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 Dec 18, 2023, 9:58 am
  #286  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
Originally Posted by AlanInDC
The lunch was quite disappointing, but fortunately I just stayed 5 minutes and went back to the airport early and had lunch in the business lounge.
Yeah, I've been quite disappointed with the post-COVID buffets at the Skylight especially relative to the exceptional food before that. They are adequate but no more. The vouchers do allow you to use the Ethiopian restaurant on the lower level instead if you prefer, and I've never been disappointed there. Room service can be a bit hit or miss though (and it isn't covered in the meal vouchers).
B747-437B is offline  
Old Dec 18, 2023, 5:25 pm
  #287  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NYC/EWR
Programs: ShebaMiles
Posts: 119
Originally Posted by susiesan
Does ADD have anything to do, like in Singapore? Anything cultural or a good local restaurant?
Apparently they opened a branch of Kategna, a local Ethiopian restaurant chain. Not been, but if it's anything like the ones in town, might be worth a stop.
Parterre is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 12:25 am
  #288  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 39
I guess the speed of going through immigration at ADD even with gold track can be YMMV. For our 9:30 our departure on 12/18, we took the 8 AM shuttle from the hotel. The immigration systems had gone down and they were sending all passengers to all available lanes, including Gold. We were in line for almost an hour and had to run to the gate where we got around 9:15.

Nice hotel but as noted the food is cafeteria quality. A lager beer is USD 5 and not included. Also every time (including the wait at the transfer desk) they gave us economy vouchers and we had to tell them we are business, guess because we were not dressed like business people but ordinary tourists. So it is important to check all the vouchers they give you before stepping away.



Line at ADD gold track
Panache is offline  
Old Dec 23, 2023, 3:24 am
  #289  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
Originally Posted by Panache
I guess the speed of going through immigration at ADD even with gold track can be YMMV. For our 9:30 our departure on 12/18, we took the 8 AM shuttle from the hotel. The immigration systems had gone down and they were sending all passengers to all available lanes, including Gold.
This is when you have to act African and push your way to the front of the line saying "Business Class, Business Class" loudly.
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Old Jan 3, 2024, 10:29 am
  #290  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: UA Million Miler
Posts: 1,375
Just a few notes while they are fresh. I just returned to DC from Delhi via ADD and stays at the Skylight Hotel in both directions. I did get the voucher print out in Delhi at check-in. I breezed through immigration and went to the Skylight Hotel shuttle area. There they stamped my voucher form (this didn't happen on the way to Delhi and the hotel clerk was perturbed about the lack of a stamp). They made a big deal about being in business class and dropped me off at the second building of the hotel (the one without the restaurants) and I was escorted to my room. I think the gym at the other building is actually better, and the restaurants are there as well. I had breakfast at the hotel, which was OK though better than on the trip going to Delhi (in retrospect I recall the vouchers said "economy class" even though I was in business class). Overall, the Skylight Hotel experience is quite good.

I had forgotten from last year, but in flights to the US, there are 3 (!) security checks. There is a full security screening to enter the international terminal at ADD. Then there is a security screening in conjunction with the immigration/customs process. Then there is a 3rd security screening at the gates for the US-bound flights. My observation is that the security isn't exactly the most stringent. Note that there is also security screening to enter the hotel.

As usual, the business lounge of Ethiopian at ADD is just fine. At Delhi, i got a voucher for the Encalm prive lounge, which is actually pretty nice. I'm not sure if this a result of being in business class or being Star Alliance Gold.

On my return trip, I had 15 hours layover, arriving at 7am and departing at 10pm, so I went into town. Got a taxi to the Ethnological museum at the University of Addis Ababa, which the hotel arranged via uber, at a cost of 320 birr (about 6.50 USD). I then walked back, like 5 miles, stopping at the National Museum, the new public library, and at various places, like for a coffee. You can see a lot on this walk, though i enjoyed it after Delhi. In Addis Ababa, drivers generally don't use their horn, and there aren't tuk-tuks and such, so much calmer.

The onboard experience was usual on all 4 flights. The food is of basic quality (business class) but plentiful. IAD-ADD was full but the other 3 flights had empty seats. For me, the big thing is the lie flat seat, so as long as I get that and enough food to keep me going, I'm good as I am price sensitive for business class, whether for money or miles.

Both India and Ethiopia had considerably more security than here in the US. I did notice that I received variable security examination, presumably because I am an obvious foreigner on sight for both countries. Sometimes, there would be the most minimal look in my bag and a few times I was just waved through.
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AlanInDC is offline  
Old Jan 8, 2024, 9:22 am
  #291  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
So here's a big red flag and hopefully an isolated incident.

