New Etihad First Class Lounge Opening In Early 2016?

I don’t know what it is, but when it comes to the airline industry in the Middle East, things seem to be consistently delayed. At least this seems to be true of Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways (at Emirates Airline there seems to be some level of accountability).

Both Etihad and Qatar are supposed to be opening new first class lounges soon. The Qatar Airways First Class Lounge Doha was supposed to open well over a year ago, while the Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi was supposed to open earlier this year. Neither has happened.

I’ve received many questions about when the Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi will actually open, given how many of you redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

Anyway, in May I shared an update on the opening of the new Etihad lounge. While the airline told me at the time that the lounge should open in the second quarter, another contact was informed that it should be opening by October. It seems neither of those are accurate, and that the Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi will now be opening in early 2016.

Via an Etihad representative on AusBT:

It will be worth the wait, opening early 2016 we will set a new global benchmark for airline lounges . In the meantime our newly refurbished T1 premium lounge is open as well as the T3 premium lounge featuring style and shave by Etiahd and the six senses spa, hope to see you in there soon 🙂 *GW

In the meantime, Etihad first class passengers can continue to use the Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal 3, which is Etihad’s “flagship” lounge for business class passengers.

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Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi

That premium lounge has a partitioned off area for first class passengers, with special service.

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Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi first class seating

Furthermore, as a first class passenger you receive both a complimentary spa treatment and a service at the Style & Shave Salon.

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Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Six Senses Spa

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Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Style & Shave

Bottom line

It’s quite disappointing that this lounge is being delayed even further. I guess more than anything it’s frustrating in terms of managing passenger expectations.

That being said, I think their current setup is actually pretty decent, given that the food is great, the lounge is modern, and as a first class passenger you receive both a spa and salon treatment. I just wish they weren’t dangling this supposedly new lounge in front of us, without any sort of a realistic timeline on when it will open.

Comments

  1. “many of you redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad.”

    Don’t they require you to pAAy for two separate awards in order to fly EY ex-USA? You need one to Abu Dhabi and another to your ultimate destination. AS awards on EK are a lot cheaper.

  2. Not surprising but extremely disappointing. The fact they said “early” 2016 means they are giving themselves the timing leverage of not opening this until the Spring. They have had more than enough time to get it done by the end of the year. Its just very disappointing how they really are choosing to take their time with this even though they have the resources to complete this in a few months if they wanted to.

  3. @ Lucky:
    As far as delayed aviation projects go, sadly that’s not a just a Middle East phenomenon. Well, you probably know that you just arrived at an airport which should already be out of service for quite some time now. Several announced inauguration dates for the new airport already passed, most notably the “opening” on June 3, 2012, which ridiculously was postponed only 26 days in advance. More than three years later, we’re still left waiting.
    The whole thing (among other failed German building projects) went so awry that someone came up with the idea of LEGO producing this:
    http://www.der-postillon.com/2013/02/lego-startet-neue-serie-gescheiterte.html
    While I honestly think that the existing airport isn’t that bad at letting you get on and off an aircraft, the main thing missing is the giant shopping most big airports tend to be these days (which I don’t miss that much, to be honest).

    Read more: http://a380.boards.net/user/101/recent#ixzz3kOtsz0l8

  4. If you’re going to give us a delay, at least give us some drama with it! C’mon, Qatar does it right, why can’t all the other tardy airlines? 😛

  5. Do you know how some of these benefits/vouchers work? I have a trip early next year with family of 4, wife and daughter in first and son and myself in business. Can my son and i use my wifes/daughters vouchers for a haircut? or can my wife get a massage while i watch the kids, and then i use my daughters voucher?

  6. Duuuuhhh,
    I was so looking forward to test the new F lounge in December.
    Well well, the current “shabby” lounge will have to do then 😀

  7. Beside the usual construction delays, I suspect that Etihad wants a first-class lounge that is going to blow everyone away in the same way it did when the A380 residence and apartment photos were first released. And correct me if I’m wrong but the first class lounge for Qatar at Doha still hasn’t been completed right? Maybe there is a little oneupmanship going on and neither Etihad nor Qatar wants to debut their lounge without seeing what the other has done so they can up the ante.

  8. @Trup
    When I went you just presented your boarding pass, so as long as you don’t give them a reason to check the names I assume you have 2x Haircuts, 2x Spa Treatments to use whenever you want.

  9. Ben…what’s the special service in the F-section? Do the serve food to your seat or do I have to go straight to the restaurant? Thanks

  10. Hi Guys:

    Quick newbie question: to book an award ticket on Etihad, with miles from AA, is it best to call up Etihad or book the award through AA? Thanks!

  11. @lucky – quick Q, is there any sort of arrivals lounge at AUH for EY F passengers arriving ex-US? Origin ofc doesn’t matter, just giving a specific example.

    If there is an arrivals lounge worth checking out, and your final destination is actually DXB – how long can you hang out at AUH before they won’t chaffuer you to the other emirates anymore? Not sure if they cancel advanced reservations or if you can book them on the fly even after getting to AUH as you please time wise.

    Appreciate the heads up, thanks!

  12. Phillip: there is no special service in the roped-off “F” section of the Premium Lounge, other than a a staff member having to open and close the rope each time you pass (one feels weird after a few times). There is no “restaurant” per se, but there are two very good food stations that have appetizers/desserts and mains+sides (hot & cold). Fortunately, this is not a “dreary” lounge IMO and the bartender knows how to prepare an American dry (very!) vodka martini!

    I enjoyed this lounge and the service/ staff/cleanliness were all superb.

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