Sleeping in Airports

Airport Adventures: Addis Ababa Airport

by Papa Whiskey

He told me that of course everything was okay, but his job is to protect the people here at this airport.

We were a group of four people travelling via Addis Ababa Airport to Djibouti. Our flight from Europe landed about midnight in Addis, and our connecting flight with Ethiopian Airlines departed at 9am the next morning, so we decided to spend the night at the airport.

We were able to check in our luggage after our arrival (well, there was a place near the passport control marked with a sign “connecting baggage”, where all the connecting luggage for Ethiopian flights got the destination sticker and was put together on a large pile; but it worked out fine!).

So we ended up on the airside just with our cabin luggage. There were benches with relatively hard plastic cushions, but with no armrest, so everyone was able to sleep flat and outstreched.

Then a big surprise: a policeman walked up to us, and positioned himself about one metre away from us, watching us. After about 5 minutes, i asked him whether everything was okay. He told me that of course everything was okay, but his job is to protect the people here at this airport, so he is going to stay here so that “nothing bad is going to happen to European tourist visiting this beautiful country”.

He woke us up at 7am, to tell us that his shift is now going to end and he had to leave us. I invited him for a Coke at the bar (Coke is something quite extraordinary because of the price compared to local income), he accepted it very happily and we chatted for some minutes.

Also without our personal guard I would not have had the feeling, that the airside of Bole Airport is in any way insecure. It is a nice new building, providing all the necessary infrastructure on a basic but for Africa unexpected high level (shops, bars, internet…), although at very “European” prices, for example 2 Euros for a Coke with would cost you 10-20 Eurocents outside. Inside the Airport, they do not accept Birr, only EUR or USD.

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