Airline Review: Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Boeing 787
The Ethiopian Airlines Business Class in the Boeing 787 is the flagship product of the airline from Ethiopia. While there are two versions of this aircraft, this review features the more modern business class with fully flat seats, which you are finding on most of Ethiopian’s Boeing 787.
On my flight from Oslo via Stockholm to Addis Ababa and back, I had the chance to try the new Ethiopian Airlines Business Class in the Boeing 787 not only once, but twice.
- Airplane: Boeing 787-8
- Cabin Class: Business Class
- Daytime: Evening / Night
- Food: Dinner
- Bed length: 78 Inch (198 Centimeter)
- Seat Width: 23 Inch (58 Centimeter)
To my surprise, the experience was quite good. While some might be critical of African airlines per se, Ethiopian Airlines definitely is a good choice for flights to various destinations on the continent. In this review, I’ll explain what you can expect of your flight in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class!
Seating in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
The Ethiopian Airlines Business Class in the Boeing 787 comes with a typical 2-2-2 configuration, which seems to be the norm for “non-premium” carriers with modern aircraft.
There are only four rows of business class, which means that there is a maximum of 24 passengers in business class. The color scheme of Ethiopian Airlines is quite interesting with the seats having a strong red color and grey/beige finished.
Yet, there are also some yellow touches, making the cabin look playfully, yet inviting.
As you can guess from the 2-2-2 configuration, not all seats have direct aisle access. The seats are slightly staggered and come with a small privacy shield between them.
All seats come with a well-padded headrest and generally a decent enough padding, making the seats comfortable in upright as well as flat position. You can choose from various positions through the rather basic controls of the seat, which are located in the middle between the two seats.
Overall, I found the seats to be surprisingly comfortable and, especially on the window, to be relatively private, too.
The slightly staggered configuration with the seats being located a few inches behind each other makes this configuration way more private than other standard forward facing business class products.
Sadly, the seats come with very few storage. There’s a compartment for magazines that can also fit smaller laptops in the middle console and then another compartment close to the upper part of the seat, where you can store some other items.
Yet, pretty much everyone walking by could just “grab” these things (at least for the aisle seats), so I wouldn’t store valuables here. Other than that, each seat comes with an extendable table, which can be folded in half.
Something else I was surprised of is how small the foot rest of the seats. In general, the seat pitch when in upright position, doesn’t feel very spacious.
Compared to other forward facing business class seats, for example in the Turkish Airlines Business Class, you feel pretty cramped. The cubicle to put your feet in bed position is tiny, too.
Sleeping in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
On the two longer legs of my journey (Stockholm – Addis Ababa vv) I spent most of the time sleeping. While I was generally quite tired, I slept surprisingly well on both flights despite those not being particularly long. As I’ve already mentioned, the seats recline into a fully flat position.
In this position, the seats offer a decent comfort with a good and comfortable padding as well as a good length. However, the seats feel a little tight when it comes to the width. That might restrict side sleepers or those who generally need some more space.
It’s also worth pointing out again that there’s not much room for your feet to move around.
However, the bulkhead seats are better in this regard. The bedding in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class consists of a thick pillow as well as a warm and comfortable blanket.
While there is no bed sheet or anything, I found the sleeping experience on board the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class to be quite good overall.
Catering in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
On both longer segments of my flights Ethiopian Airlines offered an extensive catering consisting of dinner and breakfast (on a six hour flight!). On the ground, there was the typical welcome drink service with drinks served in proper glasses.
Once on cruising altitude, we were offered another drink alongside a traditional Ethiopian snack – very tasty!
After that, dinner service started. It’s worth noting that I decided to sleep instead of having dinner on my return and also skipped breakfast twice. Thus, I’ll only focus on one dining experience here. The full dinner comes with a choice of three starters, a salad, four main dishes to choose from as well as a selection of five desserts.
To start, I had the Cured Salmon with Shrimp Salad, which was okay.
Alongside this dish, a ‘Fresh Seasonal Salad’ and a selection from the bread basket were offered.
The salad had olives, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and more and thus was surprisingly good. For the main dish, I had the ‘Steamed Hoki Potato Stomp’, while Anna went for the ‘Beef Tournedos Potato Lyonnaise’.
Both options were quite good once again. For desert, I went for the ‘Opera Chocolate Cake’, which was … basic.
All in all, I liked the dining experience in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class. While it wasn’t fancy or anything, everything was presented nicely on a table cloth, service was efficient and friendly and the dishes were good. You shouldn’t expect anything like the meals in Lufthansa First Class when flying with Ethiopian, but if you are coming with the right expectations, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience.
Entertainment in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
Despite the young age of the aircraft, the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787’s don’t come with WiFi. Thus, the entertainment options are limited to the entertainment screen as well as newspapers and magazines. The latter are offered upon boarding, but come with a very limited international selection (all in English). Additionally, there’s a board magazine already waiting at your seat.
Most importantly though, the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class in the Boeing 787 comes with a decently sized entertainment screen, which offers a high resolution and thus a good viewing experience.
The selection of movies and TV shows isn’t on the same level as for example on-board Emirates, but good enough. There are a few dozen movies and shows in English, so you should be able to find something you like!
Amenities in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
The Ethiopian Airlines Business Class comes with a couple of amenities, including headphones and an amenity kit. The headphones were wrapped.
Yet, the sound quality is average at best as the headphones don’t come with noise-cancelling, sadly. The amenity kit in the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class is relatively basic, too.
There are a toothbrush with toothpaste, earplugs, an eye mask, socks, a brush, a pen as well as lip balm.
While not particularly amazing, the extreme color of the amenity kit (green) as well as all the stuff inside was quite funny.
Overall impressions of the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class
The new Ethiopian Airlines Business Class in the Boeing 787, also referred to as Cloud 9, offers a very comfortable experience on flight to and from Africa. The seats are comfortable in upright and flat position and while they are not especially private and lack storage, I wasn’t annoyed to that too much. The good bedding made up for a good night’s sleep, while it’s worth noting that the seats don’t feel particularly wide and the area for the feet is especially tight. The catering and service on board are good, yet not especially amazing. The same is true for the entertainment system and the amenities. All in all, I’d recommend Ethiopian Airlines for flights to Africa.