In July I posted about Ethiopian Airlines’ announcement that Los Angeles would become their second US destination as of 2015. At the time they announced that the flight between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles would stop in Dublin, which seemed like an interesting choice. As usual I never trust these airline announcements until the schedules are actually loaded and the flights go on sale.
Well, much to my surprise Ethiopian Airlines has followed through on this.
Ethiopian Airlines will fly to Los Angeles
Ethiopian Airlines will begin 3x weekly Boeing 787-8 flights between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles as of June 3, 2015. The flight will operate westbound on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and eastbound on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Ethiopian Airlines 787
The flight will stop in Dublin in both directions, and most interesting is that they’ll have fifth freedom rights between Dublin and Los Angeles. So if you’d like, you can fly Ethiopian exclusively between Europe and the US now.
The new Ethiopian flight will operate with the following schedule:
ET504 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 11:00PM arriving 5:30AM (+1 day)
ET504 Dublin to Los Angeles departing 6:30AM arriving 9:30AM
ET505 Los Angeles to Dublin departing 11:30PM arriving 6:30PM (+1 day)
ET505 Dublin to Addis Ababa departing 7:30PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
Ethiopian 787 business class
A few interesting things to note about Ethiopian’s new flight:
- Both the eastbound and westbound flights are blocked at 20hr30min — that’s a long flight, and given the winds it’s a bit odd that it’s blocked for the same amount of time in both directions
- It’s interesting that the plane sits on the ground in Los Angeles for 14 hours — it could just as easily leave Los Angeles at 11:30AM, get to Dublin at 6:30AM, leave at 7:30AM, and get to Addis Ababa at 6PM, which would lead to much better aircraft utilization
- As far as I know, the Dublin to Los Angeles flight will be the earliest westbound flight between Europe and the US, and the Los Angeles to Dublin flight will be the latest eastbound flight between the US and Europe
- As far as I know, this will be the first transatlantic 787 flight to/from Los Angeles
- Presumably since the flight is routing through Dublin, passengers will use the US pre-clearance facility there — my only thought is that an hour doesn’t seem like enough time for everyone to clear immigration
It is quite interesting that Ethiopian actually will have pick up rights in Dublin. With their current Washington Dulles service, the flight from Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles stops in Rome on the outbound, while it’s a nonstop on the return. So I guess since they have fifth freedom rights and are routing through Dublin in both directions, it makes sense for them to pick up passengers there.
Ethiopian award space Dublin to Los Angeles
There’s quite a bit of award space on the route. Every single date I’ve searched has at least two business class award seats and four economy class award seats.
Using Aeroplan miles to fly between Los Angeles and Dublin is an amazing value, given that they charge 45,000 miles one-way and don’t impose fuel surcharges.
Admittedly Ethiopian doesn’t have the world’s best business class product. I flew them a couple of months ago from Beijing to Addis Ababa and from Addis Ababa to Frankfurt, so you can read about that here:
- Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing to Addis Ababa – 2014
- Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt – 2014
Their 787 business class cabins are modern, as you’d expect, though do feature angled flat beds, which is disappointing for a brand new product. The food was decent enough, and the service wasn’t actively unpleasant.
Lovely business class meal on Ethiopian 😉
I realize this probably isn’t the most aspirational flight in the world, though there’s no denying it’s incredibly practical. Award space nonstop from the west coast to Europe is virtually impossible to find, especially in Star Alliance. So being able to have an option with wide open award availability is certainly good news all around.
Also, I think there’s no denying that this route is just pretty darn cool. It’s kind of random, and has some of the most unique flight timings for service between the US and Europe.
I do find the choice of Dublin as a connecting point to be interesting. I totally get why they’d use it if they didn’t plan on picking up passengers, since it’s probably one of the cheaper and easier airports to operate service through, and the pre-clearance facility doesn’t hurt either.
But given that they’re picking up passengers it seems like there would be Star Alliance markets better served nonstop from Los Angeles than Dublin.
What do you think of Ethiopian’s new route, and would you consider flying them?