Reply To: Ethiopian growing pains

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Ethiopian invests heavily in new aircraft. Its A350 is great but it’s all for nothing if the overall travel experience is poor. Maybe ET is so successful it doesn’t care. Addis was never my favourite airport but it’s recently descended into utter chaos at night. Its Star Gold lounge is an embarrassment, by far the worst I’ve experienced anywhere. It would be better not to try to offer the service than to devalue the product. Doesn’t Star Alliance oblige its members to keep to minimum standards? ET’s Cloud 9 business lounge is hardly any better.

As for security, staff seem overwhelmed by the sheer number of simultaneous long haul departures late at night. Hundreds of people cram security lanes, jostling, pushing, with no proper signposting. Few ground staff speak fluent understandable English which adds to the confusion. To organise it properly and put up signs wouldn’t cost a cent so why don’t they? It’s the same all the way to the gate. I was directed to a business class waiting zone “on the left” – the only thing on the left was a roped off area with a few wheelchairs, again no sign. Do management visit boarding areas? Or do they blame the confusion on the airport authority?

This is a rather good description of the total chaos I experienced yesterday night. The “fast track” lane had a queue that was rather long. Things turned and even worse since some were shortcutting as no staff were present. And when one passed by, the crowd had to insist for them to do their job. Result, I queued for 30+ minutes to get half way when another staff came to pick some of us up and bring us to another security screening as our flight was departing.

Knowing they have all these flights talking off around midnight, how come they can expect that one machin would suffice for all Cloud9 and Star Gold passengers? Absurd. And appalling.

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