Ethiopian Airlines’ Surprising Penalty For Misbehaving In Lounge

Ethiopian Airlines’ Surprising Penalty For Misbehaving In Lounge

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If you put your feet on a table in an Ethiopian Airlines lounge, you may be docked miles, or may even have your status downgraded. I kind of love it.

Ethiopian will deduct miles or downgrade status for misbehavior

The awesome Sean M. passes on the sign he saw in the Ethiopian Airlines Sheba Platinum & Gold Lounge at Addis Ababa Airport (ADD). As you might expect, there’s a sign sharing basic “terms and conditions for lounge use,” including the following:

  • Bringing outside food or taking out food is not allowed
  • It is not allowed to remove food leftovers, beverages or periodicals from the lounge
  • Unpacking or repacking commercial items in the lounges is strictly prohibited
  • Laying down on the floor, sofas or resting your feet on the tables is not allowed for the sake of other customers and the cleanliness of the lounges and the furniture therein as well

But this is where it gets fun. The sign then lists “possible corrective actions to be taken in violation of the above terms and conditions.” And no, the corrective action doesn’t involve getting kicked out of the lounge. It’s much worse than that — Ethiopian Airlines is coming after your miles and status:

  • For your first offense you’ll have 2,000 miles deducted
  • For your second offense you’ll have 5,000 miles deducted
  • For your third offense you’ll have your elite tier downgraded to Silver status for six months
Ethiopian Airlines lounge rules & punishment

This is kind of amazing…

There’s so much to like about this policy:

  • I would have loved to be in the board room when they came up with this punishment; did one person say “maybe we should threaten to kick people out if they break the rules,” and someone else was like “nope, I think we should just progressively dock them more miles and then downgrade their status?”
  • The trick to misbehaving in Ethiopian Airlines’ lounge (assuming you unpack commercial items while having your feet on the furniture, and then take a roadie with you) is to just access the lounge through Star Alliance Gold status with another program; presumably Ethiopian Airlines is only docking miles and downgrading status for members of the ShebaMiles program
  • Could you imagine if this policy existed in the Admirals Clubs at DFW and MIA? American AAdvantage could undo the miles issued through the SimplyMiles promotion in one day
  • Ethiopian Airlines isn’t the first airline to go after elite status as punishment for misbehavior; Aeroflot has threatened to revoke elite status for those who are disruptive aboard

Bottom line

Ethiopian Airlines has perfectly reasonable rules of conduct for lounge visitors, but what’s interesting is the punishment for misbehaving. The airline is threatening to deduct 2,000 miles for the first instance of misbehavior, 5,000 miles for the second instance of misbehavior, and a downgrade to Silver status for the third instance of misbehavior.

Whether or not this is enforced is anyone’s guess, but I kind of love where the airline is coming from.

What do you make of Ethiopian Airlines’ lounge rules?

Conversations (28)
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  1. Fed UP Guest

    the fact that they have to have this sign tells me that the " lounge " in Adis Abababa is as bad as the airport and the city.

  2. Keith Green Guest

    I think Ethiopian Airlines should be more concerned about the shuttling of weapons to and from neighboring Eritrea during the civil war in Ethiopia's Tigray region, instead of unruly passengers.
    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/06/africa/ethiopian-airlines-investigation-tigray-war-intl-cmd/index.html

  3. Roamingredcoat Gold

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/unruly-passengers-lose-tsa-precheck-faa/story?id=81877833

  4. Lilly Guest

    People behave like animal so this punishment is perfect. How do you go in a Lounges and put your feet on table because you have Gold status? Yea that's how people think nowadays and flying has become insane so this is perfect!

  5. Alan Bachand Guest

    I normally do not comment on such thing BUT... the Addis Abada Ethiopian Airlines lounge is the skimpiest lounge I've seen in EVER... Any Motel 6 has better lounges than that... So don't go disturb anything there, it's SO small and you get a choice of a dry cookie or dry sandwich... Not worth the walk to that lounge... I didn't have time to check the airport restaurants but just go to your plane. The...

