Lucky is going to Ethiopia to fly the most modern airplane in the world… or is he?

Lucky is going to Ethiopia to fly the most modern airplane in the world… or is he?

102

Let me take you back to where this booking adventure began.

Reason for the destination

As some of you may recall I gave away 60,000 Starpoints earlier in the week courtesy of the Starwood American Express. This was in conjunction with my stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour a few weeks ago. I really love St. Regis hotels, given that they’re not only on the same level as Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, but also belong to one of my favorite loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest. While I was running the contest I noticed that a lot of you said you would redeem the 60,000 Starpoints at the St. Regis Mauritius. I hadn’t really looked into the resort before that, though the entries made me take a look. As it turns out, it’s opening on September 15, 2012 (though they only seem to be accepting reservations from October 1 onwards) and looks stunning.


St. Regis Mauritius picture

Unfortunately the hotel is outrageously expensive, and I mean outrageously expensive. It might just have the highest rates I’ve seen of any major chain hotel. The lowest rate I see for any date is 1,144EUR ($1,400USD) on a prepaid rate.


Rates for St. Regis Mauritius

What’s both shocking and delightful is that every single day has cash & points availability. This is a category six hotel, making it $150 and 8,000 Starpoints per night. Usually I wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of paying $150 plus 8,000 Starpoints per night for a hotel, but when it’s usually $1,400+ per night I’m all over it.


Cash & Points available every day

Will my SkyMiles finally be useful for something?

Then the challenge was getting there. Initially I thought this would be a great opportunity to redeem some Delta SkyMiles (in place of a potential trip to Asia). The plan was to fly the Air France/Air Maritius codeshare service between Paris and Mauritius, and to get to Europe on KLM in one direction and Alitalia in the other direction. My goal is to review as many new airlines as possible for you guys, and that seemed like a nice way to do so.

Unfortunately I literally couldn’t find any business class award space from Paris to Mauritius. Oddly enough ExpertFlyer actually showed some business class award space, though Air France’s website didn’t show the same space. When I called Delta they didn’t see the space either, even after trying to manually request it. So it seems that ExpertFlyer is showing some space that isn’t actually bookable via Air France or Delta. I’m not sure why, though I’d love to hear theories.


ExpertFlyer showing three business class award seats


No dice with Air France!

Guess I’ll go with good old Star Alliance!

As tempting as it is to do another award on one of the “premier” Star Alliance airlines, the reality is that I’ve flown them all and I get just as much enjoyment out of sharing a new experience with you guys as I would getting pampered in first class on Lufthansa. So once you rule out most of the Star Alliance carriers that offer a first class cabin — ANA, Asiana, Lufthansa, Singapore, Swiss, Thai, etc. — you’re left with the less exciting airlines. So the goal was to use 110,000 US Airways miles (the number of miles needed for roundtrip business class to Africa) to book an award exclusively on airlines I’ve never reviewed before. After much back and forth I came up with a routing on Ethiopian Airways, South African Airlines, and Brussels Airlines, as follows:

Ethiopian Airways 503 Toronto to Addis Ababa departing at 9:15AM and arriving at 6:25AM (+1 day)
Ethiopian Airways 809 Addis Ababa to Johannesburg departing at 8:50AM and arriving at 1:30PM
South African 190 Johannesburg to Mauritius departing at 9:40AM and arriving at 3:50PM
South African 191 Mauritius to Johannesburg departing at 4:50PM and arriving at 7:15PM
South African 236 Johannesburg to London departing at 9:35PM and arriving at 7:20AM (+1 day)
Brussels Airlines 2094 London to Brussels departing at 10:25AM and arriving at 12:35PM
Brussels Airlines 501 Brussels to New York departing at 10:30AM and arriving at 1:05PM

Let me explain the longhaul segments:

  • Toronto to Addis Ababa — Ethiopian Airlines recently joined the Star Alliance, so I’ll “take one for the team” and try them. The flight is operated by their brand new 777s, so I figured it can’t be that bad.
  • Addis Ababa to Johannesburg is operated by the 787. There’s something kind of ironic to me about my first 787 flight being on Ethiopian Airlines, not an airline usually known for being a pioneer in the airline industry.
  • Johannesburg to London is operated by South African’s fully flat bed business class product, which I’ve heard great things about.
  • Brussels to New York is operated by Brussels Airlines’ brand new fully flat business class product, and they just started service to New York over the summer.


Should I do it?

I have the ticket on a three day courtesy hold, so let me know in the comments section whether or not I should pull the trigger on this, or if there’s anything you’d like me to change about the ticket to make it more interesting for you guys. For the last segment, for example, I could fly Austrian, Brussels, or SAS, and I went with Brussels since they’re the only ones with a fully flat product. I’d love to hear if there’s anything you guys would change, though. Or am I totally nuts for even considering this, and I should instead spend the money to get a mental evaluation?

