Reply To: Etihad First Lounge Abu Dhabi

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My flight :

EY011 to LHR on Thursday 12th November – 3K if Etihad have any interest.

I have an Etihad Gold Guest Card Why is the First Class Lounge NOT open yet! It has been closed for more than a year now, and my latest visit to the “business” lounge at Gate 35, sort of gives a good clue why they are leaving it it closed.

Appalling chaos, nowhere to sit at very busy times, suspicious food, (cold noodles and mashed potatoes) and a very poor selection of drinks.

So now James Hogan we know why you haven’t reopened the First Class Lounge, you are saving too much money putting your F/C passengers through a hell on earth experience with cheap plonk and inedible food.

My experience this time: The limo driver arrived 2 hours early, I was having a shower. When he called I said its only 8:45pm you are booked at 10:30 pm all I got was “yes sir” I said I will be ready at 10pm. I thought he wouldn’t come back, but in the end he did.
Pleasant check in as usual, other formalities fine, but the First Class Lounge not open yet. I was surprised by this because Etihad staff we telling passengers in February 2015 that it would open “very soon”, and in April that it will be opening in a couple of weeks. It is now November and still not open. The check in person told me “oh it will be a couple of months yet they are telling us, but I dont know what the problem is they have been telling different dates all year!”.

So the lounge at gate 35. Extremely busy. No seating available. Lounge reception did not tell me that thay had roped off a small selection of seating for F/C passengers, and no one has ever mentioned that in any of my previous 5 visits this year.

Drinks: They have changed the champagne and wines available in this lounge. The champagne is UNDRINKABLE, indeed the only time I have ever had any as bad as that was on a BA flight to nice from LCY, and they were in a third size screw top bottle). Etihad it is shocking, and frankly you should use it to drown your lounge manager. I asked for a chardonnay, and I was told in a rather pompous fashion by the barman, that they do not offer a chardonnay any longer but he could offer me a “Traminer” I asked him where it was produced and he didn’t know. I tried it and it stayed on the bar. An American couple next to me at the bar (also complaining about no normal seats being available) said, we have tried the whites and also the reds, it is all “crap”. So I changed to black coffee, and they even forgot to make that for me. I had to ask three times, and give a few meaningful looks. I was at all times the epitome of positivity and politeness you will all understand.

In the end, I gave in and sat on the edge of a small table that was free and waited until the lounge cleared, and I could find somewhere to sit. My 69 year old bottom was protesting at this stage, but the only other option was to sit next to someone who was so wracked with influenza, that I was prepared to suffer in other ways.

Eventually I got to my seat on the plane.

There are good crews and there are bad crews, and usually the uniting factor is how well the CSD works to unite them and inspire team working. This CSD missed the “team working” part of the training course I suspect. I have to say he or she because I was never aware of who the CSD was. I didn’t get one of their little cards introducing themselves The crew that I did deal with: the chef and two of the attendants were individually excellent. The CSD I never saw, he/she must have gone to their office for a good sleep.

So Etihad, I already have my next ticket with you for late November – shall I keep it or switch my allegiance to Qatar airways – their first class lounge at Doha is certainly a thing to behold – such a fantastic place that I took a photo and used it on my facebook page.

Mr Hogan, you need to take your friend Christoffel over to Qatar to see how a real lounge works, and send him on a refresher wine course if he is still in your employ.

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