    I normally do not comment on such thing BUT... the Addis Abada Ethiopian Airlines lounge is the skimpiest lounge I've seen in EVER... Any Motel 6 has better lounges than that... So don't go disturb anything there, it's SO small and you get a choice of a dry cookie or dry sandwich... Not worth the walk to that lounge... I didn't have time to check the airport restaurants but just go to your plane. The planes Business class are GREAT and worth it FOR SURE..

    Tell me anyone who has been in that lounge what YOU think??

    1. Sean M. Diamond

      I think you really have no clue what you're talking about. The lounge is huge (seats 300+) and has a full hot buffet running 24/7. You sound like you are mixing this up with the horrible lounge in the old terminal or the domestic terminal.

  6. iamhere Guest

    This only affects the people that hold Ethiopian miles and star status through Ethiopian. I do not know how they could handle this with people who receive other star alliance points. Furthermore, if someone paid for business class but did not receive star points at all, they cannot do anything. We have to respect the fact that in many countries who primarily do not speak English the wording may not be so welcoming and may...

    This only affects the people that hold Ethiopian miles and star status through Ethiopian. I do not know how they could handle this with people who receive other star alliance points. Furthermore, if someone paid for business class but did not receive star points at all, they cannot do anything. We have to respect the fact that in many countries who primarily do not speak English the wording may not be so welcoming and may be more direct. They should also have rooms for people to lay down and relax, too. Many of the connections there have long layovers and people are already exhausted from flying and the time change.

  7. cow Guest

    When I (used to) travel I could always pick an American - they were the ones with their feet on chairs/tables. It is rude in any other country.

  8. D. Gremillon Guest

    E. A. can do whatever it pleases. Don't like it; fly another airline. When I was a child I rode a Greyhound Bus from time to time. I saw better manners and attire on that bus than I ever do in an airport. I think I will watch Straw Dogs and Lord of the Flies tonight.

  9. John Guest

    They needed those rules in the United Lounge in EWR yesterday. I saw a couple pack their bags with packaged food until it was full. Then they called someone to tell them what they got. Rarely put a mask on.

    Maybe all the airlines need rules like these.

  10. Alex Guest

    I don’t care for running into a police state in a place where I want to relax. If they’re having problems with bad behavior, they should word the notice in a way that makes everyone support each other. For example, “We would all like for the lounge to be as elegant and peaceful as possible. Our employees and guests thus observe the following protocol…” That way, they make you realize you have skin in the...

    I don’t care for running into a police state in a place where I want to relax. If they’re having problems with bad behavior, they should word the notice in a way that makes everyone support each other. For example, “We would all like for the lounge to be as elegant and peaceful as possible. Our employees and guests thus observe the following protocol…” That way, they make you realize you have skin in the game and encourage you to behave willfully instead of threatening you.

    1. Andrew Gold

      Respectfully disagree. Having worked in customer service, I can tell you that people suck at self-governing and following decorum because of some sign. This is a reaction to very badly behaving customers, who wouldn't give it a read, and are only going to discover the sign's contents when they continue to act badly.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Alex no offence but this is why America should stop intervene with other countries' affairs and start fixing our domestic problems first. The people who should defend America are behind the riots in the capital. Fix that before trying to preach about democracy and freedom. Wake up!!!

      You should care when you're in a police state, and respect what the Romans do.
      America liberated (invaded) Afghanistan "in a way that makes everyone support each...

      @Alex no offence but this is why America should stop intervene with other countries' affairs and start fixing our domestic problems first. The people who should defend America are behind the riots in the capital. Fix that before trying to preach about democracy and freedom. Wake up!!!

      You should care when you're in a police state, and respect what the Romans do.
      America liberated (invaded) Afghanistan "in a way that makes everyone support each other". We would like Afghans to be "as elegant and peaceful as possible".
      Look what happened next.

  11. ric Guest

    YES !
    We need this in the USA !
    I am so Sick of people using the lounges as n extension of their family rooms...especially with kids ! What happened to the decorum of the 60's and 70's?
    YES - BRING IT ON !!!

