If your layover in Addis Ababa is between 8-24 hours, chances are you can score a free hotel room courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines during your long layover.
Not everyone with a transit between 8-24 hours will receive a free hotel voucher. Note these exceptions.
- You must be transiting from an Ethiopian Airlines international flight to another Ethiopian Airlines international flights.
- The long layover must be necessary — in other words, if there is an earlier connection available inside the eight hour window, you will not receive a complimentary hotel voucher.
- Your passport must be eligible for a transit visa on arrival (most passports qualify).
Rapid Travel Chai points out that if you do not qualify for a free hotel, you can still buy one…generally at a cheaper rate than retail.
Earlier I outlined my Addis Ababa Transit Guide. If you’re looking for a free hotel, follow the transit signs and you’ll find a pair of desks that look like this–
> Read More: Addis Ababa (ADD) Transit Guide
There was no line when I arrived, but I hear it can get pretty busy.
Once you arrive at the desk, simply present your onward boarding or itinerary as well as your passport. If flying in business class, you may be given a choice of hotels. For example, I was offered the Hilton or the Radisson Blu. Economy Class passengers are provided lower accommodations.
Two Essential Documents
Your passport will be returned to you with both a hotel voucher (printed on regular paper) and a laminated yellow transit card. You’ll need both documents to exit passport control without paying for a visa.
Proceed downstairs where you’ll wait in line to be stamped into Ethiopia. I was directed into a line for “Ethiopians” then chewed out for being in the wrong line.
If you’ve checked bags, you do not need to collect bags during your layover.
Once in the country, look for a sign for your hotel. Most hotels in the Ethiopian Airlines transit hotel program have airport staff to arrange shuttle transport. Shuttle service is complimentary.
Once you get to the hotel, no credit card or cash should be needed. Meals are also included. At the Hilton, I was provided three meal vouchers: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Your hotel voucher will indicate what time you should return to the airport.
Ethiopian Airlines’ complimentary transit hotel program worked like a charm for me. If you have a long layover, take advantage of the opportunity for a free hotel to rest, recharge, and refuel.
I was not given a choice of hotel, but was instead taken to a guesthouse of an airport security guard…
We went through this process two weeks ago and it has changed a bit.
When we checked in at Neward they gave us the Accomodation Voucher shown in the photos above.
With that, upon arrival, you can go directly to the customs arrival checkpoint. Show them the voucher, passport, and ticket for the next flight. They stamp the passport and send you to a desk that is right before the exit door. There they process and stamp the voucher and direct you to the hotel bus in the car park.
We were in business class and went to a brand new hotel that was literally 3 minutes from the airport. we did not need vouchers for breakfast. The computer system told them that our room included breakfast.
The hotel shuttle took us back to the airport. We jsut presented our passports and tickets and were on our way.
We had checked our bags through and had packed a change of clothers in our carry ons. So we were able to move around easily without lugging the big bags back and forth.
The hotel made all the difference on a long trip. Some sleep, a shower, and a sit down meal with easy in and out to the airport was a big plus. Smart move by Ethiopia Airlines
Do you mean you didn’t have to secure a transit visa for thia and it was automatically issued on arrival?
Please clarify. Thank you
yes, that’s exactly what this means. check to see if your passport is available for such. [i think all africans are, but don’t quote me for this.]
i did this on a US passport, but when i was going though, they looked at my name and said, “you could have done this on your senegalese one, no problem.”
Update Jan 13, 2020
SSG – ADD – JIB. Arrival ADD 20:55, departure ADD 09:05
Asked in Malabo for layover-service, got a voucher for Blue Sky Hotel. It was my choice to collect my bag in Addis or in Dschibuti, which I chose. When arrived in Addis I headed to the first available Interline Desk. Fortunately no crowd, without doing anything they sent me to the agent after the baggage claim. Immigration 3 minutes just showing voucher and passport. No stamp in passport or on ticket, just a handwritten remark ‘ 2 day’. Passed the custom lane moved to the right. Then on the left side before a window I found the agent. 1 minute. A stamp on the voucher, then to the hotel shuttle area. Waiting about 30 minutes til all aboard. Blue Sky is not an option for staying there longer, but for one free night ok. Next morning transfer… Everything worked.
I actually had to do this about 2 weeks ago. @Matthew I was at a different set of desks which was on the mezzanine and referred to as the interline desk. We were towards the front of the line after deplaning, yet it took over an hour to get a voucher. It was more madness than a Spirit Airlines flight. People would ignore the line and head right up to the desk with their issues and look at you with no shame. I travel on Ethiopian Airlines quite a bit and anticipate having to get in this line again, which I will never look forward to.
Sounds like your experience was far worse than mine!
Thanks Klint for the tip I am flying in December and was wondering if I can get a hotel voucher.
