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ADD / Addis Ababa Bole International Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers

ADD / Addis Ababa Bole International Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers

Old Feb 16, 18, 12:17 pm
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ADD / Addis Ababa Bole International Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers

With the growing stature of Ethiopian Airlines and ADD as a major African aviation hub, I believed its time to have a complete guide to the airport. Since the airport does not have a functioning website, and the Ethiopian Airlines website does not give clear information, I will try to make this guide as comprehensive as possible. Feel free to add on, and reply with questions !
TERMINAL 1
This terminal is used by DOMESTIC and Regional Flights.
Airlines:
Ethiopian Airlines (Domestic as well as JIB, HGA, JUB, JED, RUH, KWI, DOH, BAH, MCT, DAM)
FlyDubai
Qatar Airways
GulfAir

This terminal is rather outdated and lacks in practically any amenities.
Lounges:
Ethiopian Airlines Lounge (For Cloud Nine, ShebaMiles Platinum/Gold, and Star Alliance Gold)

There is one security checkpoint near the gates, and all gates (15-18) are connected after security

TERMINAL 2
This is the primary International terminal and unless you are connecting to one of the cities listed in section above you will remain in this terminal.
Airlines:
Ethiopian Airlines (all other destinations)
Emirates
Lufthansa
Turkish Airlines
EgyptAir
Saudia
Kenya Airways

Guide to Connections:
You have a 90% chance of arriving at a remote stand and will be bussed to Terminal 2, no worries this still a relatively simple process. After arriving at the terminal, all passengers will ride a quick escalator ride up to the arrivals mezzanine. If you luckily arrive via jetbridge, you will arrive directly into the arrivals mezzanine. Once on this floor follow the CONNECTING FLIGHTS sign (The sign is in Green). In the center of the terminal is where you will either follow the CONNECTING FLIGHTS signs and proceed on the escalator to the Departures level or proceed downwards to IMMIGRATION AND BAGGAGE CLAIM. Just follow the GREEN signs and you will find your way, plus there are always lots of agents screaming "TRANSIT TRANSIT" to point you in the right way lol.

If you have a long transit in Addis Ababa and will be accommodated by ET then at central point next to the escalators that take you to departures, proceed to the "ARRIVALS AND TRANSFER DESK" where ET ground staff will gladly assist you and provide you with your voucher.

Departures:
This terminal is standard and has free WiFi but doesn't have many eateries, the bathroom are not in the greatest condition, and shops are overpriced. Overall a decent experience, but can get very crowded during the morning from 6-10:30 AM and evenings from 7:30pm-2AM.

Lounges: There are FOUR and each of them have strict entry rules
1) Cloud Nine Lounge: this is for Ethiopian Airline Cloud Nine Passengers as well as Business Class passengers of other Star Alliance flights.
Location: in the back row in the center of terminal
2) Star Gold Lounge: this is for Star Alliance Gold Members only
Location: in the back row towards the left
3) Platinum Lounge: this for Sheba Miles Platinum Members only
Location: in the front row, center, near the Gold Track checkpoint
4) Ethiopian Lounge: this is for ShebaMiles Silver Members
Location: in the back row on the far left side

*Important to note: Security at ADD is done at the gates
Just look around at the screens and when it says "Proceed to Gate", I would strongly advise you to proceed as security lanes can get very long.
Guide: There are 4 main security checkpoints, and an additional 1 for Star Gold Track (Cloud Nine, Sheba Miles Platinum/Gold, Star Alliance Gold)
Gates 1-7 are bus boarding gates with standard security
Gates 8-9 are jet bridges with standard security
In the Center of the Terminal is STAR GOLD TRACK with standard security
Gate 10 jet bridge with standard security
Gates 11-14 house high security flights to USA, Canada, Israel, UK and occasioanlly flights to other destinations. This checkpoint can take up to an hour at peak time. (Gates 11,14 are jetbridges 12 &13 are bus boarding)

*Security is rather tight at ADD, shoes and laptops have to be removed. Gates 11-14 additionally require disposal of water bottles and utilize TSA like body scanners
*Gates 1-10 are connected after security, Gates 11-14 are walled off from the rest
** IF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO USE THE STAR GOLD TRACK USE THIS LANE, IT IS MUCH QUICKER. However, if you are departing from Gates 11-14 you must use that checkpoint, there is a Priority line however.
** For those passengers who can utilize the STAR GOLD TRACK, there is a pleasant waiting area near Gate 10 after the checkpoint where when boarding for your flight begins you will be taking down an exclusive elevator down to busses, or will go to your jet bridge if your flights departs from one.

