Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Review [2023]

Ethiopian Airport Lounge review cover image

On my recent trip through Africa, I got an opportunity to check out a couple of the Addis Ababa airport lounge offerings. In this review, I will be covering my lengthy visit to the Cloud Nine Ethiopian Airlines lounge along with the fun I had trying to get in. We’ll break down the seating options, the food and drink, and the unique amenities that set this ADD lounge apart from the rest.

If you’re seeking comfort and convenience during your travels through one of Africa’s busiest terminals, don’t miss this Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge review, and discover why this ADD lounge is a top choice for travellers at the Addis Ababa airport.

    Compare prices on business class flights to Addis Ababa with Skyscanner

Where is the Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Located?

Thanks to its modernization and expansion in 2020, The Addis Ababa Bole Airport boasts a relatively new infrastructure, particularly in its main building, Terminal 2. This terminal is designed with an open layout, making it easy to navigate. Pretty much in the middle, you’ll find two Ethiopian Airlines lounges, the Ethiopian Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge and the Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge for Star Alliance status members.

Both of these Addis Ababa airport lounges are conveniently situated near gate A14, a central location within the terminal. If connecting, this gate is in close proximity to the area where you’ll complete secondary security procedures. From there you will find the lounges are well-marked and easily accessible, making them easy to spot.

If you are starting your trip from Addis Ababa, upon clearing security, make a left and continue down the terminal. Again, the lounge is easily identifiable, thanks to prominent signage.

Access to the Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge

A busy entrance to the Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines lounge Addis Ababa

Entry to both Ethiopian Airlines lounges in Terminal Two is different so be sure to note which one applies to you on your visit.

Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge

Access to the Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge is exclusively granted to passengers holding business class tickets with Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, EgyptAir, Emirates, or Turkish Airlines. Access cannot be obtained solely based on your frequent flyer status. To be eligible for entry, your onward flight must also be in the business class cabin. Therefore, if you’ve recently travelled in business class from Johannesburg but have an economy class connection, you would not qualify for lounge access.

The Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge hours vary depending on the first and last departures of the day.

Ethiopian Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge

The Star Alliance Gold Ethiopian Airlines lounge is designated for travellers with elite status, granting access regardless of their originally booked cabin class. Whether you’re in economy with Star Alliance Gold status or flying business class, you’re welcome here. However, if your ticket is in the business class, the Cloud Nine lounge is the better of the two Ethiopian Airlines Business Class lounge Addis Ababa options. Although a very similar layout, as I found on my visit, the Cloud 9 lounge offers a better selection of food, has newer seating, and has staff that will advise you when your flight is boarding.

Similar to the Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge hours, this ADD lounge hours vary depending on the day’s first and last departures.

Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Service and Amenities

black placard listing services at the Cloud 9 Addis Ababa Airport Lounge

The Cloud 9 Addis Ababa airport lounge has many services and amenities to offer, however as I found, not all are available all the time. More on that below under my Ethiopian Airlines Lounge experience.

an empty Skylight bar at the Cloud 9 Addis Ababa Airport Lounge

The services include showers, a massage room, a prayer room, a children’s area, a smoking room, a cafe, a self-serve and full-service bar, a lounge, and a dining area.

Seating Options

Walking through the gate and past the check-in desk, you will quickly see that the Cloud 9 Addis Ababa airport lounge is massive with several off-shoot areas to explore. This 5,000 square metre ADD lounge opened in 2020 and has a capacity of 600 people. To accommodate these guests, the Cloud 9 Addis Ababa airport lounge has a wide variety of seating options including table tops, loungers, benches, and bar stools.

Arguably, the best seats are along the window where you can take in the city with a backdrop of lush green mountains. There’s also a quiet room tucked away in the corner with reclined seats which is a perfect spot to catch up on some sleep if needed.

Four black leather loungers in the quiet room of the Ethiopian Airlines ADD lounge.

Showers and Massage Room

An empty desk at the entrance of the massage room in the Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 business class lounge Addis Ababa

Since I stayed in the airport hotel the night prior, I did not use the showers in the lounge. I did pop my head in though and the rooms were large, clean, and perfectly adequate for a pref-flight rinse.

As mentioned, there is a massage room at the Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines lounge however no one was working it on my way through. There was no menu visible so I am unsure of costs, if any, and what is offered. Searching online doesn’t reveal much so if anyone has had success using this feature let me know in the comments below!

