Welcome to the NEW Addis Ababa airport, and, most exciting of all, its NEW Ethiopian Airlines airport lounge. This is, no exaggeration, fifty times nicer than the old lounge, which was had no natural light, was always packed and stuffy, and had little in the way of amenities. The new lounge gets just about everything right. And if space and light is what you were looking for, here you go. Transiting through Addis can be pretty tiring, but this lounge is just about the perfect anecdote to your exhaustion. And even in the midst of a pandemic, its open, empty, and has a full buffet. And of course, the classic and beloved Ethiopian coffee station. For all the spicy deets, check out our Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Review – Addis Ababa (ADD).
The Facts – Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Review – Addis Ababa (ADD)
This is not a paid lounge. Credit cards and lounge passes will not get you in, either. The only way to access this lounge is to buy an international business class ticket on Ethiopian, even old status with a Star Alliance airline won’t get you in – there’s a separate lounge for that.
To reach the lounge, simply follow signs after you’ve gone through immigration.
The Space – Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Review – Addis Ababa (ADD)
Perhaps the biggest step up from the old lounge is the preponderance of space. There is space eveywhere. They haven’t given up on the kind-of ugly red and black leather chairs, but at least they aren’t stacked up on top of each other anymore. There’s plenty of space to lounge at a relative social distance from your fellow passengers. The walkways are also broad, making it easier than ever to speak loudly on your phone while walking in circles around the lounge so that everyone gets to enjoy a bit of your conversation in Danish.
There are plenty of rooms throughout the lounge, so if you are being driven crazy by that business person on their phone, you can always move to another room. Here’s a few pictures of each so that you can pre-game your lounge seating.
There’s also a children’s play area. There are no toys or anything, but its a good place to let them cry and scream all the want.
The Food – Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Review – Addis Ababa (ADD)
We’ll be up front: we love Ethiopian food, and that’s one point where this lounge really shines. There’s a long buffet with all the good-injerified deliciousness. The lounge also offers some western foods, but rest assured that you are not going to go hungry while waiting for your flight in this lounge.
Non-alcoholic drinks are about the same as normal. The bar area has a range of beers, including everyone’s favorite St. George (or do you prefer Habesha?) There’s also a long bar of alcohols laid out for you to prepare your own stiff one, or cocktail. Surprisingly, this is self-service, since the old lounge had a bartender on hand, though with limited hours.
And then there’s the drink we love the most: the coffee. There’s an entire room dedicated to the stuff, with an attendant on hand to serve it and give you your nuts to enjoy with it. Really, this is one thing that puts the ET lounge above its flagship competitors, since it actually gives you a feel for the country, without any sense at all that it is being turned into a tourist project. The way it works is easy: you show up, sit down by the coffee station, and you say you want coffee. You can take pictures, and ask all the questions you like.
The Restrooms and showers
They exist! The showes are more than acceptable, and the restrooms are a huge, huge, huge step up from what Ethiopian offered before.
This is a really fantastic lounge, definitely one of the best on the entire African continent (you can compare it with the lounge in Lilongwe, Dar es Salaam, or even Arusha, if you’re not sure. The loune is comfortable, spacious, and has plenty of great food and friendly staff. The wifi is slow, but reliable. And finally, thanks to Franz for the help with this getting this review up!