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Guest Review: Ethiopian Airlines Business Class – Flying on Cloud Nine

A Boeing 777-200LR takes off from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation

A Boeing 777-200LR takes off from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, who works for the site NYCAviation.com, had the opportunity to fly on an Ethiopian Airlines business class flight on a Boeing 777 and 767. I thought the story was great and am able to share it with my readers. Here is his story in his own words:

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA: This is the second of a three part series on the airline, with this segment focusing on their business class service named Cloud Nine.  NYCAviation (NYCA) had the opportunity to review this service on two international flights: Washington Dulles to Addis Ababa and Addis Ababa to Johannesburg.  Ethiopian provided the flights to NYCA at no charge, flying on both legs in September 2011.

Part I  Addis to DC

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 501 Service to Addis Ababa from Washington Dulles
Boeing 777‐200LR ET‐ANR
Dep: 1201/EDT Arr: 0738/EAT
Seat 03H / Cloud Nine Business Class

Stepping onto the curb in a rainy Washington DC, I made my way to the Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) counter, which is tucked in the back off to one side. Check‐in was short and sweet—about 15 minutes start to finish. I took advantage of ETH’s two‐checked‐bags policy and left one bag in their care. At the ticket counter I had been assigned seat 20B, but at the gate I was upgraded to seat 03H in Cloud Nine.

Boarding was a breeze. Cloud Nine passengers, members of ShebaMiles and other preferred‐status folks boarded first. I was the third person to walk onto the large, new Boeing 777‐200LR (ET‐ANR). Ethiopian’s business class on the B772 (the airline has no first class) is configured as 2‐3‐2, with 03H in the middle section on the aisle. As the passengers settled in before we departed on this 12+‐hour flight, drinks ranging from juice to liquor and copies of Le Monde and The Washington Post were offered.

Cloud Nine Seat on the 777

Cloud Nine Seat on the 777. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Dulles was unusually slow that day, which allowed a nearly on‐time departure (about 10 minutes late) from Runway 33. A Saudi Arabian Airbus A340‐300 and the ever‐elusive Boeing 747SP on the remote ramp enhanced the view as the 777’s wonderfully massive GE‐90 engines spooled up. We climbed out over the Washington Metro area and headed northeast.

Following an hour long power nap just after departure, I awoke to the sounds of drinks being served. A selection of juice, soda and top‐shelf liquor was offered along with salted airplane shaped crackers. Lunch service followed shortly thereafter.

The hors d’oeuvres were sweet chili bay scallops, citrus‐cured smoked salmon and sliced bresaola (air‐dried beef) served with salad and warm bread and butter. The beef was spicy and good. I don’t eat fish or seafood and so passed up the other choices, but they looked excellent. A salad, also provided, was OK.

Little airplane crackers!

Little airplane crackers! Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

We were asked to choose an entrée: beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian. I opted for the seasoned chicken breast with vegetables in teriyaki sauce and rice with asparagus. The meal was good and satisfying—the chicken was tender and moist, the vegetables crisp and warm. It came with more bread and butter. After the meal, dessert ‐ a slice of coconut cheesecake for me. Service was quick and friendly (perhaps too quick: While no one rushed me through a course, I couldn’t help but feel a bit hurried), and capped off by the traditional coffee service.

Four hours in the sun was already setting. While much of the cabin settled in for the night, I went for the entertainment system. A wide selection of TV and movies in multiple languages are available along with games, flight tracking maps and other options. The touch screen is large; 15.4 inches wide. With the screen nestled into the seat back in front of you it requires a stretch to reach, but the tethered remote takes care of that. The remote itself is a bit less intuitive than I would’ve liked, and at times it was easier to use the touch screen than fiddle with it. The airline provided a bagged set of their own headphones, which got the job done. During the flight I watched a few movies, some TV, and played BlackJack (a shame that it wasn’t with real money).

Tasty lunch service on the Ethiopian flight.

