Trip Report: Ethiopian Airlines (A350-900) Cloud Nine (Business) ACC-ADD

The Details

  • Flight: ET920
  • Aircraft: A350-900
  • Class: Cloud Nine/Business
  • Seat: 2A
  • Route: Accra Kotoka International (ACC)-Addis Ababa Bole International (ADD)
  • Distance: 2,682miles
  • Duration: 5hr 49min
  • Departure: 1:12PM (delayed 1hr 9min)
  • Arrival: 10:09PM

The Preflight

After my month in Cape Coast, Ghana, I was excited to head to Tanzania for my Kilimanjaro climb. The check-in counters for Ethiopian Airlines at Accra Kotoka International Airport were not open until exactly three hours before the flight was scheduled to depart. Once I cleared security, I made my way to one of the two Priority Pass lounges in the airport.

The first lounge I went to had a good amount of seating but had no views of the outside. I was the only passenger in the lounge during my time inside.

I then headed towards the second Priority Pass lounge at ACC. This lounge was on the second floor of the terminal and had views of the apron. There was a very large amount of seating in the lounge with comfortable sofas.

Interestingly, there was a room with AstroTurf that was behind glass windows. The only thing inside was a large Turkish Airlines B737 model.

Food offerings included a variety of fried foods and pastries.

There was also a respectable alcohol selection and an espresso machine.

Boarding was scheduled to begin at 11:35AM and so I left the lounge at 11:30. However, once I got to the gate, the staff announced that the flight was delayed by an hour. At 12:25PM, boarding finally began and passengers were directed to buses that would carry us to the remote stand.

Our beautiful A350-900, registration ET-AVB, was delivered brand new to Ethiopian Airlines in February 2018. She was named “Gelada Baboon”.

The Flight

Ethiopian Airlines offers a total of 30 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration between the first and second set of doors on their A350s. There are also 313 economy seats. The business class seats are B/E Parallel Diamonds which are 22″ wide and have 65″ of pitch. When fully flat, the bed length was a total of 78″ long. The seat controls were located in the left hand armrest as well as the IFE remote.

At each was there was a very comfortable pillow and thick blanket along with a green amenity kit. Water bottles were also at each seat.

Each seat also had a very large and responsive IFE screen. Next to the screen was a coat hook.

The very friendly flight attendants came through the cabin with predeparture beverages once most of the passengers got situated. Options included champagne, orange juice, or water.

A menu was also provided.

We pushed back at at 1:12PM local time and had a very quick five minute taxi to runway 3. The climb out of Accra was slightly bumpy with clouds obscuring any views.

Service began 30 minutes after take-off with some hot towels. A beverage cart then came through. Instead of the traditional nuts, Ethiopian decides to serve a very unique roasted teff which was delicious. I had a second glass of champagne.

We encountered some severe turbulence after the beverage service and service was temporarily suspended for safety reasons. After about 45 minutes, the fasten seat belt sign was finally turned off. Flight attendants then came through the cabin and set up tablecloths for the main meal service.

There was only one option for the appetizer which was a cold sliced beef sirloin. I found the beef to be very dry and flavorless. There was also a small side salad and cold bread roll.

For my main I had the grilled beef steak with pepper sauce, mixed sautéed vegetables, and roasted wedge potatoes. This was a rather disappointing dish as the beef was incredibly tough. To pair with the beef, I switched to the Ethiopian Merlot which was excellent.

Once the main dish plates were cleared, flight attendants came through with a dessert cart. Options included a cherry pie, cheese plate, or fresh fruit. I had both the cherry pie and the cheese plate. While the cherry pie was disappointing, I enjoyed the cheese plate.

By the time the meal service concluded the sun had set below the horizon. Flight attendants made one last pass though the cabin with coffee and tea but I declined.

I set up my bed and put on the airshow. As with all Parallel Diamond seats, I found the footwell very restrictive and uncomfortable. I managed to get maybe an hour nap in before the cabin was prepared for landing.

We landed at 10:09PM local time in Addis Ababa and parked at a remote stand. Deplaning was done via air stairs and all the business class passengers were directed to a dedicated business class bus.

Since my layover in Addis Ababa was going to be roughly 12 hours, Ethiopian Airlines was generous enough to offer me a hotel accommodation at the Radisson Blu.

In the end, I found this business class flight with Ethiopian perfectly acceptable. While the food and seat were mediocre, at the end of the day, I still enjoyed this A350 experience. I also must commend Ethiopian Airlines for giving business class passengers overnight accommodations at respectable hotels if they have long connections.

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