I was overnight in Addis yesterday and got assigned to Skylight as usual. No major changes other than that ADD restaurant was closed for a special Christmas event (it was Ethiopian Christmas) so the transit passenger buffet was moved to the nightclub downstairs. No problems unless you are mobility challenged as the nightclub is accessible via steps.

The problem occurred at checkout where they had laid out a bunch of tables in the conference center and were requiring all guests to open their baggage for a search "in case you have stolen anything from the room". I flat out refused and after some veiled threats from them about "you will miss your flight maybe", they eventually summoned a manager who instructed someone to go check my room for anything missing and they radioed down a few minutes later that the tissue box, spare toilet paper and whatever else they thought I might have swiped was still in situ.

That said, at least a dozen people were caught with something they shouldn't have had in their bags while I was waiting. This ranged from duvet/comforters to towels to toilet paper rolls to the actual branded in-room telephone. They were not discriminating by race or travel class or nationality - everyone checking out of the hotel was being searched.

Just a flag to anyone staying at Skylight that they should be aware this might happen, and that you can refuse to consent to the search (to their credit they did not attempt to touch my bags after I said a clear NO) and a manager will arrange for your room to be checked for missing items instead.
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B747-437B is offline  
Old Jan 8, 2024, 11:57 am
  #292  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: ORD (03-?), SDF (97-03), PHL (83-96), LAX (82-83)
Posts: 70
Originally Posted by B747-437B
So here's a big red flag and hopefully an isolated incident.

I was overnight in Addis yesterday and got assigned to Skylight as usual. No major changes other than that ADD restaurant was closed for a special Christmas event (it was Ethiopian Christmas) so the transit passenger buffet was moved to the nightclub downstairs. No problems unless you are mobility challenged as the nightclub is accessible via steps.

The problem occurred at checkout where they had laid out a bunch of tables in the conference center and were requiring all guests to open their baggage for a search "in case you have stolen anything from the room". I flat out refused and after some veiled threats from them about "you will miss your flight maybe", they eventually summoned a manager who instructed someone to go check my room for anything missing and they radioed down a few minutes later that the tissue box, spare toilet paper and whatever else they thought I might have swiped was still in situ.

That said, at least a dozen people were caught with something they shouldn't have had in their bags while I was waiting. This ranged from duvet/comforters to towels to toilet paper rolls to the actual branded in-room telephone. They were not discriminating by race or travel class or nationality - everyone checking out of the hotel was being searched.

Just a flag to anyone staying at Skylight that they should be aware this might happen, and that you can refuse to consent to the search (to their credit they did not attempt to touch my bags after I said a clear NO) and a manager will arrange for your room to be checked for missing items instead.
Thanks for posting this. We are six hours away from landing in ADD and will be staying in the hotel before flying on to ORD.
mahdnc is offline  
Old Jan 8, 2024, 9:10 pm
  #293  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Programs: Aeroplan, Air Miles, Hilton, SPG, IHG, Avios
Posts: 3
ADD stopover questions

Good Evening Everyone.
I have read this entire forum of all the messages, and have found a wealth of information, which has already saved me buying an Ethiopian Visa in advance prior to departing Canada, but I have a few questions and wonder if someone will be able to share their stopover experience.
It is important to also thank B747-437B for his wonderful and informative FAQ at the beginning of the forum. I have already printed a copy of it to take with me and review while I am away, as I will be leaving Canada on Jan.27.
I will be travelling on Feb.21, 2024 Dep: SIN 0200 Arr: ADD 0610 on ET639 in Business Class on an Aeroplan reward ticket and then connecting on ET 552 Dep: ADD 2300 to Toronto in Business Class, and thanks to this forum, I understand I will get the visa and hotel and meal vouchers upon checkin in Singapore, but if this doesn't happen for some reason to ask the transfer desk upon arrival in ADD.
My questions are as follows.
1. To do a tour of ADD, and see the best sights, is it better to book a tour in advance and if so, can anyone recommend a specific tour company that they utilized?
2. Or is it better to book a taxi for the day to take me around to the sights worth seeing in ADD? If this is a better option than a tour, can anyone make a recommendation for booking a taxi/car company for the day?
3. What are the best must see or recommended sights/places to visit in ADD for the day?
4. Approximately what time should I plan on leaving the hotel to return back to the airport for my departing flight to Canada, is 3.5 hours more than enough time? and do I need to just go through security and head to the lounge since I should already have my connecting boarding pass for my flight to Toronto, or do I need to check in with the Ethiopian counter staff at all?
Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge and information.
Kind Regards,
Majestic2524 is offline  
Old Jan 8, 2024, 10:55 pm
  #294  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
Originally Posted by Majestic2524
4. Approximately what time should I plan on leaving the hotel to return back to the airport for my departing flight to Canada, is 3.5 hours more than enough time? and do I need to just go through security and head to the lounge since I should already have my connecting boarding pass for my flight to Toronto, or do I need to check in with the Ethiopian counter staff at all?
The voucher will give a recommended time for the shuttle bus back to the airport - almost always 2 hrs prior to departure - so 2100hrs for your 2300hrs flight. You are free to choose an earlier bus of course (and I usually do exactly that for night departures) if you want to grab a more relaxing dinner in the lounge. I prefer to eat in the lounge (or grab something from the terminal) than have a rushed meal before heading to the airport but YMMV. I would never leave more than 3 hours prior to departure, regardless of circumstances. The terminal and lounge are fine, but the hotel is much nicer.

