Juliet writes:

My experience of Ethiopian Airlines was unlucky.  Other people have had no problems at all, but I had serious problems with four out of seven flights with them, and less serious problems with two of the others.  The up-side was that the staff were always nice.  If you are travelling alone, it is worth noting that the discount (about 70% discount) on internal flights if your international round trip is with Ethiopian Airlines DOES apply to people travelling on their own.  I was told incorrectly and twice by the London office that it only applied to two or more people.  Apparently this used to be the case, but the rule changed in January 2009.  The sums involved are not peanuts- I paid £500 for internal fligths where I should have paid around £150.  They did, after some discussion, agree to refund the difference, but a month later, I am still waiting.

One comment on “Flights”

  1. I flew Ethiopian Airlines and didn’t have too much trouble. My international flights with them were on time and hassle free. London to Addis and the Addis to Nairobi. My internal flights were a bit more of a hassle. On my first flight from Addis to Lalibela we turned around once we got to lalibela because we could not land there due to a sand storm. While this was annoying there really was no other alternative than to return to Addis, luckily we were able to make the flight the following after another delay of approximately 2 hours. We were supposed to take off sometime around 6am and ended up leaving around 8am. My final internal flight between Lalibela and Axum was late (no big surprise there) but other than that it was problem free.

    One note about flights in Ethiopia is that not all of the airports possess instrument approaches that would allow the airplanes to land in lower visibility situations (clouds, rain, sandstorms). This means that you should try to book the earliest flight in the morning because weather conditions are usually calmest in the early morning. Plus if your flight is delayed you will just get bumped to a later flight. The way Ethiopian internal flights worked was that a plane started in Addis and then flew to Lalibella, from there it went to Axum, and then either went to Gondar or back to Addis. This meant that if one of the earlier flights was delayed the whole circuit was delayed. Based on this I didn’t really expect my internal flights to be on time. Also I choose to drive between Axum and Gondar because I was advised that the flight connecting those two cities was the most sporadic of all the internal flights. Thinking back I wish I would have flown this leg because the drive was exceptionally long and uncomfortable.

    Commenting on Juliet’s comments I would have to agree that Ethiopian airlines internal flights are not great but they definitely beat the alternative of ground transportation. When taking their flights you just need to be patient and remember that you are indeed in Africa and traveling on African time. I would also reiterate her advice about planning an extra day between your flight and proposed activity. My greatest sadness about my Ethiopia trip was that I had planned two days in Lalibela and that because my flight delayed me a day I only get to spend one day in that amazing city :(.

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