Friday, October 17, 2014

Airline Review: The New Spirit of Africa

‘Why Ethiopian?' 
and I immediately knew why she asked. I heard the gory stories too; from plane seats that had tear marks from wear to aircrafts that made a wiggling sound just as you take off and the food; horrible awful food. In the end of what was a long conversation, she said 'please leave Ethiopian airlines out of it'. It was at this point I made up my mind to fly Ethiopian, experience it for myself, see if there was any truth to all the rumors I had heard. 
The rumors began to prove true a good eight hours before my flight; I tried to check in online and save myself the hassles of airport queues, but no, the Ethiopian airlines web site kept popping up an error message whenever I entered my flight details. This was the only time during my experience with the airline that I wished I had taken my sisters advice. 
The airline was nothing like the stories I had heard: we flew in a very generous Boeing 787. There was very adequate leg room such that I could stretch and even cross my legs without inconveniencing the person who sat in front of me. The inflight entertainment was spectacular; the lineup had so many recent movies that I was spoilt for choice, I eventually settled for Hercules and Invictus only because I hadn't seen both of them. The music too; really nice. 
None of the warnings people gave me of Bole International Airport were correct, to my mind it is a very decent looking airport with its expanse of glass and very high ceilings, everything about it I liked, except of course the bathrooms which were usually packed full and had wet floors. This is easily explainable though, it is mostly caused by people performing ablution in non designated areas. I used the Sheba Miles lounge and I was impressed, I had coffee, wifi and was comfortable enough to catch up on sleep. My 5 hour layover was an experience in itself.
The food on board was delicious, better than most bigger, more expensive airlines. I was served an assortment of long grained rice and really tender chicken, a bread bun with butter and cheese to compliment it, a generous bowl of fruit salad with berries and papaya and mango, and a vegetable salad mainly of beans, carrots, peas. All was really nice. 
Most airline related complaints are of air hostesses, but that wasn't my experience; I did get upset a couple of times when I pressed the call button and no one answered, but after a few minutes a hostess came by with apologies, a complimentary gift bag from first class and promised to constantly refill my paper cup with fruit juice as compensation.

All in all, the Ethiopian experience was lovely, especially for the price it flew; as I see it, the airline is both very easily affordable and very comfortable. I will fly the airline time and again. I insisted on filling a comment card on my way out: I am not one to get good services and not commend the business afterwards. Perhaps we all should do this, encourage businesses that make an effort to deliver real value. 

Adejoh Momoh ( can be followed on twitter @adejoh

1 comment:

  1. i can relate to this as i have flew Ethiopian Airline a couple of times. And will say it is qualified to be a 4-5 star airline with their rebranded services.