Ethiopian Airlines Review Business Class Cloud Nine 787 Addis Abeba (ADD) to Los Angeles (LAX) via Dublin (DUB)
Ethiopian Airlines has been greatly expanding their long-haul network with the 787 and A350 deliveries. For this review I got to see the Cloud Nine Business Class lounge at Addis Abeba airport and got two long legs on the 787 to Los Angeles.
Cloud Nine lounge at Addis Abeba (ADD) Airport
I had been to the Star Alliance Gold lounge at Addis Abeba airport a number of times. While be no means a great lounge it ticks all the right boxes and I expected a similar experience at the Cloud Nine lounge.
Upon entering the lounge (it is only accessible for Cloud Nine passengers) you realize how enormous the lounge is (and how many people Ethiopian airlines transports in Business Class). It is simply massive!
The lounge furniture is in dark colors and does look pretty utilitarian - there was no interior designer at work here.
There is a full service bar but it did not have any attendants when I was there. However you can self service wine and beer.
The WiFi was initially very fast but would come to a halt at 10 PM (when the lounge reached capacity). The buffet was a good mix of western and Ethiopian dishes. While the presentation could be improved the quality of the dishes is excellent and does not taste like 'lounge food'.
There is also an area where you can get traditional Ethiopian coffee made over open fire (yes even inside an airport!).
Ethiopian 787 Business Class Addis Abeba to Dublin
Boarding was announced for 12.40 AM but when I showed up at the gate there were just a few passengers and no plane!
20 minutes later that would change and everyone stormed the 787. Business Class would fill up in minutes (no empty seats) and so did Economy Class. I realized a number of co-passengers from my prior flight from Antananarivo from just a few hours ago would also be on this flight.
I was rather tired and was just looking forward to get some sleep. However I managed to introduce myself to the station manager for Dublin who sat right next to me and browse the menu. There were two meal services planned for the 8 hour flight!
However just after takeoff I feel asleep as we made our way towards Bahir Dar . The seat looks rather small and old (this plane was only two years old!). but transformed itself into a pretty decent 6'4 flat bed. I had a decent amount of space.
My seat (the only one available when I checked in) was not ideal as it opened up into the galley and aisle. Anyone who walked by would come just an inch or so from where my head rested. This was not comfortable and this wasn't a great seat to sleep.
Nevertheless I only woke up once before we were descending into Dublin.
Given the odd position of my seat, my seat mate climbing over me and the frequent meal services I slept very well and had no back pain to speak of. I was quite happy!
Ethiopian 787 Business Class Dublin to Los Angeles
Once we got to our gate there wasn't much of an announcement and I was fully expecting to get off the plane and go through per-clearance in Dublin. Eventually (I was almost leaving the aircraft) an announcement was made that continuing passengers should stay in their original seat. Oops!
The plane had about one hour on the ground and after a quick security check and the passing of the cleaning crew the plane would fill up completely again. This time the pilots would take up two seats since this 787 has no dedicated crew rest area which makes these long flights a rough test of endurance for flight and cabin crew!
Now that I was well rested I was looking forward to breakfast. Breakfast was great with a savory dish as well as cereal and yogurt and pastry. I again liked the coffee that was served.
I found the flight attendants to be extremely friendly and helpful - I had a hard time remembering a flight with such a friendly and attentive crew. Not just one member but everyone had a jolly day (despite the long hours with no dedicated rest area).
After breakfast I feel asleep again and rested a few more hours before the lunch would come along.
I was even more excited for this one as it would feature Ethiopian dishes (besides Western).
The appetizers were exactly the same as the day before during my B737 MAX flight to Antananarivo but the main course differed and I got first picks on the excellent Ethiopian dishes - the veggie and chicken curry with Injera were fantastic. There would be two dessert options and coffee - I was so full after this yummy experience I actually fell asleep again!
After just 9 hours we would be close enough to descend towards Los Angeles (in an easy, simple approach path).
Ethiopian uses the United Terminal 7 at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) which now has its on immigration and customs so no more lining up at TBIT. This is especially helpful if you do not have Global Entry and/or come to the US on a visitor visa as lines at TBIT can easily be 2 hours long.
In Summary Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787
I wasn't expecting much but I came out quite impressed by this flight. The lounge could have had a more impressive design but offers great food and plenty of space and amenities.
The 787 Business Class does not look so great but the seats is comfy and allows for excellent sleep (just don't get the front row seats facing the aisle like I did).
The flight attenadants (and even the flight crew I chatted with) were outstanding and jovial. The food was some of the best I ever had in Business Class.
If Ethiopian can keep investing in the next iteration of seats/ lounges and planes they might be up to a world winning airline standard (like where Qatar is) in a few years!