Review: Ethiopian Airlines

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The preferred choice of flying to South Africa is Emirates, Air Mauritius or Qatar Airways. However, the Ethiopian Airlines is no less. With its Dreamliner series of Boeing -747 fleet, the Ethiopian Airlines comes with luxury and comfort at a price unimaginable. Here’s a quick review of my first trip on the Ethiopian Airlines to Cape Town.

Booking Flights with Ethiopian Airlines

South Africa, Ethiopian Airlines
An early morning view through the window shades

The Ethiopian Airlines have both low cost as well as premium airliners operating between India and Cape Town via Addis Ababa Airport. The cheapest flights to Cape Town can be booked from Mumbai. I had the compulsion of flying via Delhi and I had booked my tickets from there. While you book your flights from the Ethiopian Airlines Website, it is best to register and get a Sheba Miles Account, which lets you to earn miles instantly from your flight bookings.

Check Flight Hacks from Mumbai/ Delhi :-

Planning a Seat Map

Usually, people do not focus that much on the seat map, and go for the seat which they are usually allotted while issuing the boarding pass. However, you may not like to do so when you are looking for International Flights. One of the sites that I sue regularly for a seat update is SeatGuru, which gives a good idea about the in-flight facilities, such as seat recline, leg room, food services, check-in and baggage information, infants and children friendly information, flight shopping and best time to book flights.

The flight ET 687 was a Boeing 787 has 24 Business class and 246 regular Economy Class seats. If you are looking for business class seats, the standard seats in the Rows-2 and 3 are comfortable. They can recline a full 180° to transform into a bed, comes with AC power and on-demand television, and a a-la-carte food menu. The seats marked with yellow in the Rows-1 and 4 come with an additional leg space, however, may not be good enough due to its proximity to lavatory. It is a good idea to refer to the Seat Map Key that comes with additional warning signs before making a selection.

Baggage and Checkins

Ethiopian Airlines
Passing through Immigration, New Delhi
Ethiopian Airlines
Post Immigration Sweatouts
Ethiopian Airlines
Passing through the Terminal 3 Galleries

The airline allows International check ins both online and offline at least 2 hours prior to the departures. While traveling from New Delhi, it is a good idea to be at the airport at least 4 hours before for several reasons.For one, the flight takes off midnight early mornings which makes the immigration gates flooded with passengers. Secondly, the flight takes off from Gate 22 which is a farther end of the Terminal-3. You should have sufficient time to complete all three formalities – collecting boarding pass and check in your baggage, fill up immigration form and pass through immigration and reach your designated gate by such time.

The airline allows 23 kgs of baggage on Economy Class with standard 7 kg hand baggage. However, if you are a Sheba Miles Member, which I recommend you should take immediately, you can get additional baggage benefits and lounge access due to its membership facilities.

Must Read: South African Visa for Indian Travelers – Your Questions Answered

The Sheba Miles Program

The great part about flying with the Ethiopian Airlines is that being new, it is promoting its Miles Program in a big way and while you choose to fly with them, it is a good idea to grab their membership. Here’s an overview of the miles I earned on a single trip with the Airline.

Ethiopian Airlines
Miles summary

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines

Also, if you are a member and for some reason, you have not been able to mention your Membership number before booking your flights, you can always do that at the airport at the check-in counter. The flight staff is quite prompt and while I was collecting my boarding passes, they were good enough to inform me about the miles credit on my account.

As you might see, a single trip earned a whopping 9500 miles with 2000 miles simply as First Flight and Welcome Miles Bonus. When converted into cash, it is an equivalent of Rs. 18000/- worth of miles that can be used on this flight or code-share flights as well.

Read More: Do you need a Transit Visa on the way

In Pictures

Ethiopian Airlines
Inflight Views Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines
The Inflight entertainment
Ethiopian Airlines
At Addis Ababa Airport

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines
Next Flight waits for take off
Ethiopian Airlines
Addis Ababa Airport Immigration
Ethiopian Airlines
Beer’s on the house

Airline Review

Here’s how I can summarize my first experience with the Ethiopian Airlines

  • Value for Money: 8/10 – Great value flights, especially cheaper option than Emirates
  • In flight Services: 7/10 – There is mixed review on this. The in-flight services between Addis Ababa and Cape Town were good, but were not of the similar standard when traveling from New Delhi to Cape Town. It was more of a low cost airline at this route.
  • Seat convenience: 8/10 – The seats are comfortable. You should be just aware and select seats as recommended on the seat maps.
  • Cabin Staff Service: 7½ /10 – They were just available at the right time when called for!
  • Miles Service: 9/10 – Recovers 24% of your flight cost in miles on your first flight itself.
  • Overall – 8/10 : Great experience. Looking forward to fly with them again.