Ethiopian Airlines runs two business class lounges at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa – one for business class passengers booked on Ethiopian flights and one for Star Alliance Gold members.
In order to review these lounges, it’s useful to keep in perspective where you are coming from. If it’s your first lounge visit in the African continent outside of South Africa then you won’t be delighted. However, if you have been traveling around the continent, then this lounge won’t be so bad.
The lounge offers coffee, soft drinks, water and basic alcoholic drinks. There is also a snack menu in the morning with simple carbs or croissants.
The WiFi is usually working and good enough for a few emails or a short call. Expect 1Mbit if you are lucky – it’s certainly not high speed. While places like the Radisson Blu in Addis Ababa have high-class internet, it’s not something that you will usually find in Ethiopia.
The lounge itself is in the middle of everything – almost like it’s just another retail shop as it has more than its fair share of noise.
The lounge gets crowded between 7AM and 11AM, when the flights from Europe arrive and before most African departures (they are usually after 11AM) and before midnight when most European departures happen. Outside of those times it is usually quiet.
The airport has a number of better coffee shops that serve quality Ethiopian coffee and there are also some snacks places as an alternative to the lounges.
The Addis Airport Authority plans to invest $350 million into a terminal extension – let’s hope Ethiopian will have enough premium traffic that makes it interesting for them to invest in a better lounge experience.
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