Also carrying checked luggage was going to be hectic for me
What is your routing?
I just spoke to Ethiopian. If you did not book your tickets with them directly and originate on another airline, like I do, the hotel is not free regardless of you having to layover between two Ethiopion flights. The transit pass and hotel/transport are still available for $70-80 dollars. I don”t know how much the transit visa is but there are lovely looking airbnb options in Addis for @$25. It would be great to not have to stand in long lines of uncertainty at midnight after 24hrs of travel to get a hotel and get some sleep for the next days journey.
Manda I wonder what day you will be transiting in December??
Hii Iam from uganda but I literally have an 11 hour layover do I apply to this program to atleast get a hotel and rest till my flight I don’t mind if u need to pay for it. Uganda needs visa while in Adis but will I have to get a visa just to get a hotel and rest
I have been following Ethiopian Airlines now can i get a cash bar at the economy hotel? The Company is planning to fly me from Saudi Arabia to Addis Ababa on 20/02/20.Is it possible that I pay my Bill’s using Usd dollar .Thank You
USD should not be a problem and hotel will have a bar.
I also experienced chaos trying to get a transit visa in January this year. There was one window open and about 20 people crowded around it pushing and shoving. I was ineglibile because while I arrived on ET J I was departing on MS J so was denied.
What was the hotel and meals like? 3 meals seems very generous.
We were not given any choice of hotel, at 1st it was them airlines who change our flight we supposed to land at 7:15am from Montreal Canada and take off 9:30am to Entebbe Uganda, but we are kept setting in airport until 7:30pm with bad stinky bathrooms, my kids were tired and security couldn’t allow us into the lobby to get something to eat. Again on way back to the US our flight schedule was 12:30pm from Ebb to Addis and depart 11:30pm we are more than 8 HRs in airport again with no hotel. Wish they hold to their words cuz they mess people’s schedules and the airports don’t have amenities for entertainment.
Are you a Ugandan passport holder or American? Cause I need to know if I can get a hotel with a Ugandan passport seeing that they don’t have hotels in the airport?
It time we let the world know about Ethiopian airline and how they treat custoners… My wife has to move from Kenya to Ghana on this airline and having a layover of close to ten hours at Ethiopia was asked to pay about fifty dollars for hotel since the hotel they plan booking is full up. With her medical condition couldn’t even find water to take her pills… I think it time the media put them on their toes…
I just did this 3 days ago when ET delayed their flight resulting in a missed connection and 14h in Addis. I was not given any the choice of Hotel and the Hilton and Radisson Blue were full I guess because I was given the Capital (in Business Class).
Capital was not as good at the other two but still far better than the hotel I got on my outbound flight when flying in Economy which was so bad that I went back to the airport lounge where there is at least internet that works, sockets and unlimited edible food and drinks.
As someone indicated before, the transfer desks have moved downstairs where it is far more chaotic and small. They are now immediately under the escalators when you enter the terminal from your plane bus ride. The queue in my case was literally coming out of the terminal, definitively not peaceful. I suspect lots of people missed connections and had to fly the next day as it was the late night.
I was lucky to fly Business and be Gold so I went to the priority queue were they were not serving Economy passengers, at least they did not allow the chaos of queue jumping but the process is painfully slow and there were only 2 counters so expect 10-15min per person in the queue and you can easily spend a few hours there.
Interestingly, the two times I have done this in the last two weeks I have not got any transit visa cards nor was my passport stamped so I got into Ethiopia without any trace on my passport and nobody cared on the way back in both times. I have a Spanish passport
I’m glad I found this post but this makes me a bit nervous. I am traveling to Tanzania and while I paid attention to my trip there I did not pay attention to the fact that my return flight included a 12 hour layover in Addis Ababa. It is my first time traveling alone internationally. Do you recommend taking the hotel over just waiting it out in the airport? I’m just worried that I would be placed all the way across town and risk not getting back to the airport the next morning or risk getting lost somehow! A friend from Africa says that she found this airport easy to navigate and a good one but it sounds like others don’t feel the same…maybe depends on what it is being compared to?
I would take the free room — the airport is horrible for such a long layover. Even the lounges are not great if you somehow found your way in.
I’m visiting Tanzania next month from Lagos and have an 11hour lay over on departure trip then 18hours layover on my return trip. Would I be able to get a transit visa and would it be best i prepare to pay for a hotel if Ethiopia airline doesn’t take care of me well?
Yes, be prepared just in case, but if this was the shortest layover possible Ethiopian will likely take care of you like they did for me.
What happens if you’re transiting for 12 hours, whilst there’s another flight flying in 7 Hours. Can I book my own hotel before arriving there or I have to book with them once I get there and how much does it cost.
No free hotel.
