Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757-200 at Addis' Bole International Airport

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757-200 at Addis' Bole International Airport. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Previously I shared a review of Ethiopian Airline’s Cloud Nine Business class, written by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren for NYCAviation.com. This is his second review, which looks at Ethopian’s economy class. Here is his review in his own words…

WASHINGTON DC:  Four flights, forty-four hours of flying, and one day trip to Ethiopian Airlines headquarters in Addis Ababa later, NYCAviation (NYCA) has one good story ready to roll.  Over the course of the next month, NYCA will be debuting a three part series focusing on the Ethiopian carrier; their in-flight service, their history, and their future.  We hope you’ll join us for the adventure!

The first in the three part series, NYCA reviews the in-flight experience in the economy cabin on board Jo’Burg to Addis and Addis Ababa to Dulles flights.  Both flights were inaugurated during the mid to late 1990s as part of an aggressive expansion of their international service surrounding their 50 year anniversary (1996 and 1998, respectively).  Ethiopian provided the flights to NYCA at no charge, flying both legs in September 2011.

Part I  Jo’Burg to Addis

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 808 Service to Addis Ababa from Johannesburg
Boeing 757-200 ET-AMT or AMU
Dep: 1438/SAST  Arr: 2030/EAT
Seat 15A: Economy Class

Having been dropped off from a previous flight in the domestic terminal in Johannesburg, finding the international check in desks was a bit of a chore.  Once located, the line had built up to a forty minute wait, despite not having a bag to check.

Once ticketed, customs and security were both very straightforward and easy.  The inbound flight from Addis was running late, and I spotted an Ethiopian Boeing 757, not the listed Boeing 767, rolling to a stop on the runway about twenty minutes prior to boarding time.  Nevertheless, boarding began only eight minutes late at 1348 local time, and I settled into 15A for the five hour flight north to Addis Ababa.  My carry-on has no problem finding a home, and the camera comes out for departure.  The 757 being the performer that it is, we rocket nicely out of Johannesburg about 32 minutes behind schedule.

Considering the 757’s are some of the older aircraft in a fleet that is otherwise unusually young, the quality of the cabin is remarkably good.  All the economy seats are (p)leather clad and comfortable enough for economy.  They recline a workable 32 degrees of pitch and feature a built in remote in the armrest for selections of music or movies.  However, it was odd that the armrest did not lie flush with the seat when not reclined.  It stuck out a healthy amount, enough so that if you were lucky enough to have a seat vacant next to you (as I did) it becomes hard to stretch out without getting poked by it.

This particular aircraft was not outfitted with personal TV’s but did have the screens that are fixed to the cabin ceiling.  The programming began about 45 minutes in with the smaller shows through dinner culminating to the movie about three hours in.

A meal & drink service began about an hour into the flight presenting options of chicken or fish.  The meal consisted of chicken breast with a tomato sauce, rice and carrots.  A roll with butter, crackers & block of cheddar cheese, salad with Greek dressing, and packaged desert of coconut cheesecake with berry sauce complimented the main dish.  Overall it was a serious step up from anything you’d get domestically in the US nowadays, but it was not ultra fantastic either.  It was satisfying, filling, warm & good.  The meal was followed up by traditional post meal coffee and tea service.  Trays were cleared about an hour following dinner, which appeared problematic for many of the other passengers, since most were done within twenty minutes.

While not watching the movie most of the flight was spent sleeping or talking up the staff in the rear galley.  Speaking of the staff, there were some noteworthy exchanges.  For the first, I attempted to inform a flight attendant, who throughout the whole flight never gave the impression that she was thrilled to be on board, that one of the lavatories had an issue needing attention – I never received a response.  On the flip side, I had some questions about how customs and the process in general worked once arriving in Addis.  I inquired in the rear galley and all three flight attendants were extremely helpful in answering each and every question in addition to pouring me a few drinks.  The one attendant aside, the staff met or exceeded expectations for friendliness and professionalism.  I wish I had more pictures from this flight, but unfortunately the vibe was not right for it, so the camera stayed put away through most of it.

Despite the late departure we made up the time in the air and ended up landing ten minutes early; a nice surprise.  After waiting for Cloud Nine business class passengers to vacate, we de-boarded via the air stairs and onto large busses that took us the short distance to the terminal.

Ethiopian Boeing 777 in Addis. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Ethiopian Boeing 777 in Addis. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Part II  Addis to Washington Dulles – Via Rome

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 500 Service to Washington Dulles from Addis Ababa via Rome
Boeing 777-200LR ET-ANO
Dep: 2227/EAT  Arr: 0300/CEST  //  Dep: 0801  Arr: 1117
Seat 23A: Economy Class

Arriving at the ticket counter around seven at night after a long day, it was relieving to see a ticket counter dedicated solely to the flight.  Check-in was smooth and fast, with customs and security following the pattern.  At 2130 the flight begins to board, and twenty minutes later I settle into 23A for seventeen hours aboard the brand-spanking new Boeing 777-200LR (ET-ANO).  Despite a scheduled departure of 2205, we did not end up pushing from the gate until 2216, with wheels up for Rome at 2227.  Twenty minutes is not the end of the world though, and we predictably made it up en route while trekking over Sudan, Egypt, and the Mediterranean.

