In the middle of January I had the pleasure of flying aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner of Ethiopian Airlines. Flight ET706 would bring me from Addis Ababa to Frankfurt with a flight time of 6 hours and 55 minutes. Departure time from ADD would be 11:20 AM local time with arrival in FRA around 4 PM.
I will not post too many pictures from this flight, but if you are interested in lots of footage, then check out this video from the flight, which includes the safety demonstration, takeoff, landing and lots of inflight photos:
Having made seat reservations months in advance, it turned out that ET does not always follow these reservations. Since I did not get the initial seat I had reserved on the flight to Ethiopia, I made sure that I checked in online the day before departure from Ethiopia. I am glad I did this, as the initial seat, 29A, was already occupied. The only remaining window seat in the entire cabin would be seat 33L. This made me a bit nervous, since I knew one of the seat rows in the back of the plane did not have a window. Fortunately for me, those seats turned out to be in row 35.
On the day of departure everything from entering the airport, to check-in and passport control went smoothly. Bole Airport serves as the main port of entry to the country of Ethiopia and is the hub of the national airline which is wholly-owned by the Ethiopian government. The airport has two terminals, one international and one domestic. The international terminal is easy to navigate and during the morning rush hours there are plenty of flights to all over Africa, so at times it felt a bit congested. This became especially apparent at the security check-point. To put it mildly, there was seemingly no system, and there was only one scanner for 4 gates, with passengers to both Frankfurt, Ndjamena and Nairobi departing around the same time. Boarding started and we would be transported by bus to ET-AOS sparkling her beauty on a remote stand.
Boarding this beauty who would be taking me back to Europe
As I was one of the first passengers on-board I got to enjoy some apron views of ADD. I noticed that there were some discussions between fellow passengers and the crew, because people who traveled together had been split up and would not be seated together on this seven hour flight. It seemed like the effect of ET not caring for seat reservations and the likes, but luckily for me I was well seated in 33L.
Takeoff was rather turbulent and the climbing was slow. ADD is after all 2334 meters above sea-level, which probably contributed to the slow climb. There was barely a single cloud until we reached the Mediterranean Sea and that offered some spectacular views of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, and for hours the only thing you could see was the Sahara Desert. For a long time we followed the Blue Nile, and before I knew it I could see the Nile River itself. We followed the Nile until we reached Lake Nasser in Egypt.
Right before we reached Lake Nasser the cabin crew came through the cabin with the hot meals. There was a choice between chicken and fish. I opted for the chicken, which was spicy, but delicious. Actually, it was one of the best meals I have had on any long-haul flight in economy. Prior to this we were served a small snack of biscuits shaped as airplanes, which was a cool feature, as well as drinks. The second service was a muffin and drinks and that was served somewhere over the Adriatic Sea.
My entertainment, alongside the spectacular scenery, was the inflight maps. The IFE included lots of movies and music from all around the world, as well as several games and infomercials. No shortages in entertainment on this bird.
State-of-the-Art window shades
Athens, alongside the Greek islands of Crete and Milos came into view across an otherwise cloudy European sky.
Landing in Frankfurt was just like any other arrival in Frankfurt, which from an aviation enthusiast's point of view is not a bad one.
Even though the Dreamliner has its share of problems, it is truly a great experience to fly with. Ethiopian Airlines also offers great service, with friendly crew and on-time departures and arrivals. If you have the chance to fly with The New Spirit of Africa, I recommend you to do it. Not only that, but Ethiopia itself is a beautiful and peaceful country. I really recommend everyone to travel there, because it will be an adventure of a life-time.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.