Tasty lunch service on the Ethiopian flight. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Sleep came shortly thereafter and I found myself able to manage about five hours of solid rest. Utilizing a shell based design the Cloud Nine seats are considered angled lie‐flat and have a respectable 65 inches of pitch: they even has a massage function to help loosen up the muscles. The other details are pretty standard: a large, fold‐out tray tucked into the side of the armrest, adjustable reading light, foot rest and a pillow & blanket set. The only downsides were lack of power outlets and the seat not being terribly private: an adjustable divider between the seats would have been welcome. Ethiopian’s one carry‐on policy kept overhead space easily available.

While sleep was welcome and need, unfortunately I slept through the second meal service. According to my menu I missed out on a selection of culinary delights ranging from mini beef meatballs and chicken satay to mini pizza and jalapeno poppers. I trust that they matched the positive experience of the first meal service.

With two‐and‐a‐half hours remaining the final meal service began: breakfast. Again the food was enjoyable and plentiful. There were a few options; I chose the cheese omelet with hash browns, chicken sausage and sautéed mushroom with a grilled tomato ‐ complimented by a fresh fruit salad and yogurt.

Deboarding in Addis Ababa

Deboarding in Addis Ababa. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

As the flight neared arrival a stop to the lavatory to freshen up was in order. A packet of amenities, located in the seat, contained toothpaste and brush, comb, mouthwash, sleeping mask, and a handful of other items. Nothing to write home about, but after a long flight the ability to brush your teeth and comb your hair in the lav is welcome.

We landed early into Bole International Airport at 0738 local time. Taxi was fast and we quickly pulled up to a remote gate complete with air‐stairs. Deboarding was quick and efficient as Cloud Nine was let out first, with a minibus exclusively for business class greeting us at the bottom of the steps. Once on the mini‐bus we were whisked away to the terminal, which is a bit of a challenge to navigate the first time. Having a very short connection I was directed by staff up an empty boarding gate to get to the arrivals level. The terminal was very busy, but staff were helpful in directing me to my already boarding connection, where another adventure was about to begin.

Part II  Addis to Jo’Burg

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 809
Service to Johannesburg from Addis Ababa
Boeing 767‐300ER ET‐AMQ Dep: 0910/EAT Arr: 1315/SAST
Seat 01D / Cloud Nine

[This flight picks up where the previous flight, Ethiopian 501 from Washington Dulles, leaves off.]

Having arrived safely at Addis’ Bole International, I quickly made my way toward my next flight. By the time I stepped into Terminal Two my connecting flight was already boarding. Lacking a jet bridge, a Cloud Nine dedicated mini‐bus drove us out to the remote gates and we met up with our Boeing 767‐300ER (ET‐AMQ). A quick jaunt up the airstairs (these big jets always sit higher off the ground than I think they do), and I find myself seated in 01D.

Boarding onto the Boeing 767-300ER to Jo'Burg

Boarding onto the Boeing 767-300ER to Jo'Burg. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Much like on the prior flight, the forward cabin staff were up and about serving drinks as passengers settled in for the five or so hour flight. We departed about 20 minutes late with a powerful and aggressive climb out from Bole (the airplane was probably only two‐thirds full). The flight path had us tracking over a number of exotic locations through the African interior that, thanks to an aisle seat were largely unseen.   About forty minutes into the flight a full drink service was offered along with little airplane shaped crackers, which I complemented with a delightful glass of Irish Cream.

Lunch began very quickly thereafter, and like the prior flight, the food matched expectations for business class. The hors d’oeuvre consisted of smoked salmon garnished with asparagus tips and sun dried tomato, turkey slices with red pepperoni and corn on the cob, and lamb terrine garnished with cherry tomato and dried prune. These were supplemented with a seasonal salad with fresh greens and an olive oil based vinaigrette along with bread and butter.

