There are a lot of mixed reviews of Ethiopian Airlines on the internet. I was very curious to experience their Cloud Nine product myself. I already flew economy class with Ethiopian so I knew what to expect and I was prepared for the crowded and dirty airport in Addis Ababa.
The flight to Addis Ababa from Brussels makes a quick stopover in Vienna before heading to Ethiopia’s capital.
My journey started at Brussels Airport. The evening flight departed from the B gates and I had access to The Suite lounge by Brussels Airlines. In comparison with The Loft Lounge at the A gates, this was a very relaxing experience. There were not many people around.
I was offered a welcome drink and shortly after departure, a hot towel.
To my surprise, my IFE (in-flight entertainment) system didn’t work. I asked the flight attendant for help but she couldn’t fix it. She offered me to switch seats after the passengers board in Vienna. I received some toasts between the short flight from Brussels to Vienna.
We arrived in Vienna and after the passengers boarded, I chose to sit in front, where the sound of my IFE worked fine.
Here’s a quick overview of the basic amenity kit Ethiopian has to offer, including Ethiopian water. They offer green, yellow and red kits.
A few days later, I had my flight back to Brussels. The airport of Addis Ababa is not the most exciting airport on earth. I arrived in the evening and I went to the business lounge. Apparently, Ethiopian Airlines has two different lounges: for Star Alliance Gold members and passengers in business class on other Star Alliance airlines. There is a Cloud Nine Lounge available, not an impressive lounge, but the Ethiopian coffee corner was pretty nice!
After a few hours, it was time to board. Every now and then, a lady started screaming departures at the Cloud Nine Lounge, so you knew it was time to go to your gate. Priority boarding lane is always equipped with a red carpet.
In comparison with my ongoing trip, business class was completely full. The first thing I tried was the IFE to check if the sound works. I heard other passengers complaining about IFE issues. Apparently this seems like a common issue with Ethiopian airlines.
Main course was a mixture of different Ethiopian dishes.
Then it was time to rest. I do not have any complaints about the seats. Next to me, you can see how it looks full flat. I was sitting in “lounge mode”.
Breakfast was served before landing.
2 hours later we headed from Vienna to Brussels and received a snack with potatoes, meatballs and samosas.
The airline is a good way to fly to and from Africa, but Addis Ababa is not the best airport to transit. On top of that, most airlines have a better soft product in business class.