Etihad Is Now Selling Access To Their First Class Lounge

The Gulf carriers are certainly under financial pressure from their governments, so we’re increasingly seeing them monetizing their products. Earlier in the year I wrote about how Emirates began selling lounge access.

Essentially, Emirates lets you pay $100 to access the business class lounge or $200 to access the first class lounge. Meanwhile if you’re flying business class, you can pay $100 to access the first class lounge. That’s potentially a pretty decent deal, depending on how long your layover is.

Emirates-First-Class-Lounge-Dubai-10
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai

Well, Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways is following the lead of Emirates, and has now started selling access to their first class lounge.

Etihad-First-Class-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 4
Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

Points From The Pacific reports the following new policy from Etihad:

You can now pay and upgrade to our First Class Lounge & Spa at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Enjoy our most remarkable lounge experience with a variety of spaces to work, rest and play. Enjoy fine-dining prepared in-house by our Chefs. Relax in our spa, be pampered at nail bar, have a blow dry, or take advantage of our wet-shave service. Work out in the Fitness Room or rest in the Relax and Recline Room.

  • If you’re flying in Business or Economy Class, you can choose from 2, 4 and 6 hour upgrade packages starting from only USD $200 / AED 735.
  • As a First Class guest, you can invite a companion to join you in our First Class Lounge & Spa for only USD $100 / AED 367.
  • If you’re an Etihad Guest Gold member travelling in Business Class, you’ll have a preferential upgrade rate of only USD $100 / AED 367.

All Lounge access is subject to availability, so check with our Lounge staff on your day of travel. Our First Class Lounge & Spa is open 24 hours a day.

Payment is by credit card only.

Etihad has a few more restrictions in place than Emirates does. For one, only Gold members traveling in business class can upgrade to the first class lounge for $100 (meanwhile at Emirates, all business class passengers can upgrade for $100).

Etihad-First-Class-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 6
Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

Those in economy or business class can buy packages starting at $200 to upgrade to the first class lounge. They seem to charge based on how long you stay, with the option of staying for two, four, or six hours, so I imagine it’s more than $200 if you’re staying for over two hours.

I think paying $100 to access the first class lounge as a Gold member in business class could be a good value if you have a long layover. However, paying $200+ for limited access isn’t as good of a deal, in my opinion. It’s also not clear whether spa treatments are included or whether you have to pay extra, as not all passengers in the lounge are eligible for free spa treatments.

Etihad-First-Class-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 10
Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

Personally I think the best “paid” lounge access value is still with Air France. They charge 300EUR to access their first class lounge in Paris, and you can only take advantage of it if you’re flying business class on a longhaul flight without a first class cabin.

The Air France first class lounge Paris is by far the best in the world, and they’ll pick you up at your arriving flight, drive you to your departing flight, you get a free spa treatment, and the restaurant is the best offered in any airline lounge by a long shot. It’s expensive, but it’s a special experience.

Air-France-First-Class-Lounge-Paris - 80
The Air France First Class ground experience

Could you see yourself paying for upgraded lounge access with Etihad?

Comments

  1. Considering that a not insignificant number of people who are entitled to First Class Lounge access prefer to use the Business Class Lounge instead, I can’t imagine anyone paying extra for this. The Etihad lounge is a disgrace and the staff are absolute jobsworths who don’t know the first thing about customer service.

  2. How does it work with the time restriction??? Does somebody come pull you out of your recliner once you’ve passed the 2hr mark???

  3. As a Platinum member with F lounge access, I can honestly say that the lounge has gone seriously downhill since its first grand opening. If somebody were to pay $200 to use it for two hours, then maybe they would be seriously disenchanted with the whole experience. The food menu has been cut and the service levels have gone down quite noticeably, with me having on occasions to get my own drink from the bar for example. Even the reclining chairs in their “relax” lounge have been replaced by standard chairs that you would see in hotel reception areas. As I’m based in AUH, I haven’t as yet seen the need to fly with other Gulf carriers so I can’t compare their respective lounges.

  4. I spent the night at Etihad’s first class lounge a couple of months ago. It was NOT very comfortable. All of the reclining chairs were taken. Unless someone has money to burn (in which case they’d probably be flying first class anyway), it makes no sense to pay to access this lounge.

  5. I wonder if that is why they have removed the chairs which genuinely recline? There are two small, private rooms available which may offer more comfort for those passing through in the early hours, but they are almost always occupied based on what I have seen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *