Etihad First Lounge Abu DhabiBack to Forum
AnonymousGuest13 Nov 2015
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.13 Nov 2015
Just to update this post: The Etihad First lounge at Abu Dhabi has been closed now for around a year.
Cynthia Gikonyo from Etihad’s customer relations department has confirmed to me today in an email, that there is no immediate plans to re-open the First Class lounge, and the lounge is unlikely to open before the middle to late 2016 at the earliest.
Etihad claims to be the “national” airline of the UAE, and Abu Dhabi airport is their base. Very unimpressive way to treat their passengers who are paying for first class tickets.
Cynthia Gikonyo says Etihad listens very carefully to passenger comment, clearly not, because the website still indicates that a first class lounge is available.17 Nov 2015
Blend 69. Thanks for the review it was very timely. I need to plan a couple of trips to Dhaka next year and my first choice is QR but was going to give Etihad a try. The return flight would involve a 7 hour layover at Abu Dhabi and I was about to start a post regarding whether the lounge would be any good for a lengthy stopover. Your review is making me stick with QR.17 Nov 2015
Just in the interests of balance, I used this lounge at the beginning of February and it was a good experience. I agree that the delay in opening a new first class lounge is frustrating and the website could be clearer, but when I visited:
(i) the lounge was virtually empty;
(ii) I was given a guided tour of the lounge and was shown and sat in the roped off area;
(iii) the spa was empty and I was offered two complementary spa treatments straight away – the staff were great, as were the treatments;
(iv) lots of free PCs in the business centre and fast wi-fi; and
(v) I was waited on hand and foot, albeit I wasn’t feeling great and had minimal food and drink (there was a very good selection but agree that the quality is arguably more business than first).
Overall it was a good experience and I personally was aware that there was a joint business and first facility in operation. By point of contrast I was in the Abu Dhabi lounge used by BA last week (for which I’ve posted a review) and personally found the Etihad lounge far superior.
Editor – review is here: http://www.businesstraveller.com/discussion/topic/British-Airways-B787-9
Notwithstanding the above, if I was paying for first class and had a 7 hour layover, I would definitely opt for Qatar if the price is the same or similar – the QR lounge is far better.17 Nov 2015
I flew F from Melbourne to Edinburgh last Sunday.
I agree completely re the lounge. It was brim full, and very surprised at lack of F Lounge.
I wanted to get a shave/haircut, but was told I would have to pay for it, as I was traveling in Biz. I pointed out that the ticket was issued for F, but I was only in J due to no F available on AUD-EDI. No dice.
Qatar will get my business when I fly back to MEL in Feb.19 Nov 2015
Actually what decides your lounge entitlement is your booking class on the onward ,continuation flight regardless which class you flew in on your arriving flight into Abu Dhabi..The fares are also calculated on the basis that your onward connection is indeed in Business and not First Class .
Just to add that Qatar has no First Class on any route except those operated by A380 ;that is Bangkok,London ,Paris ( if they are still operated by A380 ) ;the 787-8 and A350-900 as well as 777-300ER offer only Business Class .19 Nov 2015
I am saddened by the news that the EY First Class lounge won t open before late 2016 ;at least EY should clearly announce it ,telling the reason behind this mysterious thing .
QR took quite a while till they launched their First Al Safwa lounge ;let s recall this too.
Come on ,EY ;get out and tell us why your First Class lounge is closed .It is an integral part of the First Class journey and that s why we ultimately upgrade to First either against cash or EY Guest miles !19 Nov 2015
This is strange. I copied blend69’s 13/ll posting to my travel agent in London who assures me that the Etihad First Class Lounge in T3 of Abu Dhabi airport is most certainly open. We shall see on Sunday when we hope to use it going back to London on EY17. Out of interest, EY12 coming here last Tuesday was absolutely amazing. The First Apartment really is “flying reimagined” – a whole new experience and with one of the best crew ever. Well done Etihad, as usual.20 Nov 2015
I can assure you that the F lounge on T3 was not open on Monday. However, there is a small section of the Biz lounge that is reserved for 1st passengers. Nothing special at all there, apart from being reserved for F pax. However, I do know some J pax were in this section, so not that strictly monitored.20 Nov 2015
I can’t help but think that if the OP had flown with QR just a few weeks earlier then you would have had the same complaint. The Al Safwa F lounge in Doha has been opening “soon” for eons. Yes it’s open now, but QR haven’t had an F lounge since Hamad opened. In my experience the ME3 have their own unique ways of going about things and that usually involves poor communication and seemingly never ending delays. If that doesn’t suit, then vote with your feet and fly someone else.20 Nov 2015
I do fully agree with MrDarwin on the fact that in the GCC people have a strange way of communicating things ( even if they are expats based there ;they do it the GCC way ) ;they NEVER EVER communicate negative news ;they would rather hide it or beat around the bush .I would expect EY to announce the F lounge is closed with the same transparency as when they announce its opening ;at least ,we consumers would accept it and adapt our travel arrangements but not feel fooled by booking First Class and anticipating a superb ground experience then get shocked when we find out ( too late ) that it is not going to happen !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….LX,AF,KL,LH,BA,OS,etc just give you the bad news and throw it at your nose bluntly ;take it or leave it ;I deem his far better than hide the truth !!!!!!!!!!!!!20 Nov 2015
Well previous contributors are correct. The normal Fisrt Class lounge is MOST CERTAINLY closed. I’ve just asked people here why their website says it is open. They maintain that the Business class lounge we are currently is is a joint First/Business class lounge. They struggled when I pointed out that the sectioned off area designated for First passengers will revert to Business once (if) the new FC lounge ever opens. They must tell the truth on their website. I have also put my LONDON travel agent in the picture and told them that ETIHAD continue to lie to them and more importantly we, the fare-paying passengers.22 Nov 2015