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ld1

Views on Ethiopian Airways

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I am starting to look at flights for my forthcoming trip to Zim. Sadly BA has ignored this route in it's winter sale and fares range for 1200 GBP for an economy ticket to 1800 GBP for a premium ticket. Where I can I try not to fly economy long haul so I am considering Ethiopian as it's only 100GBP more for their businesss class seat than an 1800GBP BA premium fare. Although I am in the U.K. and a lot closer to Africa than many STers. It is still a 20hr plus 2/3 stopover itinerary for me either via London or Frankfurt (I can't face CDG!). Ourvtrip is MAN-VFA then HRE-MAN on the way home.

 

Any views on traveling with Ethiopian would be most welcome.

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@@ld1 have you tried pricing the flights separately? I have just bought Johannesburg to vic falls for £175 pp and Harare to Johannesburg for £132. It could be putting you into business class on the domestic and comair flights, as they don't have premium economy....

 

Also the BA sales seem to be happening every other month, so depending on when you are looking at, you could hold out, as they seem to do different destinations at different times.

 

Also have you considered emirates? They fly directly from Manchester to Dubai and on to Africa...

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I mostly use Ethiopian when I travel to Africa. Addis is not a very pleasant airport (extremely crowded when busy) but other than that flights have always been fine - and on time.

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@@Tdgraves Sadly separate flights make little difference in the case of BA. They automatically cost Econ flights in and making the bookings to an from JNB only saves 20GBP per person. We are traveling at the height of the European holiday season in late Aug and the LHR-JNB route is always expensive I think. I just hate to spend that much on a premium ticket when there might be a reasonable Biz offering elsewhere. I realize business in Ethiopian won't be 5 star, but the extra room and comfort are always welcome on such a long journey.

 

@@michael-ibk Thanks, it's good to hear you are happy enough with them. I don't mind a crowded airport, it's mostly the seat and leg room I value on a flight!

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ps I'd love to fly emirates, but I can't afford the biz class fare on any of the middle eastern airlines.

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@ld1 I've flown on Ethiopian a few times though not in business, most recently going to and from Chad, you're not exactly spoilt for choice when booking flights to N'Djamena but having flown on ET before albeit some years ago I was quite happy to fly with them. Other than that Bole International Airport isn't that great as mentioned I would be very happy to fly ET again I think they're a very good airline, if you're flying business then you can spend any waiting time at Bole in the lounge. The cost of flying business on BA is I think pretty ridiculous compared to other airlines, if flying BA I would opt for premium economy although as BA seems to be trying to transform itself into a no frills airline I would choose just about anyone else to fly with instead. I certainly wouldn't ever want to fly economy on BA they recently dropped the second meal for economy passengers on flights under eight and a half hours providing a funsized chocolate bar instead, and have recently confirmed that they will no longer offer free food on short haul flights at all, instead you will have to buy an M&S sandwhich for £4.75.

 

If Ethiopian looks like the best choice then I would say go for it.

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I flew them to Addis Ababa for work in mid-September. It was a good flight ..... I would definitely use them more often if the connections to East/Southern Africa work out for me!

 

The airport reminds me of the Mumbai airport in the 80s ....... Chaotic!!!!

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@Id1 Try to get a Dreamliner if you can (they have a number). Never flown with Ethiopian, but unless they have done something inexplicably weird, business class in a Dreamliner is going to be very good and they will still be pretty new planes so should be a more comfortable ride than you'd get on most European airlines.

 

Kenya Airways no good for you? They're considerably cheaper to Zimbabwe from Bangkok than Ethiopian are at the moment - not sure if the same from the UK.

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@@inyathi I agree regarding BA. I have a ton of miles and almost no way of spending them since they changed the reward/upgrade seat rules. I didn't fly them for nigh on 15 years after they abandoned the provinces in the 90s. Only returning when T5 went up and transit through Heathrow became easier. The Southern and East Africa routes have been slowly dropping off and so it's pretty much NBO and JNB these days.

 

@@pault for some reason Kenya airways website keeps chucking me out. I don't think it likes my routing starting in Manchester to Vic Falls. Although when I try just to NBO then the fare is still £1500 so I doubt there is much in it price wise.

 

@@madaboutcheetah thanks, always good to hear other travellers are happy with an airline.

 

I think I am going to go with Ethiopian on a LHR-ADD-VFA outward and then HRE-ADD-FRA-MAN return. When I try and leave from MAN I get stung for either a costly connection to LHR or an almost 7hr layover at ADD on the way home. Now to convince MrR! What a palaver....

