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Ethiopian Airlines (ET) award questions / experiences

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) award questions / experiences

Old Jun 1, 2017, 9:26 am
  #166  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Originally Posted by gvanhouten
How can one find out whether the ability to book awards on ET through United will come back?
As of today, June 1, ET awards are still not showing up on UA's award booking calendar. it has been almost a month now for the ability to search yourself online has been gone. Looks like it is not coming back.

Are there any other airline web sites that show ET award availability for booking with UA miles?
susiesan is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2017, 12:52 am
  #167  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by susiesan
As of today, June 1, ET awards are still not showing up on UA's award booking calendar. it has been almost a month now for the ability to search yourself online has been gone. Looks like it is not coming back.
This has happened before multiple times and has always resolved. Usually in a few days, but it has taken almost 3 months once to get fixed.
B747-437B is offline  
Old Jun 7, 2017, 2:10 pm
  #168  
 
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Originally Posted by B747-437B
This has happened before multiple times and has always resolved. Usually in a few days, but it has taken almost 3 months once to get fixed.
Good thing I will be looking to book my award trip in October for travel in Sept. 2018. Surely it will be fixed by then. If not, then we can assume ET is no longer a *A participant. I feel for people trying to book now as options are limited to only TK flights now.
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Old Jun 8, 2017, 3:02 am
  #169  
 
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Originally Posted by susiesan
If not, then we can assume ET is no longer a *A participant. I feel for people trying to book now as options are limited to only TK flights now.
This has nothing to do with ET. I have booked multiple ET awards using other *A programs since this problem started with United. ET is still participating fully - it is UA that is not making the ET seats available online (but those are still available by calling).

SA is also an option in addition to TK for many destinations in Africa.
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Old Jun 8, 2017, 12:17 pm
  #170  
 
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Originally Posted by B747-437B

SA is also an option in addition to TK for many destinations in Africa.
But not for coming and going to Kilimanjaro. Plus award seats on SA through JNB are very difficult to get.
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Old Jun 16, 2017, 2:18 pm
  #171  
 
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Originally Posted by B747-437B
This has nothing to do with ET. I have booked multiple ET awards using other *A programs since this problem started with United. ET is still participating fully - it is UA that is not making the ET seats available online (but those are still available by calling).
Where else can Search for ET award seats bookable with UA miles? Do I have to join some other airline plan to see what's there? Do they show up on awardnexus? I always have what I have found ready to feed to reservation agents the nI have to call in for an award.
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Old Jun 17, 2017, 11:46 am
  #172  
 
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Originally Posted by susiesan
Where else can Search for ET award seats bookable with UA miles? Do I have to join some other airline plan to see what's there? Do they show up on awardnexus? I always have what I have found ready to feed to reservation agents the nI have to call in for an award.
I can search ET awards seats on Expertflyer, though I've never booked based on that information so can't comment on whether the inventory is real of phantom.
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Old Jun 17, 2017, 12:35 pm
  #173  
 
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Originally Posted by coolbeans202
I can search ET awards seats on Expertflyer, though I've never booked based on that information so can't comment on whether the inventory is real of phantom.
Unfortunately I do not have an expertflyer account, only awardnexus.

Originally Posted by pbd456
is ua going to fix it?
Doesn't appear so. There is likely a tiny amount of people using UA miles to fly on ET for awards so this is not a priority for UA. it has been over a month now.

Another reason I want to use ET is so I can get all the way back to my home town without a forced overnight connection. The TK routing JRO-IST-ORD-MCI has no same day flights from ORD to MCI on UA metal the same day. I would have to pay for an overnight hotel in Chicago and then take the last leg of my long journey the next morning. There are a few ET routings that can get me back home in one day, JRO-ADD-FRA-ORD-MCI or JRO-ADD-YYZ-MCI.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 20, 2017 at 6:43 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member -- please use multi-quote
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Old Jun 19, 2017, 12:22 pm
  #174  
 
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Having flown ET a couple years ago, one award ticket, one paid, the relationship at the time seemed built upon 300 baud modems with string between orange juice cans as a backup.

ET counter staff were very friendly and did what they needed to do, but there were screw-ups on both of our records, and mine was booked on ET stock. In their computer, one of my segments had simply disappeared. On my wife's ticket (booked through UA award), it had her on a different flight. It all got resolved, but one had the feeling you could show up and claim to be on a flight and they'd find a way to get you onto it, even though you had never booked it.

Then there was a mileage issue, which took a month to resolve with much back & forth between ET & UA with UA finally giving up and issuing 2X credit for a longer segment instead of the correct credit for the missing segment. I emailed UA to let them know (the right thing to do) and they said not to worry about it, it will stick, it's not worth their trouble to try and sync records with ET or something like that.