Ethiopian Airlines Lounge Food & drink

injera and curry at the Ethiopian Airlines business class lounge Addis Ababa

The biggest thing I was looking forward to with my Addis Ababa airport lounge experience was getting to enjoy some local food. This was heightened by the fact that I screwed up my visa application (more on that later) and missed out on an Ethiopian food tour that I booked. I also really enjoyed the local food on my Ethiopian Airlines 787-9 business class flight so I had some expectations of a similar experience on the ground.

I visited twice, once during the breakfast service and once during lunch. Both had traditional Ethiopian dishes with pillowy soft injera (Ethiopian flat bread). Both services also had some Western dishes but, not surprisingly, were not nearly as good as the local food.

There are a couple of bar areas however, again, on my visit only the one in the dining area was open. They have a large selection of liquors and wines however not much to offer for beer.

An empty bar inside a quiet Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines lounge in Addis Ababa

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

coffee beans and cups setup at the coffee ceremony station in the ADD lounge

What really sets this airport lounge in Addis Ababa apart is the Ethiopian coffee ceremony it offers.

The Ethiopian Airlines Lounge in Addis Ababa offers a captivating and culturally immersive coffee ceremony, reflecting Ethiopia’s rich coffee heritage. Guests are treated to a traditional experience where green coffee beans are meticulously roasted, ground, and brewed in a special pot, known as a “jebena,” right within the lounge. The captivating aroma of freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee, or “bunna,” fills the air as passengers witness every step of this centuries-old tradition. It’s not just a coffee break; it’s a journey into Ethiopian culture, fostering a sense of warmth and community in a serene and comfortable lounge setting.

An empty coffee ceremony room with colourful stools and wooden tables inside the Ethiopian Airlines lounge

This unique coffee ceremony in the heart of Addis Ababa’s bustling airport is a testament to Ethiopian hospitality and adds a special touch to the travel experience for those enjoying the airline’s business-class services.

My Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Experience

As mentioned at the top, I was able to check out a couple of Addis Ababa airport lounge options. This is because I had an inbound and outbound connection through ADD on my recent trip to Africa.

On my first connection through Addis Ababa I was blown away by the number of Ethiopian aeroplanes on the tarmac and then the amount of passengers funnelling through the airport halls. This trend continued with my first visit to the Ethiopian Airlines lounge. It was buzzing with activity and had limited seats available. We only had an hour connection and the lounge is massive so I decided to leave my exploring for the tail end of my Africa trip when I had a 22-hour connection in Addis Ababa. This turned out to be a mistake as my return visit was surprisingly different.

A queen size bed in a room at the Skylight airport hotel in Addis Ababa

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Since we were connecting on Emirates, our Ethiopian Airlines flight check-in attendant in Cape Town could not give us a boarding pass. Because the Emirates counter wasn’t opened up until 3 hours prior to the flight we couldn’t remedy this. The Emirates app also would not produce a pass for us so we were stuck.

I was able to explain the situation to the lounge attendants and, after some pleading and showing them our itineraries, they let us in. We were relieved as we noticed the airport was eerily quiet, however, and of course, this was the same inside the lounge. At first, we were pleased to have the place to ourselves given how busy it was on our first pass through however none of the interesting areas was open. There wasn’t even food out. Turns out, timing matters on your visit to the Ethiopian Airlines lounge in Addis Ababa.

There was staff milling about but nothing but coffee was available. It was weird and a little spooky. On the positive, I was able to tour the lounge and take photos uninterrupted.

Finally, around the 3-hour mark before our Emirates 777-300er flight to Dubai, food started coming out of the kitchen and other guests filled in. Still, much of the lounge went unused including the massage room and a lonely soft-serve machine in the empty Skylight Bar.

Wrapping Up This Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Review

Cloud 9 Ethiopian Airlines lounge Addis Ababa entrance with Emirates airlines sign welcoming guests

Although I spent WAY too much time in an empty Ethiopian Airlines lounge with much of it closed, the seating options, decor, and Ethiopian food (once put out) were very enjoyable. Of the two Ethiopian Airlines Business Class Lounge options in Terminal Two, Cloud 9 is the better choice thanks to the food selection, updated furniture, and staff who announce flight departures and go-to-gate times.

That said, this isn’t a place I would spend more than a few hours in. I will be sure to get my Ethiopian visa sorted before my next long layover in Addis Ababa so I can explore the city and take that food tour I sadly missed out on.

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Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Review [2023]Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Review [2023]Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Review [2023]

So how does the Ethiopian Airport Lounge Addis Ababa rank?

7 Amenities
8 Food & Drink
9 Comfort
8 Value
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