I'm a frequent traveler between Bangkok and Cape Town (at least six times per year) and on my last trip (October - November 2015) I decided to use Ethiopian Airlines for two reasons:
1. Their price was very competitive
2. Mainly because it's an African airline, and I always try to support African enterprises as I am African.
This time my journey proved to be a mistake and, that, you "get what you pay for."
Firstly, the planes were small and cramped - but I suppose this contributes to the low airfare.
Secondly, the departure lounges at Addis Ababa airport were shocking. Most of the info TVs were not working or showing other things apart fr om flight and departure info. The toilets were horrendous - wet floors, smelly, locks on the doors broken, extremely aggressive staff, etc
Thirdly and most importantly, Ethiopian Airlines does NOT take responsibility for your luggage.
I had bought a Panasonic 32'' LED TV which I took back to Cape Town. At the check in I asked for them to put on a Fragile sticker. I was told to take it to Oversize luggage and that they will put on the sticker. This I did and again I asked to for the sticker to be put on. They said they would.
When changing planes at Addis Ababa my new seat was above the cargo hold of the plane and I saw them loading on my TV - WITHOUT ANY STICKER!
I wasn't too concerned, as I thought they could quite easily see that it's a TV and would naturally be careful.
when I got home in Cape Town, I unpacked the TV only to find the screen had been cracked. I immediately phoned the Ethiopian Airlines call center and was told that I should send an email to Customer Relations explaining the problem. This I did, and I received an automated reply saying that they would get back to me within TEN WORKING DAYS! - what a shocking time standard for an international company.
After TWELVE working days I sent them a follow up email, and got a reply to say that the South African office will get in touch with me.
On my return trip to Bangkok, I had still not heard from the South African office, so while I was at Cape Town International airport I tried to follow up on the matter only to be given the email address of the man in charge.
THIRTEEN days later I had still not heard from the South African office - so once again I sent them an email. This time I got a rather prompt reply saying that they could NOT consider the claim because:
1. They (Ethiopian Airlines) SHOULD NOT have accepted the TV when I checked in at Bangkok Airport.
2. That I took too long to report the incident - even though all my correspondence (from day one) with them was always attached to all the emails
I'm sure I don't even need to highlight the stupidity of this kind of reasoning.
Not only did they damage my TV, but their lack of accountability and absolutely pathetic customer service (probably from equally pathetic training) leaves me more disappointed than * .
As African myself, I would have liked to see Ethiopian Airlines become a dominant airline in Africa, competing with the world giants like Qatar, Emirates, etc. But sadly it seems that they still have a long, long way to go.
I certainly would not say don't use them. If budget is important then they're the best option, however bear in mind they you'll be dealing with a company wh ere customer service is at an all time low and concern and care for your luggage is non existent.
As ardent world travelers we have patience, respect and gratitude for the security service provided by airport personnel in every airport. We understand there may be cultural differences in each airport. However, while traveling on Flight ET 706 Friday July 31 from Addis Abbaba to Frankfurt Germany we encountered Ethiopian Airline worker Mr. Tsinukal Mulatu Mamo who seemed extremely overwhelmed and unable to communicate effectively. At the gate before boarding Mr. Tsinukal Mulatu Mamo literally grabbed my passport from my hand without any explanation. He was not speaking English with talking about a problem with my passport to his colleagues. I asked him what was the problem and Mr. Tsinukal Mulatu Mamo was very rude and agitated. He began to take pictures of my passport with his iPhone, without asking me first nor providing an explanation of what was happening. My travel companion asked him what was he doing and he said he was sending a picture to the Embassy in Frankfort. I did not feel comfortable with this person taking pictures of my passport and personal data with his iPhone and he said that if I didn’t let him that I was not going on the flight. My companion asked to see Mr. Tsinukal Mulatu Mamo’d ID and professional position, Mr. Tsinukal Mulatu Mamo resisted and even responded in a rude manner asking “What for?”
I feel my privacy has been infringed upon. I do not know who has been sent a copy of my passport at 11:30 pm July 31st.
Ethiopian Airline => NEVER AGAIN!!!
hey there u all should know i have been useing this airline for long time but it shock me when my passport expired the say i cannot travel with expied passprt that i need a letter from my embassy,so i write my embassy in saudi arabia and and the gave me a traveller permid certificate cuz cameroon embassy is not in dubai but the lady look me in the face and said if we carry u,u can run and enter into Ethiopian. so me i will live cameroon live dubai and run to stay in Ethiopian hahahahahaha