Old Nov 20, 2023, 1:08 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: B747-437B
INFO AND FAQ ABOUT ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES' STPC (STopover Paid by Carrier) PROGRAM

If you have a connection between two Ethiopian Airlines international flights at Addis Ababa International Airport (ADD) scheduled for between 08:00 to 23:59 hours in length on a single ticket, you are eligible for the complimentary STPC (STopover Paid by Carrier) package.


Eligible passengers should get a voucher for hotel, visa, meals and transport when you check-in for your first Ethiopian Airlines flight. On arrival in Addis Ababa, proceed DIRECTLY to immigration who will process your transit entry on the basis of the voucher. As soon as you exit the customs area, there is an Ethiopian Airlines Transport Desk on the left hand side. Present your voucher there for a rubber stamp and they will advise you the details of your hotel shuttle. There is a waiting area with a handful of seats (and free WiFi) while you wait. The voucher covers everything, including all meals appropriate to the time of day.

FAQ

Qsn : How long does my layover need to be to take advantage of this program?
Ans : Your layover needs to be between 08:00 to 23:59 hours in length. A layover of 07:59 or less (or 24:00 and longer) is not eligible.

Qsn : My layover is during the daytime and not overnight. Am I still eligible?
Ans : YES. As long as your layover is between 08:00 to 23:59 hours in length, you are eligible.

Qsn : Which hotel will I be assigned to?
Ans : In almost all cases Business Class passengers will be assigned to the 5-star Ethiopian Skylight Hotel located in Bole. As of May 2023, the extension to the Skylight Hotel is also open so a vast majority of Economy Class passengers will also be assigned there.


https://www.ethiopianskylighthotel.com

Qsn. Do I need to book in advance?
Ans : No, you just show up at check-in for your first flight and you will receive the voucher.

Qsn : I did not receive my voucher at check-in. What should I do?
Ans : If you did not receive your voucher at check-in, you will most likely receive it at the boarding gate. If you still do not receive it for some reason, you can collect it at the "Transfer and Layover Office" in Addis Ababa which is located on the left (west) side of the transit security area.

Qsn. Do I get to choose my hotel?
Ans : No, your hotel will be assigned to you. In almost all cases Business Class passengers will be assigned to the 5-star Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. As of May 2023, the extension to the Skylight Hotel is also open so a vast majority of Economy Class passengers will also be assigned there.

Qsn. Do I need to buy my own food?
Ans : No, your voucher includes complimentary meals at the hotel appropriate to the time of day.

Qsn. How do I get to the hotel?
Ans : Your voucher includes complimentary transfers from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. The Ethiopian Airlines Transport Desk located just after Customs will direct you to the appropriate pickup point for the shuttle bus.

Qsn. Can I skip the shuttle bus and take a taxi instead?
Ans : Sure, but you need to get your voucher stamped by the Ethiopian Airlines Transport Desk located just after Customs. The hotel requires a stamped voucher in order to allow your check-in.

Qsn. I prefer to stay at the Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa - will Ethiopian Airlines reimburse my expenses there?
Ans : NO. You have to use the complimentary hotel provided by Ethiopian Airlines. They will not refund any expenses incurred elsewhere.

Qsn. I read and hear a lot of negative things about the security situation in Ethiopia. Is it safe to leave the airport?
Ans : Each person has their own risk appetite and needs to conduct their own security assessment. However, hundreds if not thousands of visitors in transit enter Ethiopia every day and do not fall victim to insecurity issues in the provided hotels. The wider city of Addis Ababa has the same security and crime issues that plague any big city, and tourists will stand out as prospective targets for pickpockets, etc..


Qsn. Can I request the In-Terminal hotel instead of a hotel in town?
Ans : The In-Terminal Hotel in Addis Ababa is also operated by Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. Anecdotally, if you receive a voucher for "SKYLIGHT", you may be able to choose to use it at either the airside in-terminal hotel, or the landside hotel which is around 300m from Terminal 1 and 1km from Terminal 2. Officially however, you should be using the landside hotel (which is a 5-star property and much nicer).

Qsn. Can I use the transit visa only and then go to my own hotel or take a city tour?
Ans : In practice, this is possible. Once you exit customs, simply exit the building rather than going to the Ethiopian Airlines Transport Desk for the shuttle bus to the provided hotel.

