Ethiopian Business JNB-ADD: The Worst Flight Experience

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The Ethiopian Business JNB ADD Flight Review is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.


Move over Frontier. Out of the way Allegiant. There may be a new winner for worst flight experience. This flight makes Air France from DTW-CDG in coach look half decent. The flight I am writing about is the one from JNB-ADD in Cloud Nine (Ethiopian’s nickname for its business class) aboard a Boeing 737.

Boeing 737s in General
I detest flying business in a 737. I hate those fat recliner chairs that barely recline as much as I dislike the people who glare at me when I fly coach domestic and have to walk through the 737 ‘first class cabin’ on the way to my seat. Comfort plus seats are more comfortable, so please spare me the upgrade and the dirty looks.

Ethiopian Business
I could not believe that Ethiopian uses a 737 for the 5.5 hour journey from JNB to ADD. This is an international flight to their hub from one of the busiest airports in Africa. SAA uses an A330 with lie flat seats to and from Victoria Falls to JNB, and that flight is only one hour long.

Boarding Music 

I’m not a fan of music when I’m boarding a plane, whether it be Kenny G or YG. On Ethiopian Airlines’ red-eye flight, there was music that I could not recognize that was played at an inappropriate volume.

Service
The hard product was terrible‎ but the service was great. They offered pre- flight champagne and fresh orange juice.

Amenities Kit
The amenities kit didn’t contain anything special, but I did keep the bag as a case for my mouse. 

IFE
I asked the flight attendant if the plane had TVs. She said yes and pointed to the ceiling. When the monitors popped down for the safety video, I realized that this was going to be an old school flight where movies are played for the community and individuals do not have a choice.

Safety Video
Speaking of movies, Ethiopian must have the longest safety video next to Malaysian Airlines. Like my complaining, the safety video never ends. I learned that I can use my laptop, but I cannot use my printer while on the plane.

Food
I was too tired to eat and too grumpy to keep my eyes open. I didn’t eat any of the food or have any drinks. Thus, there are no photos of miniature salt and pepper shakers.

Sleep?
No matter how hard I tried, I could not find a comfortable position to sleep. All I could do was reminisce about my SAA seat and hope I would wake up to the sound of the pilot saying we were beginning our descent. The good thing about coach is being crammed into a tiny space which forms a cocoon of comfort. That sardine feeling is much better than almost reclining, almost being able to put your feet up, almost being able to lean against the window. The constricted space in Peasant Class lends itself well to my Kama Sutra of Surviving an Endless Flight, which, incidentally, also was aboard Ethiopian Airlines. This crap 737 seat did not.

Overall
This was the worst flight I have ever taken. When I fly Allegiant or Frontier, I know what I’m getting myself into. When I fly business domestic, I don’t expect anything more than old leather seats that barely recline and flight attendants who may come around once. But, when I’m supposed to be on Cloud Nine, I envision blankets and pillows, not angled seats and outdated videos.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Why is it hard to fathom a 737 flies a 5.5 hour flight? US carriers fly longer transcon flights (SEAMIA/ BOS- west coast)…your main gripe is about the 737 which you clearly knew when you booked the flight!

    • I didnt choose it. United did because you can’t piece segments. And I layed out why this is different than a domestic flight.

  2. “The Worst Flight Ever” was a bit of click-bait. With a title like that we expect delays, misinformation, terrible flight attendants, vomit-inducing food, broken seats, mystery putrid smells and an overall feeling we’d be better off if we took a bus. Didn’t get that at all from this review. Sure the seats and IFE weren’t up to today’s international Business Class standards, but it didn’t look terrible considering, as pointed about above, you knew what you had booked (I don’t believe for a second you’ve never heard of SeatGuru or didn’t do an image search of “Ethiopian 737 interior” before booking). If you had booked a 787 and they switched it out for this, I’d understand being upset, but that wouldn’t qualify for such an article title. You got a wider seat with a little more legroom than Economy, a decent amenities kit, good drinks and good service. Believe me, I’ve had much much worse.

        • On a serious note, publicly disparaging a business for the sole reason of older style Business Class seats which you knew about before you booked is irresponsible at best and nothing close to actual travel journalism.

        • I was going to say something about such flights but this statement about being no clickbait is just stood out as defensive nonsense.

        • NFL= NO FUN LEAGUE TPOL=SARCASM It’s a joke. To quote myself quoting Tom Brady, “This isn’t ISIS.” Or another one from Rodgers R-E-L-A-X.

          We’re talking about a crap flight. Did you read all of the other posts about Africa and the positive reviews there? Where was the atta boys on those ones. Fact is people get up in arms only if I take a bold stance.

      • This isn’t journalism. This is a blog. Indeed, it is my blog. And if I have such power and influence, then maybe Ethiopian will listen to me and change their hard product on this route. Alas, I’m just one individual with no power or influence. Seriously, who are you?

      • What did you lose by clicking? Perhaps you even had a laugh. The click-bait allegation is so silly. Click on and click off and be gone. Or keep commenting. All the same to me.

  3. ET has 2 daily flights JNB-ADD. The other flight is operated by a 777 (2-3-2 business configuration) which is the far better choice ;-). Occasionally you’ll find a 787 being substituted on the line, featuring 2-2-2 fully flat business.

  4. To all the angry ones, I just read this again to see if I missed something that would justify your outrage. I did not. This was the worst flight ever. I even referenced the 17 hour on Ethiopian and that one wasn’t as bad. So it’s no me, it’s you. Merry Christmas!

  5. Didn’t even mind the article, but seeing your rude replies to the angry commenters is enough not to return to this blog. It’s easy to ignore the ***holes, but you chose to go out of your way to be rude back. Bye Felicia.

    • Bye felicia! They aren’t rude. That’s just the way I talk. Haven’t you seen my movies? Deep Blue Sea! A shark ate me!!

  6. Now your just acting like a spoiled white birch diva. Shame on you for being such a snob. You need to step off that high horse of yours and get back down to reality. I used to love reading the airline reviews here but you’ve just made me nauseated by your constant whinning!

    • Shame on me? lol. these comments are so ridiculous. Am I supposed to say I love everything? Nauseated? Wow. There wasn’t whinning [sic]. Go read the next review about coach. Or don’t.

  7. @ The points of life

    Really! You are such a grinch!! It’s really sad that the world is still filled with people like you. Negative, chronically complaining… Just disappear already and the world would be a better place, really.

    If this is what it took to steer you into such a tirade over a flight this short…I wonder how you would react to real issues, like terminal illness, famine, war, racism..

    Seriously find a new hobby or get a life! You can’t expect us to take you seriously with such spoiled child nonsense!!

    • TPOL sends his love and holiday wishes to you and all my loyal readers! The flight did suck, even Ms. TPOL agrees and she’s the nice one.

  8. Well, you are chronically intoxicated guy for writing this all negative comment just for flying from Juba to Addis (less than 700km) ! I guess you mad those beautiful Ethiopian airlines flight attendant because you’re business class passenger so you maybe you want something odd lol

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