And one last question — has anyone been to Addis Ababa? Is it safe? I doubt I’d ever return, so I’m tempted to have a stopover there for a couple of days. Is it safe to just roam around on the streets there, or should I just skip it and avoid giving my mom a heart attack?

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  1. arcticbull Guest

    I love Austrian -- their food just can't be beat. It was as good as LH F! It's a neat product that's become super hard to find lately. I'd basically given up on flying OS J again.

  2. snic Diamond

    "They have never particularly impressed me, but they’ve never totally let me down either!"

    They let a bunch of passengers down, straight into the Mediterranean Sea, not too long ago...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Airlines_Flight_409

  3. TAO Guest

    @lucky, I'm based in Seattle, do I fall into that "sometimes" category? LOL. By "sometimes," do you mean sometimes the UA agent would allow me to go through Asia? or sometimes the website would price out a stopover in Asia?

  4. lucky OMAAT

    @ TAO -- It depends where you're originating/terminating, but *sometimes*.

  5. TAO Guest

    Can you go through Asia using UA miles? I tried it online but got the infamous Error message, bummer!

  6. Sean M. Diamond

    With regards the ET fleet, the 737s and 777s are in good condition with all the usual bells and whistles you expect from those aircraft. The 757s and 767s are very hit-or-miss depending which airframe you get. I flew ET-AMK and ET-AMT (both 757s) last week and it was like two different airlines! Same with the 767s - there are a few ex-KLM frames now in the fleet (the blue interiors and KSSU catering equipment...

    With regards the ET fleet, the 737s and 777s are in good condition with all the usual bells and whistles you expect from those aircraft. The 757s and 767s are very hit-or-miss depending which airframe you get. I flew ET-AMK and ET-AMT (both 757s) last week and it was like two different airlines! Same with the 767s - there are a few ex-KLM frames now in the fleet (the blue interiors and KSSU catering equipment give them away) that are completely different from the rest of the fleet. I wouldn't worry about anything if you were flying in Cloud Nine though - they are very protective of the product (it isn't anything fancy but it is a big step up from Economy) so you invariably find plenty of empty seats rather than non-revs and upgraders.

    ET is not a luxury airline but rather a safe and somewhat efficient way of getting to and from various places near the the ass end of nowhere. You can't go wrong with them as long as you don't go in with ridiculously high expectations. They have never particularly impressed me, but they've never totally let me down either!

  7. Sean M. Diamond

    Regarding yellow fever shots, your problem is not going to be in Addis but rather in Joburg. If South African Port Health decides to meet the flight, you will be required to show your card or else be given the option to either get a shot at the airport clinic (if it is open and has the shots in stock) or else spend some time in the airport holding cells until they work out your...

    Regarding yellow fever shots, your problem is not going to be in Addis but rather in Joburg. If South African Port Health decides to meet the flight, you will be required to show your card or else be given the option to either get a shot at the airport clinic (if it is open and has the shots in stock) or else spend some time in the airport holding cells until they work out your deportation paperwork. The sadistic bastards take great pride in enforcing this on an entirely random basis. Believe me, you do not want to go near South Africa via the yellow fever zone without the card.

  8. flo Guest

    Visited ADD on a weekend trip from ZRH last year due to good LH fares. ADD itself isn't really a destination where you can do too much sightseeing. Africa's biggest market is there. We (3 of us) walked the streets all day, felt safe all the time. Went out at night taking taxis - also no problem.

    I would highly recommend to get outside of the city for a daytrip or two. Lots and lots...

    Visited ADD on a weekend trip from ZRH last year due to good LH fares. ADD itself isn't really a destination where you can do too much sightseeing. Africa's biggest market is there. We (3 of us) walked the streets all day, felt safe all the time. Went out at night taking taxis - also no problem.

    I would highly recommend to get outside of the city for a daytrip or two. Lots and lots to discover. We paid for a minivan (which would seat ca. 9) USD115 for one day incl. everything.

    Stayed at the Harmony Hotel - Chinese owned and ca 130 EUR/night. Hotel prices are on the higher end.

  9. Usairelite Guest

    @Lucky- I did not realize you had been to more than 2 of each I was just basing my thoughts on the ones in the trip report section. I'm sorry.

  10. You have been upgraded New Member

    "In Addis Abeba ist ein Ansteigen der Straßenkriminalität zu verzeichnen, wobei Taschendiebe und andere Kleinkriminelle oft äußerst geschickt und trickreich agieren.(Anrempeln, umringt werden von Kindern und Jugendlichen, nach dem Weg fragen, etc.).  Von einer Benützung der öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel in Addis Abeba wird nicht nur wegen der hohen Unfall- und Anschlaggefahr sondern auch wegen der zahlreichen dort operierenden Taschendiebe abgeraten. Einladungen sog. „freundlicher Studenten“, die sich als Führer ausgeben und zum Schluss oftmals unter Androhung von...