Qsn. Do they have free Wifi?
Ans : Yes, all hotels that Ethiopian Airlines uses for this program provide free Wifi. However, speeds may vary significantly and there are often Government imposed blocks of certain websites, apps and functionalities. You can purchase a local SIM card at the Safaricom or EthioTel desks located right next to the Ethiopian Airlines Transport Desk after customs. The SIM card costs 30 Birr (approx. $0.50) and you can purchase a data package of your choosing depending on your requirements.


Qsn : Can I leave the hotel and go sightseeing during my layover?
Ans : There should be nothing that stops you from doing this. However, if you are a military age male fitting a specific ethnic profile, you may experience some pushback from hotel security (UPDATED 2023). There have been situations where transit passengers who might not otherwise qualify for a visa have left hotels and joined up as mercenary soldiers with anti-government forces, so they want to ensure that doesn't happen. Some hotels may require you to leave your passport with them as a "deposit".

Qsn : I have a firearm in my checked luggage. Can I access it during my transit stop in Addis Ababa?
Ans : NO. Local regulations do not permit you to access your firearms while in transit in Addis Ababa. Hotels will conduct X-ray screening of all luggage and require guests to pass through metal detector screening to ensure no weapons are carried.


Qsn. Does my passport get stamped?
Ans : NO, in most cases, your passport will not be stamped. However, your photograph and/or fingerprints will be collected at immigration. In some cases however, your passport may be stamped.

Qsn. I am in transit to South Africa and I am concerned that using this program will trigger a requirement for Yellow Fever vaccination. What should I do?
Ans : If you enter Ethiopia, even in transit, you may be required to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination upon arrival in South Africa.


Qsn. How long does it take to deal with all the formalities?
Ans : If you have all your paperwork already in order (viz. onward boarding pass and transit voucher) you can be out of the building within 15 minutes of touchdown. Very rarely does it take longer than 30 minutes.

Qsn : There is a shorter connection available to my destination. Am I still eligible for this program?
Ans. YES. If you are on a paid ticket and there is a shorter connection available, your fare already includes a surcharge of $70 to cover this program. If you are on an award ticket, no surcharge is applicable and you will receive the vouchers anyway.

Qsn : There is a shorter connection available to my destination. Customer service says I am not eligible, but this FAQ says I am. Who is right?
Ans : This FAQ is based on hundreds of passenger experiences over the course of multiple years. There is no single data point where a passenger has been denied this program due to a "shorter connection" being available. There is an official policy, and then there is the reality on the ground.

Qsn : I am on an award ticket. Am I still eligible for this program?
Ans : YES. As long as both inbound and outbound flights are on the same ticket and operated by Ethiopian Airlines, you are eligible.


Qsn : I am on a partner issued ticket (revenue or award). Am I still eligible for this program?
Ans : YES. As long as both inbound and outbound flights are on the same ticket and operated by Ethiopian Airlines, you are eligible. Both revenue and award tickets issued by partners are eligible.

Qsn : I am arriving on Turkish Airlines and departing on Ethiopian. Am I eligible?
Ans : NO. Both inbound and outbound flights must be operated by Ethiopian Airlines to be eligible.


Qsn : I am arriving on Ethiopian Airlines and departing on Egyptair. Am I eligible?
Ans : NO. Both inbound and outbound flights must be operated by Ethiopian Airlines to be eligible.

Qsn : I am traveling on separate tickets but both flights are on Ethiopian Airlines. Am I eligible?
Ans : NO. Both inbound and outbound flights must be on the same ticket and operated by Ethiopian Airlines to be eligible.

Qsn : I am arriving on a domestic Ethiopian Airlines flight and departing the next morning on an international flight. Am I eligible?
Ans : This program specifically applies only to international flights. If either your arrival or departure flights is domestic, you need to check the specific fare rules for details about eligibility.

Qsn : I am not eligible for the complimentary package as I am on separate tickets. Can I pay extra and purchase this anyway?
Ans : YES. You can usually purchase this package for between $70-135 depending on hotel availability from the "Transfer and Layover Office" at Addis Ababa

Qsn : My country is not eligible for visa-on-arrival in Ethiopia. Am I eligible?
Ans : YES. Citizens of all countries traveling on national passports are eligible for this program. Ethiopian Airlines arranges your transit visas, which is a separate program from the Tourist Visa On Arrival program.

