Going RTW: Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi Terminal 3

Introduction & Trip Index

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After a long trip on the bus again, we got out in the oven furnace kind of heat for just a brief moment and hopped into the Terminal 3 building. Even for transit passengers, there was going to be a security check. Like had become the trend so far, I was not being very impressed with the premium-ness of the Etihad experience. There was one premium screening queue as compared to the zillions for the non-premium passengers. And guess what, they closed out the queue right in front of me, transferring those passengers over to regular queue. Let the confusion ensue.

After going through security check, this is the board that came in front of me, which reminded me of the synergies which Etihad has with its equity partners. I thought about how Jet Airways was going to be soon added to that list, hopefully.

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I proceeded further, through the maze of shops to find my way to the lounge on the second level. Etihad’s first and business class lounges are actually co-located, and while the business class lounge is bigger (or so it looked to the eye), the first class lounge was of course more fancier.

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Bear in mind that this is not something that beats the pants off Lufthansa First Class Terminal or the Thai First Class in Bangkok. But it is a nice first class lounge nevertheless. I had about 2 hours to kill here, having arrived at about 7:40 AM, and with my flight to JFK being 10 AM, I’d need to leave by 9:30 AM or so.

The lounge has a nice seating area by the tarmac, and that is where I seated. Someone quickly approached with a cold towel, and asked me what would I like to drink. A drink of water sounded like a good idea, he ran along and got me one, along with a menu. I told him I’d look around first and then order for something shortly.

What I like about Etihad the most is their understated style. The colours are not so flashy, or blingy, and there is moderation in the approach rather than over the top.

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The seating area by the windows

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Individual pods for TV viewing

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Airside View

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The Restaurant

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The Cigar Room

I asked to be directed to the washrooms, and they were located inside the Six Senses Spa located inside the lounge. These were actually shower rooms.

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On my way out, I chatted up the manager of the spa, and we were able to book me a fifteen minute massage treatment after an hour, which was the first slot which was open.

I got back to the restaurant and seated myself on the bar counter, because the restaurant was so full at that hour. There were multiple departures coming up I got myself a mocktail and waited for a table to be open in the restaurant, which did in about 15-20 minutes.

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Once I got a table, I ordered off the menu. I forgot taking a picture of this one, but out of memory, I remember the breakfast menu had cereal, yoghurt, fruits, waffles, eggs to order with accompaniments and Arabic Shakshouka scrambled eggs. I went with some cereal, and followed by waffles with compote.

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While the cereal was good, I struggled to finish the waffles, not because they were bad, but because it was my second breakfast this morning.

I visited the spa right after. A 15-minute spa treatment is not reflective of the spa, but I believe it is just something they have to try and get themselves in the same league as the British Airways T5 lounge at LHR or Thai Airways Lounge at Bangkok. Although I have to admit it was a nice idea to get a quick massage done right before the flight.

The internet connectivity, I found it best only to use my phone and iPad there, as it was not too fast.

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A view from the back of the kitchen

I went back to the restaurant to collect my stuff, and the by now chatty hotel staff asked me if I wanted something else. I ordered a Turkish coffee to finish it off.

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After the coffee, I was on my way to the gate. I was eager to try out my first flight on Etihad’s F class. On the way was another secondary security check, necessary for US-bound flights. And at the gate, while I was early, boarding was already started…and as was the usual for me so far, the premium-cabin queue was being used for economy boarding.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Ethihad should change its tag line to “bringing Economy class service to Business Class”. One of my least favourite airlines.

  2. I would be pretty mad had I been paying full fare to get this kind of ground service. The lounge looks a very good business class lounge though, I can name at least 5 better first class lounges off the top of my head.

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