My adventures on Ethiopian Airlines business class is part of an Aeroplan mini-RTW booking I did for 2019. This flight is the segment where Karen and myself will fly from Bangkok to Addis Ababa to Rwanda.
Before I start this “review” with flying on these carriers, I just want to say that no experience is really a bad experience. I have extensive experience travelling rough. I’ve had to share a one-seater in a pickup truck with a big black guy because I got stranded in the Amazon rainforest in Guyana after our driver was caught smuggling alcohol.
I don’t like travelling rough but I can tolerate it if need be. And flying on business class is nowhere near rough so I’m actually grateful I got to fly on Ethiopian Airlines business class on my way to Rwanda.
My adventures flying in Ethiopian Airlines business class
Miracle lounge in the Bangkok Airport
After flying from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok on Thai Airways business class, we went to the transfer counter and Karen and myself got our boarding pass going from Bangkok to Addis Ababa and finally landing in Kigali in Rwanda.
Karen and myself asked to be seated together and the transfer staff assured us that we would be sitting together.
She also handed us our lounge access in the Bangkok airport before flying out on Ethiopian. I’ve been to the Miracle lounge a number of times before during my one year around the world trip. They accept the Priority Pass card here and I’ve transited in Bangkok so many times that I’m very familiar with this lounge.
The good thing about this lounge is that the staff working there will actually notify you when it’s boarding time for your flight.
BKK-ADD (Bangkok to Addis Ababa)
The boarding process was actually punctual! I was shocked because I’ve flown Ethiopian before on Economy and they don’t normally board until it’s the designated departure time. So while we were in Bangkok, we actually had to run to the gate because everyone already boarded when we were still in the lounge!
Upon entering the plane, it’s quite obvious that the plane is one of the older models. I wonder if it’s because of the Ethiopian Airlines Max-8 crash that forced them to use the older model?
Seat is broken and won’t recline
As Karen and myself make our way to our seats, I soon realized we aren’t sitting together. The flight attendant told me that the seat beside Karen is broken and won’t recline so I need to sit somewhere else.
Great…oh well, I been on Ethiopian Airlines before and they always mess up the sitting arrangement so this is nothing new.
Cabinet in the washroom was broken
As soon as the flight took off, I went to use the washroom only to find out that the cabinet below the sink is wide open. After some effort, the flight attendant really worked at closing the cabinet and they finally did it!
I was dead exhausted that I decided to skip the 1:30am dinner. I’m grateful that I got to fly on business class on Ethiopian because we got seats that are almost lay flat. It’s slightly inclined but it wasn’t bad at all.
The pillow seemed a bit dirty but whatever, I’m not going to be picky at this point. The cabin also felt really warm so it was challenging to sleep. In general, I have trouble sleeping in planes so being able to lay almost flat was as good as its gonna get.
Karen convinced me to do this
Broken dining table
When we were about 2 hours away from landing, the flight attendants woke everyone up for breakfast. They tried bringing my table out but it got stuck. It took two flight attendants effort to finally fix it so it’s flat.
The food was pretty bad to be honest. It looks like we got microwaved eggs, sausages and potatoes. I actually recall the food from economy was actually better the first few times I flew on Ethiopian.
There’s suppose to be a TV you can pull out. Karen managed to make it work but most passengers didn’t even bother. I think entertainment on this older Ethiopian Airlines plane should be considered as non-existent.
Customer service was great! The flight attendants made sure we were always helped at all times.
Overall, even though tons of things were broken on the business class Ethiopian Airlines flight, I pretty much just considered it as an authentic African experience. I also redeemed my Aeroplan miles to book this flight so I didn’t expect much. However, if I paid for this flight, then I would definitely be upset that so many things were broken on this flight.
People in the business class flight
African people just don’t give a shit. When we were about to land, they told us to bring our seats upright. Everyone does it except for some of the Africans who just didn’t care. I thought it was so funny I took a picture of the guy who just didn’t give a fuck. (The guy with the black cap)
The guy who sat beside me was also friendly and we briefly chatted about where in Africa he’s from. Turns out he’s from the Republic of Congo and he told me it’s a safe place to visit as a tourist and don’t listen to what the media says.
Business class shuttle to the terminal
Upon landing in the Addis Ababa airport, a bus pulled up beside the plane that’s dedicated for business class passengers. They took all of us to Terminal 1 and we made our way to Terminal 2. The airport was pretty quiet at this time because it was around 5:20am when we arrived.
Addis Ababa Ethiopian Airlines business class lounge
When we arrived in Terminal 2, we went to the Ethiopian Airlines lounge and turns out there’s two lounges in the airport. One for Star Alliance Gold or higher’s lounge and one for Ethiopian Airlines business class passengers.
After speaking with one of the lounge front desk staff, we were directed to go to the business class Ethiopian Airlines lounge. Upon entering, we presented them our boarding pass which was enough for them to let us in and use the facility. Unlike other airports, you don’t need to have a lounge voucher to enter the lounge.
The lounge itself is pretty good, just make sure to secure a seat that has a working outlet. Not all the charging outlet works so you might have to try different ones before settling on a seat.
The food in the lounge is quite good, they have Ethiopian food if you want to try some local cuisines.
Finally, the internet was also quite fast and I was able to do some blogging while Karen surfed the net.
ADD-KGL (Addis Ababa to Kigali)
Once it was near boarding time, Karen and myself made our way to our boarding gate. Turns out those who are flying in business class gets a fast track when going through the airport security. This is awesome because the lineups can be quite long and definitely saved us time from queuing.
When we arrived at the gate, the attendant told us that the cabin’s overhead compartment is full and they need us to check in our bags. The lady began putting the luggage tag on our luggage. While she was doing that, I thought to myself…wait a minute, I think she thinks we are flying in economy. We do look quite shabby after all.
I then informed the attendant that we are flying in business. She looked at us and said “oh, in that case, forget about it” and rips up the luggage tag.
Boarding the plane
Boarding the plane was quite straight forward. Since we were flying on business, we got to board first (woohoo!). There wasn’t many people flying on business on that day, I think there was only four of us in the cabin.
The seats are your standard two larger seats per side.
During our flight towards Rwanda, the flight decided to change destinations. (WTF?!)
Instead of landing in Rwanda first, they decided that the plane would land in Bujumbura in Burundi first.
So I randomly ended up in the Bujumbura Airport to my dismay. At least I got to go to Burundi twice I suppose…(I went to Burundi overland later on from Kigali, Rwanda)
Finally, after all the Burundi passengers left and a few passengers boarded, we were on our way to Kigali, Rwanda.
Kigali is a beautiful capital city of Rwanda and the landing went smoothly.
Conclusion to flying on Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
Flying on Ethiopian Airlines Business Class was an adventure on its down. I think if we flew on the newer Ethiopian Airlines aircrafts, then the business class experience would have been better.
Regardless, Karen and myself were grateful to fly on business class! Being able to go through security much quicker is one of my favourite perks. Not to mention being able to enter the Ethiopian Airlines lounge in Addis Ababa.
Would I recommend people fly on Ethiopian Airlines business class? Actually, I definitely would! It’ll save you a lot of headache when you connect through Addis Ababa and this itself makes it worth it!