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]
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.