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What is it like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines in economy classVou na Janela

I was planning my trip from Bangkok to Hong Kong and found out that the segment is operated by Ethiopian Airlines, a continuation of the flight from Ethiopia. As I had never flown with the African airline and their price was the cheapest, I thought it would be a good opportunity to tell them here what is it like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines. Since I know that a lot of people are curious about it.

Ethiopian Airlines operates a daily service from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to São Paulo, with continuation to Buenos Aires. Being a good option to arrive both in Argentina, as in any corner of the world, because their network is immense.

It was also the first airline to operate the modern Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in Brazil in 2013, flying from hub in Addis to São Paulo with stops in Lomé in Togo and Rio de Janeiro, stopovers that no longer exist. Currently, the company alternates the operation in Brazil between the Boeing 787-8 and the 777-200LR, depending on the demand of the day.

Read other reviews here

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: The Boeing 787-8 here in Hong Kong on return day


What is it like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines


ticket purchase

I bought the ticket directly on the Ethiopian website, it was super easy and I chose to make the payment using PayPal, as it is a way to protect the credit card and avoid cloning and fraud. Whenever possible I shop like this on sites I don’t know very well or trust.

The baggage allowance included two checked bags weighing up to 23 kilos and one carry-on bag weighing up to 7 kilos. On flights departing from Brazil, the deductible is the same for economy class. See the updated table here.

Check in

I arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok approximately 2:30 hours before the flight and there was no one in the check-in line. I had already seen from FlightRadar24 that the flight would be delayed as it had left Addis Ababa 2 hours late. Said and done, the check-in clerk warned me of the delay. She also placed me in an empty row of seats.

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: Zone E from Bangkok Airport

Then I went for an x-ray, which is always very strict in Bangkok and immigration. Quick procedure, soon after I accessed the gigantic departure lounge of Suvarnabhumi.

As expected, boarding started 1h30m late. The damage was not greater because the aircraft managed to reduce the delay during the flight to Thailand.

In Bangkok, disembarkation, embarkation and crew changes take place. In addition to a superficial cleaning of the aircraft and the loading of the catering. Because of this, the aircraft usually stays 1h30 on the ground. Flight ET608 travels between Bangkok and Hong Kong in 2h50 minutes.

Boarding gate

Aircraft

The aircraft that operated the flight was a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which, depending on demand, alternates with the 787-9, of greater capacity. These aircraft are equipped with 24 seats in business class in the 2-2-2 layout and 246 seats in economy class in the 3-3-3 layout.

The ET-AOO prefix aircraft was delivered new to Ethiopian Airlines in 2013 and despite being considered a new aircraft, it was in a deplorable condition. The cabin was very dirty, the seats had a musty smell. There were food scraps and toothpicks in the corners and they looked like they had been there for a long time. Dirt reigned everywhere on that plane.

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: Economy Class Seats

Color doesn’t help much, does it?

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: The economy class amenity kit

Items that come in the bag

In addition to the dirt, the maintenance of the aircraft was terrible, my seat no longer had the button that activates the recline, can you imagine the bad luck of those who sit there for a long-distance flight? The seat covers were loose, the hammock that is used to accommodate personal items was already completely inelastic. To complete the scenario, my armchair had an air conditioning leak right on top.

Pity the state of this Dreamliner

Food scraps in the cracks of the remote control

The dirt was huge

In every armchair there was a pillow and a blanket. In some seats they had a kit with socks, mask, brush and toothpaste in a plastic bag. I thought it was a positive point that the company offered this care.

I found the armchair comfortable and with good space for the armchair in front. On long flights it wouldn’t be bad, as long as it didn’t have that awful musty smell.

Personal entertainment system

Another IFE screen

navigation maps

Headphones

All seats are equipped with individual screens with the company’s entertainment system. I found the content a little weak and not very interesting for the Brazilian audience. In my case, the flight took only 2h50, but I imagine that for a trip of 10 or 12h it is a little monotonous.

The remote control is fixed to the armrest, I think it’s bad because we can activate it by accident, it’s not very practical. But the screens are touch screen, which helps a lot, even with a bad response.

Flight and on-board service

We took off 2 hours late, I settled into the stinky armchair and started watching a movie. Shortly after we reached cruising altitude, the crew began preparations for on-board service. That started approximately 1 hour after takeoff.

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: Take off in Bangkok

Cabin just after takeoff

The options were chicken or beef, I chose the chicken, it came with a tomato sauce and rice. For starters, there was a bean salad with mustard. The combination was strange and the taste, ditto. In fact, the taste was in line with the general appearance of the food, it wasn’t good. I had to use half a sachet of salt to try to bring out some flavor. On the tray also came a cereal bar, crackers, butter and processed cheese.

In-flight service on the outbound flight

To drink there were soft drinks, juices, water, Ethiopian beer and wine, white or red. The plus point was the individual wine bottles. The meal on the return flight was much better, I went with pasta and it was great. It was also a more complete service, see the photo below. The cutlery is plastic, the kind that break before the passenger finishes eating.

Return on-board service

Individual wine bottles

After lunch came a round of coffee and the captain has already announced the start of the descent to Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong. Despite the delay, we arrived in Hong Kong still during the day, a beautiful afternoon.

The landing was sudden, it looked like the plane was going to split in half. I’ve never seen such a hard landing. In the video below with the review of this trip I caught the moment of landing and you can see what I’m talking about.

What it’s like to fly with Ethiopian Airlines: Arrival in Hong Kong

Conclusion

Flying with Ethiopian Airlines had its good points, such as the price of the ticket, full service even on a short flight and the baggage allowance. The downside was clearly the maintenance, upkeep and cleanliness of the plane. I don’t know if I could handle flying 12 hours on that stinky plane. I’m not even talking about the delay as this could have been a one-off problem.

I also found the crew unfriendly, apart from the cabin chief, no one even smiled. Their own appearance is a bit unkempt, with messy hair and looking tired. We don’t know behind the scenes, do we? The flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong is a one-way trip for the crew and they spend 4 hours on the ground before returning to Bangkok. It’s tiring, let’s agree.

It is worth remembering that everyone says that the connection in Addis Ababa is chaotic, with everyone lost and up to two flights boarding at the same time at the same gate. Google it and you’ll see.

I think it’s only worth flying with Ethiopian Airlines if the price is really good, sometimes it’s worth paying a little more and flying with a better company.


Video


Check out the full video with this flight report.


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