Ethiopian National Dish: Injera with Wot

Ethiopian National Dish: Injera with Wot. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

We were next served a course featuring the Ethiopian National Dishes. Each course came with a staple of Ethiopian meals known as injera. It is akin to flat bread though with a spongy texture and unusual taste. Atop the roll of injera one had the option of mixing and matching sampler sized portions of various stews (Wot) (though I would liken the consistency more to curry than stew). I chose to go with Doro Wot (spicy stew), Ataklet Wot (mixed vege), and Miser Wot (lentil‐based). They were all quite enjoyable and doled out in such large portions that I actually thought this course was the main entree. It was not though, and the actual entree was a choice between beef, chicken, fish, and vegetable. I went with the beef in cumin sauce with basmati rice and sautéed carrots along with an Ethiopian beer called St. George. The meal was enjoyable enough but I was already quite full from the previous two courses, and consequently I ended up not finishing it.

A nap was in order after the very filling meal service. Despite its age and appearance, the seat was quite comfortable. It reclines to a respectable 59 inches of pitch, which was enough to lend me a solid one hour nap. I didn’t have anyone seated next to me in the 2‐2‐2 configured cabin, so privacy wasn’t really an issue–but had there been someone next to me I can’t say I would’ve been entirely comfortable taking a nap. The seat also features the standard tray in the armrest, audio jack, and is provided with a pillow and blanket. There was ample leg room. It may not be fancy, but it gets the job done. With an hour and a half remaining I caught some of the programming on the projector screen in front of me. The audio, provided by Ethiopian headphones, functioned just fine. The very large screen being only a few feet in front of me became a bit overwhelming to watch, but that was more a matter of location of my seat–one row back would’ve made a big difference.

Cloud Nine Seat on ET-AMQ 767

Cloud Nine Seat on ET-AMQ 767. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

A care kit containing basic items like comb, toothpaste & brush was provided toward the end of the flight. It was nice to clean up a bit before landing and feel slightly more refreshed and ready for the day – especially after you’ve been travelling for nearly 35 hours.

Final approach into OR Tambo was a bit rough, but that just made it fun. We touched down on time at 1315. Taxi was fairly quick and we pulled up to a gate flanked by a handful of Boeing 777s. Cloud Nine passengers deplaned first, allowing a quick and easy beeline to customs. With no competition in the customs line the entry process lasted a grand total of ten minutes. Bags, including mine, arrived about fifteen minutes later.

Part III  The Bottom Line

We will take up Flight 809, service to Johannesburg, first.  This one is a bit hard to judge.  Looking at the schedules, the flight is operated by a mixture of aircraft; chiefly the Boeing 767-300ER (B767) and Boeing 757-200 (B757), though the carrier’s 737-700s are capable of performing the route as well.  Like many airlines, cabin layouts and features vary within an individual type and Ethiopian is no exception. Consequently, experiences can differ from day to day depending on the plane.  As a result, it seems worthwhile to distinguish and judge product and service separately.

In terms of product, flight 809 left a bit to be desired.  This is almost entirely a result of the antiquated entertainment system.  Most travelers on Ethiopian B767s will have a personal TV with a well stocked range of on-demand entertainment, but a handful will receive the retro-treatment.  Charmingly nostalgic though it is for an aviation fan, most customers would likely feel it falls short of a competitive business class product on the international scene.  On a five hour flight this is not really the end of the world, but many are used to having personalized entertainment options on these trans‐continental flights.  The seat appeared to be a bit dated as far as competing products go but was ultimately very comfortable with generous seat pitch.

Equally as important as product is service.  In this respect, Ethiopian excelled on the flight.  The food was good and plentiful, and those not familiar with Ethiopian fare will have an opportunity to sample something new and exciting.  The cabin crew was professional and attentive.

Ethiopian 777-200LR ET-ANN taken at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Ethiopian 777-200LR ET-ANN taken at Boeing Field in Seattle. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Taking up Flight 501, Ethiopian Airlines service to Washington Dulles is not new, but it certainly feels as though it is. The introduction of the new B777‐200LRs to replace the previously utilized B767‐300ERs is a serious upgrade to the route on many levels, the least of which is the inbound leg becoming a true non‐stop.  Boeing 777‐based Cloud Nine class represents a big step up for Ethiopian and a presents a true competitive product on the international market, particularly for an African based carrier. The fresh cabin and modern product does not disappoint.  Customers flying this route (or the outbound Flight 500) will find friendly and fast on board service, enjoyable food, a good seat, and quality on-demand entertainment options.

