"no newspaper or magazine outlet"
Adam Simmons (Spain)
I was also the victim of an Ethiopian Airways 757 jet fire so spent rather longer in this airport than expected. For a major transit airport it is astonishing that there is no newspaper or magazine outlet. Some of the duty free shops are rip-off joints charging a seven percent surcharge on credit cards. They are also selective in what goods can be paid for in local currency (crisps) and which cannot (chocolate - go figure). My high point was a very tasty tilapia and french fries for only US$ and the airport was kept clean by a veritable army of support staff.
"no consistent policy"
Alistair Nicoll (United Kingdom)
Overall the airport is usually OK and it does not take long to get a visa on arrival. Duty free on the way out is expensive (local cigarettes nearly twice the price duty free than tax paid in town) and the bank will often claim to have no Western currency when you want to change Birr back. No consistent policy about what you can take on the plane sometimes you can take bottled water other times you can not. last time the confiscated my lighter (cheap throw away).
"shops are 300% more expensive"
Harold Bush (United Kingdom)
Bole is modern and looks good. But it feels and works like an Eastern European or Cuban airport in the old days of the Cold War. Shops are 300% more expensive. Do not buy Ethiopian crosses and other metallic souvenirs as they will be confiscated or put in the hold. Do not take more that 250 birr out of the country if you plan to return. A friend of mine was leaving with 350 birrs but 100 was confiscated. He was told that on his return customs would return the cash. This is a lie. As our flight was cancelled due to a major technical matter (Ethiopian 757 engine caught fire on take off) we were allowed to go back into the country yet when he tried to get the 100 birrs back he was told it was not possible because it now belonged to Ethiopia. This is corruption en masse pure and simple robbery. 100 birr is just under 10 US$ but imagine if it was much more.
I Abodunrin (United Kingdom)
I've only used the Addis Ababa Airport twice but both times have been great. The airport is one of the finest I've seen in Africa and it's also relatively speedy. The staff are very polite and professional and very helpful.
"clean compact and effective"
J Abebe (United Kingdom)
Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is clean compact and effective. Arrivals was quick. (I recommend getting your visa prior to arriving in ADD as the visa application process does take a while) Clearing immigration and getting your passport stamp took no longer than 3 minutes. Bags took about 20 minutes to arrive and came out sporadically but all came safely and thats all that matters. Ethiopian customs x-rays all luggage prior to exiting so that took some time as well but you are dealt with in a professional and polite manner. As for departures your tickets and passports are checked prior to entering the terminal building and there is an x-ray and metal detector immediately upon entering. Check-in was efficient USA departures have their own area where you are asked the typical security questions. Your passports/visas are heavily scrutinized (presumably because of the large amount of fraudulent documents that make their way through ADD and airlines getting charged large fines for transporting these people.) Passing through immigration is a simple exit stamp and you proceed upstairs where there is a fair amount of duty free shops and eateries. There is another security check to enter the specific gate area (and might I add the metal detector in the gate is extremely sensitive). Overall ADD is a clean and efficient airport with no major problems or difficulties encountered. 4 stars only because they could use a better selection of eateries.
"very lengthy passport check"
S Rose (United Kingdom)
Arrived Addis at 6am - luckily most passengers were in transit so entering was easy but time consuming. First you need to get your visa stamped in your passport then you can proceed to passport control - very lengthy passport check. To exit baggage area you must xray your bags no line control which is a pity. Terminal clean and modern but toilets smell horrible. Late night departure was easy as very few departures still every step takes forever. Duty free decent but wont take local currency which is annoying. More security at the gate and then its a trap if the flight is delayed. Any trip to the bathroom requires a new security check.
"leave a lot to be desired"
C Williams (United Kingdom)
Addis Ababa's Bole Intl Airport is a new 5 gate terminal. On arrival immigration does take some time but you are dealt with in a courteous and professional manner. Although there are signs on the queue's - (Ethiopians Visitors Diplomats etc) you can use any queue. The visitor queue was quite long so we walked up to the diplomat queue and we were stamped in with no questions asked. Luggage collection & customs are swift although all bags are x-rayed by customs. The terminal is beautiful with Ethiopian marble all over the ground and a lot of cultural artefacts throughout the airport. Departures/check-in is fairly swift immigration is a quick stamp out. Note that you are security screened immediately upon entering the airport and before entering your gate. The duty free areas have a nice selection of Ethiopian artefacts. I have to agree with comments below about the bathrooms - they leave a lot to be desired.
"a clean and spacious airport"
H Jackson (United Kingdom)
Seems a clean and spacious airport. Quite a few restaurants in the departure area. Security is adequate. Not bad at all.
"airport itself was clean"
Chris Aardt (United Kingdom)
I flew from South Africa to the Middle East via Addis. Upon my arrival on Saturday evening just after 9 most of my fellow airplane passengers ran to the "next" destination - the hotel voucher transit booth. When I got there I understood why the other ran! One big "Q" with only two staff issuing vouchers. I finally got my voucher and proceeded to the immigration booth - only one for all transit visitors although all the other booths' Qs was rather empty... Finally got through and waited for the bus - it was now already past midnight!!! And we had to get the bus the next morning at 06:30! Not much sleep left. The airport itself was clean.
"not much traffic but high stress"
P Bedson (United Kingdom)
A nearly new airport with not much traffic but high stress. Check in always takes forever - regardless of airline or class. You then have to pass through a series of subsequent security checks before reaching airside. Passport control is quite quick outbound but less than fast inbound (depending on how many flights land at the time) Airside is clean and spacious with reasonable coffee bars and a few duty free shops selling all the usual stuff you don't need or want. I'm not sure how well the airport will look in 5 years time - it seems to be aging rather quickly.