Airline Says They’ll Dock You Miles For Misbehaving In Airport Lounge

The Ethiopian Airlines lounge at the carrier’s home airport in Addis Ababa has some basic rules. You cannot bring outside food in the lounge (for cleanliness) and you cannot take food out of the lounge (for cost). Don’t put your feet up on the furniture and – sadly this needs to be said – don’t lie down on the floor.

What’s unique is that they’ll penalize your frequent flyer account for breaking these rules, as reported by Sean Mendis.

  • 2000 miles for a first offense
  • 5000 miles for a second offense

  • Dropping your elite status down to Silver for 6 months as a third offense. (At the silver level, lounge access is limited to travel on Ethiopian, and only to accessing the ShebaMiles Silver Lounge in Addis Ababa.)

I’m not sure if the first two count as penalties, or redemption prices, though – this reads to me like an award chart.

It’s not entirely uncommon to post important guidelines in a lounge. For instance, this was in the Lahore, Pakistan CIP lounge:

And warning and penalizing customers is nothing new. British Airways for years has had a yellow card program. And Aeroflot will revoke elite status from customers and journalists who criticize them.

But this is the only mileage redemption chart I’m aware of for infractions: redeem 2000 miles to lay down on the floor of the lounge or rest your feet on the table. They can only do this with Sheba Miles members, of course. If you’re going to behave poorly or break custom in an Ethiopian Airlines lounge, then, be sure you’re crediting your flight to a partner airline frequent flyer program.

Are the penalties here steep enough?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m a frequent traveler of ET and the behavior of people in the lounges in Addis is no better or worse than what I’ve seen elsewhere. Some people are just entitled, inconsiderate jerks.

  2. Add: Walking around the lounge speaking loudly on your mobile/cell phone.
    20,000 miles/points penalty.

  3. @Jorge, I think it means you can’t set up a market stall in the lounge (businessman opens suitcase full of watches and starts hawking them)

  4. Ethiopian Airlines will now penalize your frequent flyer account 2,000 or 5,000 miles for misbehaving in their new Shebamiles Platinum Lounge in Addis Ababa. But, there is good news. With the Capital One Venture X new cardmember offer, you can earn 100,000 bonus miles once you spend $10,000 on purchases within the first six months from account opening. When Ethiopian Airlines becomes a Capital One transfer partner, I expect Venture X bonus miles will fund Ethiopian Airlines accounts. Bonus miles will help obnoxious frequent flyers flaunt the Ethiopian Shebamiles Platinum Lounge or the Cloud-9 Lounge good conduct rules with impunity as cardholders will use their 100,000 Venture X bonus miles to pay for their lounge transgressions.

  5. How about 25000 miles everytime one talks loud on their phone about meeting quarterly sales goals or some other useless nonsense.

  6. Ethiopian is horrific – my family will never ever fly that airline. That said the ADD lounge is better than many and even has a nice sleeping room. Unfortunately on my last visit it was closed until 6am which sucks when the airline strands you in the terminal at 4am due to irrops. And there is no wifi, no customer service desk and the immigration officials wanted a $100 bribe to leave the airport.

  7. Good – hope the US carriers follow suit. Some people really don’t know how to behave in public.

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