On the Ground: As I arrived at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a friendly baggage attendant immediately greeted me, placed my luggage on a cart and escorted me inside the terminal to the check-in desk. There was no line, and I checked in within five minutes. I encountered another short process at security, so I had time to enter the first- and business-class lounge. The lounge is quite large and spacious but also offers private areas ideal for business travelers who wish to work. I checked out the assortment of food and beverages and enjoyed a quick breakfast and a latte at the lounge’s coffee bar. Before proceeding to the gate, I went through the U.S. preclearance facility for customs and immigration. After a five-minute wait in line, I was directed to a customs officer who welcomed me home within a minute. I was satisfied with the efficient and seamless preclearance customs process.
Pre-Flight: I entered the aircraft and was greeted by the flight attendant and directed to my seat in the business-class cabin. Shortly after I was seated, an attendant came around with a tray of drink options and warm towels. Once I settled in, the flight attendant offered a variety of reading materials. I chose a couple of magazines, made myself comfortable in my seat and was ready for takeoff.
In-Flight: My seat was in the front row of business class in one of the two middle seats. I appreciated the direct aisle access close to the restroom area. A section divider allowed for privacy but could be removed if desired or if you are traveling with a companion. The seat converted into a fully flat bed which I found comfortable and spacious. I enjoyed the variety of entertainment selections available on the 15.4-inch touch-screen TV, including a nice variety of new and old movies and TV shows. While I typically prefer to use my own headphones, the noise-canceling headset worked well throughout the flight. After watching two movies, I browsed the large library of music.
The amenity kits offered travel essentials including lip balm, hand lotion and eye shades, all of which I used. I liked the style of the bag, which I decided to keep and reuse. Etihad’s dining on demand is flexible and allows passengers to eat whenever they choose and as often as they like throughout the flight. I first chose from the à la carte menu and started with a satisfying bowl of white bean soup. For my entrée, I enjoyed the baked chicken served with vegetables and lemon rice. While the meal was filling, later in the flight I browsed the Kitchen Anytime menu and ordered a selection of cheeses, which paired nicely with my glass of Bordeaux from the beverage list. I asked the flight attendant for mixed nuts which were not listed on the menu, and she brought me a small dish, which I appreciated.
The Experience: I was pleased with my business-class experience on Etihad. There seemed to be a large staff on board, all attentive and friendly. The mood lighting system created a calm atmosphere which made me feel quite relaxed throughout the flight. The U.S. preclearance process made for an easy arrival to JFK, where I was able to walk directly to baggage claim without any interruptions or stops. Overall, I had a pleasant experience flying with Etihad, and I would certainly fly with the airline again.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority tagged baggage[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors[/item]
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