Overall in terms of service, the verdict on Cloud Nine is pretty easy: good.  Cabin crews on both flights were attentive, friendly, and professional.  Food was plentiful, warm, and good quality.  The only inconsistency was not having served the Ethiopian National dishes on flight 501, though the airline points out that serving the meals require traditional preparation, cooking, and serving procedures which require time and care.

It is reasonable to say, however, that business class can be a bit varied in terms of product.  On the one hand the B767 cabin on Flight 809 appeared to represent a business class of days gone by.  On the other, the B777 cabin on Flight 501 represented a modernized, competitive product of today.  The airline has told NYCA that they intend to upgrade seven Cloud Nine cabins aboard the B767, a welcome step toward ironing out the inconsistent product in their B767 fleet.   Looking to the very near future, the airline is anticipating delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the summer of 2012.  No doubt the new cabin aboard their Dreamliners will continue to build upon the successful choices made on their B777-type business cabins.

When the upgrades and fresh aircraft meet up with the already solid in-flight service, the future is even brighter for Cloud Nine.  If a trip to Addis or elsewhere in Africa is in your future, flying aboard Ethiopian Airline Cloud Nine is a choice that will serve you well, both now and into the future.

9 comments to Guest Review: Ethiopian Airlines Business Class – Flying on Cloud Nine

  • Richard D

    Has Ethiopian not yet put the star alliance logos on there aircraft next to the cockpit windows ? As you cant see it on the aircraft pictured.

  • Nicely done. While I’ll probably never have an opportunity to fly them, this nice trip report makes the possibility less daunting.

  • Rahel T

    Wow! I’m leaving this summer to Ethiopia with my father to visit family. I been reading a lot from previous reviews on how horrible it (the airline) was, although they’re all a bit out dated (latest being July of ’11). This review is recent and has calmed my nerves on how different the airline is. Nice review and I hope my experience will be as great as your’s.

    God Bless

  • Paul

    Thanks for the review! Will be flying cloud nine this summer to Kilimanjaro courtesy of US Airways 110,000 booking! Great use of points, especially in light of your positive review

  • Maryanne

    We had a very bad experience with Ethiopian Airlines for our flight from Addis Ababa to London. It started off with a very rude gate attendant. Every single person was forced to check-in again at the desk. We had already checked in at the Mahe, Seychelles airport, and were just connecting in Addis Ababa. I stood in line with more than 200 other passengers to check-in again, while my husband sat with all of our bags. After more than 45 minutes of standing in line, I finally got to the desk. I handed your employee our passports. He looked at me and asked who I was traveling with. I told him my husband, and he said, “Go get him.” I respectfully asked why all of us were being forced to stand in yet another line, and he repeated, “Get your husband.” I said, “Look, I’m fine with getting my husband, but can you just tell me why we have to check-in again? I’m just trying to understand.” He repeated, “Just get your husband.” I don’t know if he was a chauvinist or what, but he was incredibly disrespectful.

    Unfortunately, the above problem with Ethiopian Airlines’ service is just the beginning. It gets worse, much much worse!

