The Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Lounge Addis Ababa is the Business Class Lounge of Ethiopian Airlines at Addis Ababa Airport, the hub of the airline. There are two other lounges, one for Star Alliance Gold Members and one for Sheba Miles Platinum Members.
The Cloud 9 or Business Class Lounge is supposed to be the best of all the lounges, however. Despite the fact that I’m holding a Star Alliance Gold Status, I was said to definitely go to the Cloud 9 Lounge Addis Ababa as it is way better. Well, to be honest, it’s not any great either, but see yourself in this extensive review!
The Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Lounge Addis Ababa is located in the main terminal area and may only be entered when holding an Ethiopian Airlines or Star Alliance Business Class Ticket. There are some signs that guide you to the lounge. However, be aware that there is another security check after the lounge, which took ten minutes once and nearly one hour another time I transited in Addis Ababa.
After your documents are checked at the entrance of the Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Lounge Addis Ababa, you’ll immediately spot something rather odd. There’s a setting of a couple of chairs around a person handling some sort-of spices and smoke. I’m not exactly sure what’s happening there, but it’s nice to see that the lounge has some local influences.
The biggest part of the lounge is located in the main room straight from the reception. There are dozens of armchairs located in a few different arrangements. The armchairs are red and green (the colors of the airline) and feel a little worn.
Sadly, there’s no sense of privacy in the lounge as there are hardly any separations. What’s even more disappointing is that the lounge is way too small as it was extremely crowded both times I visited. Finding a seat was a real challenge.
Aside from the main seating area, there are a few dining tables closer to the buffet, some high-top seating near the bar and also some working chairs in the business lounge. Yet, no area was particularly nice in the sense that you’d like spending a lot of time there. The best might be the single massage chair that is in a slightly separated room.
It’s also worth noting that there are restrooms in the toilet. However, those aren’t very well taken care. Yet, they are still better than the ones at the airport. That says a lot.
The Cloud 9 Lounge Addis Ababa comes with a surprisingly extensive buffet, which comes closer to what you expect from a business class lounge than what the lounge otherwise offers. However, there are a few things that strike me odd nevertheless.
The buffet itself has several hot options, from more Western ones to typical local dishes. The quality is okay, but nothing particularly great either. There are also very limited other options like rather tasteless fruits and stale bread rolls.
What’s particularly strange is the drink selection. I didn’t see any alcohol, but there’s a bar. However, this one was never staffed. Then there are drinks at the buffet, but the normal soft drinks aren’t cooled. Basically, there are just big bottles of coke etc. standing next to the buffet and then you can take plastic (!) cups to fill up your drink.
More special drinks like Coke Zero are available in cans though, which is definitely the better choice. The coffee machine isn’t particularly amazing either.
I somewhat expected a little more of the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa in this regard to be honest.
The entertainment selection of the lounge doesn’t feel particularly ‘Cloud 9’ either. There’s a small business center right next to the reception with a few work stations and a few (very old) computers.
Then there’s WiFi, but the connection is very weak and the speed horrible. Additionally, there are a couple of different magazines and newspapers available, but the international selection is very limited.
If you count that as entertainment, you may also join the local experience in the reception area, whatever it might be.
The Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa is a way better place to hang out than the airport grounds. Yet, it’s still far away from a premium experience. The lounge seems to be always crowded, the seating isn’t particularly comfortable or private and the WiFi is dreadfully slow. The buffet is decent and the staff is friendly, but that’s about it. Ethiopian Airlines has a long way to go when it comes to the premium experience at Addis Ababa Airport, especially as you even have to clear security again after leaving the lounge.