This is my review of the Etihad arrivals lounge in Abu Dhabi.
The Etihad First Class experience runs from the minute you leave you house, in their free chauffeur car, through to their Heathrow lounge, the on-board experience and then, when you land, your free chauffeur drive to your hotel. You can read my review of the Etihad Heathrow lounge here and the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment here.
Before you find your car (and it was trickier and less well organised than I remembered it) you have the option of visiting the Etihad arrivals lounge.
The most positive thing I can say about this lounge is that you don’t need to make a diversion to visit it. The entrance is on the way to the car pick-up area, and you can even leave the lounge by a side door to save a few seconds. This is a plus point over the British Airways arrivals lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 which requires a detour after you exit into the landside area.
I would say that British Airways does a better job at this than Etihad. That said, the dynamics are different. The BA arrivals lounge in Heathrow is designed for people arriving very early from overnight flights and who may not be able to check in to a hotel until 2pm or do not have a meeting until mid-morning.
For me, landing in Abu Dhabi at 8pm, there was no need to hang around at the airport. Having avoided the lounge on all of my previous visits, however, I thought it was about time I took a look.
It isn’t a huge space and is totally open plan. Here is one side:
…. and here is the other side.
As you can tell, I was in no danger of not finding a seat.
If you turn around and walk back towards the entrance, the corridor to the left takes you to a shower area. I wanted to take a photo but the reception staff were not keen on me poking around!
You can also have a wet shave, if you wish! This would have been free for me as a First Class passenger. Shoe shining is also available.
If you’re still peckish after your flight, there is an impressive (given the size of the lounge) buffet:
…. and some more.
There is nothing to detain you here, to be honest, although I did take the opportunity to have a coffee and use the free wi-fi to reply to a few emails. I knew that I wouldn’t have any wi-fi access for 90 minutes or so and it was a good time to catch up.
After 20 minutes or so I wandered out, tried – unsuccessfully – to find the exit to the car area, got some guidance, finally found my way outside, got allocated a car by the slightly chaotic dispatcher and was on my way to Dubai. It took exactly an hour to reach my hotel, which makes Abu Dhabi a perfectly acceptable option if heading to Dubai. The taxi fare, if you pay cash, is £40.