Addis Ababa Airport

Customer Reviews

No Skytrax Rating
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 138 reviews
3/10
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3/10

"infrastructure is totally lacking"

(Philippines)

Not Verified | Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport is one of the saddest that I have seen, the infrastructure is totally lacking for the number of passengers being handled. It has the appearance of an overcrowded train station where no one really knows what is happening. The only thing that tempers my remarks is that I was flying business class and thus, benefitted from some preferential treatment that cut down waiting times in lines. Still, the confusion and lack of clarity was almost overwhelming. Also, the uphill and up the stairs hike into the airport can be a little breathtaking: Addis Ababa is 7,500 feet above sea level so do not run! I arrived at the airport via a hotel shuttle that drops one off in a parking lot, rather than at curbside. One has to drag himself (and if he has luggage, that too) up a fairly long path to the terminal entrance, although porters are available. As this is not under cover, one can only imagine the mess it must be in the rain! Business class entitles one to an express security check at the front door and an express line for check-in and immigration. However, the express lines were violated by a number of people while I was there and that defeats the whole purpose. The waiting area is a mass of people all wandering about trying to determine where to go. Fortunately, I was entitled to the business class lounge - but it is in need of more space and improved facilities. Additionally, the restrooms are limited in size and they offer no shower rooms for transit passengers. At the moment, it has the feeling of being a temporary affair, not well planned. Proceeding to the departure gate from the business class requires another security check where one has to remove shoes and watches - and one is advised to plan ahead for this inconvenience as there is no place to sit to remove or put back on shoes - even at the special screening for business class. Watches should be removed and safely stored in a hand bag, too. Going through security, one gets the distinct impression that no one is really paying attention to what is going on, rather they are just going through the motions. Following the screening, there is an a special area where business class passengers can wait for some flights, but not all, so it is best to check with the agent who checks you in or with the people in the business class lounge. Again, there is what seems to be almost total chaos and far too little space for departing passengers. I was able to use the special area for business class, but be aware to pay attention for your departure. I was told that someone would come around and tell me when the flight for Manila was departing. That did not happen and luckily, I spotted some people who looked like they were headed my way and checked and indeed, it was my time to board. From there we went down an elevator and onto a bus to the plane, where we had to hike up the stairs into breathlessness in the thin air. I cannot fault the employees of Ethiopian Airlines as they really try their best in an impossible situation. But the airport is totally lacking in infrastructure to handle the number of flights it handles. And the way the building is designed is faulty: it is too narrow to be able to provide the space needed. What I don’t understand is why so much money was invested in beautiful, new aircraft for Ethiopian Airlines (A350’s and Boeing Dreamliner) and none was invested in upgrading Addis Ababa’s airport. It is a mess.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJanuary 2019
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"Just an awful place"

(South Africa)

Not Verified | Definitely made the trip that much more difficult. The airline itself seems good and seems to have a good reputation but the airport doesnt even come close. There is not enough seating in the place... at one point people where sitting on the floor for hours. Toilet facilties are absolutely abysmal most not working. There is not enough restaurants. The ones that are there dont take cards. Just an awful place.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2019
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"always a nightmare"

(Zambia)

Trip Verified | Worst airport I have ever utilized. After almost 10 years of consistent issues I will no longer use Ethiopian Airlines! I had hoped things might improve as I have found the airline itself to be good but the airport (ie infrastructure, chaotic clearance process, bus transit to/from planes, poor/conflicted communication) is always a nightmare. Totally unacceptable to this frequent traveller.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJanuary 2019
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"worst hub in the world"

(France)

