To celebrate my wife’s birthday and her recent move to the UAE, we decided to make a trip to Africa, a continent she haven’t been to. After comparing with Etihad and Ethiopian Airlines, we decide to give ET a try for a fraction of the price in Business Class. Our whole itinerary involves a total of 8 flights. This trip report will only features the first two sectors.
Dubai – Addis Ababa – Johannesburg ET 77L/763
25 Feb 2012
Dubai – Addis Ababa
ET-ANP “The Victoria Falls”
248 pax on board
Flying time 3 hr 35mins
ET601 departs at very early morning hours of 0435 so we arrived half awake at check-in counter in Area B of Terminal 1 of Dubai Int’l. The DNATA agent who checked us in was also half awake, she forgot to give us our baggage receipt and told us we don’t need to clear custom in Johannesburg which later was proved wrong. Anyway we were able to receive all 3 sectors boarding passes all the way to Cape Town.
The generic DNATA boarding pass , not great for memorablia.
The non-Emirates departure screen, plenty of colours
Ethiopian Airlines use DCA Lounge, Dubai Airport Business Class lounge, better than the Merhaba Lounge
The lounge started serving breakfast (and finished serving dinner) at 3:30am, it actually offers quite an ample selection of food, fruit, snack and bread plus a well stocked self-serve bar.
The boarding gate 136 was surprisingly far at this quieter hour. The lounge is situated at Gate 108 so it was a 15 minutes “Moon walk” at 4am for us. Gate 136 is a remote gate build for Emirates before Terminal 3 was complete to cater the increasing traffic. Like many other departing flights, DNATA agent doesn’t manage well with crowds. There is a single long queue there. I took my wife and jumped ahead of others by showing our Cloud Nine Class boarding pass.
All passengers were held in the dark tunnel since the boarding by bus took very long time, passenger by passenger. I am very used to the chaotic scenes now.
An interesting sight with many baggage tags to all ET’s African destination on this trolley. The handling agent asked passengers who have more than 1 carry-on bags to check through their bags at the boarding gate. The bags are then tagged to their final destination with these pre-printed tags on this trolley.
Some favourite destinations from reading the tag : Brazzaville, Lagos, Juba, Luanda, Accra, Harare, Dakar, Kilimanjaro, Ouagadougou, Douala etc
All business class passengers have to wait until all Economy passengers finished boarding, then we were taken to the plane by a separate bus.
Nice to walk up stairs to the B777-200/LR.
Looks brand new – barely 1 year old machine.From onboard the 777-200LR revealed only 10 Business class passengers or so out of 34 seats in Cloud Nine this morning. The usual welcome drink (Champagne/OJ) was served then we were push back and after a long taxi, at about 4:55am we were finally airborne out of Rwy30L of Dubai heading SE direction towards Saudi Arabia, Yemen and then Ethiopia.
There was a breakfast service before landing so we took some much needed rest right after takeoff.
The seat compares well with the current Emirates Business Class seat on the B777s. It reclines into a shallow (non-deep) angle provided lie flat 180 degrees.
I woke up about one hour before landing and was given this menu for breakfast. We were about to cross the Red Sea at that time from the airmap. The IFE on ET 77L was quite impressive, with touch screen enabled for the ease of browsing.
A turkey croissant sandwich for breakfast. Not too much for an early awakening breakfast.
Ethiopian Tea served after breakfast.
I also managed to grab some photo with the Ethiopian girls before landing. Note there is 1 FA per flight wears traditional dress.
After the photo tour, we started initial descend.
Descending over the countryside of Ethiopia
From the color of the ground you can tell it is dry season at the moment. We landed on Rwy 25 of Addis Ababa Bole Int’l at 7:30am. There was 1 hour time difference between Addis and Dubai.
Addis Ababa Bole Int’l. Hangar of Ethiopian Airlines. Gabon and Safi B767-200 there plus a few old B737-200s.
There are 2 waves of Ethiopian planes in the hub daily, one in the morning and one at night.
Terminal 1 of Bole Int’l.
We deplane by staircase, a usual practice in this region but there are also a few aerobridges.
All business class passenger board the mini bus back to terminal. It took only 30 seconds to drive but 5 mins to board!
It was a very quick 3 hours flight in early morning, so not much details was noticed. Ethiopian Airlines has a pretty solid product and pleasant service on this flight.