Arrivals:
For passengers who are terminating in Addis Ababa and for those who have received their voucher, follow the IMMIGRATION AND BAGGAGE CLAIM signs, at the central part of the terminal, proceed on the escalators down to Immigration. Once in the Immigration hall, the right 2/3 of counters are for Ethiopian citizens/Origin ID cardholders/Permanent Residents and Foreigners who already have a visa. If you completed an e-visa or are completing a Visa on Arrival stay on the left 1/3. There are signs to point towards this.

Baggage Claim hall is to the right of immigration counters, just look at the screens, and remember all Priority (Cloud Nine, ShebaMiles Platinum/Gold, Star Alliance Gold) bags will are at Carousel#2 regardless of origin. Before proceeding to customs there will be a security check to verify your checked bags match the number on bag tags given to you at check-in. (If you are on an overnight ET voucher skip this point and walk past customs where there this a little waiting area where you can wait for your respective hotel and/or ET pickup bus). Now once you leave the arrivals hall, you enter what used to be the meters/greeters area (meters/greeters now have to wait in the parking lot due to construction in the terminal) but now simply house booths for the hotels. If you have someone waiting to pick you up, you will proceed outside and walk down a ramp into the parking lot where you will find your waiting party.

Hope this makes sense !
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Old Feb 17, 18, 8:21 am
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Thank you for this excellent resource. So Qatar flies in and out of Terminal 1? Does it have a departure lounge?
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Old Feb 17, 18, 8:57 am
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Is the STAR GOLD TRACK security available to ET business class passengers?

And I would like to second SanDiego1K's sentiments. Excellent resource post! This is exactly what I want to find when I am doing my first connection through an airport.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
Is the STAR GOLD TRACK security available to ET business class passengers?

And I would like to second SanDiego1K's sentiments. Excellent resource post! This is exactly what I want to find when I am doing my first connection through an airport.
Yes, Ethiopian's business class is referred to as Cloud Nine
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Old Feb 17, 18, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
Thank you for this excellent resource. So Qatar flies in and out of Terminal 1? Does it have a departure lounge?
Yes, QR uses Terminal 1 and they do not have their own lounge. They likely use the ET lounge, but I'm not 100% sure
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Old Feb 17, 18, 12:25 pm
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Moderator note.

Per multiple requests, we have made this a important resource a "sticky" thread. Ocn Vw 1K, Senior Moderator.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by ET359 View Post
Yes, QR uses Terminal 1 and they do not have their own lounge. They likely use the ET lounge, but I'm not 100% sure
I've gone searching since this will be important to me soon. Here is a 2017 post in the Qatar Lounge thread:

Originally Posted by Beano HK View Post
QR flies into ADD into terminal 1 which is the domestic lounge. This creates confusion sometimes with pick ups who automatically go to the International terminal (T2)...especially at 1230 or so at night.

The lounge on departure is up the stairs on the left and is the Cloud 9, Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance) lounge. I didnt fancy food poisoning so skipped the food offerings and had a glass of water. The wifi was rubbish but they had Sky News on.