    "In Addis Abeba ist ein Ansteigen der Straßenkriminalität zu verzeichnen, wobei Taschendiebe und andere Kleinkriminelle oft äußerst geschickt und trickreich agieren.(Anrempeln, umringt werden von Kindern und Jugendlichen, nach dem Weg fragen, etc.).  Von einer Benützung der öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel in Addis Abeba wird nicht nur wegen der hohen Unfall- und Anschlaggefahr sondern auch wegen der zahlreichen dort operierenden Taschendiebe abgeraten. Einladungen sog. „freundlicher Studenten“, die sich als Führer ausgeben und zum Schluss oftmals unter Androhung von Gewalt hohe Summen für ihre Dienste verlangen, sollten keinesfalls angenommen werden. Weiters kommt es des Öfteren zu Diebstählen von Wertgegenständen aus PKWs, indem mehrere Passanten im  Abstand von mehreren hundert Metern Entfernung wiederholt dem Fahrer bedeuten, anzuhalten. Es wird angeraten, außer in begründeten Fällen nicht auf die Signale von nicht eindeutig als offizielle Sicherheitskräfte identifizierbaren Personen zu reagieren. In letzter Zeit hat es auch Vorfälle gegeben, bei denen Personen im Zuge von Diebstählen auf der Straße gewaltsam attackiert wurden. Es wird daher erhöhte Vorsicht angeraten, Wertgegenstände sollten auf keinen Fall sichtbar getragen werden. Weiters wird davon abgeraten, alleine oder bei Dunkelheit zu Fuß zu gehen." (ö. Außenministerium)

    Also ich bin in Ostafrika sehr vorsichtig ...

  11. You have been upgraded New Member

    "In Addis Abeba häuften sich in jüngster Vergangenheit Überfälle auf Passanten, auch an Hauptverkehrsstraßen. Erhöhte Aufmerksamkeit nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit, insbesondere nach 22.00 Uhr, ist geboten." (Auswärtiges Amt)

    Also ich würde nicht einfach so in Addis Abeba herumlaufen.

  12. Monty Guest

    Well lucky you know you're always welcome to return to YYZ. I'm quit interested to read about the basically brand new ET service here so that's obviously where my vote is for you.

  13. David Guest

    You could also take Avianca's new A330 service from BOG-GRU and then SAA from GRU-JNB. Perhaps try Copa to get to BOG...I've heard ET horror stories, and good ones so maybe try out the new *A airlines.

  14. Kevin Guest

    I was not asked for my yellow fever card in ADD. You're *much* more likely to be asked for a yellow fever card when leaving a country where fever is prevalent going to a country where fever is rare.

    Some of the comments above are way over the top. Addis is one of the safest large cities in Africa. This advice that you need a car/driver everywhere, etc., is madness. I've walked around the city...

    I was not asked for my yellow fever card in ADD. You're *much* more likely to be asked for a yellow fever card when leaving a country where fever is prevalent going to a country where fever is rare.

    Some of the comments above are way over the top. Addis is one of the safest large cities in Africa. This advice that you need a car/driver everywhere, etc., is madness. I've walked around the city at 4 AM without a problem, which I wouldn't do in Nairobi or JNB or many others. ET is probably the second best Africa airline after SAA.

    Addis was really nothing but a village until well into the 1900s, though, so though the culture is interesting, there aren't interesting old buildings or anything (for which you'd need to go to Harar or Lalibela or Axum, among many others). The coffee is fantastic. If you like coffee, Tamoca Coffee Shop will blow your mind.

  15. Valerie Guest

    I'd say skip Ethiopian airline if you want to be 100% sure you'll live to write more blogs :-)

  16. Elizabeth W. Guest

    I transited ADD in mid-2010 with a group of 10 people and there were no yellow fever checks. I flew ET IAD-ADD-NBO roundtrip and was never asked by ET or at ADD for a yellow card.

    As for ET, I flew coach. They had good service and food, but the IFE had issues and the seats were okay. Overall, nothing spectacular for coach except the good food.

  17. lucky OMAAT

    @ Julianne -- Thanks for the heads up, sounds like I'd need to get the shot in advance.

  18. Julianne Guest

    I am taking a group of 100+ travelers to Tanzania next year transitting ADD (but NOT leaving the airport). When researching online, I came to the conclusion that shots shouldn't be required if merely transitting. However, when I called Ethiopian Airlines I was advised that shots WOULD be required. The Tanzania Embassy also told me that shots WOULD be required. IMO, not worth the risk of having to get jabbed on the spot (with questionable...

    I am taking a group of 100+ travelers to Tanzania next year transitting ADD (but NOT leaving the airport). When researching online, I came to the conclusion that shots shouldn't be required if merely transitting. However, when I called Ethiopian Airlines I was advised that shots WOULD be required. The Tanzania Embassy also told me that shots WOULD be required. IMO, not worth the risk of having to get jabbed on the spot (with questionable needle hygiene). You may want to check with the MRU Embassy. I know when I flew from NBO to SEZ last year yellow fever certs were checked as we exited the plane.

