I’m home again. Yesterday I flew from Dublin, Ireland to Los Angeles on Ethiopian’s Fifth Freedom flight aboard a 787-8. It was my first time ever flying Ethiopian Airlines. How was it? A mixed bag, but good overall.
I checked in at 5:30a, finding a mostly deserted check-in line. I figured there would be a limited number of passengers originating in Dublin but judging by the full gate area, there seemed to be at least 150 originating passengers.
Ethiopian Airlines does NOT participate in Preclearance at Dublin. This is probably because passengers originating Addis Ababa remain onboard during the ground stop. Or perhaps because Ethiopian does not want to pay for the service. In any case, I LOVE it. It allowed me to stay in the lounge until just a few minutes prior to boarding and enjoy barista-made cappuccino. In LA, I cleared immigration in three minutes thanks to my Global Entry. It is just a better way then the long Preclearance lines for those with Global Entry.
> Read More: Transit and U.S. Preclearance in Dublin Airport
I was quite disappointed to see the old business class seats onboard. The configuration you end up with is highly unpredictable and I was stuck with the old recliner seats (not even angled lie-flat) versus the new(er) lie-flat seats available on some Ethiopian 787s.
Typically I am first onboard and able to get unobstructed cabin shots, but since there were eight passengers who began the journey in Addis Ababa already onboard my cabin shots were limited.
The purser, a male gentleman of about 50, walked by my seat and nodded at me. A gracious female FA named Bethlehem welcomed me onboard and offered me a choice of champagne, orange juice, or water. The OJ was freshly squeezed. Bethlehem was wearing a traditional Ethiopian white linen cloak over her uniform.
An Unexpected Meal
After takeoff, a light snack was served. I had expected a full breakfast, but according the menu breakfast had been served just prior to landing on the ADD-DUB leg. Instead, we received the following circle sandwiches–
I don’t know what kind of meat it was, but I was glad I had some yogurt and granola inside the lounge. That was it for the next eight hours.
And then I slept. For the next eight hours. Odd that the old business class seats on daytime flights are the ones I usually sleep best on. Bedding was not great, a very scratchy blanket with a decent pillow.
The purser also slept–
Two Meals for the Price of One
Prior to landing, a full meal was served. It was only about 7am in LA at the time, but I was ready for a nice meal after the meager snack. The meal was very good. The rice-based salad and appetizer were strange, but I loved the Ethiopian buffet: I’ll have full details in my upcoming Meal of the Week post, but it was my first time trying Ethiopian food and I loved it.
Fruit, cheese, Ethiopian cake (delicious), and powdered cappuccino for dessert.
I recommend you skip the cappuccino and order brewed Ethiopian coffee instead. It was great.
Meal service ended about 90 minutes before landing. I used the time to check out IFE, which contained a decent selection of movies. No wi-fi onboard.
One more note about FA Bethlehem. She was incredible. So friendly, so professional, so polished, and so great in every way. I received warm Ethiopian hospitality from her and I could see (from my seat in the last row of the cabin) she provided great service to each passenger.
The flight beat expectations. While the seat is not competitive anymore, it was surely comfortable based upon my extended nap. Service was much better than expected. The food menu was a bit disappointing overall thanks to the meager first meal, but I appreciated the delicious Ethiopian food.
I’ve got two more longhauls on Ethiopian next month and am looking forward to them! Hopefully on one of the two legs I’ll get the new business class seats.