This is a continuation of my review of my recent Middle East trip. Other articles in this series cover the Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel, the Etihad lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4, the Business Class Studio on the new Etihad A380, the Jumeirah At Etihad Towers hotel in Abu Dhabi and the First Class Suite on the Boeing 777.
This article is my review of the Etihad business class lounge in Abu Dhabi airport, Terminal 3.
Etihad sent me yet another free chauffeur car to take me to the airport. Booking was painful as they automatically arranged it for 2 hours pre-departure – too late for me to get there and explore properly! – and they refused to answer the phone when I tried to change it. I eventually left it with the Etihad Towers concierge and he sorted it out.
Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi will soon have a brand new First Class lounge directly in front of the security screening. Until that opens in a couple of months, all passengers are using the Premium Lounge. This is not – to put it mildly – leading to overcrowding!
Look, no people! It was not the crack of dawn either. It would have been around 11am when this picture was taken!
No-one eating either, and no-one at the bar! As you can see, this is a large space – far bigger than either of the Galleries Club lounges in Terminal 5 at Heathrow. It is nowhere near the size of the new Qatar Airways lounge in Doha, of course, or indeed the new Emirates facility (Concourse C) in Dubai where there are individual floors – whole floors – for economy, business and first class passengers.
I was impressed by the food concept. There are two food stations. One serves the previous meal and one serves the next meal! Service is never interrupted. When I was there, one station was doing a late breakfast whilst the other was doing early lunch.
You don’t go hungry …. especially as there is no-one to eat the food …..!
And if you like cake, they have cake!
No-one at the bar – and I didn’t try it either!
It was all a little odd. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the space. There is an area of seating roped off for ticketed First Class passengers which I didn’t use – it seemed a bit unnecessary given that they were not exactly busy! There is a decent business centre area and also some nifty egg-shaped chairs where teenagers can hide away and play video games or watch TV!
Me? Well, I decided to get my hair cut. Literally 20 years ago I had a haircut in the Virgin lounge at Heathrow. This seemed like a great opportunity to try it again. After all, how many lounges have a hairdresser in them? The service has a nominal charge for business class passengers but it was free to me as a First Class passenger.
People who know me know that my haircut does not exactly need a three-year degree course to master. Somehow, though, the guy messed it up. I didn’t realise it at the time, to be honest, but my wife was not happy! She felt I looked like an escaped prisoner.
If you’ve got kids, you’re in luck. There is a great childrens play room as you can see above. Why BA did not build something like this into Terminal 5 I don’t know.
There we have it. It was a rather underwhelming experience but for no good reason. Perhaps it was just the atmosphere created by the place being almost empty. It has the architectural grandure of a flagship lounge but the food and service, whilst certainly good, didn’t quite match. I can’t criticise it, though, because it does actually tick all the boxes for what you might need (including a haircut!).
If you’re flying First Class – as I was – it is academic anyway as the new F lounge will soon be open.
And with that, I headed off to my Boeing 777 First Class Suite ….
Click here for the next review in this series- the First Class Suite on the Etihad Boeing 777.
More photographs from the lounge can be found on our Instagram feed.