to your holiday.

  12. Dave Weight says:

    It is a shame you dont get the full facts, Egypt is getting worse and the crime rate is soaring, I lived there until recently and returnedto the UK as it is getting very bad, the Egyptian peole dont want Foreign Visitors and openly tell holiday makersto go home they are not wanted.

  13. Jen Linford says:

    We’ve just returned from our 4 th visit to Sharm and were there when the curfew was in place. We felt very safe at all times and did leave the hotel to go on snorkelling trips and to meet up with friends in Soho Square.
    We were the first fare our taxi driver had had in two days as business has been so badly affected since the uprising. He sent his heavily pregnant wife to live with her family near Cairo as he couldn’t afford to look after her.
    The staff in the hotels are worried for their families in Cairo but also rely on their jobs to be able to send money home. To see these lovely people in such despair is so sad. Follow FCO advice by all means but don’t desert this beautiful part of Egypt . British tourists are so respected as they treat the Egyptians so well. Talk to them and find out about their lives. You will be very humbled.

  14. patricia yates says:

    Can you confirm the FO are checking Luxor with a view to removal of travel ban.


  15. patricia yates says:

    Re Luxor, we have not yet heard from the FO regarding any changes. However I and my husband have been to Egypt for nearly 15 years, and intend to travel in November to Luxor to our own flat and will be away till New Year. We do not anticipate any problems at all, the people are lovely, overall honest and eager to see tourist back as soon as possible. In the larger picture the small unrest that there WAS in Luxor a few months ago does not compair with Cairo,Alexandria and Suez No way.

  16. Andrew Mason says:

    We are booked on a package to fly to Cairo on Jan 5th for a 3 day stay and then to Fly to Luxor for a 7 day Nile cruise. The FO states clearly that travel for this holiday is not advised and this advice appears open ended. The travel company currently cancelling all these holidays up to Nov 5th. After this there is no decision. At what point do I have the right to say I want to cancel and either get a refund or re-arrange?

  17. Graham says:

    Hi all, I see loads of references to Sharm but what about impending Nile cruises? According to FCO its in an all but essential area, however my travel company is not showing any signs that it will allow me to cancel. Anyone have advice there?

  18. Guys, I live in Egypt and until now it’s safe so if you wanna come;We will be very welcome, but if the situation became worse you should cancle it or at least do not enter Cairo or ElGiza or Alexandria cause its not safe in there.
    Greeting from Egyptions.

  19. Egypt is a very interesting place to visit and see a pyramid up close :)

  20. Should I travel to Egypt? | The TravelSupermarket blog

  21. glenn oelker says:

    We just got back from our second trip to Egypt, the first being in 2008, before the 2011 revolution. This most recent tour was with Viking. To us, the security situation seems similar to 2008. Since a 1997 European tourist bus attack in Luxor, the Egyptian government has taken tourist security very seriously, as tourism is 15% of their economy. As in 2008, tour buses have an armed guard riding within the bus, and each bus is followed by a tourist police car containing 4 armed officers. There are numerous armed police check points on all roads, more frequent near and around tourist areas. Tourist sites, such as the Egypt Museum in Cairo, have concrete barriers surrounding building entrances and several layers of scanners, with a large police presence. Larger hotels have this level of security with explosive sniffing dogs and vehicle trunk and undercarriage inspections and limited ability of vehicles to approach the building. The security rivals US embassies. These measures were in place in 2008 and are not new since the revolution. There was essentially a military dictatorship in 2008, as there is today. We felt very secure during our entire trip. I walked for an hour through Aswan and felt very comfortable. I would not recommend independently traveling through Egypt today or in 2008, as only rare signs are written in Latin script and few Egyptian speak any English unless they are involved in the tourist industry. I would advise using a tour group, and our experience with Viking was excellent. Any visitor to Cairo, Paris, New York, or Copenhagen needs to have “situational awareness”. One needs to be aware of their surroundings and who is approaching them. Eyes open and brain turned on. Don’t wait, go to Egypt. See the most ancient of civilizations. Be overwhelmed by the age, size, and grandeur of the temples, tombs, and pyramids. We have been to many interesting places all over the world. Egypt is number one on our list. GO TO EGYPT, NOW!!

