| Washington to Kilimanjaro via Addis Ababa. Upon arrival at the airport at 4:30 am, i was notified my connecting flight to Washington Dulles airport had been delayed 5 hours. this would make my connecting international flight to Africa impossible to make. The affiliate airline could not find an alternative on it or any other departure that would make my connection. I called Ethiopian airlines and they did not have any solution. the only resolution was to take the international flight at the same time the next date; however they indicated there were no seats available. My trip was to climb Kilimanjaro, and a 24 hour delay would not permit me to rendezvous with my group of climbers to make the trek. Since they could not offer me a solution that could possibly work, I asked for a refund of my ticket fare and the business class upgrade that i paid for extra. I was on the phone with Ethiopian and their domestic carrier United that day about 2.5 hours, after spending and hour and a half standing in front of the United agent who was not able to help me at all at the airport. I did get some sympathy from the Ethiopian agents but no resolution while on the phone, and they hung up on me twice. In a pickle, I purchased an alternative ticket leaving later that day on another airline (KLM) that would get me to my destination in time to meet my trek guides and other climbers. I notified the airline of my intention to do so, by phone, and then I had to depart to make my trip and the subsequent 28 hours of travel to Kilimanjaro airport. I noticed that I was still being notified of the flights that I was not taking by Ethiopian, but in an effort not to further ruin a lifelong ambition trip, and in consideration of the communication difficulty from my location, i determined I would fight that refund fight after returning. My assistant carried that torch for me during my trip, several times getting on the phone, holding for extreme periods, and then getting disconnected or receiving vague promises to look into it. Upon my return from Africa, we both followed up four more times, but despite getting an eventual promise to refund my tickets, nothing has yet showed up in either an email or a credit (three weeks later). I realize this is complicated by the participation of two airlines (United and Ethiopian) but I purchased my ticket through Ethiopian and United required me to go through them to resolve my dispute. So, i cannot rate Ethiopian on their actual flights, as I did not get to take one, but as for their website and customer service, the website is minimalistic and not up to current e-commerce standards, and the customer service is either over-burdened with issues, or their practice is to try to put customers on hold so long that they eventually give up on their complaint. I had heard good reports on Ethiopian from travelers flying regularly to Africa prior to this, and several of my companions were on the flight that I missed (they flew in to Washington the night before) and they had not complaints. If Ethiopian aims to be a professional world travel airline they need to be prepared to deal with their customers better.