INSANE DEAL: $770 Roundtrip Business Class Tickets From Bangkok To Toronto


While this won’t be useful to everyone, this is an insanely good deal that I can’t not share. Per this FlyerTalk thread, Ethiopian has published some crazy low business class fares from Bangkok to Toronto. You can fly roundtrip refundable business class for $770 (select “Cloud 9 Deluxe” rather than “Cloud 9 Restricted,” since it’s only marginally more but gives you a lot more flexibility).

This is bookable directly on Ethiopian’s website, which is the best place to search, since not all availability shows up on Google Flights.

The total roundtrip fare is 26470THB.

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Ethiopian Pilot Who Hijacked Plane Gets Sentenced To Therapy


In February 2014 I shared the story of an Ethiopian 767 which was hijacked enroute from Addis Ababa to Rome. While somewhere over Sudan the captain went to use the restroom, at which point the first officer locked him out of the cockpit and declared that the plane was hijacked, requesting the plane land in Switzerland so that the hijacker could receive asylum.

During the incident it wasn’t apparent to the emergency responders on the ground that the hijacker was in fact the pilot, though that was found out once the plane landed in Geneva.

Fortunately the incident ended with no one getting hurt, unlike the subsequent Germanwings crash, where the first officer also locked the captain out of the cockpit, except he flew the plane into the ground.

This is obviously a very complex case, though a ruling has finally been made.

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Ethiopian Airlines Changes Which NYC Airport They’ll Serve


Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s fastest growing airline, and they’re almost trying to turn into the Turkish Airlines of the region, in terms of trying to turn their home airport into a global hub. While they’re great for connections to destinations in Africa, they’re at a geographical disadvantage otherwise (they’re not at a geographical advantage like Dubai or Istanbul).

In terms of service to North America, Ethiopian already flies to Toronto and Washington Dulles. They also fly to Los Angeles, a route they serve via Dublin, where they have pick-up rights (this means you can fly Ethiopian exclusively between Los Angeles and Dublin, if you’d like).

On top of that Ethiopian is soon launching flights to New York, a route which was first announced last year. The flight will operate via Lome Airport, in Togo. Ethiopian will have pick-up and drop off rights there, meaning passengers can fly exclusively between Lome and New York, if they’d like (I can’t imagine demand in that market is huge, but if they’re going to refuel there anyway…).

The refueling stop is necessary because Addis Ababa is at such a high altitude, so the plane is weight restricted on departure. That’s why all Ethiopian flights to North America operate with a stop (meanwhile the flights out of Toronto and Washington are nonstop on the return).

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5 Coolest Fifth Freedom Routes In Europe


I’ve written in the past about fifth freedom routes. For those of you not familiar with fifth freedom routes, these are flights where an airline from one country has the right to operate between two other countries.

These are often operated in conjunction with longhaul flights back to the airline’s home country. To give a few examples:

— Cathay Pacific flies from New York to Vancouver to Hong Kong, so the flight between New York and Vancouver would be a fifth freedom route
— Singapore Airlines flies from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore, so the flight between New York and Frankfurt would be a fifth freedom route
— Korean Air flies from Seoul to Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, so the flight between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo would be a fifth freedom route

Those are just a few examples, and also happen to be among my favorite fifth freedom routes in the US.

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Jewish Passenger Beaten & Choked On Ethiopian Flight


Via The Times Of Israel, a man was flying on Ethiopian Airlines from N’Djamena, Chad to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when he was beaten by another passenger.

Here are the highlights of the story:

“The suspect reportedly beat the Israeli man, identified by Ynet as a 54-year-old named Arik, with a metal tray and shouted “Allah is greatest” and ‘kill the Jews’ in Arabic on the flight from Chad to Ethiopia’s capital on Thursday.

The Israeli man told Ynet that just before landing in the Ethiopian capital, the passenger behind him ‘identified me as Israeli and Jewish,’ then started choking him, then beat him over the head.

‘Only after a few seconds, just before I was about to lose consciousness, did I manage to call out and a flight attendant who saw what was happening summoned her colleagues,’ he said.”

