Just returned from a fantastic safari trip to Botswana, this is my report of the journey provided by Ethiopian Airlines who i used for the main part of the air transport. We left on Friday 14 June , checked in at Terminal 2 for flight ET 729 Manchester -Addis Ababa. Ethiopian have quite competitive fares so travelled business class with them. Checked in quickly, had already pre-booked seats had 3A/C throughout. Went to security which was somewhat chaotic, staff could use a bit training on how to speak to the public too, however got through that eventually and went to the Aspire Lounge. I haven't been to Terminal 2 for years and have never visited the Aspire Lounge there, but its much smaller than there one at Terminal 1 and as such crowded so didn't stay very long.

Flight was called and from memory the gate was A12, If this is their normal departure gate, its a good walk so allow plenty of time to reach it, it was about as far as you can go. This part of terminal 2 seemed a lot newer with plenty of room.

Boarded ontime, and was shown to our seats, offered Orange Juice or Champagne as pre departure drink, seats were 2+2+2 , very comfortable lay flat seating on the B787 and at a slant which gave more privacy. Once boarding was completed we realised we were the only passengers in business, in fact the whole plane was not very busy. The service stops at Brussels en route to Addis and we were served a snack on the short hop by extremely attentive cabin crew, some dressed in a tradition style Ethiopian robe which looked very striking. Inflight entertainment was comprehensive with good viewing choices.

At Brussels we were on the ground for an hour where the plane filled up with both cabins now busy. We left on time, dinner served while I watched a film, then went to sleep. Arrived in Addis Ababa at 06.35 following morning after a 9 hour flight, we parked away from terminal and were bused into terminal ( special bus for business passengers, nice touch). You are struck by how busy a hub Addis is, mainly 787s or A350s on stands all of them Ethiopian, the airlines has around 114 aircraft and a wide network across Africa and beyond.

I understand a new terminal is going to open, the present one we were in ( there are two) was very busy with connecting passengers, the shops in the terminal gave me a feeling of being in some eastern bazaar, i quite enjoyed the atmosphere. ET's lounge is not the best, but again I was told a new one is on the way. Something a little different is one of the airlines staff making traditional coffee, you sit low to the floor on stalls where she makes the coffee on coals with incense burning, this being a region Frankincense is found. I enjoyed the experience, a bit different from other lounges.

Left on ET 829 to Victoria Falls ( the flight also went onward to Gaborone ), again another 787 and a busy service. The journey was 4 hours 40 mins. Victoria Falls Airport is not large, but looked quite new, we passed through it quite quickly after paying $55.00 visa fee each. Now in Zimbabwe.

Whilst away we flew on several flights to air strips in the bush, provided by Safari air , Mackair or Wilderness Air, this is by far the easiest way to get around, quite exciting too. We also took a 737-500 leased to Air Botswana from Maun to Johannesburg.

Flights home was on Sat 29 June JNB-ABB flight ET808 at 14.10 it took, five hours 15 mins onboard an A350, which i liked very much again very good inflight service and food. The aircraft appeared a bit bigger than the 787. Had meal watched another film and slept a bit, arrived into a wet Addis at 20.25, went to an airbridge. Addis Airport seemed even busier this time with many flights leaving late evening, everywhere was crowded including the biz lounge. Our last flight was at 23.45 ET 728, boarding was slow, I think one of the reasons for this was that British Foreign Office staff were check documents before the gate, it made things a bit chaotic. Another 787 back via Brussels, busy flight with most passengers leaving at Brussels ( 4 left in business including me and my partner). Arrived at Manchester this morning at 07.15, parked remotely had to wait a bit for steps/buses, passports and luggage was pretty quick.

I would highly recommend Ethiopian Airlines, their inflight service is second to none and I would be more than happy to fly with them again. Addis Ababa airport is at the moment a bit of a bun fight, but it works and I understand there are terminal improvements due.View attachment 13635View attachment 13636
 
Comprehensive and fascinating trip report of what was obviously a most enjoyable time, both the flights and the holiday.

Thank you for posting and thank you also for the pictures.
 
What was the problem you had at Manchester airport Carl, was it just busy?

Your trip report is very comprehensive and it sounds like you had a good flight and trip in general. Ethiopia is a very much up and coming nation these days and the pictures you post of the ramp don't suggest you were visiting a third world country.
 
Hi
The issue we had at security at Manchester was with the rudeness of the staff working processing the trays through the scanner, I was personally spoken too, or should I say barked at unacceptably, other passengers around me were also upset. My partner and another lady passenger both went to a desk to complain. Once we got beyond security it was ok, but this was an unpleasant start to the journey.

Ethiopian Airlines I felt are a very good airline offering huge connection opportunities at Abbis, I thought the in-flight service and entertainment was top notch. I've read terminal 2 at Abbis is their new facility , I didn't use this one, but I expect it to be better.View attachment 13741
 

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