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AmyT

Travel via Ethiopian Airlines, versus alternatives

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Looking at flights for my round-trip Los Angeles - Harare in November. Ethiopian Airlines is coming in under US$1k, and in 17 hours, whereas other carriers are more like US$1300 and 27 hours on carriers such as British Airways. Pros/cons?

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I have not flown them, but here's what I heard from a frequent flyer travel agent that I just used to book our tickets to go to Uganda in December. My son will be flying back on Ethiopian I think.

 

"I myself have flown Ethiopian - from Arusha to Addis Ababa. Even though a relatively short trip, it was perfectly fine.
Beyond that, if memory serves, your son would route through Dublin. The DUB - LAX flight is on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is the newest, most comfortable plane in any airline fleet. I put lots of clients on this flight because its a great option to get to/from Europe using United miles. In addition, these planes are also serviced and staffed with mostly European crew, and to the standards of any other US or European carrier. So I wouldnt hesitate to recommend that airline from a safety standpoint - which is of course, most important."
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Given the figures it would be the sensible choice.

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Posted (edited)

Having read a lot of bad reviews on the Ethiopian carrier, I was a bit apprehensive flying ET for my Ethiopia/Chad trip in February, But other than a false start to the flights, the rest of the journeys were on time, the crew was able to communicate very well, Addis Ababa airport was no different from other African airports (just keep checking the gates to ensure they haven't changed it) and the flights were smooth.

 

I'm flying ET again in OCtober and hope for the same pleasant experience. The price you quoted for ET is a big advantage.

Edited by Kitsafari
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My last trip was on them. Very good. I'd book them again. The airport itself gets very crowded so that you may be sitting on the floor. Not a problem on arrival, but you will likely experience the crowds when you depart. I'd fly them again if it fit into my plans.

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@Kitsafari@Atravelynn Thank you so much for your information on ET because I'll undoubtedly be flying on them when I go to N'jDemna next year. In fact I've already spoken to the Embassy about getting my visa way in advance.

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We're flying with them for our trip to Malawi (LHR -> ADD -> LLW on the way out & BLZ -> ADD -> LHR on the way back). LHR -> ADD & back is on a new A350 XWB which is getting as positive reviews as the 787. As others have said, Addis Ababa isn't the best airport in the world to transit through but the difference in cost between Ethiopian & other carriers was huge.

 

I'll let you know how we get on - 84.5 hrs to go :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Also using Ethiopian all the time here. The flights have always been fine and on time. Addis airport can be quite uncomfortable. It´s usually fine when arriving there in the morning but extremely crowded in the evenings - almost impossible to find free seats. Best to go to the gates as early as possible.

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Chase Bank's travel site had the wrong flight duration (I wish it was just 17 hours!) but I just booked travel on Ethiopia Airlines with my miles accrued by my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. (Oh, how happy I am to have taken out that card right before the air miles benefit was cut in half!!!))

 

The only down side, is that these flights aren't available every day, so I will be staying an extra day prior to going to Mana Pools. Pinch me! I'm traveling to Africa twice in a year!!

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I am also flying to Africa on Chase miles, with the 100,000 mile bonus! (and business class, hurray!) my son will be in coach, but too bad, he's only 21 and he's lucky to get to go to Africa! No tears shed for him...We are flying Turkish Air but he will be returning on Ethiopian on the same flight you'll have in the fall. I didn't have enough miles for his return flight, so that one I'm paying cash, although we did discuss that it might be interesting for him just to stay in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (I just love saying that...)

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Hi @AmyT, just a quick report back on Ethiopian Airlines flights to/from Malawi. LHR to ADD was indeed on the sparkly new A350 which was on-time, smooth, quiet & as comfortable as cattle class gets. Food was perfectly edible but because they insisted on feeding us both dinner and full breakfast there wasn't much "sleep time" on the 7 1/2hr flight.  From ADD to Lilongwe was on a reasonably up-to-date 737 & was again on-time but noticeably noisier & less comfortable than the A350. The hot meal wasn't particularly nice but the other bits on the tray were fine.

For the return legs, although the plane arrived in Blantyre on-time we took off over 1hr late (no explanation) and once again the A350 ADD to LHR leg was fine.

 

Addis airport is indeed cramped & chaotic but on the way back my (adult) daughter needed some minor medical attention (she's fine) & I was very impressed how well  wasn't well this was handled by the ground staff.

 

All in I was quite happy with our first experience of Ethiopian & would certainly use them again.

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~ @AfricIan

 

That's great to know.

 

My first-ever visit to Africa was on Ethiopian all the way.

 

Like you, I had a positive experience.

 

Ha! Yes, Addis Ababa Airport is quite an experience.

 

Very glad that you were satisfied with the arrangements.

 

Tom K.

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