  19. Ace Member

    @Lucky, I'm sure you know that LX also flies ex-JBG (A344), and ex-DAR/NBO (A333).

    Are you already maximizing your # of US segments? Interestingly enough, BA flies JBG-MRU (side trip w/ Avios, perhaps...)

  20. lucky OMAAT

    @ Bill -- I've heard good things about the Sheraton, though at this point it looks like I'll skip Addis Ababa and just connect there.

  21. Bill Guest

    What properties are you considering in Addis Ababa? Anything stand out to you?

  22. brad Guest

    Lucky: You probably have your shots already. The only one you really need is for Yellow Fever which is handy to have in general with your travels throughout SE Asia and parts of South America. But yellow fever is not an issue in Addis, just everywhere else outside the city.

  23. lucky OMAAT

    @ rich -- Not a phobia of shots as much as I just want to avoid going to the doctor whenever possible.

  24. rich (arizona) Gold

    You might want to check out the cdc web site.
    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/ethiopia.htm

    I don't believe it is required in your case.

    Do you have a phobia of shots?

  25. lucky OMAAT

    @ LV -- The phone call took six minutes, shockingly enough.

  26. lucky OMAAT

    @ Usairelite -- Because I've visited a lot more than two of both brands. So who's entitled to a valid opinion -- someone that has stayed of all hotels in both brands, or...?

    @ myperks -- I'm sure I could convince an agent to book it through Asia, though I can't say there are any especially compelling options through there either.

  27. myperks Guest

    can this trip be through asia or has to be through europe?

    as for going to Ethiopia, it will be a good experience, but still reserved about it.

  28. Usairelite Guest

    @Lucky- I respect your opinion, but how do you know a lot of of four seasons are outdated if you have only reported on 2 of them. And how do you know St. Regis has such a wonderful hard product compared to them when you have reported on 2 St. Regises (if that's the plural) one of which is brand spankin new.

  29. lucky OMAAT

    @ Ashar -- I've read some reviews of their older planes and they aren't great, though haven't read too many bad things about their new 777s. Have you read any 777 reviews?

    @ sbjnyc -- Interesting, thanks for the link. That might be it.

    @ Mike -- Hah, it had crossed my mind as well! Was surprised they didn't fly to MRU.

    @ Silvia -- Yep, since that's the price for business class between the US and Africa.

  30. Chris Guest

    Lucky,

    My sister-in-law stayed at the Hilton in Addis Ababa. She had really nice things to say about it. You should check it out.

  31. lucky OMAAT

    @ Lack -- Hmm, if they had already loaded it into the schedule I would have gone for it. Do they have a definitive start date?

    @ Julianne -- Hmm, can anyone else confirm/deny that, as it would be a deal killer? Other similar posts online suggest it's not required for transit if you don't leave the airport.

    @ Jim -- Where are you looking at their schedules? My flight shows a 787, so not...

    @ Lack -- Hmm, if they had already loaded it into the schedule I would have gone for it. Do they have a definitive start date?

    @ Julianne -- Hmm, can anyone else confirm/deny that, as it would be a deal killer? Other similar posts online suggest it's not required for transit if you don't leave the airport.

    @ Jim -- Where are you looking at their schedules? My flight shows a 787, so not sure what else to be looking for (though obviously they can change planes at a later date).

  32. Silvia Guest

    You said the goal was to spend 110,000 US Airways miles. You can do this trip in business class for 110,000 if you find availability?

  33. Mike Guest

    1) Obviously you should do it.

    2) I couldn't believe you overlooked flying Kenya Airways to MRU, but you are right. I was looking into flights to Madagascar via NBO and assumed they would also have flights to MRU since it's not too much farther. Strange, but I'm sure someone knows a good reason.

  34. sbjnyc Guest

    I wonder if the issue between AF and EF is a point of sale limitation on award tickets. This is something posted by KVS on FT explaining the matter.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/18818670-post9.html

  35. snic Diamond

    Do it!!!

    Mrs. snic has been wanting to visit Mauritius for a long time, and it might very well be the destination for our next *A miles blow-out vacation. I've looked into how to get to MRU on *A miles before, and the options aren't great - but it's easier now with Ethiopian Airlines now in the mix. I'm very eager to hear your impressions of them.

    So do it!

  36. Ashar Guest

    Read up the reviews on ET. I actually rerouted in Coach instead of J in ET after reading about the service, FAs and passengers

  37. LV Guest

    100k for this entire trip is amazing! I'm curious how long the phone call to US took to book this.

  38. Jim Guest

    You need to check ET's schedule on the 787. They're flying it all over the place on single turns in late August and through September. My ET JNB-ADD flight on 11 September was changed from the 787 to a 319.

  39. Julianne Guest

    Be aware that you will need a yellow fever shot if you book a flight through ADD. This is true even if you are just connecting in ADD and never leave the airport.

  40. mtlfire Guest

    Lets not forget the various star alliance 15th anniversary promotions. From the alliance directly, 15,000 bonus miles for the ones that flies the most alliance partners before November 14th.

