Around the World on 90k Part I: Warsaw and Beijing with Nothing But a Passport and a Dream(liner)
Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa
Korean Air Lounge New York JFK
LOT Polish Business Class 787 New York To Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class ERJ-170 Warsaw To Zurich
Swiss Panorama Lounge Zurich
Swiss Business Class A330 Zurich To Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class 747-8 Frankfurt to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington DC
After a roughly six second bus ride from the terminal, we pulled up to the Ethiopian 767 that would be taking us to Frankfurt, in “Star Alliance” livery no less.
Boarding was via stairs through door 2L, so upon entering the plane we turned left into the business class cabin.
Ethiopian Airlines 706
Addis Ababa (ADD) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Friday, July 4
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 2L (Business Class)
Oy. Hello 1990!
We walked through the rather colorful economy mini-cabin and into the business class cabin, which consisted of a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Never again will I complain about angled flat seats after these. These were simply “lounger” seats with a good amount of legroom.
I have to say that they were extremely comfortable for lounging, probably thanks to the fact that they’ve been sat in for 20 years, so have plenty of experience.
Waiting at my seat was a packaged blanket and a pillow.
The personal televisions were located in the center console, and on the right side of my seat was the entertainment controller.
Then to the left of the seat were the manual, old-school seat controls.
Shortly after settling in we were offered amenity kits. They were identical to the ones on the last flight, except they were green instead of red.
Shortly thereafter the two business class flight attendants — Hebest and Hirut — offered us pre-departure beverages — the champagne was reasonably drinkable to begin with, but become even more drinkable when I realized just how bored I’d be on this flight.
Boarding was super fast due to the light load, and at around 10:15AM we began our pushback and taxi to the runway. When the door closed business class was about two thirds full.
I quite enjoyed seeing all the Ethiopian planes on the ground, including some 737s, 787s, etc.
We taxied out to our departure runway, Runway 24, which required crossing Runway 19 first.
Once at the runway there were a couple of planes ahead of us, including an Ethiopian 737. Both of the pilots on this flight seemed to be Ethiopian (they have a lot of ex-pat pilots, for what it’s worth), and I thought it was pretty awesome that the first officer was female. She made a welcome aboard announcement informing us of our flight time of 6hr55min, which would put us into Frankfurt early.
At 10:30AM we began our takeoff roll, and steep climb out of Addis Ababa.
The views on departure were quite interesting, and definitely made me want to visit Addis Ababa at some point in the future.
About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, and I headed to the lav to change into something a bit more comfortable. The lav wasn’t especially nice, not that 767 lavs ever are, in my experience.
I decided to browse the entertainment selection, which was lacking.
This aircraft doesn’t have on demand entertainment, but rather about three looping movies (all of which were horrible — we’re talking Night At The Museum, etc.). and one TV show with horrible audio quality.
I quickly resigned myself to just watching the airshow the entire flight. Stupidly I hadn’t charged my laptop or phone during the layover, so they were almost dead, and this plane doesn’t have any power ports. Grrr!
For what it’s worth there were also some scratched up headphones in the seatback pocket.
At this point I decided the only way I’d entertain myself on this flight was by eating, eating, eating, drinking, and sleeping (roughly in that order).
The real inflight entertainment started about 20 minutes after takeoff, when a lady was brought up from economy and seated in the center section of row one.
Moments later the captain came out to hug her, and the rest of the crew all came by to say hi. I couldn’t tell if she was royalty or the captain’s mother, but she got the royal treatment. I’m guessing she was the latter, since the former would have likely been seated in business class from the beginning.
The crew spent the first half hour of the flight just making sure she was comfortable, and she actually got her whole meal before the service even started for anyone else. Fascinating.
About an hour into the flight menus were distributed and the meal service (theoretically) began.
The lunch menu read as follows:
The service began with drinks and snacks. They had cute airplane shaped crackers and another snack which was quite good.
I don’t know what took so long, but it was another 45 minute or so before the next course was served. It in no way resembled what was on the menu — the menu had the option between Norwegian gravlax and Italian mozzarella. In reality there was the choice between shrimp and chicken with tomatoes.
Both options were also served with a small side salad.
The next course was the “taste of Ethiopian national dish,” which was plated from the cart. The presentation left a bit to be desired, and while I liked the idea of having some Ethiopian food (I’ve had Ethiopian meals in the past and enjoyed them), this one was especially greasy.
The main course once again didn’t resemble what the menu listed. I ordered the cannelloni, which they apparently hadn’t catered. Instead they suggested I have the pasta, which seemed to in fact be the creamy seafood ragout. It tasted about as good as it looked…
Andrew also wanted the cannelloni, but since they didn’t have that they offered him beef instead, which wasn’t on the menu. It was quite possibly the most unappetizing looking beef dish I’ve ever seen on a plane (which is saying a lot).
For dessert was the choice between mousse and cheesecake. They were probably the highlight of the meal.
And since I had just picked at the previous courses and was quite bored, I ordered the cheese plate as well.
So yeah, not the best meal I’ve ever had on a plane. And it took forever, which wasn’t actually a bad thing, since I had nothing else to do. But it was over three hours into the flight before the meal was finished.
Admittedly it’s totally my fault for not coming prepared on this flight. I should have brought hours of TV shows and made sure all my electronics were charged, so this was the first longhaul flight in a while where I had absolutely nothing to do. My electronics were drained and none of the looping movies looked interesting to me. So I tried to doze off, mostly unsuccessfully, though managed to keep my eyes closed for a couple of hours (even though I woke up with quite a bit of neck pain, since I must have been employing the Willow Smith method of whipping my neck back and forth).
I woke up with a couple of hours to go to Frankfurt, where the entertainment continued. The captain must have talked to the lady in row one for over an hour, and then later the first officer came out as well to greet her (I should point out that there were only a total of two pilots working this sector, so collectively for several hours there was only one pilot in the flight deck).
Eventually we began our descent into Frankfurt.
We touched down on Runway 7R at 4:35PM, well ahead of schedule.
Unfortunately it took us about 20 minutes to taxi to our arrival gate — 10 of those minutes were spent waiting to cross the parallel runway.
Eventually we arrived at our gate at around 4:55PM, still over 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Ethiopian Airlines business class bottom line
On the plus side, the flight was safe, which is the most important aspect of travel. And it was early.
Aside from that, I don’t really have much to say. The service was slow and not especially friendly, the food was borderline inedible, the plane was ancient, and entertainment non-existent.
What I find ridiculous is that this flight was scheduled to be operated by a 787 when we first booked. While angled flat seats aren’t exactly revlutionary, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of this product. The fact that they constantly swap aircraft type and charge the same fares for them is kind of ridiculous, in my opinion.
It would be like booking business class from the US to Europe on a US airline, only to have a 737 with domestic first class seats subbed in (and at least those seats would have built-in power ports).
Have you flown one of Ethiopian’s 767s before? If so, what was your experience?