    Our flight was supposed to take off at 12:40AM. We took off about a half hour late, but immediately had problems pressurizing the plane. We had to circle Addis Ababa for 2 hours at 14,000 feet to burn off fuel before we could even land to fix the problem. During this time, every single infant on board was screaming because the pressure problem was causing their ears to hurt, and because it was so hot on the plane. When we finally landed, they said it would take 20-30 minutes to fix. It ended up taking 2.5 hours! The crew and pilot were very resistant to giving updates to the passengers during this time period (despite us asking for updates), and there was no air conditioning or ventilation on the plane the whole time! I voiced my concerns to the flight attendants numerous times about missing our connection in London (for which we were supposed to have a 4.5 hour layover). They kept telling me that they would reschedule our flights automatically if we missed our connection. We ended up landing in London at 11:30AM (4 hours and 40 minutes late), which was after our connecting flight had already departed. As I exited the plane I again asked about our rescheduling, and the attendant told me to talk to whoever was standing outside the gate. No one was standing there, so we ran toward the baggage claim. (When we checked in at the Mahe, Seychelles airport, Ethiopian Airlines would not check our bags all the way through to our final destination, so we actually had to enter England through customs to get our checked bags.) Then we had to leave the arrivals section of the London airport to get to the departures section to check our bags again. Our missed connection was through American Airlines/British Airways. The American Airlines desk attendant told us NO ONE HAD RESCHEDULED OUR FLIGHTS! They were helpful in doing so, but we then had to take all of our checked and carry-on bags through the airport, and onto a train to get to the correct terminal for our re-routed flight. We had to check-in again, and check our bags again.

    Ethiopian Airlines did us a great disservice at all points in the air travel process – checking in, handling of our checked baggage, the aircraft malfunction, not keeping their passengers informed, and not rectifying the problems they caused. It was inhumane to keep more than 200 passengers on a plane for 2.5 hours with no ventilation.

    After everything I mentioned above, it may be a moot point to add that the seats were very cramped (about 2 inches of leg room, and I’m only 5’6”) and uncomfortable (my neck is still killing me, I think it pinched a nerve), there were no personal tvs for entertainment, the bathrooms did not have any soap or paper towels, and the food was disgusting.

    All I can say is NEVER AGAIN! If your itinerary includes Ethiopian Airlines, choose a different itinerary!

  • David,

    very nice pictures, and indeed a wonderful trip. Regarding your google maps, check out http://www.routegraph.com. Here you get a free trial version to make some nice airline maps of your choice & with your data. Maybe a nice tip for the folks out here, who like to see which routes they have been flying as well.

    Cheers
    Alex

  • KBurchfiel

    Great article, but do note:

    “Stepping onto the curb in a rainy Washington DC”

    Dulles airport is about 30 miles from DC — it’s located in Sterling, Virginia.

  • Eddie Lyde

    I traveled From Washington D.C.(Dulles airport) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Bole Airport) round trip in February of 2013. The service was excellent and the crew treated all of us with so much courtesy and kindness. The food was very delicious and the attendants were all very accomodating. I must admit that I flew economy class on my trip into Addis Ababa but the way we were all treated made us feel that we were in first class seating. It was absolutely amazing. I was so impressed that I flew first class on my way back to the United States. I would like to to give special thanks to flight attendant Bethlehem for making all of us feel very welcomed during our long flight home. Ethiopian Airlines is an excellent airline, and this is so because of the great flight attendants and pilots who work there. Lastly, thank you Pilots for the safe and smooth ride that you provided to all the passengers. I look forward to my next flight with your excellent airline.

  • aaron

    To ——— ————-

    Order of Events for the worst travelling experiences of my whole life, sadly using Ethiopian Airlines.