This was almost three years ago. Things could be totally different today.

Regarding terminals, the lounge at Addis Ababa is, well, casual. At least that was the case then. The drinks and food selection weren't bad, but seating was random and it had a bit of a thrown-together feel to it. Huge contrast to the *G lounge at Istanbul, which is to die for! However, distances between gates at Addis Ababa are nice & short while Istanbul is long & potentially confusing.

If I had a choice of either, and in both cases the connections were long, I'd choose Istanbul. If connections were short, Addis Ababa.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2017, 8:55 am
  #175  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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I just booked my vacation on ET using MileagePlus based on the info from the 12 pages of posts here.

TLDR: You must search for inventory on a third party site. The United site does not work for ET. Then you must call in to United and get a supervisor to book the flight using the EZR system.

Step 1 Finding Inventory

There are 3 methods to do this. The first is free, the second costs money, and the third is a waste of time. Also note that the United site claims that this is only available 8 weeks out. This is not true.

Method 1: Use a Star Alliance Partner website

I've done this via the ANA Mileage Club site and it works. I've heard that you can also do this via the Air Canada site. Basically if you can see award inventory on a Star Alliance partner site, you can book it via the procedure in Step 2.

Method 2: Use a 3rd party site

This is my preferred method. I use ExpertFlyer's "Awards and Upgrades" tool to search for "X" inventory which maps to United Saver Economy (40K miles) or "I" inventory which maps to United Saver Business (80K miles). ET inventory is super fickle, so I use their "notify" feature to email me when the appropriate class is available. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to when inventory is added, so when you see it pop up jump on it immediately.

Method 3: Call Ethiopian

DO NOT CALL ETHIOPIAN. I logically thought that if I can't find the inventory using the United site, then surely calling ET directly would give me total visibility. This is a giant waste of time. ET has a proprietary pool of award seats and their operators will tell you about that and not what is available for Star Alliance redemptions. I hilariously put a ET rep on the phone with a 1K rep once via 3-way and listened to them argue about if the inventory actually existed. That was fun but a waste of time.

Step 2: Call United to book

Neither the United website nor the typical phone rep's web based system work to book ET. All United reps got an email in May of 2017 directing them to send all ET requests to a supervisor but many have forgotten about this. You need to tell them "I would like to book an award ticket on Ethiopian and need a supervisor to do so on the EZR system." Experienced United reps will immediately kick this to a supervisor and book your ticket in about 10 minutes. Bad ones will try to book it themselves and fail, and might send it to a supervisor. I've learned that arguing with them generally does not work. Just hang up and find a better agent that will kick it to the supervisor to book via EZR.

Step 3: Enjoy

LMK if this worked for you!
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Old Jun 28, 2017, 1:36 pm
  #176  
 
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TexasVC, thanks for this detailed how-to! Do you have any idea what the EZR system is? I can't recall seeing it referenced before, so I'm curious if it is something new.
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Old Jun 28, 2017, 2:48 pm
  #177  
 
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TexasVC: Did you try using awardnexus? I do have an account here, I do not have one with expert flyer.

Do you still have to have some points in ANA Mileage Club to have an account and use their search feature? It was this way a few years ago. At the moment, I have nothing in ANA. Availability on ET through AC site is sketchy.

Sounds like we have to work very hard to redeem UA miles own ET. Thanks for this enlightening post.
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Old Jun 28, 2017, 2:49 pm
  #178  
 
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Originally Posted by TexasVC
Method 3: Call Ethiopian

DO NOT CALL ETHIOPIAN.
This made me laugh out loud, for real.

I've been scanning this thread because I'd hoped to score a saver J award to ZNZ, though I've since soured on the idea. But many thanks for the comprehensive suggestions.
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Old Jun 28, 2017, 3:58 pm
  #179  
 
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Originally Posted by susiesan
Do you still have to have some points in ANA Mileage Club to have an account and use their search feature? It was this way a few years ago. At the moment, I have nothing in ANA.
You don't need a balance. I just created one last week and have been performing searches with zero miles.
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Old Jun 29, 2017, 2:22 pm
  #180  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Originally Posted by jmanirish
You don't need a balance. I just created one last week and have been performing searches with zero miles.
Great. tried it out and now I see ET award flights. This will make it much easier to plan the flights I need for a Tanzania safari trip. However, ANA doesn't include MCI Kansas City in their searches. I have to use either ORD or IAH which are the 2 closest UA hubs I can fly from.

Last edited by susiesan; Jun 29, 2017 at 2:38 pm
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