Etihad

Review: Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

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A couple of days ago I finally had the chance to visit Etihad’s new first class lounge in Abu Dhabi. The lounge opened in May 2016, after substantial delays. While I used to fly Etihad all the time, I’ve been making an effort to review more new airlines lately, so this was my first time passing through Abu Dhabi in first class since the lounge opened.

Prior to that I visited Etihad’s Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi, which can be accessed by business class passengers. For a business class lounge it’s solid.

Etihad’s Abu Dhabi first class lounge is open 24 hours a day, and is located just past the security checkpoint at Terminal 3. So if you’re originating in Abu Dhabi you’ll find the lounge as soon as you clear the security checkpoint. Meanwhile if you’re connecting, clear transit security at Terminal 3, and then follow the signage to the first class lounge.

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My Glamorous Life: Being Force Fed A Tasting Menu At 3AM With A Stomach Bug

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Let me start by saying that I’m beyond grateful to be able to make a living doing what I’m passionate about. Since a very young age I was obsessed with airplanes and travel, and I pinch myself every day about the fact that I’m able to do this full time. That’s despite the constant jetlag and exhaustion. Seriously, I couldn’t be more grateful for this, and I owe it all to you guys.

So take this post as being tongue in cheek, as it’s more of an amusing reflection of what my life is like in practice, despite what it may look like in Instagram pictures, etc. This has been an especially crazy travel week for me. Over the course of about a week I flew from Los Angeles to Taipei to Singapore to Bali to Hong Kong to London to Abu Dhabi (don’t worry, I’ll explain the reasoning for it eventually).

I took the 2PM flight from London to Abu Dhabi, which arrived at 1:30AM. I was dead tired after getting minimal sleep the past week. I wasn’t hungry in the slightest. And I even had a bit of a stomach bug.

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Etihad A380 Apartment In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Abu Dhabi! Yesterday I flew from London to Abu Dhabi in Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment. I’ve reviewed Etihad’s A380 first class many times before, so won’t be writing a full review. If you want a super thorough review, check out my posts about my past flights from Abu Dhabi to London, Abu Dhabi to New York, New York to Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi to Sydney.

In this case I took the 2PM flight from London to Abu Dhabi, which is perfect in terms of enjoying the short flight, since you can have a nice lunch or dinner service, and then get some rest.

Etihad’s A380 first class cabin is stunning — it’s hands down the most visually stunning cabin on a commercial plane, in my opinion. It’s also the only single-aisle cabin on a widebody commercial aircraft.

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The 2 Best First Class “Products” I Haven’t Yet Tried

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In the past couple of years I’ve written lots of posts ranking various airlines, lounges, etc. Two of the most popular such posts include my list of the world’s six best first class airline products, and my list of the world’s seven best first class lounges.

Quite a bit has changed since I last wrote those posts. Some airlines have opened new lounges and introduced new first class products, while I also had the chance to try some products for the first time. I’ve received several requests from readers asking for an updated ranking, which I’m hoping to do very soon.

The thing is, unlike the airline rankings we see from the mainstream media, which include stock images and are based on airline marketing campaigns, I want to be sure I’ve experienced each of the products I’m ranking firsthand.

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Etihad Says They Won’t Add More Flights To The U.S., But…

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There has been a lot of contention between the “big three” U.S. carriers and the “big three” Gulf carriers for a couple of years now, regarding the Open Skies agreement. The U.S. carriers argue that the Gulf carriers are unfairly subsidized, and there’s no way the U.S. carriers can compete.

The U.S. carriers made their case so poorly and hypocritically, and ultimately the U.S. government decided not to take action against the Gulf carriers, at least under the Obama administration.

However, the lobbying group for the U.S. carriers has said that they’re excited about working with Trump, and hoping he’ll take a tougher stance:

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Etihad May Actually Join The Star Alliance?!?

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Earlier I posted about how the CEOs of Etihad and Lufthansa are meeting in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, apparently to announce some sort of expanded cooperation.