Oh dear, I am travelling solo next week with Ethipian airlines to cape town and will have a 15 hour stop over in Addis Ababa on my return journey. This is the part I am dreading the most and hope that the fear of this stop over doesn’t spoil what should be an amazing vacation seeing my brother for the fisr time in 39 years.
What if the stopover is more than 24 hours?
No hotel room. For transit passengers only.
Can we get this with Ethiopian if we’re flying on award miles? Qatar will not allow it.
Thanks for your post.
I have an 11hr layover and I was thinking of waiting at the airport…. but I guess I’ll give the complimentary hotel a go.
I hope they have a shuttle…. not sure if I will feel safe in a random taxi. That’s my main fear. Insecurity in the streets.
Hi Matthew, did they stamped your passport and fingerprinted during your free layover?
Yes, they did.
Hello, I have a query. I have a transit for 14 hours, but there is another flight flying after a shorter transit of 8 hours and 5 minutes. Will I still get this offer?
You will not.
Hello Mathew i will be travelling back to Nigeria through Ethiopia air and i will be having 12hrs stop over to connect another flight will they be providing hotel for the time?
Great Post Matthew!
My mom and I had a 17 hour layover in Ethiopia on our way back to the US. You’re instructions were just as follows. We stayed economy class so although we didn’t get lodging at the Hilton – they gave us rooms at the Beacon Hotel. The rooms were neat, the staff was welcoming, WiFi was provided and buffet meals. By far this was MUCHHHHH better than staying 15 hours in the airport.
Breakfast – assorted bread, French toast, pancakes, cereal, milk and juice, coffee and tea
Lunch – spaghetti, white rice, stewed rice, curries, mixed vegetables, and bread rolls. Each of us were given our own bottled water.
Thank you for all the information. We will be flying Ethiopian Airlines in October, on our way back from Cape Town to Tel Aviv we will have an 18h long layover in Addis Ababa. When booking this flight there were no seats left for all the earlier flights to Tel Aviv, does that mean we qualify for a Hotel voucher?
On 30th I am travelling to Johanessburg fro Accra and my flights land at 21hrs at Addis, there is an connection flight and at 23.00 hrs and land at 4 AM in Joburg, since I am an senior citizen I dont prefer to take overnight flight so I booked for 1st May 9.00 AM flight and have 12hrs layover. my travel is business class. do Ethioaian airlines provide me free hotel. if not by pay they can arrange.
You may be eligible for a free hotel room. Visit the transit desk. If not, they can still help you arrange a room.
Thank you Matthew for this information. It helped me. On a side note, we develop smart Airport apps and your tips and information arre valuable to travellers. Can we collaborate ? Thanks Sandeep
Hi I am traveling in june from new delhi to Toronto via addis ababa.Both of my flights are ethopian airlines and I have a 9 hour layover.I want to know if I am eligible for hotel service or not? Thankyou
Yes, you are. Enjoy the transit in Addis.
I have a 14 hour layover in Addis Ababa – flying from Nairobi to Seychelles. Since there is another flight with much shorter transit thus I do understand that we won’t be eligible for free hotel. This was also confirmed by airline. I have booked a room at Hyatt Regency which I’m actually looking forward to checking out with my globalist perks. Given this, do you think I can still get the free transit visa? If not, I would apply for eVisa (tourist) online to avoid lines. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
Wow, I didn’t even know there was a Hyatt Regency. When did that open?
Yes, you should still be able to get a free transit visa. Good luck.
It opened early Jan this year, I think. Looks pretty cool. It’s 15 minutes away from airport based on Google map.
Good information. Is there a contact which I can check with Ethiopia airlines in advance to know if i qualify for the hotel?
Have you reached out to the call center? What country are you in?
Hi, I am having 8 hours layover and both my flights are Ethiopoan airlines. Will I get a free hotel? I am reaching Ethiopia at 14:50 and my next flight is at 22:55
Unlikely, but proceed to transit desk to inquire.
I will be having 16 hours transit time in Addis Ababa. The flights are international flights of Ethiopian Airlines and there is no earlier flight from Addis Ababa to Cairo on that date. The only problem is I book the ticket via an online booking application, not directly from the Ethiopian Airlines. Would I still be getting the free hotel? And by getting the free hotel, does it mean we’re also getting the free transit visa so we can travel the city? Or if I can’t get the free hotel, can I get the free transit visa? If not, how much is the transit visa? Thank you so much!
Hi Tika, you’ll still be eligible for the free transit visa and hotel from Ethiopian even though you booked from a third party.
Hello I’m Flying to Malawi and I have a 17hours layover in Addis Ababa
Do you think am I going to be Eligible for accommodations? I just need to take shower and change my cloths
I hate to smell sweat after being on a Flight for 14 hours .