Trip Verified | Bole airport is the worst hub in the world. Overcrowded, dirty, smelly, with nowhere to sit and very disorganised queues for security. The toilets, when they are available, are even dirtier and smellier, with no toilet paper most of the time and a queue so long it is often preferable waiting until boarding the plane. The boarding queues are hardly ever respected despite the colour system put in place by Ethiopian Airlines and most staff just yell at passengers. The lighting is poor and gloomy, even in the recently expanded section. The toilets in the new boarding area already look worn and the design is clearly outdated, with tubes and plumbing visible on the ceiling in the lower section. Coffee dispensers do not accept credit cards or foreign currency. The duty free looks more like an African street market than an international airport: products are poorly displayed, with shoes still in their boxes, cables and wiring showing everywhere, and no prices displayed. Credit card machines hardly ever work. The worst part though is the only restaurant in the terminal, the infamous London Satellite Café: disgusting food, often served cold, totally overprices (nothing under 20 USD) with non-English speaking staff and incredibly rude waiters. What a pity for a country with such an incredible food culture. Any sensible airport manager would just prohibit them from operating in the airport ever again. Last thing: the smoking area is so poorly isolated that the whole terminal smells like tobacco. I expected the expansion and renovation to improve the situation, but it is clear that the problem is not only infrastructure: management is to blame. Ethiopian can never hope to compete with Emirates or Turkish with such an awful transit hub. Avoid this airport at all costs.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJanuary 2019
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
2/10

"totally disorganised"

(United Kingdom)

Not Verified | Avoid, the worst possible airport, totally disorganised, just a big chaos. And on top of that you are allowed to take litres of alcohol through to the gate but no water and no option to get one, probably supposed to dehydrate. I'd give it 0 if i could. No prices on anything, its just a guessing game and embrace yourself if you need the toilet.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitJanuary 2019
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"the worst airport imaginable"

(United Kingdom)

Not Verified | It is by far the worst airport imaginable. One begs to question, how they can afford dozens of A350 jets costing hundreds of millions of dollars, yet they don't spend $5million to upgrade the toilets and somewhere to sit while yo wait. The whole management and outlook of this airport tells me that there is no management! I can't express how bad and uncomfortable it is in words.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJune 2018
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"incredibly chaotic experience"

(Somalia)

Not Verified | Addis is by far the worst airport I've ever been to. If you arrive at 9pm, 10pm or 11pm, prepare yourself for an incredibly chaotic experience. Last time I was there at 10:30pm there were thousands of people, no place to sit, they were laying on the floors. I contacted ground staff immediately as I had a tight connection. Instead of helping me, they yelled at me. I was left to fend for myself and try to navigate through queues with thousands of people. When I missed my flight they yelled at me again, in front of other passengers. I was in a heap of sweat from running so fast to catch my flight. Five others trying to make the same connection as me also missed it. Some of them were old and it took them much longer to make it to the gate. I am young and fit, I literally jumped over people. If I couldn't make it, no one could. It then took three hours to get a hotel and then no one showed me to the shuttle. It was the middle of the night. When I tried to get back into the airport to ask again where the shuttle might be hiding, I was strictly not allowed in. The staff at the door pretended to have no idea what I was talking about. I nearly had a nervous break down outside the airport, in the darkness of the night.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitNovember 2018
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
7/10

"No problems at all"

(United Kingdom)

Not Verified | No problems at all, in fact I have no idea why it's got such a poor rating. Definitely not the worst airport I've experienced in Africa (hello Ivato!) and certainly better than Entebbe or Jomo Kenyatta. Seemed clean enough and the ground staff were perfectly polite (here's an idea, try being polite and see what happens) moved through at a reasonable pace in transit here.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitOctober 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
2/10

"airport needs a major upgrade"

(Malaysia)

Trip Verified | The airport needs a major upgrade. First all departures and arrivals do not have aerobridges. Ground staff service is poor. The information counter is only one and it has 20 people waiting. On lounges it is only applicable to biz class. You cannot pay to access the lounge. Internet is poor, roaming does not work. The worst is the restaurant quality and service. It is monopolies by one and they served me instant noodles. There seem to be major confusion on how you offer and pay.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitOctober 2018
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
2/10

"Worst airport ever"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | Worst airport ever! Prepare to be x-rayed without your permission. Treated like a suspect and made to feel very unwelcome. You will also find very 3rd world restaurants. Very tardy service. (prepare to wait 30 min for a coffee) You can try another restaurant but they're all the same. The staff lack training and education with regards to efficient management. There are not enough toilets for the masses, so be preparrd to wait long and take disinfectant with you for the facilities. Although Ethiopian Airlines are a 1st Class airline. The airport falls extremely short. I would definitely advise avoiding the airport at all costs. A shame they can't use the airport to its fullest potential. It could be such a large source of revenue, due to the thousands of feet travelling through it hourly.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitOctober 2018
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no