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!
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.
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.
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.
As mentioned, the food selection was poor. Aweful for an international lounge.
So ended up having some cheese and crackers, curry and horrible rice.
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.
Boarding was about 40 mins before take off which was good as we could spend longer in first class.
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.
Our TV was humongous.
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.
Its a lovely product indeed.
Probably not as wide as the Cathay Seat but ample. Its leather and its really nice.
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.
Lift up the lid and you have all your other controls for the TV, power, USB, Ethernet 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!
IK had the Duval Leroy Rose, France, NV which retails under $50 AUD a pop. Much cheaper!
Came with some dates and some arabic Coffee
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.
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.
I had the A LA CARTE menu and pretty much skipped the All day Dine menu as i was stuffed.
Amenity kit included Bergamot goodies, pyjamas and slippers.
Ceiling looked like it was looking through. You’ll see in a minute why this is a cool thing
Anna pouring Arabic coffee
GOLD blanket and pyjamas which i thought was very comfortable.
Etihad Amenity kit was nice.
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.
There a little coat closet for maybe one THIN coat. It was very narrow. Also had a mirror which i thought was nice.
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.
It’s going to be a 14 hour flight!
Theres also a forward/Back and landscape camera
Just wanted to show you some bling on these partitions.
Chef Alejandro. Very Attentive chef and even made our bed!
It’s time to get changed!
Cathay now has bose headphones in first and they are the gold standard. these were pretty average.
They came around with some mags. Thought I might find ideas to be a billionaire.
Here comes a starter. I totally forgot what it was but it was some fish i think but beautifully presented.
Some bread and olive oil and butter.
Checked out what they used. NIKKO fine bone china which i think is pretty famous.
Table set. I thought Anna did a brilliant job. Everything was immaculate. Up to the standards to pecky.
I asked the chef which wines I should have. He recommended the Shiraz.
From Margaret River, pretty cheap wine actually 21 bucks from Dan Murphys. Pretty good though.
The mini touch screen can massage different areas, control the partition that goes up, make it into a bed etc.
Came some take off drinks and some appetisers. IK had some dried wasabi nuts which she was intrigued about as you can see.
Had a Mojito for take off, vege chips, olives and nuts. The drinks were tall and done well.
Up in the air.
Bit of a palate Cleanser. Like a raspberry sorbet.
The King Prawns were really good. A little salad in a interesting bowl with some renkon. Prawns were a little spicy but delicious.
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.
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.
IK wanted to have the Tiramisu
Also made a mess due to the turbulence.
IK had a fish special. She said it was pretty good.
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.
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.
here is the bed made, with a bottle of water during the night.
Starry starry night. Nice touch.
Felt like a wake up fruit latter and a mocktail to wake me up.
The partition can go up and it is very private if you don’t know your neighbour. Unlikely though.
Had a tea in the morning with some baklava.
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.
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.
- 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