Much like the prior flight from Addis to Jo’berg, the first meal service promptly began about an hour in.  We were offered choices of chicken, beef, or fish.  I chose chicken.  It was bathed in a cream sauce along with rice and carrots.  A side salad, crackers & cheese, and a roll with butter were also provided.  The meal was of average quality and filling.  It might have been better – or I might have been a better judge – had I not had a nasty head cold that developed from the day before.  As a result, my sense of taste was not in its best form.

While waiting for the dinner tray to be cleared I spent some time playing BlackJack on the 777’s seat back entertainment system.  It was clear that Lady Luck was not with me, as I burned through my 1000 in fake money in what may have been a new airline record.  Shortly after, while starting a movie, the entertainment system froze and then shut down completely.  My seatmate had the same problem, and flagged down a flight attendant who attempted to rectify the problem.  About thirty minutes later the system restarts and is fine for the remainder of the flight.  Most of the rest of the first leg is spent asleep.

We touched down in Rome almost twenty-five minutes ahead of schedule at 0300.  A short taxi later we’re in position on a remote ramp for a refuel.  Most of the cabin is asleep, watching a movie or reading a book, and no one seems to notice that the hour scheduled stop has come and gone.  About ninety minutes into the stop the pilot announces that we’re still taking on fuel and it’ll be another hour: plus some tires have “low pressure” and need to be replaced.  Frankly this sounds fishy to me, low pressure in the tires does not normally require replacement unless they were totally flat, but maintenance is what it is and at this point complaining is not going to get me off any faster.  Another hour later the jack for the tires arrives and it is not large enough.  The correct one does not arrive for another ninety minutes or so.  By the time the plane has been refueled (twice by the pilot’s record) and fixed up with new tires the stop in Rome lasts just over five hours: No fun.

That being said, the airline and the flight crew did a great job of making an unfortunate situation tolerable.  Consider: the plane was kept cool, powered, and the entertainment functional the entire five hours.  The crew completed a meal service (I’m told it was breakfast, feeling pretty awful I slept through it), and offered drinks the whole time.  And they kept smiling to boot – impressive. We finally set off for Rome four hours behind schedule, with wheels up at 0801 local time.

Cutting to the product itself, the seat-back entertainment is quite nice.  The on-demand offerings ranged from TV to games, flight maps to movies.  The screen can be operated by touch or by a remote built into the armrest.  The seat reclines to 32” of pitch, and also pushes out to decrease the amount of recline into the person behind you’s space.  The plus side is the passenger in front of you takes up less of your space…the downside is you reduce your leg room by pushing the seat out.  The trade-off seems worthwhile to me.

The airplane being new (the average age of the 777 fleet is under one year), the cabin is predictably in great shape and the newness of the airplane impresses a lot of travelers.  The 3-3-3 setup feels reasonably spacious, despite the cabin being full to the brim (287 folks on board).

The remaining nine and some change hours en route from Rome were largely spent sleeping and catching a few movies.  Still feeling rather ill, I declined brunch except for a ginger ale, though the food of my seatmate appeared to be similar in nature to the late night dinner we had some twelve hours earlier.

We greased the runway at Dulles at 1117 local time and pulled up to the gate quickly.  Deboarding was a bit chaotic, but with a little planning I ended up being first off those annoying Dulles customs shuttles, allowing for a quick sprint through customs and back into the good ole U S of A.

Departure out of Johannesburg

Departure out of Johannesburg. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.

Part III  The Bottom Line

Regarding Flight 808 to Addis, it was a slightly above average economy experience.  The service and staff were generally friendly and fast, the food was good, and the seat on par for an economy experience.  Personal entertainment systems, like a seat back system, would have been a bonus, but the five hour flight is not terribly long: bring a book or an e-reader if you need some help passing time or utilize the in-flight entertainment.  When compared against most US domestic economy sections, this flight comes out looking good.  With the variance on plane types for the flight, you might even be treated to an oversized Boeing 767.

Moving on to Flight 500, let’s cut right to it: seventeen hours on an aluminum tube in coach is never going to be a picnic no matter the carrier.  And even worse when an unexpected delay pushes it to twenty-one straight hours.

Addressing the delay, a five hour ground stop for fueling and tire replacement seemed excessive, but this is also a moment that forces an airline and a crew to show their true colors.  In this respect Ethiopian met or exceeded expectations: they kept the plane powered & cool and the PTV’s running, they completed a food service, and they kept drinks available through the entire stopover; with a smile.  What could have been a nightmare worth writing home over instead turned into an opportunity to show off the airline and crews ability to manage a stressful situation and make the best out of it.

The vast majority of the time, however, the flight will not experience a similar delay and by and large customers will find an enjoyable economy experience.  Friendly service, plentiful & decent hot meals, and a well stocked entertainment system help the scheduled seventeen hour flight go by fast.