    1. Frustration Part 1: I was forced to miss my flight from ADD to JNB at Bole International Airport
    a. Reason 1: I did not have a return ticket
    i. Problem: I’m a U.S. Citizen and on the U.S. travel guideline to South Africa, nowhere does it say that a U.S. citizen is required to have a return ticket when they fly to Ethiopia, in fact they’re not even required to have a visa when they enter unless they plan to stay for 3 months or more
    ii. Prevention: I was at Ethiopian Airlines the day before to “confirm”, and the agent did not tell me that I needed a return ticket. If it was “well known” that people who fly to South Africa are required to have a return ticket, why did this agent not tell me to purchase one. On top of that, I had actually told her that I didn’t have the return ticket because I didn’t know when I would finish my work with ———————————- University and she had told me that it will be fine if I just “reserved”.
    1. ***I did not know whether I would return to Ethiopia, stay in South Africa, or go back to the U.S. after my 3 months in South Africa. My other classmates did not buy return tickets were not required to buy a return ticket it seems inappropriate to demand that they purchase one.
    iii. Attempt to resolve: I gave a credit card and an ATM card to one of the agents at Bole International Airport but they soon discovered that their machine did not operate correctly. It showed no “error” thus I did have cash, as stated by the agent, but it would not work. NOTE: These were the same cards that I gave to Ethiopian Airlines at “Biharawi” Theatre and purchased a return ticket thus the problem was not with my cards but with the machines at Bole Airport.
    b. Reason 2: I had forgotten my “yellow” fever shot record card in the U.S. and the agent at Bole Airport told me that I needed my card in order to fly.
    i. Problem: I did not stay long enough in Ethiopia to need that shot as required by the South African government as discovered by an agent when I went to the “Biharawi” Thatre Ethiopian ticketing center later on. I was one day short of the guidelines set up even on the Ethiopian. Although the required dates were 5 days, I was only in Ethiopia 4 days but because they prevented me from flying I now actually had to get the shot.
    ii. Prevention: I was at Ethiopian Airlines the day before to “confirm”, and the agent did not tell me that I needed that shot. Second, I looked for the information afterwards to see where it says that if a person flew to South Africa from Ethiopia they needed a yellow fever card. In the U.S. all information is digitalized and neither when I came to Ethiopia or later on when my sisters left to the U.S. did they asked us for our yellow shot record card.
    iii. Attempt to resolve: I filled the shot waiver and the supervisor signed but because I did not have the return ticket, I was forced to miss my flight.
    2. Frustration Part 2:
    a. I called Ethiopian Airlines headquarters and talked to the customer relations personnel. She sincerely apologized, said it was a big mistake, and then asked me to go to the “biharawi” theatre Ethiopian Airlines branch and talk to a supervisor.
    b. I went to the Ethiopian Airlines branch by the theater, talked to the supervisor on the second floor.
    c. He assigned gentX (the agent who handled the situation and refunded the money). The agentXtold me that I needed the yellow fever shot but as he looked in Ethiopian database, I was short of 1 day that I would be required to take the shot in order to enter South Africa from Ethiopia. Then he said I was required to have a return ticket. I told him that on the U.S. advisory website to South Africa, it said nothing about being required to have a return ticket when a U.S. citizen goes to South Africa. I showed him the website on my laptop. When he turned around and showed me on his computer where it says that I would be required to get a return ticket (I presumed that it was some inside database for Ethiopian Airlines agents) I asked him how would a traveler know this since it’s not “common” to be required to have a return ticket anymore. Secondarily, why did the agent the day before not tell me that I had to buy the ticket right away instead of just reserving the ticket? Finally I told him that I was willing, even though I was not truly convinced that a U.S. citizen was required to buy return tickets when they go to South Africa because the Supervisor at the airport told me it was only for people flying out of Bole International Airport and because I really needed to get to Cape Town that day, where a pickup was waiting for me from the airport, provided by ———————————- University,I was willing to purchase the tickets. However, their machine did not work. Thus Ethiopian Airlines had information ONLY available to them and failed to properly distribute it appropriately and when a passenger tried to comply to their standards, they did not have the equipment fulfill their own special rules.
