Ethiopian Airlines

Michael & Natalie

We returned recently from our 17th stay at Breezes Beach Club & Spa on Zanzibar. We were told we now hold the record for repeat guests!! As always, Breezes more than met our expectations.

As you know over the years we have flown out on every airline which serves Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Ethiopian Airlines which, having now used it twice, we think has to be the best route from Heathrow to Zanzibar.

Comparing Ethiopian Airlines with Qatar Airways (which we used once before) the departure and arrival times on both airlines are almost the same on all four sectors. The difference being that with Qatar, one is flying a much longer distance on each leg but have shorter layovers in Doha.

With Ethiopian one has the very latest A350 from Heathrow to Addis Ababa which even in economy must be the quietest most comfortable airliner flying. From Addis to Zanzibar on the outward journey it was the scheduled B787 Dreamliner but on the return ZNZ – ADD they were using a brand new A350 to cope with the large number of passengers. Experiencing both B787 and A350 within hours of each other there can be no doubt the A350 is more comfortable.

Unfortunately Qatar are still using narrow bodied A320 from Doha to Zanzibar (touches down at Kilimanjaro en-route) which we found too claustrophobic for a 7 hour flight.

All four Ethiopia flights left on time and arrived early and the standard of service, in-flight entertainment, leg room and width of seats etc. was very good.

I am pleased to say that our “tongue in cheek offer” to upgrade to their first class (business on any other airline) was accepted two days before we returned and hence we enjoyed flat beds for the final leg to LHR, plus of course the use of the lounge with complimentary food and drink during the layover.

Even without the benefit of the lounge ADD airport is very adequate for a layover and has the unusual feature of “quiet” areas around the terminal with dimmed lighting and beds to lie out on. The shops and catering facilities now appear to stay open all night, so whilst it does not have the glitz of say Dubai or Doha, it is very adequate and reasonably comfortable.

Clearly it is hard to comprehend how such a poor country can have an airline, let alone a state owned airline, which one could perhaps rate as 4-star. If Ethiopian can change people’s perception/prejudice, it and its route to Zanzibar has a great future.

There is no doubt at all that we will fly Ethiopian Airlines for our next trip to Zanzibar.

Peter & Diana Grimshaw – Worcestershire.