To begin, after years of dreaming, I finally made it to South Africa, specifically Cape Town. While there, I enjoyed three weeks in the country and did lots of exciting activities, such as a safari where I saw loads of magical animals, went to a penguin beach where I enjoyed the lovely little waddlers, dove with sharks and got my adrenaline rush, visited the Cape of Good Hope which was gorgeous, met lots of great people, and so much more! Nevertheless, after some time, I felt that it was time to get back to Asia, which had recently opened after the COVID pandemic lockdowns had eased.
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Undoubtedly, one of my favorite Asian countries is South Korea where I had lived previously, years before. After five years away, I felt it was time to return and enjoy this beautiful country, so I booked my ticket! For the journey, I did lots of research on potential flight routes. After analyzing the flight schedules thoroughly, and much deliberation, I decided to fly with Ethiopian Airlines, a Star Alliance Member.
For one thing, Ethiopian Airlines was actually one that I had never flown with before. Consequently, I was very excited to experience what they had to offer, especially in business class!
To begin, I flew from Cape Town to Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 846, which lasted six hours and 25 minutes. This was followed by a 30 minute layover in Addis Ababa. Secondly, I then boarded flight ET 672 for the remaining 11 hour and 40 minute flight to Incheon, South Korea. Boy was I excited!
Bidvest Premier Airport Lounge Cape Town
Upon arrival to the Cape Town airport, I checked in at the Ethiopian Airlines desk smoothly, and then proceeded to the expedited security screening. Certainly I always get excited when I am on my way to a lounge, whether it’s in a luxury hotel or when I’m flying business class. Imagining all of the food and drink is enough to get me all giddy!
Next, I stepped inside the lounge to see a fairly modern and well designed space with numerous comfortable seating options. However, my eyes first went to the sizable buffet spread with both hot and cold dishes. For the pandemic protocols, everything was individually packaged and sealed.
Equally as important as the food, I noticed that there was a vast variety of beverage options on offer. I honestly was impressed by the variety of alcohol that they had in addition to the soft drinks, tea, and coffee. I filled up my plate with a few tasty looking items and found a seat near the window. The high amount of flavor of each dish was certainly impressive. I didn’t expect such deliciousness! After about an hour of rest and relaxation in the lounge, I continued down to the gate to board.
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Cabin
Of course, the anticipation and excitement to take-off was building! I was one of the first to board the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787. Once onboard, I enjoyed the color scheme that really did the Ethiopian Airlines branding justice. The seats themselves were red, and the rest of the cabin was grayscale. This contrast was striking and aesthetically pleasing.
Afterwards, I noticed that they matched the Ethiopian Airlines logo with green and yellow blankets. A nice touch indeed.
Overall, the business class cabin was spacious, modern, and the staff were found to be very friendly (I will discuss them in more detail later.)
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Seat
Along with being stylish, my seat on the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 was very comfortable for the long haul flights. The controls were very responsive (unlike some other airlines that I dealt with recently) and I was able to lie completely flat, which is crucial. Therefore, this enabled me to get a great rest throughout the journey. There were multiple places to store my personal belongings, and charging ports just behind my head.
The provided blanket and pillow were incredibly comfortable as well. The blanket was quite thick and it was perfect for the temperature of the cabin. All in all, I felt it was a dream to relax here for the journey!
Indeed, the business class cabin had a lavatory exclusively for business class travelers. The staff did do a great job at making sure it stayed clean throughout the long journey. That being said, on these Ethiopian Airlines flights, there weren’t many differences in-between the lavatories in business class and economy class.
The first feature that I noticed when I sat down was the Ethiopian Airlines brightly colored amenity kit. The amenity kit had lots of items including a sleeping mask, comb, socks that doubled as slippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and more. These items definitely made the journey a lot more comfortable. I wore the sock-slippers the entire trip!
I don’t know what I was thinking, but for some reason I deleted all of my music and videos off of my phone a few days before the flight. What a mistake! Lucky for me, Ethiopian Airlines had a wide variety when it came to entertainment. First of all, they included a pair of high-quality over the ear headphones which were very comfortable and provided great sound quality. I wore them nearly the entire trip and I always felt good!