  41. Andre Guest

    @Drew - the point was that it's not an all-suite hotel where the cheapest they ever offer a room is over 1100EUR. Some places are like that.

    The hotel looks very nice and even the deluxe room at 73sqm is probably great. I can always get more than 2.7cpm of value out of starpoints, so I wouldn't mind paying just under $400/night for BAR. Especially if you're Platinum

    @Lucky - Definitely go to Mauritius over...

    @Drew - the point was that it's not an all-suite hotel where the cheapest they ever offer a room is over 1100EUR. Some places are like that.

    The hotel looks very nice and even the deluxe room at 73sqm is probably great. I can always get more than 2.7cpm of value out of starpoints, so I wouldn't mind paying just under $400/night for BAR. Especially if you're Platinum

    @Lucky - Definitely go to Mauritius over the Maldives first. A lot of reports on Maldives already, and the political situation is less than ideal.

  42. UA_Flyer Guest

    I face the same dilemma of whether I should fly JNB on Ethiopian via ADD or on LH via MUC. Flight on Ethiopian cuts travel time by 7 hours, although I earn more miles on LH.

  43. David Guest

    Re: YYZ

    If I were you I'd be tempted to fly into YTZ as it is just that much more convenient than YYZ. The fact that you avoid a $50 cab fare just adds to the greatness of that airport. Then again, if you are already connecting on the US ticket, you probably don't get a choice.

  44. Ozaer N. Guest

    Ben...go for it...I too was wondering what Ethiopian Airlnes was like....I love Ehtiop food so how bad can the airline be? hehhee

  45. Lack Guest

    I don't know what dates you're looking into, but if you want to make a theme of it, LOT will have their 787 serving WAW-ORD in January.

  46. You have been upgraded New Member

    Please arrange an Airport Pickup in Addis Abeba. Don't go out without a guide or a driver. Never! There is a safety risk in every country in east africa.

    Ethiopia is a country with a lot of history. You have to visit some of the really old churches in the countryside.

  47. Mangos Guest

    Looks like fun!

    I have family from Addis, none of whom still live there. There are very mixed feelings about returning to visit. My aunt goes every chance she gets. My grandmother says it's the scariest place she's ever been and she'll never go back, and I've been held at gunpoint with her so it's not like she hasn't experienced real fear in other places. To be fair, though, my grandmother hasn't been there since...

    Looks like fun!

    I have family from Addis, none of whom still live there. There are very mixed feelings about returning to visit. My aunt goes every chance she gets. My grandmother says it's the scariest place she's ever been and she'll never go back, and I've been held at gunpoint with her so it's not like she hasn't experienced real fear in other places. To be fair, though, my grandmother hasn't been there since the mid-nighties and I believe it is safer now.

    If it were me, I would go to Addis, I hear it's an amazing city! But I would be very careful about where I stayed and where I went, and potentially hire a guide/body guard.

  48. Aeroman380 Guest

    Park Hyatt is a great hotel in a great part of the city. There is an old and new part of the hotel with the old part having better city views facing south. I have heard that the new part has nicer rooms.

    It is kind of far from YYZ. Also, if you are getting to and from YYZ, keep in mind the commute and traffic into/out of the city during the week!

    Don't stay at the Old Four Seasons in Yorkville. The new one will open in October 2012 and looks Spectacular!

  49. Bart Lapers Guest

    Lucky,

    Good to see you're coming over to Brussels, my home base. Looks like you'll have a one night layover, feel free to get in touch to meet-up. Here's my picture review of the new Brussels Airlines Business Class (A330-300, SN501 and SN502 between BRU and JFK)

    http://travel.bart.la/2012/06/09/brussels-airlines-new-business-class-new-york-jfk-brussels/

    Thanks!

  50. nathan fruchter Guest

    i read a few more comments, DO NOT trade that Brussels Airlines for AUA or SAS, Brussels Airlines is miles ahead both carriers, they are truly fully flat, half the cabin is single seats the other doubles, and Belgian Gastronomy puts Austrian and Scandinavian Cuisine to shame. trust me on this one. you will not regret it.

  51. nathan fruchter Guest

    Do it ! BTW, you will love Brussels Airlines new A330 Biz class service fm the minute you step on board until you disembark. I flew them their 4th day of operation on the BRU-JFK route and they were flawless. Better then BA, LH, LX, AF etc... i kid you not ! Try 'em, you'll see.

  52. Jamison Member

    @Lucky

    PLEASE take a trip to the Maldives and review the W Maldives for us

  53. Pablo Guest

    Please fly A3!!! We have so many people using its super-esay FFP but few of us had flew it before

  54. Sean M. Diamond

    If the 787 is one of your goals, I have it on fairly reliable authority that ET's first 787 is not going to be on the Joburg route, but rather Guangzhou. The Joburg will continue as a 757/767 mix even though the 787 is loaded in skeds for now (there are more 787 routes loaded than actual capacity available).