    d. He thenapologized for the mistake and in order to compensate my frustration, he said that if I buy a return ticket from South Africa to Ethiopia, then he would talk to his supervisor, who was out of the office at that moment,and ask to “refund” my ticket. I was obviously happy, my father was there visiting family as well and said that if Ethiopian Airlines at least pays for part of my return ticket in which I would pay now for the ticket but the agentX will refund my ticket without cancelling the ticket, which is the purpose of “compensation”, then I should just calm down. I told the agentX that even though Ethiopian only flies to Johannesburg the city I’m going to is Cape Town and asked him if Ethiopian Airlines could buy (I would buy now but they would reimburse my money) the ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and then to Addis Ababa. The agentX said that because Ethiopian is going to refund my ticket the Supervisor may not be willing to reimburse my ticket if it’s not somewhere Ethiopian flew to. Thus he promised that if I buy the return ticket, because it was their fault that after I came all the way to their branch that they didn’t tell me to buy a ticket, Ethiopian will make my return flight free of charge to make up for my suffering. He told me that if I buy the ticket, he wouldrefund it, talk to his supervisor and give me a free ticket as an apology from the Airlines so I can return from South Africa.
    e. I thought I was through the frustration.
    3. Frustration part 3:
    a. AgentX when he was showing me that I needed a yellow fever shot he came to discover that I was one day short of the required number of days a person had to stay before they are required to get a yellow fever shot. Nonetheless because the agents at Bole International Airport didn’t properly calculate the number of days I had stayed in Ethiopia, they told me I needed the shot but I asked to fill out the yellow fever waiver.
    b. Now that the ticket situation was cleared up and I was (because of the extra day I stayed in Ethiopia) now required to get the yellow fever shot. Scheduled to fly the next day, my father and I went to the “tikur ambessa” hospital to get the yellow fever shot. The person answering the phone had told us that giving the yellow fever shots will stop at 5pm. After we were finished Ethiopian Airlines ticket office at “biharawi” at 3pm, we went to get the shot. And again came to discover that it had closed early and asked when it would open the next morning. The “girl” who had told us it would be closed at 4pm told us it will be opened at 7:00Am. Thus my father and I decided that I can get the shot very early morning, rush to the airport and fly out the next morning.
    c. Then we returned to “beharawi” theatre and finalized to leave the next morning.
    4. Frustration part 4: problem with ticket to Johannesburg after Ethiopian said everything was fixed
    a. When my father and I got to “tikur ambesa” hospital the next day, we discovered that the person who had told us that yellow fever shots were given at 7am didn’t give us the right information. It actually began at 7:30 am. We were extremely angry at the lack of correct information and then left to the Airport. My plan was to fill out the yellow fever waiver again especially since I was held back in Ethiopia because of something that was not of my own volition.
    b. When I got to Ethiopian Airlines that morning to fly to Johannesburg, I again had a problem. For some reason, when agentX changed my flight to the next day the agent had messed up my confirmation number and the attendants at the airport said my flight did not exist. Finally, I got hold of a supervisor, the same one from the previous day who said I couldn’t fly without a return ticket, and explained to him that he prevented me from goin on that airplane the previous day and I now have to go to a country I have never been with no one to pick me up.He then asked an assistant to see if there is a seat on the airplane that will leave to Johannesburg, which only left once a day. I then was able to make it into the airplane, which leaves only once a day, on the back seat.
    c. The moment I sat on that airplane I knew this frustration was not over.
    5. Frustration part 5: where are my luggages?
    a. The agent at the airport the previous day checked in my luggages before she confirmed that I could fly. I saw no reason why I should not be able to fly so I gave her my luggage.
    b. Thus when forced to miss my flight, I came back home with just my laptop bag and a carryon.
    c. When i got to Johannesburg, I realized that my luggage wasn’t there because when I tried to get onto the airline the day before, the agent prevented me from going on the airplane but scanned my luggage onto the flight without me! So I had to wait for about a week until South African Airlines found my luggage and delivered it to my doorsteps. My research faced obstacles since I needed my notebook and studying material and because I missed the first day in which all other researchers were getting introduced to the project.
    6. Frustration Part 6: I have a return ticket and a yellow fever waiver!! Ask me, ask me….
    a. When I arrived at OR Tambo International Airport, the immigration agent stamped my U.S. passport in less than 30 seconds. There was no question of yellow fever shot and no question of a return ticket.
    b. She saw my U.S. passport, scanned it, and on I went.
    c. Thus the fact that I missed a whole day from the orientation, went through a lot of stress, and face unimaginable frustration was not justified.
    7. Frustration part 7: Ethiopian Airlines supposedly forwarded my ticket from the previous day to the next day but when I realized that my ticket from Addis Ababa to Johannesburg was somehow erased, I knew that my ticket from Johannesubrg to Cape Town was nonexistent.
