Abu Dhabi to Charles De Gaule Paris

After a long Taxi we finally got to the terminal. Abu Dhabi is a massive airport with many connections to other countries. There were a few terminals as well.

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Abu Dhabi Airport

Etihad premium lounge was pretty big and packed. Can’t believe how many passengers were flying or had status. Doesn’t really makes sense. Seems like a contract lounge where people can use their priority pass or pay to get in lounge.

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Etihad Premium Lounge

There were plenty of seats around and oodles of space. But getting a seat was pretty hard. I wanted to go for the free 15 min massage so we quickly went to six senses to check it out.

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Etihad Lounge

There were many options but i opted for a neck and shoulder massage. I was told to come back at 12:20am so around 30 mins wait. It was very well organised they had staff everywhere and a queue obviously as well.

Six Senses Menu
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Six Senses Spa

There’s also a style and shave if you wanted a haircut or a shave or get your manicure done.

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Style and Shave Etihad Lounge

The Massage was lovely, my masseur was an Indian and we got chatting about how he came about to Abu Dhabi and cricket. I then had a shower afterwards which was in the same area. The showers were clean and had attendants. Comparable to Cathay showers.

Etihad Shower
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Etihad Toilet

There was a large bar as well and you could order anything you liked. It was about time for boarding so I took a few more snaps just so show how humongous this lounge was.

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Etihad Bar Seats
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Etihad Lounge Bling

The boarding area was like flying domestic jetstar again. PACKED like sardines. We still had to wait as business class passengers

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Boarding Gate

There was a business class/first class bus to take us to the plane. Still disappointed they didn’t have BMWs for their first class passengers.

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Bus to the plane
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Premium class Bus

Saw lots of planes on the way to ours.

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We flew the Boeing A340 which still has 3 classes First / Business / Economy. I was fairly impressed with first class so comparing the business class would be great.

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Boeing A340.

In business class, there are 28 business class seats in a 1 – 2 – 1 formation. However every alternate seat in the window side or the central seats either face out or face in. I don’t get why they need to make it facing out on the aisle. Sort of makes sense in the middle if you don’t know the person but there are other products out there which are better. Cathay for example. IK was pretty happy as she wouldn’t be able to see me for the rest of the flight.

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Business Class seat

These seats were fully lie flat beds but they really are cramped. I’m 181cm, and my legs were squished up the end when reclined fully. They also have a fold down table which you can make it go closer to you or further depending if you are working / eating a meal. Also comes with amenity kit and a thick blanket.

Etihad Pearl Business class seat
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Glass of Champagne
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Business Class menu
Menu

As with all business seats, a glass of champagne was necessary. They had a champagne Jacquart brut ‘Mosaique’ from France which was nice.

Drinks Menu
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Menu Cont.

The Amenity kit aint as big as the first class one and didn’t come with pyjamas and slippers. comes with the usual toothbrush etc.

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Amenity kit

Theres’ a bottle of water already in the bottle holder.

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bottle of water

Your seat number and light was located on this ‘thing’.

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Seat no.

Noise cancellation headphones were just in a plastic bag. I don’t think they’re any different to the first class ones to be honest. Again not great quality ones either.

Headphones

I actually thought the service from the business class crew were better. The flight was packed and had to look after 28 passengers on business class however they did a good job. When I asked for service they came promptly. I ordered some cheese from the any time menu after a few hours sleep. This was very good.

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Cheese platter

Breakfast came and I really didn’t feel like eating much. However I tried my best. I thought the eggs were slightly under done. Otherwise nothing fancy and special about this breakfast.

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Breakfast

The controls were not as fancy as the first class touch screen. It was just on a panel next to you. Had the massage functions etc which was more like a buzz than anything else.

Controls

You definitely couldn’t work through the centre aisle seats if you got the outside seats like we had. Even if you tried reaching over with you hand it was too far.

