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My Review of Ethiopian Airlines Service from Dublin to Cape Town

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Wonder what it is like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines? Check out my review of Ethiopian airlines business class and economy class service.

 

I travelled to Cape Town with my family over Easter holidays. Getting cheap flights at this time can usually be tricky. Luckily I found great airfares ( €424 return inc taxes ) with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa. Flying direct to Addis on a state-of-the-art Dreamliner aircraft, and not having to go through London, was a dream come true. I also looked at various options going via the Emirates, but the overall journey times were longer and they were more expensive. 

Before I left, I did some research into upgrading my economy class tickets to business class. Ethiopian Airlines have a great option to upgrade their flights at Dublin airport, for circa €500 per person, subject to availability. I was very kindly offered two business class upgrades as far as Addis Ababa, but as there were four of us travelling, I decided to pay for the other two, so we could all sample the service together. We flew onwards to Cape Town in economy class and our return flights were also in economy, so I was fortunate to experience both classes. So what was the service like? Check out my full review of Ethiopian Airlines service below.

Business Class

My first tip when flying business class is get to the airport on time. Unfortunately there was an accident on the airport road, so we arrived at the check-in desk a little late. This meant that although we had the advantage of speedy check-in at the business class area, we didn’t have time to use the executive lounge, which is provided free of charge for all Ethiopian Airlines business class passengers.

Instead we had to go straight to the gate, but we have the pleasure of boarding the aircraft first. When we were shown to our seats, I was so glad I opted to upgrade, the look on my kids faces said it all. They couldn’t believe the size of their seats. To my delight the flight attendant kindly offered them some orange juice and hot towels before take off. This was a welcome distraction and finally stopped them from reclining the seats over and over again!

review of ethiopian airlines

I can safely say it was the easiest flight I have ever flown with kids. I don’t think I heard ‘Are we nearly there?’ once! They happily sat back and enjoyed the on-demand movies and 85 channels from their 15 inch screens! My daughter Alex shrieked with delight when she saw the newly released Disney movie Coco was available, and my son Luke was delighted to be able to see the latest Marvel movie, especially as it was a 12’s movie and he was only 10!

They couldn’t believe that were able to order from a menu for dinner – I could have flown anywhere in the world with them, it was so easy. This made the flight so enjoyable for myself and my husband too. We enjoyed movies, nice food and drinks, all from the comfort of our reclining seats.

review of ethiopian airlines

The flight attendants were very attentive and immediately offered a choice of magazines and orange juice before take-off. We were also given amenity kits filled with toiletries, that were fitted with handy hooks. The business class seats are superb. Not only do they lie-flat but they are very spacious, with loads of places to put your bags. When the seat was completely flat I didn’t have to move my hand bag to the over head bin, which I had to do on other airlines.

review of ethiopian airlines

We were served dinner and breakfast on this flight. At dinner I enjoyed the lamb and herb terrine starter, but unfortunately they did not have my first choice of salmon for main course. I opted for the cheese and spinach ravioli. I felt it was a little bland but my son managed to get the salmon, which I tasted, and it was delicious! I opted to finish it off with some tasty cheese and crackers and copious amounts of red wine! In fact any time my glass was finished, the flight attendant duly topped me up. Desert was a tasty selection of petit fours, followed by Lily O Brien’s Irish chocolates!

review of ethiopian airlines

Breakfast was a choice of fruits, cereals and pastries, with a choice of French toast with whipped cream and fruit, or scrambled eggs with sausage, tomatoes and potatoes. I had the former and my husband, the latter, both were equally good.

review of ethiopian airlines

Sadly it was time to leave our business class seats and change to economy for the second leg of our journey. Unfortunately we had a three hour wait in Addis Ababa, which trust me, is not the best airport in the world for a layover. If we had onward business class flights, we would have been able to use Ethiopian Airlines lounge. Sadly no amount of sweet talking worked, they would not let us in! This got me thinking that upgrading at the airport is probably not the most sensible thing to do if it is not a direct flight. Ethiopian Airlines charge a similar fee (€500), to upgrade to business class on their direct Dublin – Los Angeles service, which is probably better value.

