Starting with positive: new planes, safety seems important to the company and it felt so as well. In-flight service was very good, fast (usually), entertainment options were very good. Check-in in Paris and in Maputo at return were smooth and very good.
Now to negative, quite some problems:
- Agents in airports were totally useless, it took a while to get any information and get things done. First time in my life I was downgraded (still waiting for compensation).
- Only one service desk in their hub, Addis Ababa Bole Airport is not normal.
- Awareness of staff, nobody really knows anything about the flights or services the company provides or should provide. HQ call center has no ideas when and if their flights depart or what is the actual situation. Nobody dares to take the responsibility or show initiative. Seems the ground operations are built up inconsistently and sometimes people make up rules as they go. Very bad management and use of resources.
- In Maputo Star Gold Members have limited access to lounge. Staff somehow doesn't know or just doesn't tell customers they could use SAA lounge that works in accordance to Star Alliance rules still.
- Star Alliance Gold Lounge in Addis Ababa airport should be closed down, it's crime against travellers. It's more painful to be there than other public areas. Ethiopian Airlines really discriminates.
In short - once you make on board it's ok, everything before and after that can be an absolute nightmare. They are masters in making you really feel like alone lost in space.