Greetings fellow aviators and welcome to this (short) trip report,
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to experience another 5th freedom route in Europe, namely the ARN-VIE service by Ethiopian Airlines. For a long time I had my eye on this route - which is usually operated by either a B757 or B767 - and finally I was able to fit it into my schedule. Connecting flights on Lufthansa (no report here but you can find video reports of those and many more on my YouTube channel) and a one way ARN-VIE on Ethiopian Airlines were booked and I was quite happy to learn that for a dedicated period of time Ethiopian decided to deploy their B787 iso the other foreseen equipment. A most welcome upgrade for this flight for sure!
The route on a map (courtesy of Great Circle Mapper, copyright Karl L Schwartz), I’m sure though everyone knows the whereabouts of ARN and VIE
After a pleasant couple of flight on Lufthansa, BRU-FRA-ARN, I arrive at ARN around 18h00 on a Sat evening. The approach into ARN was really great with clear blue skies and low light of the sun slowly setting.
This is not the ship that brought me here, it’s the MUC flight
ARN is not too busy at this time of day.
ARN is really easy for connecting, especially if you’re flying *A - what I deliberately did. A look at the FID shows my flight, ET725.
Then it’s a short walk from one terminal area to another.
The gate 17 is located at the far end of the terminal, with immigration control right in front. Although it is difficult to get a good picture, I’m really glad with what I see. This is ET-AOV, the expected B787 and 1 of 12 examples currently in the fleet.
With 15 mins to go until scheduled boarding, I make my way through immigration...
... and take a seat in the gate area. It's crowded here with a lot of pax for 2 Freebird flights to SAW and AYT also waiting.
Next we are invited to enter the separate boarding area for our flight and my boarding pass is scanned. There's a bit of confusion when I show my national Belgian ID card - which is perfectly adequate for travel between ARN and VIE - as the gate agent asks me for a 'real passport' In the end it's all perfectly fine but I feel the staff should know about this.
Cool scale, African style
Waiting, once more...
After the status holders, business class flyers, families with children and those needing assistance have boarded, it's finally time for me and the other 'normal' people to enter our vessel.
ARN to VIE
Boeing 787-800 ET-AOV
Photo © Serge Dejonckheere
ON BOARD FLIGHT ET725
First impression of the cabin is very good, I like the abundance of lively colors which give the cabin a certain ambience.
My seat for this almost 2h hop, window last row as usual. A blanket and pillow are provided for each passenger.
Welcome on board!
Pax are slowly settling in their seats. The load in the end will be rather light.
A view to the right.
And a view to the back - mind the painting on the wall.
The headrest covers feature this nice logo.
The B787 has nice large windows, perfect for a day flight but not of much use tonight unfortunately
One of the 2 Freebird Airbii can be seen through the window.
Legroom is quite good and the seat itself is of the forward sliding recline type. The footrest I always find a bit of a nuisance. And lo and behold, where's that dreaded IFE box
The cup holder with its turning inner holder proved of not much use either as I managed to spill my drink due to it flipping over
The IFE is touchscreen operated but also via this fixed controller in the armrest.
Headsets are distributed, they have a double jack so take your adapter if you want to use your own pair.
A look up to the sky
Individual air vents are present too.
Recline seems to be industry standard. For me it makes more of a difference when the seat next to you is unoccupied in terms of seating comfort.
Boarding takes its sweet time, meanwhile a video on Ethiopia is shown on the IFE system.
Then there's an announcement: "Cabin crew prepare for departure"
A safety demo is shown next, in English and another one - but which...?
The demo also includes a manual on how to use the lavatory.
As the plane pushes back 20 mins past schedule, the crew does another round to check for seatbelts, tables, ... Also, the mood lighting is set to another... well, mood? And hey, close those bins, will ya
We trundle towards the departure runway which is 08 tonight.
A leisurely takeoff follows with nice and clear views as we circle around the airport and continue our southbound journey towards VIE.
I don't bother to take any pics as my camera doesn't cope with the low light and window reflections that well.
Meanwhile, I set the IFE to the most important function (at least for me); the moving map.
Before I further explore the cabin and amenities, I unpack the blanket. Not only for trip reporting purposes but also because it's rather chilly in the cabin.
The fasten seatbelt sign is switched off fairly quickly and as the crew prepares for the service, I have a look at the contents of the seat pocket. Here's ET's inflight magazine Selamta.
The fleet info page.
Some other items I forgot about, the ubiquitous window dimmer.
A coat hook and USB port for charging our power hungry devices.
Sadly, there's quite some wear and tear visible in the cabin
The contents of the IFE is good but not overwhelming.
There's a good amount of recent and classic movies and audio to keep you entertained during your journey. I'm having my doubts though whether the Interstellar movie would look stellar on this tiny screen...
And I think this page isn't updated for a long time. How long ago is it since they only had 4 B787's?
About half an hour into the flight, the trolley passes by. I anticipated a hot meal for this sector - like Air China does on BCN-VIE - but no, a chicken sandwich and drink(s) of choice it is. The sandwich is tasty though and a second one is given without a problem.
After these drinks - and one I had in ARN before - a lavatory visit becomes mandatory. The place is clean but not many amenities are found. In fact there's only hand soap...
Here's a view in the galley, when coming from the toilet.
And the rear door, which I rather open not now
In the forward cabin, the crew is still occupied with their service round.
The remainder of the flight I keep myself busy with the IFE and some music and after 1h45 approximately, the flight deck announces our arrival in VIE. The cabin is prepared once again and little later we land safely on VIE's runway 16. A 5 minute taxi ensues and we dock at one of the D gates.
The people continuing their journey may stay on board during the 1h stop but I off course head for the plane's exit, thanking the crew on my way out.
Now let's find a bench to sleep on in the F terminal
So how did ET perform? Not too bad actually imho. The onboard comfort proved to be very good, also the IFE has potential if you don't expect it to be like EK's ICE for example. I did expect the crew to be a bit warmer and more generous with their smiles, sadly they just did their job and the enthusiasm was a bit lacking. Also the food was a letdown but in any case I got more or less the same that other airline offers on this route. Maybe I expected too much? In any case, I will not doubt to fly again on Ethiopian Airlines if the occasion may arise!