review of ethiopian airlines

If you want to fly business class to Cape Town, you are better off to prebook this for the entire journey at the time of booking. At the time of issue a return business class fare to Cape Town is €1717, which is nearly half the price of other airlines on the same route. If this is still too pricey for you, you can try to ‘bid’ for an upgrade a few weeks before departure. When you book online with Ethiopian Airlines, you will receive an email a few weeks before you are due to depart, asking if you would like to ‘bid’ for an upgrade. With minimum offers starting at €300 per sector, this can be a very worthwhile exercise.

review of ethiopian airlines

Ethiopian Airlines are a 4* airline so while their ‘Cloud Nine’ business class service certainly exceeded my expectations, I would still rate it as a 4* business class service. While the seat pitch is extremely generous (65″compared to Aer Lingus 58″), there are a few things that should be pointed out to give a balanced review. Ethiopian Airlines doesn’t offer dine on demand, i.e all business class passengers eat at the same time.

There is no WiFi on board, although I believe it is coming soon. Wine was served in small plastic glasses and creamer is served with tea, not milk. None of these really bothered me – well maybe the milk! The flight overall was great and it is exceptional value when you consider the cost of flying business class with other airlines. We received excellent service from the traditionally dressed flight attendants too!

review of ethiopian airlines

Economy Class

Our onward flight from Addis to Cape Town was in the early hours of the morning so I wasn’t able to review this flight properly, as we all spent most of it asleep! The return flight however was a different story. We departed Cape Town at 3pm for a six and a half hour flight to Addis. This was the perfect time to leave. The flight was thoroughly enjoyable. With a choice of 80 different channels in economy class and our own personal TV screens, we were all delighted to sit back and watch some movies.

review of ethiopian airlines

We noted that the same new releases that were showing in business class, were also available in economy class. There was no menu in economy class but we were pleasantly surprised when our dinner arrived. I had a bag full of crackers and snacks in reserve for the kids, but I didn’t need it. Myself, Luke and Alex ate the chicken curry and my husband Cormac, enjoyed the pasta. Overall we were very pleased. Ethiopian offer complimentary drinks and meals throughout the flight, so with plenty of creature comforts we arrived in Addis feeling very fresh!

review of ethiopian airlines

The return leg has a shorter lay over in Addis, only 90 minutes. By the time we had disembarked, it was almost time to board the second flight. Our flight departed at midnight from Addis, so there was only one thing to do, lie back and try to sleep. Once again we were on the Dreamliner aircraft, which Ethiopian Airlines use for all of their flights in and out of Dublin airport. The cabin is very spacious, with mood lighting and reduced cabin noise. The cabin pressure is set to a lower altitude which allows for better air quality and helps with travel fatigue.

review of ethiopian airlines

The large windows are actually dimmable, so if the sunlight is waking you up in the morning, you can just reduce the light coming in with a touch of a button! The seats are very comfortable too with moveable head rests, a 8.9 inch personal TV screen and a generous 32 inch seat pitch. They also have USB ports if you want to charge your phone or electronic device. We were given amenity kits which consisted of flight socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush and paste, as well as a warm blanket and pillow. We reclined our seats and off we went to sleep, only to be awoken by the flight attendants, asking us to adjust our seats for landing.

review of ethiopian airlines

It was a dream flight! The combination of the flying times and the excellent service, left me in no doubt that I would certainly fly with Ethiopian Airlines again. In fact I even signed up for their frequent flyer program when I got home! I feel another trip to Africa coming soon……….

 

Ethiopian Airlines fly four times weekly from Dublin airport to Cape Town via Addis Ababa. Their flight prices are one of the lowest on the route, and include two 23kg checked bags with free meals and drinks on board. At the time of issue return flights from Dublin to Cape Town are €474 including taxes. Visit EthiopianAirlines.com for more details.

