The announcement on the flight PA system woke me up from my slumber. We were 30 mins away from landing at Abu Dhabi International airport. It was for the first time I was flying from Bangalore to New York via Abu Dhabi in a business class. The flight was a code share flight of Etihad operated by Jet Airways. It was just like any other domestic business class with more leg space and basic entertainment system. Going by the looks of this flight the onward journey did not enthuse me much after flying business class with Air India on my previous trip.
The air hostess started distributing immigration forms and when she handed me one, I refused saying that I had an onward flight to the US. But when she said that I had to clear US Customs at Abu Dhabi itself, it was a pleasant surprise. So, no more bleary-eyed long lines at JFK after landing in the U.S. Woohoo!!!!
But then it dawned on me that I had less than three hours to get onto the next flight and less time to check the lounge. By the time I disembarked the airlines ground crew were checking the passenger’s tickets and redirecting them to particular gates. All passengers traveling to the US were directed towards Gates 60 and above. There were ample of airline staff and signboards to direct passengers towards the US Customs. It took me hardly an hour to clear the customs and begin another journey in the lap of luxury on my another flight from Abu Dhabi to New York.
I think the best part of flying business class is the access to the beautiful lounge all around the world. Free Internet, sumptuous food and never ending drinks is what you need when you have to kill time waiting to board the flight. The lounge was spacious and interiors were modern and trendy but unfortunately crowded. Though it was a busy lounge but it’s not difficult to grab a corner for yourself. The spread of international buffet was good and beautifully presented with wide range of drinks including hand-picked wines from the best vineyards. Apart from the family room, the highlight was the complimentary spa treatment at Six Senses Spa which lasted for 15 minutes. As I was running short of time, did not get time to experience it, but as they say there is always a next time. 😉
Food and Beverages:
The moment I boarded the flight I was welcomed with a glass of champagne and a cold towel. The staff handed me the inflight menu which was exhaustive and it included both Indian and western food. A proper three-course meal with a choice of champagne and red/white wine served in beautiful crockery with the chef artistic touch. Yup, no aluminum foil wrapped packaged food. The bar had a good collection of spirits ranging from single malt whiskies to cognac. Oh it was heaven all the way 😉 . I devoured on all the mouth-watering cuisines that were served in a true luxe style.
Staff play a crucial role on long haul flights. I think the first impression about any airlines depends on the way the staff react.The airlines staff both in flight and on ground were very helpful, caring and ready to assist all your needs on just one switch. It took just one complaint from my end to fix the USB port on my seat so that I could charge my phone. And my glasses were refilled without even asking.
The seats in the flight were in the form of a coupe. This gave ample space and privacy to every traveler. It was full recliner seats, which ensured that you could have a sound sleep during a long flight. The in-flight entertainment system was loaded with movies and sitcoms to keep you glued through out your journey. They were even broadcasting a live Wimbeldon match between Djokovic and Federer. A live telecast of a match while you are thousands feet up in the air. Isn’t that cool!!!
More than that I like the complimentary amenity kit they handed over to us. A beautiful hand made purse that included socks, eye mask,ear plugs, hand cream, dental kit and lip balm.
Staying Connected :
We‘ve Saved The Best For Last. Imagine calling home or surfing internet 30,000 feet high. Yes, you read it right. You can purchase a plan from T-Mobile and can make calls while flying. Isn’t that wonderful? Internet plans are also available depending on your requirement, so stay connected with the world during your long haul flight or catch up with your work and meetings while flying.The WiFi provider on Etihad is T-Mobile, and is available in three packs. $22 for the entire flight; $14 for four hours, or $11 for two hours.
We loved our first experience with Etihad and would surely recommend others too , nothing can be better than flying out of India in style and luxury with Etihad.
Etihad has certainly raise the bar of Luxury in the air.