Ethiopian Airlines Stopover Perk Gives a Free Hotel Night
It’s not widely known or publicized, but the Ethiopian Airlines stopover perk gives a free hotel room & 2 free meals. I find this amazing.
I love traveling through East Africa. Sure, I’m working on visiting every country in the world, but I really like East Africa. Call me nuts. Since Ethiopian Airlines is a Star Alliance partner, I’ve transited through the Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia lots of times. With its recent upgrades and opening of the new terminal, what I once described as the most chaotic large airport in the world is becoming a great airport now. Yes, there’s still no Priority Pass lounge, but that’s a different post.
Terms of Ethiopian’s Amazing Stopover Perk
Something else that’s great about The Addis Ababa airport (ADD) and traveling on Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is their stopover policy.
Interline Desk on the first floor will facilitate the smooth transit for immediate connecting passengers. For passengers whose connecting flight is over 8 and up to 24 hours and there is no immediate connecting flight to continue the journey, interline desk will facilitate hotel accommodation provided that such passengers have transit /entry visa. For those nationals/ citizens who are eligible for transit visa on arrival, interline desk will facilitate such transit visa. The airline provides a bus service for transfer to/from hotel layover transit passengers.
Wow. Let’s unpack this amazing benefit.
How it works
If you’re arriving into Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), have a connecting flight, and your flight isn’t until tomorrow, they’ll shuttle you to a hotel and put you up for the night on a free layover/stopover. I’ve used this benefit multiple times, and I can tell you they also give you vouchers for dinner and breakfast at the hotel, plus they shuttle you back to the airport in the morning.
While an overnight stop can sound like a pain when you don’t want it, scheduling it on purpose is awesome. What if you could intentionally route yourself to arrive after the last flight of the day has left for your final destination, but it’s early enough in the day to do some sightseeing?
Here’s an example of how you could and couldn’t use this.
Let’s say you’re heading down to the southern part of Africa and are choosing between Namibia or South Africa for some safaris and nature.
Ethiopian has only 1 flight per day from Addis Ababa to Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Namibia. There are multiple flights per day to Tambo International Airport (JNB) in South Africa. For the latter, they’d put you onto the next one and would not be willing to accommodate you for the night.
If flying to Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), you’re in luck, since there is only that one flight per day out of Addis Ababa which is easy to “miss” with some good planning. If you’re in economy, you’ll get a basic hotel. In business, you get something nicer and a nicer van to ride in. The hotels they use change and are unpredictable, but the experience is always the same.
When to use it
If you schedule the timing right, you can get into Ethiopia early in the afternoon, catch some great museums, local food with dancing & a coffee ceremony at night, and then back to the airport to head out in the morning.
The best part: the room, dinner & breakfast are free, and they waive your visa requirements. It is waived for this overnight stopover if you’re using a passport eligible for “visa on arrival”, that is.
Yes, you can even use this perk if your flights are free when bundled in the United Excursionist Perk!
Is it a Headache?
The process is smooth as can be. When you check in for your flight heading to ADD, they already know you’re stopping for the night and will give you papers with instructions. These tell what hotel you’re going to, where to find the van, and a document to pass through without a visa at passport control.
Adding a free hotel night and some free meals into a trip is awesome, especially in a country with history and culture as incredible as Ethiopia.
If you’re booking on Star Alliance and options for routing on Ethiopian Airlines come up, look at options that include an overnight layover in ADD to take advantage of this free Ethiopian Airlines stopover perk.