Centre Aisle seats

Switched on the air show and we were almost there. The E-BOX wasn’t as good as the first class one as you could watch live television. Screen was quite small as well.

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Air show

Getting through immigration and customs was a breeze at Charles De Gaulle. They didn’t really care i thought! Again we were greeted by the Etihad chauffeur drivers and this time we had an E CLASS merc. yay!

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Merc Chauffeur

Our driver didn’t speak much english i think, but it was comfortable. The centre consoles had bottles of water and the trip took about 30 mins. Saved about 45 euro if you took uber to our hotel.

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Overall, I thought there are other better hard product business class seats out there like Cathay Pacific. It was squishy and wasn’t really long enough for me.  Maybe I was too spoilt by the first class seats and downgrading was a bad option. The soft product was good and couldn’t complain. And even if you’re booked on a business award like me, you are eligible for a chauffeur service and pretty much go anywhere you like in Paris.

If I had to choose, first class would be my pick. However, the new Business class seats in the A380 or dreamliners might be much better I heard so hard to tell until I’ve tried those products.

Rating 14/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mel to Abu Dhabi 777 First Class

This trip I booked in April had some twists and turns. I’m pretty excited we’re able to get some seats on one of the big 3 middle eastern carriers. Well sitting first in any carrier is good.

I used 90k AA points to fly the first league in first class (14 hour trip) and business to Paris. I guess for around 2k when i bought these points as dividend miles was quite worth. I orginally booked business class for the 2 trips but first availability popped up and I couldn’t not take that chance. I wanted to try the A380 but no real availability.  The beauty about etihad is they have a complimentary chauffeur service with business / first class passengers. So I booked a car and it was smack on time. Doraemon-san had a flight to catch to Sydney so he came along well. Poor Chauffeur company I called the night before to confirm my booking and they said it wasn’t there! anyway Etihad ended up calling the chauffeur company and sorted it out. etihad will happily drive you from up to 80km away!

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Our car to the airport.

Came a Holden which was spacious inside and had lot of grunt. The driver seemed to be in a rush, sped most of the way! Hope he doesn’t get a speeding ticket.

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our Driver holding up my name
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From the inside.

We got to the airport quite quickly and checked in at the counter. It took a while as they had issues getting our baggage to CDG and i was frantically trying to get better seats to Paris.

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Etihad Check in Counter

First time flying out overseas on a very different carrier felt a bit weird. Unfortuntely, etihad doesn’t have their own lounge in MEL and they codeshare it with the KORU lounge. There’s also no AMEX lounge in MEL so there was no real choice and their United lounge has closed so I can’t even used my Priority pass. The Koru lounge was pretty ordinary. I felt the Qantas domestic lounge was better than this. Its a round shape lounge with a business centre, kids area, buffet, alcoholic drinks and some view of the tarmac but couldn’t see much when we were there. Food was pretty horrible and I knew I was going to have a good meal on etihad anyway so didn’t eat much and just had a few drinks.

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Air NZ Koru Lounge
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Business Centre
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Kids Area
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Koru Lounge had communal tables and various seating around

As mentioned, the food selection was poor. Aweful for an international lounge.

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The Food selection
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NZ lounge Food spread
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And more
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Fridge with New Zealand wines/beers etc.

So ended up having some cheese and crackers, curry and horrible rice.

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They did have some showers which was decent enough. I’m not sure how often people have a shower here and if they tend to clean up often as well.

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NZ lounge shower

Boarding was about 40 mins before take off which was good as we could spend longer in first class.

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Emirates flight next to our Etihad 777
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Seemed like there was alot of people around
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Here is our beast

We were the ONLY ones in first class today and pretty much had 2 people looking after us. The flight attendant Anna and Alesandro the on board chef. Yes can’t believe we get our own chef in first class. We were settled in the middle seats in the front. The seats are huge and had its own sliding doors for privacy. They aren’t that high so flight attendants walking by can see what you’re up to. We had our own mini bar which i wasn’t too fazed as it’s far too warm for sparking water and you have a anytime menu anyway. There’s a partitions if you want more privacy or if you don’t know the person next to you. The seats probably aint as comfy as Cathay first class seats but it’s still quite nice.

