Thursday, May 26, 2011




That’s what it’s like to try and buy a plane ticket with Ethiopian Airlines.

It’s run by the government, which explains a lot.

I spent hours on the website, which the internet was going in and out so it couldn’t be booked and, when the page finally loaded, wouldn’t accept a credit card online. I went in 3 separate times to the office and it was frequently closed.

When I was finally able to get an agent, he booked my ticket, someone who came in after me, and someone on the phone all at the same time while his computer was going in and out of the internet network. I was just glad there was no one ahead of me in line. Nearly two hours later, I walked out the office with our tickets to Ethiopia—Lalibela in hand.

Now I have tried to book tickets out of Lalibela and back to Addis. The office, again, frequently and inconveniently closes, and the flights kept filling up. Someone from our hotel booked our flight, but neglected to tell us we had to confirm the same day, so it was cancelled. We finally have our flights booked to Addis for Thursday, but they won’t let us buy our tickets to Egypt until we get back to Addis. Because they think we need a visa. Which we don’t. It took me 45 minutes of sitting and waiting for me to be told that they weren’t going to give me a ticket. So I booked it online, then went to the office to ask them to print it out.

Then, when I went to confirm our flights just before our Thursday flight, I discovered the guy had only booked one ticket, even though Jacob was sitting next to me, and the flights were full again. I had a Home Alone mom moment.

I said quite dramatically, “I don’t care if I have to sit in the bathroom, in the aisle, or on Jacob’s lap, I want to get out of this city. Find me a seat. My husband and I are not going to travel on different days. And we have to get out of here.”

The worker, after searching the computer for about 30 more minutes, got me a seat. I walked out of the office, triumphant and relieved. I’d had to fight to get out of Lalibela and 5 days after the original planned departure date, we were finally going to leave.

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