Ethiopian Airlines operates the Boeing 737 for most of its short haul flights with a fleet of twenty-five 737s. Some of these planes are the newer 737 MAX 8 and some are the older 737-700 which are about 14 years old.
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class on these 737s provide larger seats, priority disembarkment, and improved service, but nothing as impressive as the experience on their long haul flights. However, compared to many European airlines, at least the business class seats have notable improvements in size and quality.
Ethiopian Airlines 820 Kigali (KGL) to Addis Ababa (ADD) Cabin: Business Seat: 4J and 4L Aircraft: 737-700 Flight Time: 3h 5m
Cabin Atmosphere (3/5)
Interior design of the cabin certainly showed its age and with plenty of signs of wear to the seats. Some of the fabric and armrests had stains on it. On the plus side, there was a physical wall between the business and economy class cabin instead of a curtain. Thankfully, there were adjustable air vents available in the cabin which is not always available on other aircraft.
Aside front the seats looking beat up, they were surprisingly comfortable, wide, and with plenty of legroom. There was no entertainment system but on a short flight that really isn’t an issue. The back row in the business class cabin does not appear to fully recline due to the wall directly behind the seat.
For long haul flights, Ethiopian Airlines has some of the most delicious food in the sky. Conversely, on short haul flights the food is about as average as can be for a business class flight.
Service staff was professional, friendly, and efficient. Hot wash cloths were provided at the beginning of the flight which is always welcomed. Food was brought out quickly and food trays were removed promptly after meals were consumed.
While boarding in Kigali did not provide priority boarding for business class passengers, the disembarking process was much better at Addis Ababa. For this flight, passengers were dropped off outside of the terminal were they would be bused to the terminal.
Business class passengers had a separate bus and being the only business two class passengers, we had the whole bus to ourselves. This was much appreciated since the part I hate most about flying is cramming into these airport buses like a bunch of cattle.
In conclusion, Ethiopian Airlines operates Boeing 737 single aisle planes for many of their short haul flights. Compared to European carriers, Ethiopian Airlines provides above average business class seats for their short haul flights, along with great disembarkment procedures. However, some of the older 737s are showing wear and tear along with unimpressive food options.