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Most people arrive in Sharm El Sheikh through the international airport. It has an old and new terminal, which are approximately 200m away from each other. The new terminal is Terminal 1, and the old terminal is Terminal 2. As a general rule most flights from the UK arrive at the old terminal, except British Airways and Easyjet flights which arrive at the new terminal. EgyptAir flights also use the new terminal.
Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport is located about 23km northeast of
the city of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The airport is owned by the
Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation.
A new terminal (terminal three) and a runway are being constructed to increase the airport's passenger handling capacity by 10 million. The airport is expected to cater to 18 million passengers annually by 2025.
The arrivals hall can be a bit chaotic if several flights arrive at the same time. However, obtaining visas is a lot quicker than it used to be. These can be obtained from the various kiosks on the left as you enter into the building prior to joining the queues for immigration/passport control. After showing your passports you will be able to reclaim your baggage.
Alongside the baggage hall there is a small duty free shop (all prices are in U.S. dollars) with a limited selection on offer. If you have a favourite brand of drink or tobacco you may have wished that you had already purchased it at your departure airport or on the plane.
If you bought a flight + hotel package, your airport transfer is normally included. If not, it is a good idea to arrange your transfer with a local company - they are familiar with the systems and the staff, and will speed you past the queues of coach groups waiting to go through immigration! Also keep in mind that private cars and taxis are no longer allowed into the pedestrianised centre of Na'ama Bay. If your hotel is in this area it's highly recommended to book a transfer. If you choose to arrive by taxi, the central Na'ama Bay hotels (such as Tropicana Na'ama Bay, Helnan Marina, Kanabesh, Camel, Ocean Bay, Cataract, Kharamana) are up to a 10 minute walk away from the the taxi rank on the main road. That could be uncomfortable with luggage, especially in day time heat.
Make sure you have pre-arranged your transportation to your destination. Most people will be picked up by tour buses and you will be left to fight with the mafia taxis at the airport. The price to go from the airport to Nabq (10 minute ride) should be no more than 30-40 LE. They will start at 150 and will go to 400 even and tell you it includes everything. What does a taxi ride include? dinner? lunch? sight seeing? If you get lucky they will start going lower to 80 or less. You have to get loud and firm with them in order to show that you are not afraid and will not be bullied. You can even say you would rather walk to the hotel. Don't be afraid to walk away. It is a game you have to play. If you're lucky you will get one that gives you a decent price but the experience will leave you feeling like you were molested. Get a pre-arranged ride through the hotel. It's worth not having to go through this abuse at the airport.
Transfer times from the airport vary greatly as many of the larger resort hotels are scattered along the coast - check with your tour operator. Approximate transfer times from the airport: Nabq Bay - 15 minutes; Sharks Bay - 10 minutes; Na'ama Bay - 15 minutes; Hadaba/Ras Umm Sid - 20-30 minutes.
It is also a good idea to try and get to the airport early for your departure - if you arrive at the same time as a coach you will be waiting quite some time to get through security to even check in. Monarch, Thos Cook and First Choice and others depart from Terminal 2. Prior to reaching the check in desks you will have to go through a security screening process (you are permitted to take bottles of water through this screening). Be aware that the charges for being overweight with your baggage allowance are very expensive. Also, many airlines will not allow you to pool your baggage, so make sure you have distributed your allowance equally before arriving at the airport. Check with the ariline if you are unsure about baggage allowances.
Easyjet check in desks are to the left and around the back, used to be difficult if you did not know where to go but it is now sign posted.
As you check in your baggage you should be given an emigration card (almost identical to the card you completed prior to immigration on your arrival) along with your boarding card. Make sure you complete this prior to joining the queue at passport control. There is a cafe area upstairs if desired. If the airport is busy it may be advisable to eat here as the food court in the departure lounge is small with a limited seating area which quickly becomes overcrowded.
Once you have gone through emigration/passport control you will join the queue for security screening, security staff will ask you to remove belts and any metal objects before going through the metal detector. You will then enter the departure lounge for your duty free shopping and a small amount of shops, some of which may be expensive. You may find that your choice of perfume (similar price as the U.K) limited. Also the choice of cigarettes are limited. Although 400 B&H special filter were available for $44 (November 2012). In Terminal 1 Duty Free in November 2012 you could get 200 Egyptian cigarettes for $7. There is now quite a good selection of duty free available in terminal 1. Most of the big brands (B&H,L&B and smirnoff and jack daniels) are now availale. Price of 1L smirnoff vodka was $16 (around £10) and 1L Jack daniels around $35 (just over £20). I believe they now accept debit and credit cards as well as U.S. dollars, Egyptian pounds and English pounds (the exchange rate is quite fair as well). In Terminal 2 Prices of spirits were significantly less than in the UK. Note that the duty free shop ONLY TAKES CASH - no credit cards. You can pay in local currency or other currencies, or a combination of currencies.
Terminal 1 has a Burger King upstairs with similar prices to the UK. The toilets are not very nice and would advise to take some toilet roll from the hotel if needed. There 2 female toilets on the ground floor and 1 male toilets on the upper section. There is a smoking area in the K-Lounge next to gate 1, which also has wifi (though it was hard to connect to in Nov 2012)
There are nine departure gates with seating areas, smokers are catered for with their own area alongside Gate 9. Keep an eye on the many screens for your flight information and listen out for any announcements which are sometimes made. The information on the screens are not always updated and you may find that your flight is boarding without the screen informing you of this!
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