Overall, while other reviews online are not especially positive, this traveler had a markedly pleasant experience on both economy flights even with the five hour delay in Rome factored in.  When you consider prices that the carrier has recently offering on the flights, it is an option that is hard to pass up.  This author feels that most travelers will find themselves pleasantly surprised and that coach travelers can rest assured that they will be kept comfortable and well fed on board Ethiopian economy.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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11 Comments

If anyone is looking for more pics, I posted my experience from 2010 on Ethopian on Flyertalk along with some food/seat pics. Enjoy! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1110492-halfway-around-earth-back-ethiopian-iad-add-nbo-return-pics.html

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth.

David

Great review…however if a 767 were sched but you flew 757, I’d be very disappointed…but a brand new 777 surely makes up for it.

It’s great news… Congratulations to Ethiopian Airlines & NYCA Aviation.

Sachse Pilot

Very interesting. Seeing many of their aircraft at IAD over the years, I’ve always wondered about Ethiopian’s product. Thanks for the report.

I have a question, though. I’m assuming there was no flight crew change in Rome? I’d be very surprised if there were a cabin crew change there, either. I’m curious because of the duty day that was encountered. If you had been on schedule, my best calculation is that the crew’s duty day would have been 17 hours, assuming that they just walked away from the aircraft at IAD and deferred all postflight duties. Due to the maintenance delay in Rome, however, their duty day on your flight could have been as much as 22.5 hours. If so, that’s a very long day.

I’m not an expert on FAR Part 121 duty rules, but I believe we have rules against that many hours on duty in this country. And I find it a bit interesting that the FAA would allow airline pilots who had been on duty for over 20 hours to fly into U.S. airspace, potentially endangering domestic property and lives. I should look up the exact FAA regs, but I think the most liberal FAA duty rules drop dead at 18 hours. Not only that, but most U.S. airline union work rules drop dead at 16 or 17 hours.

Of course, the FAA has no limitation on how long a Part 91 pilot can be ‘on duty.’ A corporate pilot could fly as many hours as his boss wants him to, so if the FAA doesn’t care about that, then maybe they don’t care about foreign operators doing the same, either. I’m just a little surprised if they don’t because they usually want other aspects of foreign carriers’ operations to comply with some level of internationally accepted standard, i.e. maintenance or security.

A few years ago American Airlines was granted a DFW-Bejing non-stop, but the pilot union rejected it because the flight time was a few minutes over 14 hours. So American had to scrap the flight. I realize Ethiopian Airlines pilots probably don’t have a union because they likely have one of the best jobs in the nation.

On another note, I believe that on most jets, if your tire pressure goes below a certain PSI, you have to replace the tire. I think it’s not a huge variation from normal operating PSI, either. On the Learjet I used to fly, if it looked low by visual inspection, then it was very likely too low to just add air. It needed to be replaced. Since the 2008 crash of a Lear 60 at KCAE, caused by an under-inflated tire, the FAA requires a tire pressure check on that model by an A&P every 4 days. That may not sound like much, but I guarantee you, if you’re a private operator, it’s quite a hassle. I suspect the more weight there is on each tire, the more critical an accurate tire pressure is. The Lear 60 has relatively small tires for the size of the aircraft.

Thanks again for the report.

@Sachse: they did change out crews in Rome, yes.

Well, the experience on Ethiopian seems impressive and comprehensive. My experience on ET609 HKG-BKK is, well, pretty disappointed…Although the ground staff in HKG is good as always, the FAs, well, i think they are too nervous, by ignoring passengers’ questions and requests, during the service process and even forgot to provide post meal drink on both aisle…After I taking to some FAs, they said they have tight time during the flight, but comparing to other alrlines flying this route like TG, I just consider their service need to be more efficient…

Skytrack,

Here’s a document I submitted to the manager of an Ethiopian Airlines branch manager and to the head customer service office in bole, Ethiopia. I think Skytrax’s rating of Ethiopian Airlines as a 3 star is inaccurate. There are many customers with horrible experiences using Ethipian Airlines and I bet most would give it a 1 out of 5 star for everything from customer service, pricing, to flight experience. I hope you post this on your website. Also many of the positive reviews seem fabricated, it may be best to look at the IP address to see if it is valid.

Thank you.

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.

I had the worst experience with this airline as well…I am still waiting for my Dad bags…somebody needs to sue this airline…I am so disappointed, and they are so rude…they will give you a run around

Ive been flying Ethiopian for many years as my work is in Africa and the middle East, I only really fly them out of necessity as they fly to many different out of the way places, when I was working in Beirut one plane crashed a few Kms in the sea in front of my house, but I stuck with them but I have now decided never to fly them again unless theres no other option as the list of missed connections, mechanical problems, being kicked of a flight with my son due to over bookings, poor meals etc the list could go on, my last flight from Addis to Bangkok was the last straw, as entertainment system was from the 1970s, they even gave out the wrong head phones for the plane so didn’t work anyway, 3 half hrs into the flight sitting in the dark I went up to ask for a beer and they said they had run out.

Naomi Nga

I had a pleasant trip from Lagos to Lome and from Lome to New Jersey…. We were served twice on the plane and the cabin crew members were very friendly.. The interior of the plane was cool and the seats were comfortable for one to relax. We were served non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks too.I am happy i made a right choice of airline.

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