Sharm el Sheikh: Home to Luxury Resorts

Why did ISIS choose Sharm el Sheikh as a target instead of another popular Russian tourist destination ? With all the photos we've seen of the plane's damage, we haven't seen many of the place itself, except on maps. From the maps, it seems like place in the middle of nowhere. Not so.

Just two weeks before the crash, the Four Seasons in Sharm el Sheikh posted on its website that it had just received two new awards, one from Conde Nast Traveler and one from New-Wealth.com (a publication that tracks the hotel usage and preferences of multi-millionaires -- those with a wealth of more than $10 million. [More...]

In the 2015 Conde Nast traveler awards, the Four Seasons Sharm el Sheikh was rated the top hotel in Egypt. In addition, it was ranked as:

#8 The World's Top 100 and

#4 Best Hotels in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean

In its 2015 annual review of the top hotels for the super-rich, New World Wealth rated the Four Seasons in Sharm el Sheikh at #9 for Africa Top Rated Hotels & Lodges.

According to Conde Nast, Sharm el Sheikh is a four hours from London by air. Cost: seven nights from £3,799 for a family of four, including breakfast, flights and transfers. As to the airport, the article notes:

Whizz through fast-track passport control and get ushered into cars for the 10-minute drive through shimmering sand dunes.

The Four Seasons describes its Sharm el Sheikh hotel this way:

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh is a unique place among international beach destinations offering a desert and sea hideaway experience with year-round sunshine and world-class diving in the Red Sea. Within an oasis of lush greenery and fountains, Four Seasons is a self-contained world with eight options for dining and drinks, glamorous swimming pools, a private beach, kids’ activities, and an indoor-outdoor Spa and Wellness Centre. The Resort maintains its position as the premier luxury resort in the destination, promising guests a comfortable and relaxing experience.

Here's the New World Wealth top ten:

[I've only stayed at 5 of the 10 listed hotels, and I'm certainly not a multi-millionaire, but I wouldn't have included the Plaza. The Bellagio and Little Nell are very nice hotels, but I'm surprised no hotels from China or Thailand made the list. There are a few in both places I would have included.]

I have no idea whether any of the Russian passengers who died on the crashed flight had stayed at the Four Seasons. But I now see why so many people would want to visit Sharm el Sheikh, and why there are so many thousands of Britons and Russians still there needing evacuation. It's a very beautiful place.

If ISIS did down the plane, it's going to have a lasting impact on the tourist industry in Egypt.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Jeralyn is it confirmed? (none / 0) (#1)
    by smott on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 02:07:35 PM EST
    That ISIS brought down the plane?
    Any links with details on the method?

    I've spoken my piece on this subject, ... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 03:52:56 PM EST
    ... so I'm now going to hold my peace, until such time as the investigators' preliminary report on the crash is released. Suffice to say that some people can talk themselves into believing all sorts of things, if they really want to do so.

    I'm pretty sure at this point that should this eventual report point to some sort of structural failure or mechanical malfunction as the likely cause of the plane's downing, there will be no small portion of the general populace who will resist any acceptance of those findings and will insist otherwise, that ISIS is responsible.

    And maybe that's the primary objective of those anonymous persons in the U.S. and U.K. intelligence communities who've been free-floating such conjecture in the first place.



    As of now still not confirmed it was a bomb... (none / 0) (#5)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 03:51:22 PM EST
    ...but tonight it was leaked that the cockpit recorded an explosion. In itself not necessarily a bomb as per the Boeing 747, Qantas Flight 30 which in 2008 suffered the explosion of what was suspected, never proved, to have been a faulty oxygen tank which blew a 2m x1.5m hole in the side of the plane through which by fluke only a few odds and ends were lost as well as a hole in the passenger deck. Fortunately for those on board the aircraft was able to continue until landing safely.

    ... can be catastrophic, if the integrity of the aircraft's fuselage has been seriously breached.

    (Okay, one final comment about this subject and then I'll stand down here, I promise.)

    In order to render the cabin's internal climate acceptable at a cruising altitude of 30-36,000 feet, the air inside the aircraft cabin is kept at the equivalent of 8,000 feet. As the plane gains altitude, the difference in pressure between the air in the cabin and the air outside increases. Pressurization exerts physical forces on any potential weak point in the aircraft structure, and that includes its doors and cargo hold latches.