    ET is absolutely fine as an airline and are one of my regular carriers within Africa....

    If the 787 is one of your goals, I have it on fairly reliable authority that ET's first 787 is not going to be on the Joburg route, but rather Guangzhou. The Joburg will continue as a 757/767 mix even though the 787 is loaded in skeds for now (there are more 787 routes loaded than actual capacity available).

    ET is absolutely fine as an airline and are one of my regular carriers within Africa. Addis is a dirty (but largely safe) city. Not worth more than a day. However, the rest of the country is worth a visit.

  55. mh Guest

    Ethiopia is quite safe. You won't be blown away spending a day in Addis, but if you have the time to get out of town and up into the hills, it's an amazing country. Why not spend a week?

  56. lucky OMAAT

    @ dhammer53 -- Yeah, I'd feel the same if it was 700EUR. Frankly it goes beyond the hotel, though. I've wanted to visit Mauritius, I love St. Regis properties, and I don't mind taking a "risk" with a hotel since ultimately the purpose of my reports is to recommend the place to others or caution them about it, so...

  57. Brad Guest

    I spent a few weeks in Addis last year and flew ET. Honestly, it's nothing to exciting, it's basic transportation and the food is ok. The airport doesn't have anything in it worthwhile, their biz class lounge is sub par.

    With regards to things to do in Addis, there are a few Unesco world heritage sights but isn't really anything to do or see in town. The city is very safe as I spent...

    I spent a few weeks in Addis last year and flew ET. Honestly, it's nothing to exciting, it's basic transportation and the food is ok. The airport doesn't have anything in it worthwhile, their biz class lounge is sub par.

    With regards to things to do in Addis, there are a few Unesco world heritage sights but isn't really anything to do or see in town. The city is very safe as I spent two weeks there and English is widely understood in the tourist areas. Hotel wise, stay at the Sheraton as it is very nice. Pass on the Hilton as the property is old and crappy

  58. dhammer53 Guest

    So let me get this right. You want to stay at this property using 8000 points and $150 because it represents good value? That may be the smart thing to do after trip reports start coming in on this place. If you want to take one for the team, be my guest.
    Personally, I'd wait a while; just to make sure this property is worthwhile. At this point, we don't know where the real value of the hotel is.

    If the rates were 700 euro, would you feel the same?

  59. Katie Guest

    Do it! It will be a fun adventure.

  60. WG Guest

    Ethiopian is a wonderful airline as I regularly fly it between Washington and Addis. In business class, be sure to save room for the traditional foods, which will be served following the regular course. In Addis, the airport is not much, but there are a few shops if you are passing through. I even got a free business class upgrade both ways this July at the peak of summer travel!

  61. matt Guest

    AF has been known to do odd things with married segments on award availability, maybe that's popping up here. The other possibility is just glitchiness in general. Using IAD as a starting point, as james suggested, with Feb13 as the starting date, gives a routing including AF982 on Feb 14 when I first tried. When I tried again it said nothing available. When I tried again but chose all flights, it came up with jan24,...

    AF has been known to do odd things with married segments on award availability, maybe that's popping up here. The other possibility is just glitchiness in general. Using IAD as a starting point, as james suggested, with Feb13 as the starting date, gives a routing including AF982 on Feb 14 when I first tried. When I tried again it said nothing available. When I tried again but chose all flights, it came up with jan24, and nothing available afterward.

    This is either a somewhat major blow to skymiles' value, or just another skyteam IT glitch.

  62. James Guest

    Weird thing by the way Lucky: I took a date and plugged IAD-MRU into DL.com and got a bunch of results at the low level. But when I tried looking just at CDG-MRU for the same day as the second leg of the earlier itinerary it couldn't find anything. How does that make any sense?

  63. lucky OMAAT

    @ James -- Availability seems pretty bad right now, though maybe it will improve again.

    @ Aeroman380 -- Was thinking of doing the Park Hyatt Toronto so I can earn points. It's also a great deal on a one night stay when booked through Virtuoso, given that it comes with free dinner.

    @ Storm -- Not sure how you can call it naive when it's based on my first hand experiences as opposed to speculation....

    @ James -- Availability seems pretty bad right now, though maybe it will improve again.

    @ Aeroman380 -- Was thinking of doing the Park Hyatt Toronto so I can earn points. It's also a great deal on a one night stay when booked through Virtuoso, given that it comes with free dinner.

    @ Storm -- Not sure how you can call it naive when it's based on my first hand experiences as opposed to speculation. The reality is that a lot of Four Seasons properties are outdated. I'm not sure which Four Seasons and St. Regis properties you've stayed at, but I've consistently found the service at St. Regis properties to be on par with Four Seasons and Ritz.

  64. Storm Guest

    Very exciting. But any suggestion that the St. Regis is on par with the Four Seasons (at least with respect to resort properties) is somewhat naive.