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@@ld1 I don't know when you last checked and I never knew about the old redemptions using BA miles, but since I have been doing it, I have had no issues. If you are able to book 355 days out, there is always a pair of CW seats available on every flight. For our Jan trip, I was only able to upgrade at booking the return flight, but a few months later, loads of availability opened up for the outbound (e.g. more than 9 CW seats). I would suggest that you have another look, especially if you have lots of unused miles....

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@@Tdgraves I have never been able to secure an upgrade to JNB unfortunately even when looking 355 days out. I seem to always be beaten to it. Also as miles upgrades don't work on multi itineraries so by the time I've added in all the Man-LHR, JNB-VFA and HRE-JNB segments it ends up expensive. I have used miles to upgrade to the states and Japan before BA hiked the number you needed to use. For example I was considering a trip to India and when BA changed the rules the upgrade to/from Delhi jumped from 30k miles to 60k miles!

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Hmmm, now I don't know. BA will let me upgrade outward but not return. The fare is about the same as Ethiopian when I add on the extras I'd be coming back prem-econ. But the flights are shorter...decisions, decisions!

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It's good to hear that those who have flown Ethiopian have been happy with them (if not quite so enamoured with Addis airport!) as we're flying with them to Malawi in June - it's currently scheduled to operate using their shiny new Airbus A350 XWB (LHR - ADD)

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Catch a low-fare over to Oslo and fly Ethiopian from here :-) They start up the new ADD route soon and have good introduction prices :-)

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@id1 Qatar have a 2:1 deal in business class which ends very soon. I can see FRA-JNB for about €4000 for 2 pax (but probably not enough of a deal given you still need to get from Man to FRa and then from JNB to VFE/HRE).

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Posted (edited)

@@The_Norwegian and @@pomkiwi thanks guys. I'll look into both, we get very cheap fares to Oslo from Manchester and got to love a 2-4-1 deal. When I looked into the original deal with Ethiopian it was via a consolidator site and disappeared when I went through. Fares seem pretty static at the moment. I was eventually able to get a one way avois upgrade via BA but the fare was so ridiculous it wasn't worth it.

Edited by ld1
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So, having taken inspiration from @@The_Norwegian and @@pomkiwi and their creative routing suggestions. I am both delighted and appalled to report I have scored a super club world fare on BA of £1741pp for AMS-LHR-JNB-VFA and HRE-JNB-LHR-AMS in Aug. I am appalled because the same route leaving from Manchester or London currently has a club world fare of £4K+ pp. So it would seem our national carrier is quite simply fleecing the British travelling public. My hop to AMS will cost me £60 and on the way home I'll skip the LHR-AMS leg and get the train home.

My love hate relationship with BA continues!

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@Id1 Congratularions. If you are travelling with checked luggage you will need to make sure BA don't check it through to AMS on your way home. If you are still in the window to make a free change to the flights (24 hours for online bookings I think) then altering your last leg from LGW to AMS means you have to collect bags at LHR and the traffic on the M25 may be so bad you miss the flight to AMS :)

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@@pomkiwi we are ok on the way home our connection to AMS is from T5 at LHR. We'll be travelling with hand luggage on the way home as we'll have left any liquids in Zim. We are well versed in avoiding Gatwick as we live in Manchester and so connection via Gatwick is a no-no. I am going to book a train home and miss the LHR-AMS leg as all the connections home from AMS are either too short (1hr) or too long (3+hrs). We might as well catch the train!

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@Id1 Absolutely te only reason for selecting Gatwick is to ensure that you could collect checked luggage and then 'miss' the onward connection to AMS. If you do not have checked luggage then no problems!

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@@pomkiwi ahhh, I see. I misunderstood your post. Think I'm just giddy at the decent Biz fare and finally 2017 is here and now it's countdown to Aug 😁

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Your BA Club World fare of £1741pp seemed too good to be true @@ld1 so I had a dabble myself using Kayak & also managed to see similarly priced deals - they all seemed to be via Expedia and gave a much higher price for booking direct with BA. One that I saw had an Expedia cost of ~£1850 & BA at > £6000!! I know there are "deals to be had" but that is ridiculous.

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@@AfricIan Yes, I booked via Expedia and the flights appeared in my BA account so all seem legit. I hope Expedia don't cancel it on us.

 

I hate the supply and demand excuse airlines use. Clearly not true as the only difference in my itinerary is the journey starts and ends in AMS instead of Manchester. Must be a hell of a connection from Manchester to cost £2400 quid per person.....I'm wondering if it's a private helicopter at that price 😉

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