Quick ride from the Hilton in their shuttle bus, and I was at Malabo ready to check in. The only problem was, the check-in area was total chaos. Dozens of Chinese everywhere, each with several bags, busy saran wrapping them, tying them up with twine, you name it. The room was chaos. Since I couldn’t see a line, I just pushed my way to the front of the mass of humanity, and eventually found a check-in desk. Yes, it was for Ethiopian, and yes, I could check in. No checked bags, so should be a piece of cake. I had tried online checkin, but it said it didn’t work, however, the seat I’d selected took. Bulkhead aisle…not bad for a 30 minute flight.
Couldn’t figure out where to go next….tried one door, there was a woman at what looked like a passport check…nope, this is domestic flights…she waved her hands and pointed in another direction. After wandering around looking lost for several more minutes, I finally found the right passageway, leading to international passport control and security. Piece of cake, and soon I was in a large waiting room. Time to have a seat.
There was a hallway marked “VIP lounge” but there was a security guy guarding it. He wouldn’t let me past. So, when he disappeared a few minutes later I just went down the hall, and followed some stairs upstairs….and did a little plane spotting:
Found the door to the VIP lounge, and it was unlocked…so I went in. Nobody was in there. Hmmm…there was a flight board though!
I took a seat, and it would definitely be a more comfortable place to wait. Big soft chairs, and air conditioning! After about 15 minutes, some official looking guy came in, and asked what I was doing. I told him “gold card – gold card” and he smiled. “No, Ethiopian no has agreement with VIP lounge for drinks. Sit sit, I no tell anyone.” Hah! Score!
Was a very relaxing place to wait. Turns out, that once they announced boarding THEN people would be let upstairs, as it led directly into the jetways! Guess their security is really good or something 😉 I could easily have mixed with arriving passengers….way to go guys 😉 When it was time to board, they checked each and every bag in the jetway, and did quite a complete inspection. Soon I was on, and seated in my bulkhead, right by the boarding door.
Ethiopian Airlines flight 915
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (SSG) to Douala, Cameroon (DLA)
Depart 12:45, Arrive 13:15, Flight Time 30 minutes
Boeing 767-300, Registration ET-AMF, Manufactured 2000, Seat 11D
I’d kept watch, but this segment never opened up in business class. Odd, because only one person ended up up there on this segment. Not sure what Ethiopian was thinking not allowing awards. I chatted up the lead flight attendant when she pointed at my tattoo, and made a “roll up your sleeve” motion. I rolled it up and showed her, and she was thrilled. So I went in for the kill….”oh the check-in people said I was in economy even though it’s a first class ticket! See, here’s my flights coming in, I mean no big deal since this is a short flight, but they told me it was a one class plane and clearly it’s not!” Didn’t manage to score the upgrade, but she did give me a bottle of water, and chase out a couple of Chinese squatters who were after the bulkhead seats next to me. 20 minute flight, but I had a whole row to myself.
The was one of the scariest I’ve ever been on. The air conditioning had a loud rumble so loud you couldn’t hear any announcements, and had to talk really loudly even to hear someone right next to you. I have no idea what made it so noisy, but it continued the entire flight. Hey Ethiopian, you might want to get that checked out…
No service the entire 20 minute flight, but my new friend the flight attendant did bring me a bottle of water and a beer. I think she felt bad for be having to sit in economy 😉
Quick up and down, cruising altitude 6,000 feet, and soon we were landing in Cameroon! The airport seemed to sprawl, and the gate areas were exposed to the weather, allowing us a nice and humid walk down to passport and baggage claim. The immigration officers were incredibly surly, and I saw one security guy roughly shove a couple of people in line behind me because the line wasn’t straight enough for their liking. Ug, I hope TSA and CBP goons don’t get any ideas from these guys.
Outside passport control my hotel shuttle was waiting, and it was off to explore Cameroon!