Hi,I will like to know if the immigration officer stamp your passport when you arrive at the transit visa gate
They don’t stamp at the transit desk, but when you exit through immigration you recieve a stamp.
hii i have 20 hvr of lay over will i get any hotel iam travelling in economy class
Hi, I am planning to fly from Johannesburg to Belguim on a Ethiopian Air and Ethiopian Air connecting flight with an 18hr stopover in Addis. I have a friend living in Addis and want to use the Free Transit Visa and Hotel room to meet my friend. If I book through Travelstart would I still qualify for the Visa and room and are you restricted to the Hotel or can you venture outside? I hold South African and British Passports. Cheers, Adrian.
Hi Adrian, you can venture outside the hotel. I was free to do what I wanted during layover (at Hilton).
this is interesting..i am planning to do this..so you can go out and look around?
also do you need to get yellow fever vaccination?
No vaccination needed, as far as I know.
I am also wondering the same thing as I read online that YF vaccination is required if 12 hours or more in transit. I am conflicted on the responses. I’m going from Toronto to ADD then to Beirut 18 hours later.
Hi Matthew, I am planning go to Tanzania after few months, buy multicity ticket lhr-add, add-znz,znz-lhr. Would I be eligible to receive free hotel and free transit visa (arrive morning and departure next day morning)?
Would the ADD-ZNZ flight be the first available departure or are you scheduling in a deliberately longer layover?
Hi Matthew! Is there a need to call before to book it or you do it when you arrive there?
My layover time is 12 hours. Am I eligiable?
Hi Robert, you can take care of it when you arrive there. Is there an earlier flight you could have taken or is 12-hours the fastest you could connect?
Hi, Matthew! Thank you for your sharing, it is a good experience to transit in ADD; I will transit in ADD next month too. and I would like to consult to you that:
because my passport has no available pages for being stamped (it has only 2 empty pages); so i would like to ask, when you get the transit visa in Ethiopia airline in airport, will the immigration stamped on your passport? And what is the procedure if they let you entry?
Thank you so much!
Thanks for this. Very informative. If I booked economy via an award ticket and when given the choice of hotels, wanted to pick one of the business class choices instead, would they allow that? ie: pay a little extra for a better hotel but still not full price.
Hi Gary, I don’t know the answer, but please let us know if you do try it.
I will be travelling to Gabon next week via E.T.air, my layover is 48hrs because it is the only possible ET flight to Libreville.
I may be given a hotel but how about my cheched in luggage? Will Et or hotel take care of that or will i just pick it up myself after immigration?
Is there no hotel inside the airport itself?
Thanks in advance if you can advise me asap.
Hi Gilbert, where will you be departing from? Is there a later flight you could have taken that will shorten your layover? That may impact whether you receive a complimentary hotel for two nights. Due to your extended layover, I recommend having your bags short-checked to Addis and picking them up during your 48-hour layover because the risk of them getting lost rises if you just have ET store it. Last time I was there, there was no transit hotel. If you do end up having to pay for your hotel stay, I recommend the Hyatt Regency over the Hilton.
Hello! I will have a 14 hour layover in Addis Ababa on December this year, on my way to Tanzania. Acquired the ticket directly from Ethiopian Airlines, so I did not pick my transit flight, which will depart in the morning, 10:15. Am I eligible for free visa? If I got main flight + transfer flight directly from EA does it still matter if there is an earlier transit flight to my destination in terms of getting the visa and the hotel voucher? Thank you for the post!
You only receive the voucher if you booked the most direct route. If you chose a longer layover to spend the night there or to save money, you will not receive a free hotel. Enjoy your trip! Tanzania is great.
Thank you for the info!
Hi! I have a short layover of 4 hours, but I would like to stay in Addis for another 24 hours to see Addis. Do you know if Ethiopian airlines allows that for free or at a minimal cost?
Hi am having a 24hr layover in ethiopia..do I qualify for free hotel?
Hi Matthew , I will be travelling from Ghana to Zanzibar via E.T in August and I have a 13hr layover. Do I need to pickup my bags before going to the hotel ?
Nope, they will transfer through if you are on a single ticket.
If flying from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to Cape Town, South Africa, with a 12-hour, 10-minute layover, can I expect a free hotel room on a ticket purchased on Expedia? And will any visa requirement be waived?
Trying to see if my situation fits for the free transit visa package. For the part where it says “The long layover must be necessary — in other words, if there is an earlier connection available inside the eight hour window, you will not receive a complimentary hotel voucher”, does this only apply if there is an earlier Ethiopian airlines flight, or if there is any other airline’s flight going to your destination?
I will be arriving ADD operated by EA at 7AM, and departing at 10:35PM with EA as well. That 10:35PM flight is the only nonstop EA operated flight to my destination, but there are other airlines that depart in between those times to the my destination, but are not nonstop and layover to different countries first.
Just ET, so you will be eligible for transit hotel.
Sounds good. Thank you for the response!