This relationship almost emerged by accident, due to their mutual connection to airberlin. However, in the meantime the two airlines have found value in working together, though they’re starting slow. As of now Etihad and Lufthansa are just codesharing on select flights between Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

As I explained, the announcement tomorrow could come in many forms, ranging anywhere from a maintenance contract to Etihad joining the Star Alliance to Etihad buying an equity stake in Lufthansa. Earlier I speculated that it would be more significant than a maintenance contract, but less significant than Etihad joining the Star Alliance, or buying an equity stake in Lufthansa.

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The CEOs Of Etihad & Lufthansa Are Holding A News Conference Tomorrow…

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Reuters is reporting that the CEOs of Etihad and Lufthansa will be holding a joint news conference in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, which follows expanded cooperation between the two airlines, and speculation of a closer partnership on the horizon.

The relationship between Etihad and Lufthansa is a new one, and is due to their mutual connection to airberlin — Etihad owns a big stake in struggling airberlin, and Lufthansa is essentially saving airberlin by taking over many of their planes, as a way of keeping other ultra low cost carriers out of Germany.

Despite Lufthansa’s previous vocal opposition to Etihad, the two airlines have extended their relationship beyond their connection to airberlin, and are now codesharing.

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Etihad Is Starting To Price The Residence More Reasonably

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Etihad’s A380 is in many ways revolutionary, especially when it comes to their premium cabin product. Their first class product is simply stunning, with just nine “Apartments” in a 1-1 configuration. Etihad is the only airline to have a single-aisle cabin on the A380.

However, perhaps the aspect of Etihad’s A380 that has gotten them the most publicity is The Residence, which is their private three room suite with butler service. It’s located at the front of the first class cabin, and features a living room, bedroom, and even a private bathroom with shower.

As you’d expect, The Residence is bloody expensive. For example, a one-way ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi will set you back over $29,000.

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It’s Official: Etihad’s CEO Is Stepping Down

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In late December I posted about the rumor that Etihad’s CEO was expected to resign within a few months, and it looks like that’s now confirmed.

Bloomberg is reporting that James Hogan will be stepping down as Etihad CEO this year:

“The 60-year-old Australian will leave in the second half as Etihad reviews its own operations and the future direction of Hogan’s so-called equity alliance, which has seen the Abu Dhabi-based carrier take minority stakes in a variety of smaller and often ailing airlines across Europe and the Asia-Pacific.”

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What Happened To Etihad’s U.S. Award Charts?

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Several weeks ago, Etihad stopped displaying many of their partner airline award charts on their U.S. website. If you click on many of the individual partner award pages in the “spend miles” section, you’ll see the following message:

“Unfortunately, due to US DOT requirements we are unable to present this page to the United States of America. Apologies for any inconvenience, if you require further help please contact us guest@etihadguest.com.”

So, did Etihad pull a Delta and decide that there’s no need to be transparent with customers and publish award rates? Nope. Instead this is an innocent mistake, though it could quite easily be solved.

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Are Etihad And Lufthansa Really Considering A Merger?! Here’s An Update

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As I posted about earlier today, an Italian newspaper was reporting that Etihad was in talks with Lufthansa over the possibility of buying a stake in them. It was even suggested that the two airlines may enter a full-blown merger, which I was skeptical about.

The relationship between Etihad and Lufthansa is a new one, and is due to their mutual connection to airberlin — Etihad owns a big stake in struggling airberlin, and Lufthansa is essentially saving airberlin by taking over many of their planes, as a way of keeping other ultra low cost carriers out of Germany.

Despite Lufthansa’s previous vocal opposition to Etihad, the two airlines have extended their relationship beyond their connection to airberlin, and are now codesharing.

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The Next 16 First & Business Class Products I’d Like To Review

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In early 2016 I set out to review as many new first & business class products as possible, as a way of sprucing up blog content. While I figured I’d really miss the repetitive nature with which I flew many of the world’s best first class products, I’ve found reviewing new airlines to be extremely enjoyable. That goal didn’t stop in 2016, and my goal in 2017 is to try even more new airlines.

In the first couple of weeks of the year I’ve flown business class on EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Royal Brunei, and Emirates, all of which were new products for me.

As I begin to plot out my next big trip, I figured I’d make a list with the next 16 products I really want to review, in no particular order. I’m always curious to hear what you guys think, because at the end of the day my airline selection is based on what you guys are most interested in reading about.

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