Ethiopian Air from IAD to NBO

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May 7th, 2012, 02:28 PM
  #1
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Ethiopian Air from IAD to NBO

Perhaps there is a more appropriate place to post this question, however I notice there are many flying out of Dulles to East Africa, so thought I would give it a try.

Has anyone flown Ethiopian Air (Business Class) since they have put into use the new 777's?
On the web, EA does not get particularly good reviews, but they are a member of the Star Alliance....

They have pretty decent fares and the flight is non-stop to Addis, then a hop to Nairobi.
The down side is the very limited carry-on allowance-15#!

Thanks in advance for your input.
Polly
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May 7th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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I haven't flown with them yet but have tickets for next month. I wasn't aware of their 7 kg limit, a problem because my camera gear weighs 10-12 kg. I called them and they sounded serious. They told me to put some of my gear into checked baggage-----yeah right! Looks like I'll have to wear cargo pants and stuff them.

BTW, the other nice thing about that routing is that it gets you there in early afternoon rather than in the nighttime.
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May 7th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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I flew them (cheap seats not business) and I don't know what kind of plane it was but I was pleased with the plane, the flight attendants and not the food. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. I just looked at my itinerary and it didn't list the plane on the long flights. This was in September.

I don't know if will work for everyone but I emailed them about the weight and value of my carry on (cameras) and they answered and said they will do all possible to assist me when you come to the check-in counter at Washington Dulles Airport. I printed it out and ended up using that letter for any flight where I got caught. I think my carry on and personal item were close to 70 lbs +/-.

The worst was leaving Addis Ababa. I flew IAD - ADD-NBO and stayed for a week and then flew back to ADD for two weeks so I flew home from ADD. I don't remember any problems from NBO to ADD. There were 3 of us flying together on that flight with heavy carry ons on the 3:30 AM flight. If you are just flying thru ADD I don't think the carry on will be an issue there.

I did take a big, lightweight safari-like jacket with big pockets to be ready to offload everything if I had to. I bought it a size or two too big to be able to put big cameras and lenses in it and even sewed an extra pocket on the inside. I always dread the flights because of the carry on weight but, knock wood, after a dozen flights to Africa and half dozen more to other international destinations I haven't had to check it. Other than gate checks on small planes.

sdb2, you might try emailing them and see what they tell you. And Polly, I felt like I was gambling when I booked the tickets but I was happy with Ethiopian Airlines and the flights. I tried to use them again for a trip I'm taking in June to Kenya but their fares weren't any cheaper than the other airlines.
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May 8th, 2012, 05:23 AM
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I've got a Business Class ticket on Ethiopian Air this summer, DAR-ADD-IAD. How was your experience in ADD, Sundowner? Any problems there? Any helpful tips for navigating that airport on a transfer? As you know, I've "downsized" my camera gear and should be okay with 15 lbs. for a carry-on. I've got lots of pockets, though!
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May 8th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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Hi, Sharon. ADD is comparable to NBO, I think. But a lot smaller. They do have wifi, but that's about it.

Everyone is allowed 2 check bags so the check in line was very long and slow in ADD. I was late getting there, maybe 1.5 hrs before flight, and was one of the last people to board because it took so long to get through check in. But again, that was with ADD as the origination.

At IAD I was probably there 3 hours early and there were only a dozen or so families in line, with lots of checked bags.

At NBO, at 3:30 am, there wasn't much of a line and I don't remember how early we got there.
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May 8th, 2012, 06:52 AM
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Thanks, sundowner. I'll write to EA and see what they have to say. I'll let you know.

Did EA do their own checking in at IAD or does a partner (e.g., United) do it?
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May 8th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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I'm pretty sure they had their own. The major airlines are on the front side of the whole row facing the street and where I checked in was on the back side.

When I wrote them I mentioned that their website said not to put valuables in your checked luggage and I had $$$ worth of ## lbs of photography gear.
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May 8th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Often it's a crap-shoot when it comes to weight for carryon. For all the carriers, regardless the destination but often to the Middle East and Africa, the limit is low and I do my utmost to keep mine to the limit. However, on boarding I've seen paxs with bags as big/heavy as is my checked bags and no one stops them.

Otherwise, except for the hijacking of the Ethiopian plane years back, they have a good service record and now a code-share with a major carrier, the new 777s, I wouldn't hesitate. In fact many who fly to Tanzania, choose Ethiopian over KLM for the cost savings and haven't read of any complaints. OK, complaints... maybe the food or entertainment, neither of which concern me as I only care about whether the plane takes off and lands... that's a good flight.

Also believe once at ADD, it's not a plane change, just a short layover for paxs to deplane and then onto NBO.
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May 8th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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OK, so I wrote a detailed message to EA and got back, "Greetings, call the airport office" and two numbers were given. The first number's voice mail was full, but the second was answered. I explained and was told to hold for the Station Manager. Guess what?, the Station Manager couldn't be found. I was told that a couple extra kgs would be OK, not to worry. I asked what happens if the check in agent holds firm. I was told to tell the agent to call the Station Manager. Ya gotta love it!!

My ticket calls for a change of planes in ADD outbound and incoming, with the 777s flying between US and ADD; inbound to US stops in Rome, where everyone gets a cappuccino and gelato. OK, I lied about cappuccino and gelato.
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May 8th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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Cappuccino and gelato sounds great! if it were so.....

Sundowner, thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad to know you would be a repeat customer if the price is right.

Will hope for the best!
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May 8th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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On this trip, I'm on a couple of new (to me) Star Alliance partners: Turkish Airlines through Istanbul and Ethiopian Airlines through Addis Ababa. Should be interesting!
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May 9th, 2012, 05:19 AM
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I enjoyed Turkish when I flew with them a few years ago. They are great when everything goes as planned. However, if anything goes wrong...
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May 9th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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sdb2 - thanks for clarifying the change of planes at ADD.
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May 13th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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ShayTay, wanted to mention that business class passengers can carry on 2 pieces each weighing 8 kg ( http://www.ethiopianairlines.com/en/...onbaggage.aspx ) so no need for lots of pockets, unless that's your thing.
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May 13th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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That is such welcome news!--thanks sdb2!
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May 13th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Sorry, Polly, I missed that you were in Business too; but very glad it eases things for you! Steve
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May 14th, 2012, 04:30 AM
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Sdb2, the trick will be getting my main bag down to 18 lbs. Guess I could stuff an extra item or two into my camera bag! I'm traveling for 4 weeks, but I usually pack "fairly" light.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 05:34 PM
  #18
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Any new reviews of Ethiopian flights to the US?
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Jul 17th, 2012, 05:58 PM
  #19
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I flew IAD to NBO on Ethiopian (business) and was very pleased in spite of the poor reviews seen elsewhere. The flights were on time and the service was excellent. I would definitely fly them again.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 02:43 AM
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Thank you pollydill.
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