Ethiopian Airlines

1043 Reviews

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January, 2016

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During our month in Ethiopia we took one international flight and two internal flights and on their national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines. According to the editor’s forward in the in-flight magazine, one of the most frequently asked questions is: Does Ethiopian Airlines serve food on its flights?

We flew business class from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. It was Sunday and the airport was very quiet with many of the shops closed. On our way to the gate we passed what must have been over 100 Nepalese unformed policemen and women milling around, most of them taking photographs of each other. An amazing sight.

The plane had two seats on either side and four business class rows. Prior to take off we were offered juice, water or champagne and presented with a rather wasteful red rose. The cabin stewardess was a little daffy and it was obvious she was upgrading her mates. However, this caused lots of confusion when business class passengers arrived to claim their seats. She then tried to get a family of four sat together which created a truly chaotic affair. We simply watched champagne in hand.

Although it was a relatively short flight of 1 hour 40 minutes, we were served a meal and offered a main course of either ravioli or fish which came with rice and vegetables. On each tray was a miniature bottle of Tabasco and tiny jars of tomato sauce, whole grain mustard and mayonnaise (all managed to find their way into our bags). Cheese and biscuits followed. We had a choice of Ethiopian Rift Valley Chardonnay or French Chablis. There was no in-flight entertainment but the flight went really quickly and we arrived 10 minutes early.

We flew internally from Gondar to Axum (via Lalibela) in the North and then back from Axum directly to Addis Ababa. On both flights the check in process was quick and efficient. On the flight to Axum we boarded what looked like a new plane promptly: there were 30 rows and two seats on either side of the aisle. The flight to Lalibela was only 30 minutes and a few people at the front got off and others got on, and 20 minutes later we were back in the air for the short flight to Axum. During this time, soft drinks were handed out from a tray. Our flight to Addis was slightly longer at an hour, and a soft drink was served from a trolley along with a muffin.

Security was good at all the Ethiopian airports. At Axum, I bleeped when going through the scanner and smugly took out a lipsil and tissues which I thought were the only things in my pockets. The frisking lady found a couple of birr coins deep in one of my pockets that I’d completely forgotten about.

Helen Jackson

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