Ethiopian Airlines is the first African airline flying the A350XWB (and B787). They have received 2 A350-900 (ET-ATQ and ET-ATR) and have been deployed on Addis Ababa to Dubai and London routes.
The A350 is extra special to Ethiopian Airlines as it is the first Airbus type the airline operate. (They've only operate Boeing and Bombardier Dash-8 until now)
On my recent trip to South Africa, I chose to fly with Ethiopian Airlines from Dubai to Addis Ababa and onward to Johannesburg. The first leg from Dubai to Addis is on their latest A350-900 aircraft.
Dubai to Addis Ababa
Flying time 3 hours 30 minutes
Ethiopian Airlines use Terminal 1 at Dubai for check-in. DNATA handles the check-in.
There are many counters available.
Due to the light load (off season), check in was a breeze.
Cloud Nine (Business Class) passengers are invited to use Marhaba Lounge.
Star Alliance Gold customer flying ET can also use Lufthansa Lounge in Dubai.
Ethiopian Airlines operates 3 daily flights into Dubai. The airline frequently change the aircraft type to Dubai according to the demand, they've been deploying anything in their fleet from B737 to B777-300/ER on regular basis.
Their flight usually are packed and provide a vital link between Dubai and the African continent.
I waited until 2 days out to book my flight ticket hoping it won't change the aircraft type!
I took the train to the new Concourse D and saw the Ethiopian A350-900 already parked at the gate! I can't help but admiring at the latest twin engine plane in the world!
Boarding at a corner gate D21
The newest A350 in Ethiopian Airlines fleet, ET-ATR operating today's flight to Addis Ababa.
There are separate aerobridges for Cloud Nine and Economy class passengers.
My seat is 5A, on the last row in Business Class.
Business Class cabin is in a 2-2-2 layout with 30 seats in total.
I was offered a glass of champagne for welcome drink.
Hot light meal for 3.5 hours flight to Addis Ababa.
Selection from the Drinks Menu
Special Ethiopian Wine "Saba T'ej"
An amenity kit is also presented on this rather short flight.
We left gate on-time and taxi towards end of the runway for takeoff.
Seat 5A offer a nice wing and engine view of the A350!
Climbing out of Dubai from Runway 30L
Over Deira and Dubai creek.-
The plane starts making a U-turn towards South direction (Oman)
Flying over Dubai downtown with Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) underneath.
Emergency Equipment layout of A350
I also took a good look at Economy Class. It is only 35% loaded on today's flight.
Back in Cloud Nine
A gorgeous sunset from my window as we continue flying South across Oman towards Salalah and Gulf of Aden.
The latest touchscreen In-Flight entertainment on Ethiopian A350.
Dinner service started about 30 minutes after take-off
I have a Coke with barley and peanuts.
Dinner is served in one tray.
Main course : Tomato crusted beef fillet. It was very good
Mexican rice salad
Ethiopian Red wine, a bit strong and dry.
Follow by Fruit, Cheese and dessert cart
Nice basket to present fruit.
A crewfie with the gorgeous Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew.
We landed safely at Addis Ababa (7.800 feet above sea level) around 9pm local time on Runway 25L
After landing, I was allowed to visit the cockpit of A350.
I still can't get used to these many screens in the cockpit!
View from the Head Up display (HUD)
The pilots take good care of the HUD with cover on it after use.
We use stairs to deplane as there aren't enough gates during hub hours.
I have an extremely pleasant flight with Ethiopian Airlines in their Cloud Nine Business Class. They have been improving in every field since my last flight with them in 2012 and clearly they're the leader of African airline with their impressive network and fleet expansion. I received excellent service and attention during my 3.5 hours flight with the cabin crew. They're certainly very proud of their airline. The A350-900 is a total pleasure to fly with. It is wide, powerful and quiet. I can easily look at the engine and wing view for hours. It has already became my favourite Twin Engine aircraft!