 

Interested in travelling to Cape Town? Read my Travel Guide to Cape Town – What To Do, Where To Stay, Where To Eat & Safety

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

DestinationsLong Haul

A Review Of Ethiopian Airlines Direct Dublin – Los Angeles Service

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Lonely Planet listed LA as one of the top cities to visit in 2017 and lucky for us, it is now more accessible than ever. Ethiopian Airlines fly direct from Dublin, three times a week on a state of the art Dreamliner aircraft.

 

While LA is the city that’s on trend at the moment, you can of course fly onwards to many US cities. Any flight to the US that avoids a connection in Heathrow is a massive bonus for me, but on top of that Ethiopian Airlines offer some of the best airfares on the market to America’s West Coast. At the time of publication, there are return flights available from Dublin to Los Angeles from €449 return, including taxes! Business class upgrades are exceptionally good value. If you have purchased an economy ticket and there is space available, you can upgrade to business class at the airport for €593 from Dublin to LA or  $645 from LA to Dublin. Ok so business class may not be for everyone but prices are a lot lower than other airlines.

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Dreamliner highlights include 8.9 inch tv screens in economy class with 80 different channels, higher humidity for a better cabin pressure, adaptable lighting and the biggest windows in the sky. Another bonus when you fly Ethiopian airlines is 2 x 23kg checked bags are included in the price of your airfare.  Although I have been on a Dreamliner before and loved it, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of flying with Ethiopian Airlines. However, fellow travel blogger, The Fabulous Traveller recently had the pleasure and very kindly wrote a review for me. Interestingly he was flying to Las Vegas and found flying direct to LA with an onward connection to Vegas a better option than flying via the UK. Find out what he thought below…

Ethiopian Airlines – Reviewed by The Fabulous Traveller.

It was my first time to fly with an African airline and I will be honest and say I was a little bit hesitant about what the service would be like, the quality of the food and the comfort. We checked into Ethiopian airlines for our flight to Los Angeles which was super early at 4am. It is one of the first flights out of Ireland or the UK to cross the Atlantic, with a departure time of 5.55am. The good news is you arrive at 8.30am into LA!

I was super excited to be on the Dreamliner Boeing 787 for the first time. When I visited the Boeing factory in 2014 with the Entrepreneur programme the staff in Boeing were super excited about this new aircraft. Obviously the Fabulous Traveller only turns left and the business class configuration of 24 seats leaves plenty of space and comfort. We were offered the usual pre-departure champagne with a menu to select our breakfast and lunch for later in the flight. Breakfast on the flight consisted of grilled beef sausage and homemade baked beans or lemon pancake with maple syrup and blueberries. Lunch offered a choice of two starters and North African Lamb Stew, stuffed chicken with seasoned vegetables and couscous or a choice of Ethiopian National dishes. I selected a nice Spanish Rioja to go with my lunch. Dessert was a choice of carrot cake, fruit basket or cheese board.

Ethiopian airlines

The entertainment on the flight was more limited than normal with one or two new releases and a selection of other movies. Ethiopian Airlines could certainly improve the selection of new releases for the flights. Our seats in business class allowed us to get some sleep and the lighting is more ambient and the air quality is much better. You definitely don’t come off the flight congested as you do on other airlines after a long haul flight.

So how would I rate Ethiopian airlines?

I have to say for the price you are paying, which starts as low as €449 including taxes for a return flight in economy and €1450 in business then you definitely get value for money.

Again the friendly service on the flight was exceptional and it was nice to see staff dressed in both western and local African dress. The food will differ a little from European airlines and don’t expect the normal European snacks on the flight just yet, I hear they will be coming soon. Business class passengers need to note that the beds are not 100% lie flat but that may differ according to aircraft. Finally unlike some airlines departing from Dublin, immigration with Ethiopian airlines is in LAX airport. Expect to queue for up to an hour when you arrive. I would suggest a minimum connection time of 2 hours after your arrival time if you are connecting on elsewhere which we did.

Overall the fabulous traveller would give Ethiopian Airlines 4 stars out of 5. A Fabulous rating. The friendly amazing staff, modern aircraft and direct service made Ethiopian Airlines a pleasure to fly with.

For more details on flights and prices with Ethiopian Airlines, click here.

 

The Fabulous Traveller.

4stars

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