Ethiopian Airlines Kilimanjaro – Addis Ababa – Bangkok

This was a United Airlines award and for this homeward bound leg we had Ethiopian Airlines from Kilimanjaro JRO to Addis Ababa ADD in economy (no business class available), then business class the rest of the way to Bangkok ending with Thai to Brisbane BNE.

Although the first leg was in economy, we did pay for a business class ticket with miles so I tried to get us into the lounge at JRO.  No dice.  The lady did try, she went and asked her supervisor if they could let us in and he said no.  It wasn’t a fantastic lounge anyways but would have been better than the gate.

IMG_7319

So off to the gate we went to mingle with the “hoi palloi” and show off my new braid.

IMG_7320

Mt Kilimanjaro was shy and didn’t come out to say goodbye.

IMG_7321

Same mediocre business section as before on the 737.  The flight to Bangkok was on a 767 which was marginally better but no lie-flat seats.  We were still tired enough to get some sleep.

IMG_7322 IMG_7323

Breakfast – they did bring eggs but I forgot to get a photo.

IMG_7324

So Ethiopian Airlines left me less than impressed.  I would have liked it much better if we had been in economy paying less for the award as my expectations would have been lower.  Their economy is OK if that’s what you pay for.  But I don’t recommend paying extra to fly business on this airline.

Hotel Review: Addis Ababa Hilton

There is a bright side to flying on Ethiopian Airlines.  If you have an overnight layover, they provide hotel accommodation, meals and transport between the airport and hotel.

Blurry photo taken on the run trying to beat everyone else to the transit desk.

IMG_6246

First you have to get past the lines.  At 8pm, they were packed.  Most people had connecting flights in the morning and several planes had disgorged passengers so being first off the plane didn’t help.  We had to go in the same bus with everyone else and pass the temperature taking control.

Then we need boarding passes which we didn’t get in Accra as the computer was down and they were handwriting passes.  So we went to the transit counter which had a Cloud Nine line and got them without drama.  Next we had to go to the accommodation desk which was packed!  Although I rarely do this, it was time to pull the DYKWIA card.  I “innocently” went to the front and asked where the business class accommodation line was.  The lady said “Right here”, took our boarding passes and issued us vouchers for the Addis Ababa Hilton, dinner and breakfast and a transit visa voucher.  Whew, one line avoided!  Most business class passengers get the Hilton, economy passengers get a cheaper hotel, maybe a 3 star.

One last hurdle to pass – immigration.  There was a business class line and next to it a line for diplomats.  The oddest people seemed to be diplomats!  The same officer was serving both lines and “diplomats” got to go first so it took forever to get through.

IMG_6247

It was close to 10pm by the time we got out of the airport, got in a shuttle and were carted off to the Hilton.  The Christmas tree in the lobby was gorgeous!  We outran the others in the shuttle to get our room.

IMG_6248

We were in the older wing which could be a disadvantage to some people but it worked ok for us.  The grounds on that side were very birdy in the morning!

IMG_6251

Desperate for a shower and not hungry, we grabbed some dessert from the designated restaurant, showered and passed out.

IMG_6249

The next morning we could see more where we were.  I like character in a hotel so the old wing with the huge atriums and catwalks over the gardens were perfect for us.  We did some early morning birding so tomorrow you will see the grounds and birds!

IMG_6323

There were some nice Ethiopian touches around the lobby.  There seemed to be a conference in town and the hostesses were dressed in beautiful traditional costumes.

IMG_6328 IMG_6330 IMG_6331

We couldn’t see the entrance as we arrived at night so here it is now.

IMG_6333From here, the shuttle took us back to the airport and we got a glimpse of Addis Ababa on the way.

IMG_6338 IMG_6339