  65. Aeroman380 Guest

    Do it and come to YYZ! Looks like you might have to stay the night here since your flight to ADD is leaving at 9am! Though YYZ isn't the greatest airport you could come to review the new Trump tower that just opened or the new Ritz Carleton that opened. I am still not sure if Shang-ri La is finished yet but you can come and review that. Toronto is a great city!

    Better yet,...

    Do it and come to YYZ! Looks like you might have to stay the night here since your flight to ADD is leaving at 9am! Though YYZ isn't the greatest airport you could come to review the new Trump tower that just opened or the new Ritz Carleton that opened. I am still not sure if Shang-ri La is finished yet but you can come and review that. Toronto is a great city!

    Better yet, you should fly Porter into YTZ review that airline(which is awesome). Then review the new hotels here and then fly out to ADD.

  66. James Guest

    Shit...should I be worried about my flying to Mauritius next summer on Skymiles plans?

  67. William Guest

    This looks amazing!!! Definitely looking forward to the new airline and hotel reviews! I wouldn't change a thing on the itinerary.

  68. lucky OMAAT

    @ sfo_chad -- Sadly can't do October since my schedule is pretty full then. Hopefully our paths cross next time.

    @ Andre -- Odd, was focused entirely on going this year. Didn't even see more reasonable rates next year.

    @ Drew -- Seems I just missed the reasonable rates next year. This year the prepaid rate is the cheapest (and flexible rate is only a bit higher).

  69. Tina Guest

    I've wanted to try Brussels Airlines transatlatnic! Do it!!!

  70. Drew Guest

    Sorry, what's advantage of a prepaid rate here? I'm surely missing something but I see $398/nt for a Deluxe room.... random dates at the end of Nov FWIW.

  71. Andre Guest

    Ethiopia may be interesting, I personally would skip it.

    The rates for next the St. Regis next May are 310EUR prepaid per night for Deluxe rooms. And May is good weather-wise, but proabably low season in tourist numbers.

    Rates are probably sky-high since it's just opening and Europeans (and other N. Hemisphere) like to go to Mauritius while it's cold up in here.

    C+P is a good deal while it's 1140EUR per night.

  72. Kelly Henry Guest

    Ethiopian is not super great as mentioned by others! I can tell some outrageous stories about their MX techniques. Addis is fine. Sheraton is best there. SAA flight ito LHR is just ok. I agree w another respondent - try for Turkish. Great seats, best European service, so/so lounge in IST. I'm jealous! I just get to do dull DFW/SCL/CPO/SCL/LIM/MIA/DFW in AA/LA K class.

  73. David Guest

    Would love to see this and see a report on a couple of days in ADD as I'm considering such a routing for a possible Africa trip in the future (though coming from Australia rather than the US).

  74. Anonymous Guest

    Intra euro, fly A3 LHR to ATH, then either A3 or SN to BRU. DO THE ASIA THING WITH SKYTEAM TOO, the KE F with return on 9w or EK F version.

  75. sfo_chad New Member

    Hey lucky. im heading to the st regis for 6 days in oct. Let me know if you end up going...we should discuss dates. also on the jnb-mru-jnb-lhr flights.

  76. Tim Guest

    Go for it and have a blast!

  77. Gabriel Guest

    Will add that you should definitely do it, and definitely on Ethiopian going out. I'd jump at the chance to fly their 77L and 787 in one itinerary, and Addis sounds like a fascinating place so I'd definitely layover as well.

    Turkish business lounge is nice but not worth switching airlines over, and IST can be a pain in my experience. Brussels should be interesting as we rarely see reports on them.

  78. Euro Member

    While I would prefer a trip report in Asia w. Skyteam carriers, I'm all for reports on carriers that have fewer trip reports such as the selection you have chosen here.

    I didn't know Ethiopian had a 787 in operation- last I heard it was still ANA and JAL with theirs, and the next customers to receive theirs would be Qatar Airways, LAN, and United...

  79. myperks Guest

    Not sure if it is within reasonable mileage restrictions... (nor do I know where you start)

    USA to ICN (on OZ's new business class)
    ICN to HKG (one of your favorite cities, on either OZ or TG)
    HKG to JNB (on SA, should have no problem getting C-Class)
    JNB to Mauritius (on SA)

    on the way back

    Mauritius to JNB (on SA)
    JNB to BKK (on TG)
    BKK to NRT...

    Not sure if it is within reasonable mileage restrictions... (nor do I know where you start)

    USA to ICN (on OZ's new business class)
    ICN to HKG (one of your favorite cities, on either OZ or TG)
    HKG to JNB (on SA, should have no problem getting C-Class)
    JNB to Mauritius (on SA)

    on the way back

    Mauritius to JNB (on SA)
    JNB to BKK (on TG)
    BKK to NRT (on TG A380, looks like easy to get C-class)
    NRT to USA (wherever you want)

    and of course, a stopover along the way.
    8-segments, not sure if that is the limit or can you add some more.

    lots of flying time =-)

  80. Stephan Guest

    Lucky, this is a terrific itinerary! You have to go for it and give us some new things to drool over;-)I would not do Austrian right now as they are changing their product, but Turkish would be interesting given all the good reviews. Also, how about 9W out of YYZ to BRU or v.v? Finally, I hope a fellow Canadian will step up in YYZ and buy you dinner!