There were no queues at all in the airport on departure and there are 5 check in desks to choose from. (Apparently the reason for the T1 usage is they can only have 2 desks to utilise in the International terminal).
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Old Feb 17, 18, 8:18 pm
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This video perfectly shows the Terminal 2 Connection/Departure Experience
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Old Feb 18, 18, 12:20 pm
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I would just note that ADD tends to frequently change the way they do things in the airport. I have flown through there once every few months on business for the last 2 years. Each time there are new surprises. For example, the Star Gold boarding area near Gate 10 was added sometime last year I believe. Used it once successfully, but on subsequent trips, there have been no guests or staff there, so couldn't rely on getting to your flight when waiting there. I've also had times where I've sat in the premium waiting areas, got bussed to the plane as Star Gold/Business only to find that the whole economy class had already boarded. Not a great experience when you're *G and sitting in economy.

I've also noticed the last few trips that the boarding gates on the lower level no longer have Group 1 boarding areas, meaning they never call business or *G customers to board first. It's typically chaos as everyone in all 5 groups clamors for the queue.

The post should also note that there are no restaurants or stores beyond security, so be prepared to wait at your gate without the option to buy anything to nibble on.

On the whole, I find Ethiopian Airlines to be generally reliable with a good onboard experience, but ADD airport is hectic and frustrating. Sometimes your trip can go off without a hitch, while other times you're stuck in frustrating lines with no one clear on how things are supposed to work that day.
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Old Mar 1, 18, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I've gone searching since this will be important to me soon. Here is a 2017 post in the Qatar Lounge thread:
this is still the same. I note a typo though in my original post, they of course fly into the domestic TERMINAL not lounge!

(My bad).

you do know there is a current state of emergency there. If you shoot me a message when you are going, and importantly where, I can give you some updates I receive on a almost daily basis at the moment.

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Old Mar 14, 18, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by ET359 View Post
Lounges: There are FOUR and each of them have strict entry rules1) Cloud Nine Lounge: this is for Ethiopian Airline Cloud Nine Passengers as well as Business Class passengers of other Star Alliance flights.Location: in the back row in the center of terminal2) Star Gold Lounge: this is for Star Alliance Gold Members onlyLocation: in the back row towards the left3) Platinum Lounge: this for Sheba Miles Platinum Members onlyLocation: in the front row, center, near the Gold Track checkpoint4) Ethiopian Lounge: this is for ShebaMiles Silver MembersLocation: in the back row on the far left side !
Great thread!
Which lounge is better? Cloud nine or star gold?
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Houminer View Post
Great thread! Which lounge is better? Cloud nine or star gold?
The Cloud Nine lounge has a much nicer ambience, food selection and is also larger. The Star Gold lounge can get very crowded in the evenings and it is not unusual to have to step over people sitting/sleeping on the floor there. The C9 lounge has a separate quiet room with sleeperettes where you can grab a nap on a long layover.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
The Cloud Nine lounge has a much nicer ambience, food selection and is also larger. The Star Gold lounge can get very crowded in the evenings and it is not unusual to have to step over people sitting/sleeping on the floor there. The C9 lounge has a separate quiet room with sleeperettes where you can grab a nap on a long layover.
I am looking at a potential itinerary where we would arrive at 1:00 AM and depart at 9:30 AM. I the Cloud Nine lounge ope at that time?
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Old Mar 15, 18, 12:29 am
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Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
I am looking at a potential itinerary where we would arrive at 1:00 AM and depart at 9:30 AM. I the Cloud Nine lounge ope at that time?
All the lounges are open 24 hrs.

However, if you are on an Ethiopian Airlines itinerary you will be eligible for complimentary hotel during this layover (if connecting from ET to ET flights). If on another airline inbound to ADD and departing on ET, then you can usually pay $70 for a package including hotel, visa, ground transport and meals. Just ask at the transit desk.
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Old Mar 15, 18, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
All the lounges are open 24 hrs.

However, if you are on an Ethiopian Airlines itinerary you will be eligible for complimentary hotel during this layover (if connecting from ET to ET flights). If on another airline inbound to ADD and departing on ET, then you can usually pay $70 for a package including hotel, visa, ground transport and meals. Just ask at the transit desk.
I don't know if I would do it for 8 hours. By the time you get to the hotel, check in and in bed you would have at most 3 - 4 hours of sleep time. If the sleeperettes in the Cloud Nine lounge are good, hopefully I could get 3 - 4 hours there.
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