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IK in her throne
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Pecky in first class!

Our TV was humongous.

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Etihad 777 First Class TV- HUGE

All suites are enclosed so you can have ultimate privacy. If travelling alone, the side seats are the way to go. You get to have 3 windows as well.

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First Class Enclosed Suite

Its a lovely product indeed.

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more views of Etihad 777 First Class

Probably not as wide as the Cathay Seat but ample. Its leather and its really nice.

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The Seat itself

A touch screen to recline the seat/make a bed etc. and noise cancellation headphones which i found to be pretty poor quality. 2 sets didn’t work properly so I used my BOSE ones instead.

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Cancellation headphones and touch screen controls for the seat.

Lift up the lid and you have all your other controls for the TV, power, USB, Ethernet etc.

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TV controls etc.

Anna offered me a drink to start. Of course you can’t go astray with a class of champagne. La Grande Annes Bollinger 2005 Brut. This was a nice champagne and is around over $100 AUD per bottle. Dan murphys is selling the 2004 for $210!

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A very nice Champagne.

IK had the Duval Leroy Rose, France, NV which retails under $50 AUD a pop. Much cheaper!

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IKs Rose
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Anna holding the bottle

Came with some dates and some arabic Coffee

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Nice tray to present the little goodies.

Here is the mini bar which is room temp. I don’t see the point of this. Emirates do have a nice mini bar and maybe they need to make it cold.

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Etihad mini Bar

Etihad does a nice A LA CARTE menu and the any time menu so you can have the meal whenever you like. Alesandro recommended the King Prawns and the tenderloin special.

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Etihad menu
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Etihad Menu
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Drinks list
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Wines.
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And more wines
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Menu and ALL day menu

I had the A LA CARTE menu and pretty much skipped the All day Dine menu as i was stuffed.

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Food Menu
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First Class Menus

Amenity kit included Bergamot goodies, pyjamas and slippers.

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Etihad Amenity kit

Ceiling looked like it was looking through. You’ll see in a minute why this is a cool thing

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Etihad Ceiling

Anna pouring Arabic coffee

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Arabic Coffee

GOLD blanket and pyjamas which i thought was very comfortable.

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Pyjamas and blanket
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Pyjamas

Etihad Amenity kit was nice.

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Amnity kit
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Arabic Dates
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My second glass of champagne

Little welcoming letter signed by the cabin manager which I felt wasn’t that attentive. Didn’t really serve us but did say initially, ” please let me know if you require anything. i mean anything at all.” and also asked if we wanted to buy duty free which we were not interested at all.

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Welcoming letter

There a little coat closet for maybe one THIN coat. It was very narrow. Also had a mirror which i thought was nice.

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Coat Closet

The E-BOX was amazing but i would like them to have more newer movies. The best thing about this was there was LIVE TV. I was watching Man Utd getting frustrated by Newcastle at 30000 feet. Pretty damn good.

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Doraemon-san’s favourite

It’s going to be a 14 hour flight!

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Flight show

Theres also a forward/Back and landscape camera

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Camera Views

Just wanted to show you some bling on these partitions.

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Enclosed suite bling doors

Chef Alejandro. Very Attentive chef and even made our bed!

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Etihad Chef taking menu orders

It’s time to get changed!

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Close up of the leather
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Time to get changed!

Cathay now has bose headphones in first and they are the gold standard. these were pretty average.

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noise cancellation headphones

They came around with some mags. Thought I might find ideas to be a billionaire.

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Magazines.

Here comes a starter. I totally forgot what it was but it was some fish i think but beautifully presented.

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Starter

Some bread and olive oil and butter.