    • Hi Glenn

      Thanks for the update. I would certainly echo your sentiments about visiting Egypt and the fantastic sights there. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

      Kind regards


  22. Anonymous says:

    I and my grandsons are booked in Hurgarda for two weeks is it safe to go. elaine

    • Hi there Elaine

      There should be no problems in taking a holiday in Hurghada to the beach resorts. The safety advice from the FCO is found here;

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


    • selmasahirah says:

      Useful and informative article. As we know Egypt is famous for ancient culture and monuments. So we should go there, just follow the FCO advice.Hurghada is the amazing place in Egypt. I got back from there in last month with the help of the well known travel agency Complete Egypt, there was no more threatening. I had a safest journey. But don’t go alone in dark Street.

  23. natasha says:

    Hi I am travelling to sharm August 2015, am I safe travelling there?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Natasha

      there should be no reason for you to be concerned about travelling to Sharm El Sheikh.

      The current FCO Travel advice is here;

      The whole Sharm area is surrounded by security and there have been no reports of any problems in the area in recent years and months unless you leave the confines of the resort. Thousands are continuing to holiday there week after week with no problems whatsoever.

      I hope that this settles your mind.

      Kind regards


  24. Shirley Miller says:

    We are booked to go Sharm 20th December for 2weeks. In view of the latest atrocity, what are your thoughts now.

    • Hi there Shirley

      At the moment there is no firm news as to the cause of the loss of the Metrojet aircraft and the media is in a frenzy of reporting and counter reporting on the cause of this tragic incident.

      The FCO travel advice remains without change and until we learn something new and the FCO change this it remains a personal decision as to whether to plan or book a holiday to Sharm, If you choose to cancel your holidays the current position of airlines and tour operators is that it would be your choice and you would be liable to cancellation charges.

      Its an ever developing situation and for now I would sit tight and see what happens.

      Kind regards


      • Have a holiday booked for sharm to travel early February. We have till wed to change for An extra £150 to travel to lanzarote after we would be charged even more to change. Really don’t know what to do with currant situation.

      • Sharon Grindle says:

        We too are booked to go but not until the end of January. I am hoping that as a result of this, security measures will be stepped up so we can still go…seems unfortunately to be just a waiting game at the moment. Hope you are able to travel without worry Shirley, perhaps you can post on here to let us know what develops with your holiday x

  25. Caroline says:

    We are due to travel to Sharm airport on 29 November.

    Anxiously watching the news – flights suspended at present up to 12th Nov, Just wondering how much notice we will get from the travel operator.

    • Hi Caroline,

      Thank you for your comment.

      At the moment flights are cancelled until November 25 so, unless this changes, you should be able to travel on November 29.

      However, different companies have different policies in place for travel after this date with Thomas Cook, for example, allowing customers to amend bookings up to December 10 for free. Who are you travelling with and have you contacted them to see what their policy is?

      We’ve got links to the Thomson, Thomas Cook and BA advice above, if it helps.

      Thank you,

  26. Maria says:

    I am booked to go Egypt on 24th November for a week. I’m currently sitting tight to see if the grounding of flights to sharm changes. When the riots were reported over there in 2011 I still went. There was a party at soho square to thank all British who continued to travel there as all other countries grounded there flights. It was very safe then for all tourism and security is paramount.
    Will the flights be recommenced in next few weeks??

  27. Hello,
    I had booked a dive holiday to Hurghada prior to the news of the Metrojet incident. Whilst I am happy that I will be perfectly safe on my dive boat and in the Hurghada area, I do have concerns about the security of the city’s airport.

    Most UK news about Egyptian air security revolves around improving the situation of Sharm. However having recently traveled to both Sharm and Hurghada, I found that the level and attitude to security has been the same at both locations and more relaxed than in the UK.

    I am concerned that no official comments have been made regarding Hurghada airport and improving the situation there.

    Russia has suspended flights to ALL of Egypt and is repatriating throughout the country. I understand that KLM has introduced a hand luggage only policy to flights from Cario. Alitalia has imposed another restrictive luggage policy to the Egyptian Capital too. Conversely UK advice on air travel has solely focused on Sharm and I find lack of clarity as to potential restrictions for other destinations in Egypt frustrating, particularly as I will be travelling with a large amount of dive gear.