    For example, if the seal on a cargo door fails, as occurred on United Airlines Flt. 811 only 20 minutes after it departed Honolulu for Auckland in Feb. 1989, it can result in a massive explosive decompression, which in this tragic instance swept nine business-class passengers through the resultant fuselage breach to their deaths.

    (It's worth reading the Wikipedia account of UA811's ordeal, if only to understand the seriousness of explosive decompression in an aircraft at high altitude, and the very fine line the flight crew walked in their heroic efforts to nurse that B-747 back to Honolulu before all its systems failed completely.)

    Survivors from UA811 all testified at the NTSB hearings that they heard an explosion, which the flight deck crew initially and mistakenly attributed to a bomb in the cargo hold. Federal investigators later surmised that had the airliner been at its initial assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, rather than still climbing at 22,000 feet, when that cargo door's seal failed, it's quite likely that the entire aircraft would have broken up mid-flight and its entire complement of 355 passengers and crewmembers would have been lost. As it was, UA811 barely made it back to HNL on its two surviving starboard engines.

    That's why the proficiency of an airline's ground, cabin and flight deck crews really matters, as they each go through their respective pre-flight check lists. The failure to ensure that a cabin door or cargo door is sufficiently closed and sealed can otherwise lead to catastrophe once a plane climbs above 20,000 feet.

    But in UA811's case, no such attention to detail by the crew could have prevented what occurred on that 18-year-old B-747. Investigators determined that a short circuit within that aircraft's aging electrical system caused an unprompted rotation of the cargo door's latches, effectively compromising its proper seal and consigning UA811 to its fate.

    In that regard, it's perhaps worth remembering that the Metrojet A-321 aircraft in question was also 18 years old at the time of its crash. And that's why it's so vitally important here to let investigators on the ground in Sinai do their jobs, and not speculate publicly about bombs and terrorism in the present absence of any conclusive findings to that effect.



    What About TWA Flight 800? (none / 0) (#8)
    by RickyJim on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    The one that crashed off Long Island on July 17, 1996 killing 230 people.  The NTSB investigation concluded that a fuel tank explosion due to a short electrical circuit was the cause, but a reading of the Wikipedia article seems to indicate that the matter has not been settled for everybody.  Explosive residues were found in the wreckage but the source was never determined. To me, so far, this is the closest parallel with the Metrojet 9268 disaster.

    Given society's reliance upon air travel, ... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Nov 11, 2015 at 05:41:42 PM EST
    ... it is in the public interest to determine the cause and source of aircraft incidents and crashes, and the integrity of such investigations to that effect should not be held hostage to someone else's political agenda.

    If the cause of an explosive decompression in an aircraft is a design flaw or an age-related issue such as metal fatigue, it's important than investigators be allowed to conduct their investigation of such incidents unhindered, and not allow the unsubstantiated conjecture of public officials and the media to divert their attention by compelling them to disprove a negative.

    Again, we need to let the investigators do their job, because we owe it to the crash victims to determine the true cause of the incident that consigned them to their fate.

    That's clearly not happening here. Rather, much of the media as well as numerous government officials are treating this incident as though it was a foregone finding that there was a bomb on board even though, eleven days after Metrojet 9268 went down, there's been no evidence whatsoever disclosed by investigators to the public to support any such contention.



    This Was on The News Today... (none / 0) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 02:58:25 PM EST
    ...but I can only find it in the tabloids:

    Britons travelling through Sharm el-Sheikh airport said they had been able to pay guards £15 to jump security without their bags being checked.

    Holidaymakers claim this photgraph proves security officers at Sharm el-Sheikh airport are free to use phones and this man was said to be on his for more than a minute as bags went through a scanner

    Holidaymakers say officials approached them as they queued for security and asked if they wanted to just walk through for cash.

    Britons say after handing over the money they were taken from snaking queues and allowed to bypass electronic body and bag scanners.

    Dale Parkyn, 47, from Harrogate, paid up earlier this year with his wife Joanne and said: 'We walked right through the security gates and security procedure, straight through the airport, avoided all the queues, and then he put the case on the conveyor belt and the girl checked us in. At no point did my luggage go through any scanner. When I think now it was bizarre.

    For the record, the only evidence this was a terrorist attack is intercepted communications, aka chatter:

    Britain had halted flights on Wednesday to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, where the flight originated, saying information coming to light increased the possibility that an explosive device was the cause of the crash.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday it was "more likely than not" a terrorist attack caused the crash. Hours later, President Barack Obama said there was a "possibility" that a bomb was on board the plane. But neither government has explained its reason for airing the suspicion, and Egypt and Russia have said they have reached no such conclusion.