Qsn : I am an Ethiopian citizen traveling on a refugee travel document issued by a foreign country. Am I eligible?
Ans : NO. Your refugee travel document will, in most cases, not be eligible for entry into Ethiopia in such a situation. Please confirm with your local Ethiopian Embassy.







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Ethiopian Airlines (ADD layover)

Old Nov 6, 2023, 3:31 am
  #256  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Location: EHoA
Programs: A3
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by B747-437B
Since the Skylight extension opened in May 2023, I have only been allocated Skylight for all my layovers in Economy.

And yes, luggage will be checked to final destination of course.
Many many thanks [MENTION=3492]B747-437B[/MENTION] ! Have never even noticed the transfer and layover office before, good to hear re Skylight also!
stuckinadd is offline  
Old Nov 6, 2023, 4:29 am
  #257  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,718
Originally Posted by PDXmilespoints503
is the Transfer And Layover Office where I go for my transit visa? I am in biz class (on a reward ticket)- flight 575 ORD-ADD depart 8- Nov. And to confirm that is where I get my hotel voucher? Not when I depart from ORD? And last question (so sorry) to early to tell if we will have lay flat seats for the flight?Thabk you so so much!
You will receive your voucher when you check-in in Chicago. After that you just walk to immigration when you arrive in Addis and then out through customs. After customs go to the Ethiopian Airlines transport desk who will make you sign the currency declaration form to confirm you have less than $3000 in cash, stamp your voucher and direct you to your hotel shuttle. You only need to visit the Transfer/Layover Office if you do not receive your voucher for whatever reason, or you have other issues with your voucher.

You won't know the final aircraft allocation for your flight until around 72 hours prior to departure.
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Old Nov 15, 2023, 5:29 am
  #258  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,718
Originally Posted by MAH4546
I will need a sim card, and I know will need to show passport, etc. Fairly easy to do at the airport? Should I anticipate a long wait? There is no eSIM in Ethiopia I am told? So I will bring my old iPhone to use in Ethiopia.
Just an update on this - the new Safaricom desk at arrivals seems to be less apathetic than the Ethiotel one, and their internet speeds much faster within Addis at least. I got myself a Safaricom SIM card last week and it took less than 5 minutes. They needed my original passport, a live photograph of me, and my fingerprints to issue to SIM - staff were extremely helpful and spoke perfect English. Cost was 30 Birr (approx. $0.50) for the SIM only. They try to sell you overpriced packages at the airport but you can just buy the full range of (cheaper) packages by dialing *777#.
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Old Nov 15, 2023, 12:10 pm
  #259  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NYC/EWR
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Posts: 119
Originally Posted by ccurrahee
Thanks for the very updated info in the tread.

Any suggestions for a tour guide / company. Either for a private car or a buss / group tour? I am traveling alone, and will be fine in a smallish group.

I would either go north to Debre Libanos or south for more nature.

I have a 18 hour stop over 07-23 daytime.

Is the Hilton still the hotel for biz? And would they have a decent and price... decent tour option?

Thanks
There is no way you or anyone else are going to manage a trip to Debre Libanos in an 18-hour layover. You're looking at a 3-4 hour trip each way, not considering Addis traffic. Give yourself 2 hours to get out of the airport, and 3 for check-in, and that leaves very little meaningful time to see anything. If you want to get out of Addis and don't want to just sit by a lake in Debre Zeit, I might recommend a hike in Menagesha Forest.
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Old Nov 19, 2023, 1:25 pm
  #260  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas City, MO
Programs: AA Gold
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I have a 7 hour layover at ADD coming up, arriving in J from Chicago then going on the EBB in J. Is there anything interesting or unusual to do at ADD for 7 hours besides just sitting tin the lounge? WE arrive at 8:30am and leave at 3:35pm.
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Old Nov 19, 2023, 2:24 pm
  #261  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by susiesan
I have a 7 hour layover at ADD coming up, arriving in J from Chicago then going on the EBB in J. Is there anything interesting or unusual to do at ADD for 7 hours besides just sitting tin the lounge? WE arrive at 8:30am and leave at 3:35pm.
With <8 hours, you are not eligible for a transit visa so you're stuck airside. That means either the lounge, or the In-Terminal Skylight Hotel for a few hours, or a combination of both.
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Old Nov 19, 2023, 3:29 pm
  #262  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Originally Posted by B747-437B
With <8 hours, you are not eligible for a transit visa so you're stuck airside. That means either the lounge, or the In-Terminal Skylight Hotel for a few hours, or a combination of both.
Does ADD have anything to do, like in Singapore? Anything cultural or a good local restaurant?
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Old Nov 19, 2023, 11:39 pm
  #263  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by susiesan
Does ADD have anything to do, like in Singapore? Anything cultural or a good local restaurant?
There are just generic restaurants and fast food within the terminal. Your options are very limited. This is no Singapore Changi.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 8:29 am
  #264  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Originally Posted by B747-437B
There are just generic restaurants and fast food within the terminal. Your options are very limited. This is no Singapore Changi.
I read that ET does a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony/service in lounge. Are they still doing this? Is it on a regular schedule or just when enough people are interested? That's would be something "cultural".