    I welcome any views on what is been done to improve safety at other airports in Egypt such as Hurghada and what restrictions might be imposed on the traveller to improve safety?

    • I am also wondering about hurghada as due to go next week there’s no mention for this part of Eygpt which is quite frustrating

    • Natalie says:

      Hi, I agree, I’m flying out to hurghada for a diving holiday on 21st of this month and I really don’t want to go at this rate. How can one airport be safe and the other be under security surveillance? I find it very worrying however my airline will most likely refuse a refund due to hurghada being classed as ‘safe’

  28. Good day to all, we are going to fly from Riga to Hurghada 14.11 for a diving week. Feeling VERY nervous about the flight. As all countries are taking their tourists out of Egypt we are going in.
    Maybe someone is in Hurgada this moment and can tell what really is happening and are there any reasons to stay at home.
    Thank You in advance

    • Hi we have a girl here on resort who is part of the entertainments team and is british and a uk citizen. Monarch have advised her to get the last flight on Tuesday. What does the future hold for uk reps / entertainment. We have advised her to take the the tuesday flight. Will another flight be put on for uk Holiday reps

  29. Jane Ball says:

    Hi, my husband and I have booked flights for christmas day going to Sharm El Shekh, and we intended to stay for 9 nights. We got married in August and came for our honeymoon, and as our children are grown up and in universaty now, we thought about spending Christmas somewhere hot, and because we absolutley loved it when we came in August we wanted to come back.
    Now with everything that is going on we are unsure as to what to do.We are scarred to travel to the airport because this is where it seems, the security failed.
    We are booked with Monarch, and they have just said they won’t transfer our flights unless we paid £40 per person per flight to change destinations, or, wait and see what the goverment reccommend.
    As they’ve only advised of none essentle travel until 19th Decmber, there isn’t much else we can do but wait. We can’t afford to book another holiday and risk losing the flight money to Sharm, but if we wait the prices are just going up and up.
    We never paid our hotel because we booked with and was paying on arrival and we will have to pay one night if we don’t go, and they’ve told us even if the goverment say it’s not safe to travel they wont refund us the hotel money because, Sharm El Sheikh itself is safe but, the airport isn’t but how would we get there ? I’ve got restricted mobility and wouldn’t be able to have a long transfer from another airport.Also, if we were to get stuck like the tourists that are there now, I wouldn’t be able to sit around for whatever legnth of time until, they could get us out of there.
    I feel for the Egyptians, because as a few people have said on here the people are very nice, they can’t do enough for you, and yes they do prefer the Brit’s to any other tourists.
    They’re economy is really going to suffer as a result of this, they rely on us traveling to thier country and now people will be too scarred to travel.
    So sorry if I’ve rambeled on. once I get started.
    please leave comments for me, we’d like some advice if you can.
    Thanks Jane

    • Hi Jane

      The only thing you can do here is to sit it out while Monarch decide if they are going to extend the suspension of flying beyond the already announced date in December.

      Otherwise you have to pay the change fee to Monarch for a different destination and be aware of the cancellation fees for your hotel.

      Keep checking Monarch’s website for the latest.

      Kind regards


  30. we have have been on holidays for the past 10 years to all rsorts in egypt i preferred resort is makady bay where i have found the best beaches by far dont need pontoons to go for a dip and see wonderfull coral and fish our favorite hotel is fort arabesque where mostly brits germans and french use not many russians unlike most other hotels do not be put off going to egypt other than the fco advice after the sharm air crash wee hope to go to sharm for a week in jan if we get the all clear our thoughts are with the people of paris at this moment do not let them win and ruin these countries

  31. I am due to go to Sharm on 11th January 2016. I cannot get through due to the backlog and have not heard anything.

    Will the company contact me nearer the time for a refund or an alternative destination?

    Thank you for your help,


    • hi andrew like u we are due to go to sharm on the 17th of jan until the fco tells us flights will go in jan u will not get a refund if u wish to cancell unless your travel agent can transfer to another place we will go if flights are ok but we think the hotels will be quiet if they open at all best of luck

    • Hi Andrew

      Which company have your booked your arrangements with and which airline are you travelling on?

      Kind regards


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