  81. Usairelite Guest

    Also I wouldn't use US Airways miles they are just so hard to get these days.

  82. Usairelite Guest

    Austrian is supposed to have great food. I think your itinerary looks great though!

  83. A. S. Guest

    Dude, Lucky, it's not like this is going to be your last trip or you're going to run out of miles anytime soon, so just do it! Even if you hate it (which I seriously doubt), you'll forget it soon enough. Having said that, I actually heard good things about Ethiopian and South African and I assume Brussels will be on par with Swiss business or the likes. So just do it!

  84. lucky OMAAT

    @ Phil -- Am thinking of going in November.

    @ Bryce -- You sound pretty biased.:p They do have iced coffee on the menu, so I am tempted...

    @ Oscar -- Sadly TAM almost never releases business class award space. That being said, I am flying LAN to South American next month.

    @ Mac -- Haven't ruled it out, though am not really interested in NBO as a destination, and can't find any way to get from NBO to MRU on SkyTeam.

  85. lucky OMAAT

    @ Carl -- As am I. I guess the moral of the story is to go by what Flying Blue says and not what ExpertFlyer says.

    @ Togan -- Am tempted to, but can't seem to find any space on them from Istanbul back to the States.

    @ Togan -- 110,000 US Airways miles.

  86. Mac New Member

    Did you consider and rule out US-ICN-NBO on KE for 120k in J?

  87. Soltatio Member

    Definitely go for it. Mauritius is a beautiful island and the new brussels product looks great. Also, having recently flown SAA in economy twice (ouch) on mileage runs id love to see a review of the business class product I stared at with so much envy...

  88. Oscar New Member

    Do it, new airlines and a "new" continent?!

    It's awesome.
    You are still missing to do a Brazil trip with TAM (Star Alliance) and make something for the less fortunate: a trip to Cabo or Mexico City with Aeromexico (SkyTeam)

  89. mohamed b Guest

    I wont fly Ethiopean even for free,they got 2 recent crash in less than 3 years,one departing from nigeria the other from beirut,sn brusseks have brand new business class and excellent service,south african business is good,well i tried to search air france fir february 13th and its showing availability,maybe fir flying blue platinium is another story,my friend who is silver cant find availability,well once you are there you should try intercontinental,great property and much cheaper.

    I wont fly Ethiopean even for free,they got 2 recent crash in less than 3 years,one departing from nigeria the other from beirut,sn brusseks have brand new business class and excellent service,south african business is good,well i tried to search air france fir february 13th and its showing availability,maybe fir flying blue platinium is another story,my friend who is silver cant find availability,well once you are there you should try intercontinental,great property and much cheaper.

  90. Bryce New Member

    I'd switch it up with Austrian instead of Brussels. This is only because I'm thinking of taking the JFK-VIE flight early next year and would love to read your opinion of it.

  91. Eponymous Coward Guest

    Dooooo eeet.

  92. Phil Guest

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Though ET looks like angled lie flat which is not so good for such a long trek. Also when are you going? Mauritius is great when it's nice but their winter then weather sucks

  93. Silvia Guest

    How many miles will this trip take?

  94. Pepe New Member

    By all means DO IT!

    LH First is sooooo boring these days on FT.
    New airlines and what´s look like a great deal on C&P at the St. Regis Mauritius.

  95. Togan Guest

    Try Turkish for the inbound instead? You may also review their new Business Lounge in Istanbul, which receives overwhelmingly positive reviews..

  96. Carl Guest

    You should absolutely do it! No brainer! But am curious about the AF discrepancy with Expert Flyer. I know The Points Guy has booked that before with Skymiles and wrote a trip report on it. I was hoping at some point to do the same thing.

  97. rc Guest

    Do it. Would be great to see your review of ET since I'm considering flying it later this year.

    I've heard Addis is as safe as any city in a developing country- as long as you are a "smart traveler", you will have no issues.

  98. Brian Guest

    Sounds great! And take the layover. Great, old, city. If you have a layover make sure the Toronto folk know, I am sure you would not have to pay for dinner.

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arcticbull Guest

I love Austrian -- their food just can't be beat. It was as good as LH F! It's a neat product that's become super hard to find lately. I'd basically given up on flying OS J again.

0
snic Diamond

"They have never particularly impressed me, but they’ve never totally let me down either!" They let a bunch of passengers down, straight into the Mediterranean Sea, not too long ago... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Airlines_Flight_409

0
TAO Guest

@lucky, I'm based in Seattle, do I fall into that "sometimes" category? LOL. By "sometimes," do you mean sometimes the UA agent would allow me to go through Asia? or sometimes the website would price out a stopover in Asia?

0
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