    a. Ethiopian Airlines was able to fix my flight from Addis Ababa to Johannesburg because it was their airplane but what will I do when I get to Johannesburg and the agents tell me, just like what happened at Bole International Airport, that my ticket did not exist?
    b. When I arrived to South Africa at OR Tambo International Airport I had to purchase a new ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg by cashsince I bought it there it definitely was more expensive around $200. I needed Rand (South Africa’s Currency) anyway so it was not a big deal.
    c. How was I able to fly a domestic flight (With luggage limit of 23kg up to, if aid additional price, 33kg) with international luggages that weighed 46kg? Because I did not have my luggages, which were not found when I asked for them at OR Tambo International Airport.
    8. Frustration 8: Ethiopian Airlines agent lost my ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg
    a. After purchasing my ticket, I went to Ethiopian Airlines office at OR Tambo International Airport to report my luggages as lost. I told the Ethiopian Airlines agent there that my luggage was sent without me the day before, but he still demanded that I give him the pamphlet with my ticket in it. As he was looking around, I again tried to explain to him that my luggages came the day before (very frustrated).
    b. Then another agent took me aside, asked me what he could do. I told him that usually when an Airline misplaces a person’s luggage they provide them with some sort of compensation for the days they’re without their luggage. He apologized for the mistake, which by the way NO other Ethoipian Airlines agent has done before, and gave me his agent card and told me that if I make any purchases to send it to him with a fax number and he’ll do his best to reimburse my costs up to $100 and until my luggages arrive.
    c. Once I left hurridly to my flight from Cape Town to Johannesubrg, I realized that my ticket was not in it’s folder! The first Ethiopian Airlines agent, who was nonchalant and demanded that I give him my ticket within its holder, had inadvertently left my ticket on his desk!
    d. At this point I realized that I never have had and probably won’t have a flight experience as FRUSTRATING as this one. Then I hurriedly went to South African airlines and told them that I had just bought a ticket but had lost it. The South African Airlines agents WITHOUT any hassle printed me a new ticket and sent me on the way.
    9. Positive 1: South African Airlines found my ticket and delivered it for free at an address I gave them in about two weeks. And I did not send that agent from the airport a fax copy of my receipts. Why? Because an apology was sufficient. I did not need the refund, I simply (like most customers) need someone to recognize that they’re frustrated and ask how to resolve the problem.
    10. Frustration 9:
    a. It’s still not over. After almost 2 months, I call to make an update (calling the 1800 number people use to call Ethiopian Airlines office in India) to the ticketbecause my mom was sick and I needed to get back to Ethiopia a few days early; to update the ticket that agentX said he refunded me (after I sent him an email to remind him about me). My understanding was that he was going to talk to his supervisor to refund this ticket as a compensation, which implied, as my father and I understood from the agent, was to make up for my frustration and suffering. Nonetheless because the Supervisor wasn’t there he asked me to purchase the ticket and then promised to talk to the supervisor to see if he could make the ticket free for me.
    b. I now have to assume that the Supervisor refused for Ethiopian Airlines to cover my ticket. If that was the case however, should not the agent have emailed me and told me that even thought he was hoping his supervisor to have Ethiopian cover the ticket, he didn’t approve?
    c. Instead, there were only a few days before my flight date when I realized that the ticket did not exist. What if I had actually at OR Tambo International to fly to Addis Ababa and realized that my ticket didn’t exist?
    d. I also discovered that if I have two separate flights from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa, I’d face problems with my baggage which are a total of 43kg. Thus I had assumed to update my flight from Johannesburg to Ethiopia since it was more expensive then the flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg and to make it a full international flight on the same itinerary instead of separate flights to resolve the baggage problem.
    e. Finally however, I had to buy a new ticket all the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg then to Ethiopia altogether, since my ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg could not be adjusted since the flight date was very close.
    11. Frustration 8: no response from Ethiopian Airlines
    a. I sent email to Ethiopian Airlines several times in a letter explaining this situation but they gave no response.
    b. I talked to a different supervisor at the “biharawi” branch, and she was able to call a number and find the emails I’ve sent. But why was there no response to my emails?

    Conclusion: Worst customer service experience ever and it cost me an additional $400.

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