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Ethiopian To Add Flights To New York In 2016


Ethiopian is one of Africa’s fastest growing airlines, and from an outsider’s perspective they seem to almost be taking an Emirates-esque approach towards growth, trying to make Addis Ababa a hub for connecting flights between other points in the world (Addis Ababa’s Airport is nothing like Dubai’s Airport, however).

The one challenge standing in their way (aside from their location, which isn’t all that convenient unless you’re connecting to Central or East Africa), is that Addis Ababa is at a high altitude, meaning the airline is heavily restricted in terms of maximum flight length due to the challenges of taking off at such a high altitude.

Ethiopian’s current North America destinations include Los Angeles, Toronto, and Washington DC:

— For their flights between Los Angeles and Addis Ababa, the plane stops in Dublin both ways, and Ethiopian has pick up rights there, meaning you could fly Ethiopian exclusively between Los Angeles and Dublin
— For their flights between Toronto/Washington and Addis Ababa, the eastbound flight is nonstop, while the westbound flight stops in Dublin for refueling; Ethiopian doesn’t have pick-up rights, meaning everyone has to stay on the plane

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Expect To See A Lot More Ethiopian Airlines In Dublin


You’re about to see a lot more of Ethiopian Airlines in Dublin!

In June 2015, Ethiopian Airlines will begin flying between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles… via Dublin. The route will be operated by a 787, and is especially interesting since Ethiopian will have pick-up rights in Dublin. So if you wanted to, you could fly Ethiopian exclusively between Los Angeles and Dublin.

The schedule on that flight is quite interesting as well, as they’re operating one of the earliest westbound transatlantic flights, and one of the latest eastbound transatlantic flights, as follows:

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Ethiopian Airlines 787 New Fully Flat Business Class


Over the summer I flew Ethiopian Airlines business class from Beijing to Addis Ababa on a 787, and then from Addis Ababa to Frankfurt on a 767.

While the 787 itself was sparkly, I was dumbfounded by the fact that Ethiopian chose to install angled business class seats on a brand new plane. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking on Ethiopian specifically here, as there are lots of airlines that do the same. Just look at Air France and Lufthansa with their A380s, for example.

While the flight was otherwise decent enough, the fact that the seats were angled just made it a not-so-pleasant flight.

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Ethiopian Flying Los Angeles to Dublin Starting June 2015!


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 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.

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Review: Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt


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.

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.

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Review: Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa


Africa is the one continent I’ve totally neglected in my travels. Not by design, but probably because there aren’t many great airline products flying there, and that’s a large aspect of what factors into my travel decisions (after all, airlines and hotels are primarily what I write about).

I’ve only been to Africa once before — specifically South Africa. And that was eons ago, like back when I wanted a Furby for Christmas… so probably like 15 years ago? I had no clue what to expect, which made me all the more excited about our four hour layover.

Upon deplaning we walked down a long arrivals hall, which was quite empty. Not only was the arrivals hall empty, but I was surprised by how empty the tarmac was as well.

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Review: Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa


Our flight left Beijing shortly after midnight, so we headed over to the airport at around 8PM. I should note at this point that we were exhausted. We had flown in the previous day from Zurich, and gotten up before 5AM for a full day tour of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall.

We decided to take an Uber to the airport, which was a pleasant experience. While the driver didn’t speak a word of English, he was driving a brand new Audi A6, vs. the average Beijing cab, which has about a million miles on it. And it was only about twice as much as a taxi, which I thought was quite reasonable.

At around 8:30PM we arrived at the airport, just as check-in was opening. There was quite an economy queue, though no one in the business class line.

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Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa


At the airport, we visited the Air China Business Class Lounge. They seemed to be going for a mid-90s motif, which made me wonder if they stocked Zima and free AOL installation CDs. I took a quick shower (it wasn’t exactly luxurious, but did the trick). We debated whether to change our plans due to a terrorist threat, and decided against it. Then we boarded our flight for Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines’ 787 seemed to be in better condition than the one we flew with LOT a few days earlier. The cabin itself was beautiful – I loved the color scheme. My remote control was working, and there was no masking tape holding the seat together. I had heard really positive things about the friendliness of Ethiopian’s cabin crew. Ours was merely ok – their smiles seemed as genuine as Joan Rivers’ face, and they didn’t seem interested in making conversation. It was strictly business.

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