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Bread

Checked out what they used. NIKKO fine bone china which i think is pretty famous.

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NIKKO fine bone china

Table set. I thought Anna did a brilliant job. Everything was immaculate. Up to the standards to pecky.

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Table all set.

I asked the chef which wines I should have. He recommended the Shiraz.

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XANADU Shiraz

From Margaret River, pretty cheap wine actually 21 bucks from Dan Murphys. Pretty good though.

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IK’s table all set up

The mini touch screen can massage different areas, control the partition that goes up, make it into a bed etc.

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Mini Touch Screen

Came some take off drinks and some appetisers. IK had some dried wasabi nuts which she was intrigued about as you can see.

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IK’s wasabi nuts

Had a Mojito for take off, vege chips, olives and nuts. The drinks were tall and done well.

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Mojito and small snacks.

Up in the air.

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Camera

Bit of a palate Cleanser. Like a raspberry sorbet.

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Rasberry Sorbet palate cleanser

The King Prawns were really good. A little salad in a interesting bowl with some renkon. Prawns were a little spicy but delicious.

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Chilli Crusted King Prawns

IK had the mezze as I wanted to try some of it out as well .I preferred they had 4 or 5 small bowls to put each one.

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mezze
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mezze

I thought it was free for first class passengers but I asked the chef and said it wasn’t true. So I decided to buy a flight pass for $21.95 USD as it lasts 24 hours and can be used on our next connecting flight. It was pretty quick and consistent.

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Etihad Wifi

IK wanted to have the Tiramisu

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Tiramisu

Also made a mess due to the turbulence.

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IK’s mess

IK had a fish special. She said it was pretty good.

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Fish special with broccolini

My tenderloin was good with brocollini. I asked for medium rare and they delivered medium rare. On Cathay I asked for medium rare they gave me over cooked meat.

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Tenderloin special

I pretty much skipped the any time menu until the morning as I was absolutely knackered after a busy week. Alejandro asked if he could make the bed behind where we were sitting which i thought was nice. It was comfortable enough with a mattress, blanket as well. But I thought the Cathay bed was much nicer. However its a nice touch to see stars to sleep.

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Sleeping flat at 30k feet

here is the bed made, with a bottle of water during the night.

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Bed made at 30000 feet

Starry starry night. Nice touch.

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Stars on the 777 etihad

Felt like a wake up fruit latter and a mocktail to wake me up.

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Fruit Platter

The partition can go up and it is very private if you don’t know your neighbour. Unlikely though.

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Had a tea in the morning with some baklava.

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Mint Tea before landing.

Didn’t really have breakfast as i was so full but the flight attendant said would you like to try some pancakes the chef has made? So had a banana pancake with jam. Then we had some crossiants and another mocktail.

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Landing at Abu Dhabi Airport
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Man city plane!
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Virgin plane
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Arrived!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The landing was pretty smooth, but the taxi was unbelievably long. maybe 20 mins just to get to a remote stand!

One Mile at a Time mentioned you may get BMW chauffeur service to the terminal but that didn’t happen either. Big let down.

Sorry I’ve ran out of space on my wordpress. I’ll have to consider getting hosting now. Theres a couple more pics but it might be a while so i’ll end it here for now.

Bottom Line

  • NZ lounge was disappointing. Not worth going.
  • Loved the seat, the food and the onboard chef was superb. Perfect for pecky. Anna was lovely but we both thought there was some cultural issues in which female served the female and the male served the male.
  • Had the first class cabin all to ourselves
  • Thought service lacked at times pressed the bell once and took a while before they came. Didn’t think the in flight manager was attentive esp to their first class passengers.
  • Business class passengers shouldn’t be allowed to walk up and down the aisle in first class and use the toilet.

Would I go back on Etihad again?

  • Most likely. I’ll definitely want to try to dreamliner and the A380 first class for sure.

Rating – 15/20