July 2, 2018
Flight Review: Ethiopian Air Business Class 787 Milan-Addis Ababa

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After a great week in Switzerland, I was off to my next summer destination-the Seychelle islands off the coast of Africa! Ethiopian Airlines offers a great route network throughout Africa and it releases lots of award seats to its partners. This made it a convenient option for booking my ticket. This is a review of the Milan (MXP)-Addis Ababa (ADD) portion of my trip.


Booking



I searched United.com for Ethiopian Airlines award space between Geneva-Seychelles. After finding an available flight, I transferred 55,000 miles from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account to my United frequent flyer program. I then paid for the ticket online using the newly created 55,000 miles and $26.70. I charged the cash portion to my Platinum Card from American Express to earn 5x Amex points per $1.


Seats



Business Class on the Ethiopian 787 is laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration. I picked one of the center seats so I’d have direct aisle access without having to worry about someone climbing over me in the middle of the night.



Each seat came with a pillow, a blanket, a bottle of water, an amenity kit, and headphones (not noise-cancelling).The center console had the standard buttons to recline various parts of the seat and/or bring it all the way down into a 180 degree bed. My only major complaint was the footwell. As with many Business Class seats, it was too small. You just didn’t have much space for your feet when fully reclined.



Storage space was fairly limited. There was the above padded area next to the seat (depicted here holding my iPad).



And there was this little cubby area next to your head. This is where I stored my book, phone, and charger throughout the flight. This is where the power outlet, USB outlet, and headphone jack are located.



Speaking of this cubby area…I picked up the water bottle shortly after taking my seat and noticed this gem. There was a dead moth under the bottle. Talk about gross. My issue isn’t that there was a bug in the plane. Stuff can fly in when aircraft doors are open, it happens. My issue is that boarding was delayed around 50 minutes while the cleaning crew cleaned the plane. They had literally just walked off when we boarded. I guess they missed the moth…


In Flight Entertainment



The in-flight entertainment was fine. It’s hard to have a bad IFE these days. The monitors aren’t touch screen so you will have to use the remote. I watched Home Alone 2 during my meal.


Amenities & Wi-Fi


The Ethiopian amenity kit was fine. There’s the standard eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush, creams, etc. There was no Wi-Fi on the flight.


Dining



After serving pre-flight drinks, dinner started with nuts. The flight attendant gave me both nut options as I was having trouble picking one. They were both quite good!



The appetizers on this flight were “Beef Bresaola” with Mozzarella Cheese, Black Olives, Radish, and Parsley accompanied with a “Fresh Seasonal Salad”. The thinly sliced beef and mozzarella were excellent. I didn’t care for the salad. The oranges were fine…other than that I passed.



We had three dinner options-Chicken Breast, Ravioli with potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and eggplant, or Basmati Rice with tomato and eggplant. I went with the chicken. It tasted like boiled chicken breast had been briefly heated in an oven with sauce subsequently poured on. It wasn’t very flavorful, but it wasn’t bad either. I enjoyed the meal but that’s because I’m a healthy eater. Vegetables and plain chicken breast are right up my alley.


Dessert options were chocolate tart, seasonal fruit, or cheese. I wasn’t in the mood for dessert on this late night flight so I passed.


Service


Service on the flight was decent. There was nothing overly positive or negative about it. I will say the flight attendant didn’t seem bothered when I showed her the dead moth. She came by a few minutes later to clean it up but acted as if this sort of thing wasn’t unusual.


One area where service was truly lacking was the boarding process. We boarded the busses from the terminal about 30 minutes after scheduled boarding time, we drove all the way to the plane, and then we just sat there with the bus doors closed. After about 15 minutes of waiting someone came by to tell us they were almost done cleaning the plane. We finally boarded after another wait.  Don’t make passengers wait in the bus…


Overall Ranking


Seats- 7/10

In Flight Entertainment- 7.5/10

Amenities- 4/5

Wi-Fi- 0/5

Dining- 6/10

Service- 7/10

Departure/Arrival Timeliness- 1/5

 

Cumulative Ranking: 5.9/10


The flight was fine overall. We boarded very late, sat on a bus for a long time, and arrived in Addis Ababa 40 minute behind schedule. The food and service were both adequate, nothing great or bad. Ultimately Ethiopian Airlines has a great route network throughout Africa which makes them a compelling option. The onboard experience isn’t anything to rave about though.

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