  12. Mike Guest

    Hi,
    This is indeed a great idea and should be implemented at all lounges around the world especially for their own members where they do have the authority to do so.
    Recently I have seen too many of such type of lounge users = although I am not sure how this will work in the US where it's sort of like a paid membership and what about those flying in Business/First International.

    Cheers!

  13. Grey Member

    I don't quite understand rule 3. What is a commercial item in this context? Getting out your corporate computer from your bag?

    1. Khan Siddiqqi Guest

      Probably repacking duty free items or bulk goods being taken in/out of Ethiopia to sell.

      I know a lot of ethiops here in the dmv area who take a second suitcase of stuff for family back home. Maybe some opportunists do the same at large scale.

    2. Sean M. Diamond

      Groups of traders who fly weekly back and forth from Dubai (previously India, China, Thailand) come in with sacks of stuff and then redistribute them among themselves and other mules so as to reduce likelihood of customs attention. When you have groups of 30-40 repacking merchandise at a time, it can really overwhelm the lounge for other passengers.

  14. Albert Guest

    Ythere is nothing wrong with these penalties. However your comment reflects the stupidity of an american asshole... What do u think?

  15. Andre Guest

    I respect no feet on the table, but the others are silly. Last time I was at the lounge in Addis Ababa, the food wasn't that great and the place was a dump, carpet ripping off the floors, old furniture and subpar food. What's wrong with bringing outdoor food? A candy or some chips? The food in the lounge is free, it's not like I'm taking away their business..

    1. David Guest

      New terminal....new lounges. They are much nicer now.

  16. Eskimo Guest

    If they could only take away status and miles for guardians of misbehaved children and ESA.

  17. Ethiopian Guest

    Did you remember the book called 'The Alchemist'? At some point it states that if you are a foreigner in a foreign land you should respect their tradition. I really don't know the reason but putting your leg on a table is extremely rude behavior in Ethiopian tradition. Every kid in Ethiopia will learn that in their early age. Rather than giving one sided opinion, like the one written in the article, its better to...

    Did you remember the book called 'The Alchemist'? At some point it states that if you are a foreigner in a foreign land you should respect their tradition. I really don't know the reason but putting your leg on a table is extremely rude behavior in Ethiopian tradition. Every kid in Ethiopia will learn that in their early age. Rather than giving one sided opinion, like the one written in the article, its better to ask the reason behind the rules. Then we can judge, or comment or whatever. If you want your tradition, religion, ethnicity, job, life respected then learn how to respect others. What comes around goes around.

    1. Daniel from Finland Guest

      You are so funny. Where exactly did Lucky suggest that placing your feet on tables is okay?

  18. Aman Guest

    Perhaps they need to view it from a customer centric lens and modify their lounge product-
    Sleeperette options for those who like to lie down
    To go food options for those who take food with them.
    A mini warehouse for packing commercial goods? Lol

    1. Sean M. Diamond

      They don't care if you take a bottle of water or a packed muffin with you. It's more geared towards people who would try to basically use the buffet to feed dozens of people camped out at the entrance.

  19. shoeguy Gold

    Not sure about how often these will be enforced, but it would be amazing if all airlines banned unvaccinated flyers and anyone that causes a disruption in flight, such as the thong on face wearing American idiot who just got banned from UA.

  20. Ja Guest

    Have they actually enforced those rules , is the million dollar question .

    I’d like to hear from anyone ( which is unlikely anyone in here ) that has been subject to the miles deduction punishment.

    At the end of the day , it is there rules whether you like it or not.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Andrew Gold

Respectfully disagree. Having worked in customer service, I can tell you that people suck at self-governing and following decorum because of some sign. This is a reaction to very badly behaving customers, who wouldn't give it a read, and are only going to discover the sign's contents when they continue to act badly.

3
Sean M. Diamond

I think you really have no clue what you're talking about. The lounge is huge (seats 300+) and has a full hot buffet running 24/7. You sound like you are mixing this up with the horrible lounge in the old terminal or the domestic terminal.

2
Daniel from Finland Guest

You are so funny. Where exactly did Lucky suggest that placing your feet on tables is okay?

2
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