    Egypt is the number-one international tourist destination for Russians, who often escape the frosty weather by taking relatively inexpensive package trips to sunny destinations like Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea coast. More than two million Russian tourists have visited Egypt so far this year.

    Yes as I've mentioned (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by smott on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 03:14:02 PM EST
    Someone wake me when they have found any trace of explosive residue or signature. Anything.

    It's always possible that they have indeed found said evidence and are merely suppressing it.
    I'd think it would leak if that was the case, but who knows.

    This just feels like a ball started rolling downhill by Cameron. He's between a rock and a hard place, and has to show he's doing something in case the chatter bears out.

    Putin has to follow suit.

    Time will tell.


    Putin Cancelled Flights... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 03:46:03 PM EST
    ...and Brittan is sending a special cargo plane for baggage only, allowing people to bring a small carry on, like a purse, on the passenger flights.  

    The flight cancellations are not because the airspace is dangerous, it's because they don't trust the security at the airport.  Brittan has sent people there to help scanners, scan baggage, but I am guessing it's more to make sure ISIS doesn't have a plant on the inside.

    For the record, I would be happy as a clam to get stranded on vacation with no possible way to get home for up to two weeks.  I would be on the last flight if I had anything to do with it, to hell with waiting at the airport, call me, I will be pool side with a large frosty drink.


    It depends (none / 0) (#11)
    by smott on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 02:11:17 PM EST
    How easy it is to get someone to pay for that.

    If EZJet is prevented from flying to SHS for ex they may ask the Egyptian govt to pay. Could be a bit of a mess!

    But if I'd been given say vouchers for the hotel and meals for a week, I'd be happy. Not sure that has happened reading the EZJet notes. Guess we'll see....


    Ok, a dumb question. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 04:10:09 PM EST
    This is Egypt.  Are they allowed to serve "frosty drinks?"

    Where I live the local middle eastern restaurants serve great smoothies, but alcohol?  no.


    Nearly all US Hotels... (none / 0) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Nov 09, 2015 at 09:03:54 AM EST
    ...serve alcohol and it's been my experience, this is where the local men with money like to hangout.  Egypt isn't nearly as alcohol adverse as say the UAE or Bahrain.  Generally the rule is don't go on the street drunk, this is includes hopping in a cab. FWIW, the lounge areas generally have ladies of the night as well, which the local men are not shy about cohering with.

    I want to say the only country in which you can be arrested for consuming or possessing alcohol is Saudi Arabia, but not 100% on that.  I am wrong, here are the countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.  It's illegal in others, but only for Muslims.

    I have the the dollars for vacation, I do not have the days, that is one thing I run out of every year and usually the thing that cuts my fun short.  I have had 4 days since the end of September, and it sucks to know I have to be at work everyday until the xmas holidays.


    I agree about (none / 0) (#16)
    by lentinel on Sun Nov 08, 2015 at 06:31:21 AM EST

    He's acting like the new Tony Blair.


    Corruption at an Egyptian run airport (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 12:31:07 PM EST

    I am shocked. Yes shocked.

    Arrest all the usual suspects.

    (With apologies to Captain Renualt.)


    Absolutely! (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Yman on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 01:28:15 PM EST
    It's not like you could have corruption at just any, old airport in the US,... like say, ...



    Yeah Thank God We Don't Have... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Nov 09, 2015 at 09:17:55 AM EST
    ...corruption at the airports, we just have an entire government agency, the TSA who continually fails to catch dangerous items in baggage.

    Acting TSA Director Reassigned After Screeners Failed Tests to Detect Explosives, Weapons(June 2, 2015)

    Washington (CNN)The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that the acting administrator for the Transportation Security Administration would be reassigned, following a report that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover team conducted at dozens of airports.

    According to a report based on an internal investigation, "red teams" with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General were able to get banned items through the screening process in 67 out of 70 tests it conducted across the nation.

    From a safety perspective, no difference.  They are corrupt and we are unable.


    comments deleted with (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 10, 2015 at 02:26:03 PM EST
    snipes, deleted. Jim, the thread is not about you. Don't ask questions like "what is it about me...." Get your own blog if you want to talk about you. Yman, lose the insults in responding.