They had some of my favorite shows including Big Bang Theory, Friends, Anthony Bourdain, and Deadliest Catch. There was also a wide variety of movies, games, music, and informational content. I liked that they had Jazz and Classical mixed albums that were about an hour in length each. These were perfect for sleeping! All in all, this was enough to keep me entertained for the duration, so not having my phone content wasn’t that big of a deal after all.
Food and Beverage
As you know, I take my food and beverage consumption quite seriously. Consequently, even though I had been to Africa a few times, Ethiopian cuisine is not one that I’m well versed in. Therefore, I was very excited to try more during the flights with Ethiopian Airlines. Lucky for me, there was a chance to try some as well as a few other cuisines during the trip.
Leg 1: Cape Town, South Africa to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Just after I first sat down, things got started with the offering of orange juice and brut. Flying always goes better with a bit of a buzz, so I went for the brut and was very happy with it! I even got a few refills before we took off.
Not long after takeoff, we were served our first complete 3-course meal. To start, the beverage cart arrived, which was well stocked with all types of optionss including beers that I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, those beers will have to wait until my next trip because I went with a South African red wine. I actually enjoyed it a lot and drank it throughout the entire trip. I’m quite picky with my wine so this is definitely something worth taking note of!
The first course then arrived which included a mixed salad, a chickpea dish, meat, cheese, and a selection of bread. Although everything looked simple, I was impressed with the amount of flavor. Especially the salad, which included gherkins. We were off to a good start!
Afterwards, for the main course, I went for the Ethiopian option which had fish, rice, and greens. The sauce that the fish was in was simply to die for. I wasn’t super hungry because I ate so much of the starter, but it was really hard to stop eating. I must note, that the fish itself was good but perhaps a bit too “fishy” for myself. This could just be my personal preference, but I’ll let you decide.
Ethiopian Airlines truly knows how to create great desserts. Both of the desserts throughout the journey were fantastic. Seriously! On the first leg was a cake which was super moist and rich. In addition, if you’re not feeling a sweet dessert, it’s possible to enjoy a selection of cheeses instead. Or, live the high life and get both!
Afterwards, the staff came around with digestifs. Consequently, I couldn’t resist getting a Bailey’s with my cup of coffee!
Leg 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Incheon, South Korea
The offering of food and beverage on the second leg of the trip was quite similar to that of the first. Of course, the food options did change but the style and format felt just like the first flight and this consistency was well-noted. I equate this to the fact that Ethiopian Airlines must have a fairly solid training program.
During the second flight, I mixed up my selections a bit to give the various cuisines a full review. Once again the amount of flavor was just right but for this meal, the chicken was slightly dry. Still delightful.
The second dessert was a custard with fruit topping. Once again, the desserts on both flights had just the right amount of sweetness and I enjoyed them thoroughly.
In comparison, the main difference between the flights, was that on the second we were offered a sizeable breakfast just before we landed. There were several options to choose from, including French toast, pancakes, and congee.
The breakfast was served first with fruit, choice of bread, cereal with milk, yogurt, and your beverages choice. I have to say my tastes tend to lean Asian, so I went for the congee. Although the congee looked basic in appearance, just like the other dishes, it was packed with flavor! It came accompanied with two red bean buns. I loved it all!
Moreover, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise that my journey had a stopover. This was because it gave me a chance to review two different Ethiopian Airlines teams of employees during two long-haul flights. In summary, there was a consistent level of service for the duration of each flight, well done Ethiopian Airlines! Obviously, the personality of the individual staff members changed slightly, but overall they were very attentive to my needs. There was never a time where I struggled to get assistance. Which is what I’d expect!
In conclusion, my first experience with Ethiopian Airlines Business Class was very positive. The staff were incredibly warm and it actually got me excited to visit the country of Ethiopia. There was lots of pleasant banter and warm smiles with both flights, which I greatly appreciated. The comfort of the flight itself was also just great. I had just the right amount of food to not be overwhelmed, and also not to be left hungry. Taking this all into consideration, I would have to say that I would be happy to fly with Ethiopian Airlines again, and also happy to recommend that you to do the same. Safe travels!
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