One of my memories from 2018 that makes me feel good inside, is my journey back from Zanzibar to the UK in the late summer. I travelled on Ethiopian Airlines and knew that I was going to have to stop over night in Addis Ababa on my way back to London. I wasn’t too pleased about the situation, but I didn’t have many options.

There are many things I admire about Ethiopia and its culture, but I don’t like having to spend a long time in the airport in Addis. This is due to an experience I had once on a journey back from Zimbabwe, where I had to wait in a lounge in the same airport that had insufficient loo facilities, even for men.

Before I left Zanzibar, I mentioned to a friend that I was not looking forward to spending a night on a recliner in Addis airport as part of my journey. He asked me how long the stopover was supposed to last for. When I told him it was for ten hours, he said the airline was legally obligated to provide hotel accommodation for any stopovers longer than seven hours! This revelation changed my mindset completely.

I was very careful about getting the hotel voucher from the airline operatives. Things were a little bit chaotic when our flight landed in Addis Ababa, but I did eventually find myself ensconced in a decent hotel room. It was not as warm as Zanzibar and I didn’t take any bed clothes in my hand luggage, but at least I slept in a comfortable bed and was ferried back to the airport in the morning.

All the research I did about surviving the night, sleeping in Addis airport was thankfully filed away. I’m not hoping to ever use it on another occasion.