The drive from the hotel to the airport is all of 3-5 minutes, security at the terminal entrance is about 5-7 minutes, immigration is maybe 3-5 minutes and airside security another 5-7 minutes - all using the GOLD TRACK lines for Business and Star Gold passengers. So you can be in the lounge around 30 minutes from leaving the hotel lobby. For example yesterday morning, I left the hotel at 722am for a 9am flight and was in the lounge by 750am, giving me 30 minutes for breakfast before boarding.

I'm not commenting about the Addis tours because I haven't played tourist in Addis for years.
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B747-437B is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2024, 2:54 am
  #295  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 335
Is the Ethiopian Business Class Lounge much better than the Plaza Premium Lounge? And do they still have this Ethiopian Coffee Ritual thing? If yes, from when to when is it available? Thanks
ArnoldB is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2024, 6:25 am
  #296  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
Originally Posted by ArnoldB
Is the Ethiopian Business Class Lounge much better than the Plaza Premium Lounge? And do they still have this Ethiopian Coffee Ritual thing? If yes, from when to when is it available? Thanks
No contest. The Plaza Premium Lounge is quite basic and an afterthought to the restaurant attached.

Yes, the coffee ceremony station is still there and is usually operational during the morning and evening flight departure banks.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 1:21 pm
  #297  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: UA Million Miler
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See my post above. The ethnological museum at Addis Ababa University is worth a visit. It is like 3-4 floors and it is in the middle of the university, so i also walked around the univ. 200 birr, foreigner price (about $4). The National Museum is skippable--not much there and poorly documented though cheap (50 birr). I took a taxi to the ethnological museum (320 birr) and walked back, about 5 miles. I stopped at a cafe mid-way back for cake and coffee. On the way back, there is the new modern public library, and I stopped in. You see a lot of Addis Ababa on that walk. I like to walk and see a city, and the traffic in Addis is not bad (I had come from Delhi, where the traffic is totally crazy). The Skylight Hotel people assumed I wanted a car and driver as they couldn't imagine that a foreigner would want to walk around. Ultimately, they called me a taxi via uber (you pay the driver in cash).
If you want to really see the major sights, you'll need a driver or multiple ubers or formal tours that exist, as it is spread out enough.
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AlanInDC is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2024, 11:48 pm
  #298  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: PEK
Programs: A3*G, UA Gold EY Silver
Posts: 9,012
Addis is walkable. Just beware of street kids that may want to steal your phone. They'll come up to you on one side, looking like they're trying to sell you something, while one or two will come up on the other side and pull out your phone. Screaming at them is usually enough to get them out of the way.

I miss the 50 shoeshines... (a must in Addis' dusty environment).

If you want to use the local uber, you have Feres, Ride, and a bunch of others. To use, you need a local sim card, and payment is in cash. Much cheaper than the official taxis, which rip off foreigners.

Somaliland also has a Feres equivalent - Dhawayee.
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Palal is offline  
Old Jan 10, 2024, 2:26 am
  #299  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 15,715
Originally Posted by Palal
Addis is walkable. Just beware of street kids that may want to steal your phone. They'll come up to you on one side, looking like they're trying to sell you something, while one or two will come up on the other side and pull out your phone. Screaming at them is usually enough to get them out of the way.
I caught one kid with his hand on my phone a few years ago. Like actually physically caught his hand as he reached for my phone. He must have been no more than 10 years old and was about to cry. I yelled and they all scampered away. I almost felt sorry for them, but not quite. Be careful!
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B747-437B is offline  
Old Jan 10, 2024, 3:32 am
  #300  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: PEK
Programs: A3*G, UA Gold EY Silver
Posts: 9,012
Originally Posted by B747-437B
I caught one kid with his hand on my phone a few years ago. Like actually physically caught his hand as he reached for my phone. He must have been no more than 10 years old and was about to cry. I yelled and they all scampered away. I almost felt sorry for them, but not quite. Be careful!
Yea, it's quite sad. There are many street kids with a glue sniffing habit and this is how they get birr to buy their fix.
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