In the past when I've passed through ADD I have never had time to be in the ET lounge since my flights have all been late. Does the lounge have showers? Are there nap/quiet rooms?
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 12:46 pm
  #265  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by susiesan
I read that ET does a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony/service in lounge. Are they still doing this? Is it on a regular schedule or just when enough people are interested? That's would be something "cultural". In the past when I've passed through ADD I have never had time to be in the ET lounge since my flights have all been late. Does the lounge have showers? Are there nap/quiet rooms?
Yes, they still have the traditional coffee ceremony in the lounge. I guess I'm a jaded ET flyer as I find it more annoying than cultural as it gets very smoky around that area, but it is a large enough lounge so I always find a seat far enough away. I have seen the ceremony ongoing in both the morning and evening departure banks in the last few weeks, so it should almost certainly be running till at least 10-11am after you arrive there. The staff in the lounge will be delighted to explain everything to you as well - they take great pride in this ceremony.

Yes, the lounge has showers and yes, the lounge has a quiet room with relatively comfy recliners. In both cases, these will be very empty after around 11am when the last morning bank flight departs so you will have the run of the house to yourself pretty much.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 2:23 pm
  #266  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by B747-437B
Yes, they still have the traditional coffee ceremony in the lounge. I guess I'm a jaded ET flyer as I find it more annoying than cultural as it gets very smoky around that area, but it is a large enough lounge so I always find a seat far enough away. I have seen the ceremony ongoing in both the morning and evening departure banks in the last few weeks, so it should almost certainly be running till at least 10-11am after you arrive there. The staff in the lounge will be delighted to explain everything to you as well - they take great pride in this ceremony.

Yes, the lounge has showers and yes, the lounge has a quiet room with relatively comfy recliners. In both cases, these will be very empty after around 11am when the last morning bank flight departs so you will have the run of the house to yourself pretty much.
I agree about the very smoky part. I've done a similar layover (we arrived on the early morning ET flight from JNB and waited for the departure of ET574 back to ORD). We were there just under 8 hours and spent time in the lounge. It will likely be very empty and very boring. If you don't sleep well on planes, you might want to pay for a short stay at the air-side hotel. Maybe I'm too tall and too big but the quiet room was just OK and if I were to do it again, I would try the air-side hotel.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 3:14 pm
  #267  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 98
Originally Posted by cheltzel
I agree about the very smoky part.
Why is the lounge smoky? There is smoking allowed in the lounge??
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Old Nov 21, 2023, 2:26 am
  #268  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by btscott
Why is the lounge smoky? There is smoking allowed in the lounge??
It gets smoky when the coffee ceremony is in progress due to the charcoal used. It is fairly localised though.
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Old Nov 21, 2023, 11:50 am
  #269  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 98
Originally Posted by B747-437B
It gets smoky when the coffee ceremony is in progress due to the charcoal used. It is fairly localised though.
Thanks, was a little worried for a sec.
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Old Dec 6, 2023, 6:58 am
  #270  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: UA Million Miler
Posts: 1,375
I appreciate the info about the STPC -- I will try it for the first time in a few weeks. I'll be flying from IAD to DEL via ADD in business class. On the way, my connection is just over 8 hours so I will chill in the hotel and maybe take a walk nearby. However on the way back the connection is 15 hours and so I'll do a day visit to the city.
Question: The Skylight hotel for the STPC is the hotel just outside of the airport grounds on Bole Road? No problem to walk to/from the hotel and the airport, with a rollaboard?

On the city visit, I'm thinking of taking a taxi from the airport to the IES Ethnography Museum at Addis Ababa University then walking a lot and visiting a few other places, ending up at Meskel Square--I can just get a taxi there, like at the Hyatt Regency, to return to the airport?
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