Etihad Airways A340-600 (3-class new) Diamond FirstBack to Forum
AnonymousGuest24 Oct 2012
EY017 (A340-600) Abu Dhabi to London 21st October – First Class seat 2K
Pick up from Dubai Marina was without fault, taking 50 minutes to Abu Dhabi terminal 3. Terminal 3 is a small dedicated Etihad terminal, the far end of which deals just with F/C checkin and the next door area, but separate is the business check in. Immigration is around 25 feet from check in, and security a further 15 feet, the lifts to the lounges are immediately behind security, and a large duty free area adjacent to the lifts. So if you are in to walking don’t expect much exercise here.
The Diamond Lounge, is exceptional, and the lounge staff are helpful, attentive and provide a truly personal service. The spa provides all the classic short treatments if you have around 15 minutes. Food and drink is excellent, the menu being al a carte. If you smoke there is a cigar room with free cigars provided.
Gates are usually only a couple of minutes walk from this lounge for the UK flights, so no need to start to board until around 20 minutes before the flight time. I have flown in this class and route (Lon-AUH-LON) with Etihad 4 times now, and each and every time they have been very good indeed.
What made this particular flight special was the crew on EY17 on the 21st. The Cabin Manager, Ali S****, was exceptionally good, and spent a great deal of time with passengers in F/C. He is one of those naturals that meet and greet and serve passengers rather than sit in his “office” like so many do. He was constantly always around the cabins doing anything necessary to make the flight a good experience for any passenger.
Etihad have a Chef in F/C to both cook and present food and wines. On this flight, the chef Fraser, was from Scotland, and I have to say I have never been presented with food as good on any airline anywhere before. I heard his accent when I boarded, and when i asked if Scottish beef was on the menu today it certainly got a laugh.
I chose a garden salad to start. This was freshly made and dressed with excellent dressing – none of the usual rubbish from a small bottle. I chose Sea Bass for a main course which he cooked to perfection, the presentation was as good as any top restaurant in London, followed by a quattro of deserts – a taster version of all the deserts on the menu. The Chef will discuss the menu, and change items as and how you want them. A Chassagne Montrachet 2011 was recommended, and was truly delicious. Items are all cooked freshly, although I couldn’t quite work out how the chef does it, because the galley does not seem to have anything special other than a combination oven/grill. There is a large menu, including a grill section, as well as set dishes, and lots of lighter options. When was the last time you were asked how you wanted your steak / lamb etc cooked on a flight!
Divadi was the the other female crew member in F/C (sorry if I misspelt your name), but you exuded charm did an excellent job. Etihad should be very proud of the three of you because you are the face of the airline as far as passengers are concerned.
Any negatives? Very few, but the e-box system is not as good as ICE on Emirates, and the suite is not quite so sophisticated even though still very comfortable. However, both are more than good enough and MUCH better than on many airlines (new first on BA please note!). Just at the front of the right of the A340-600 there is a large toilet about 3 times the size of a typical aircraft toilet. A further toilet although normal size is provided on the left. Ample amenities are available, and it is very attractively decorated in dark shades and hidden lighting. If you get bored drinking fine wines, then you can sit on the loo seat and look out of the three windows available, although the wine is a much more attractive option.
F/C is always an expensive product, and really what you are paying for is the extra space and facilities. I have always felt that very few airlines give good value for money in this class, and many are notoriously bad. Every time I have flown with Etihad they have been very good, and this last flight was the only time I have ever felt I had 100% value for money. Thank you Ali, Fraser and Divadi – you are a credit to Etihad. I wish all airlines could boast crew as good as you, and, even though many claim it, I have never met any.24 Oct 2012
Yes limmo is included, usually a merc or BMW 5 series. In Dubai for example they will drive you to and collect you from anywhere in the UAE. In the UK, it is typically up to 100 miles for business class, and up to 150 miles for first class. Their car service for the south is operated by a company on the Isle of Dogs, and they are very good. The mileage depends on which country you are departing from or arriving in, so its best to check on their website.
The other thing in London T4, when you are a couple of minutes away, the driver calls ahead and you are met at the kerbside by one of their check in staff, and a porter – you don’t lift a finger. Same when you arrive. One last thing I didn’t mention in the review was about their lounge in T4 which is rather good as well. Easily service and facilities are as good as the Concorde lounge, although smaller and more compact. It is certainly better than the Emirates lounge in T3. My impression has been that Etihad try to treat you as a person, rather than a boarding pass. Other airlines could learn a great deal from them.
Last thing – prices. Every time I have made comparison checks between BA, Emirates and Etihad for first and business, Etihad have always been cheaper, sometimes up to 30% but usually around 20% depending on the flight timings. Thats as much as £500 on a first class return!24 Oct 2012
blend69 – great review. Maybe I’ve just been lucky because your experience reflects my own of Etihad and therefore always excellent. I have read some poor reviews but they seem to be from people who travel in Y. In F, they certainly know how to get it right and look after you – up there with SQ & CX in my opinion.24 Oct 2012
Great review. I haven’t flown Etihad first yet, but interested to note they offer a Chassagne; BA First currently topping out at a Premier Cru Chablis, which is way behind.
Off to Cape Town in F on BA with my wife for a few days mid November. Let’s see if things have improved.24 Oct 2012
Esselle – One thing you wont have any issues with in CT is wine and food, it’s one of those places where it is very difficult to find a bad bottle or poor food, and so cheap. Stay at the One and Only it is a great place, and 2 minutes walk to the waterfront.25 Oct 2012
Although I dod not fly on Etihad, but recently used Emirates for Amsterdam – Dubai – Singapore and return. Emirates (for Business and First class passengers) do provide limousine pick-up services in all three cities (and 62 more!). In Amsterdam they used an Audi A8, in Dubai Volvo, and in Singapore BMW 5-series…..perfect service….25 Oct 2012
Thanks, fully agree with you about food and drink in Cape Town. My comment was actually about food and drink on BA in their First cabin. Recent experience suggests to me that the accountants have taken over!!
Regards25 Oct 2012
I think you are right about BA. I would love to support them and I bought shares for the discount privileges, but they are not what they were. I have seen some adverse comments about the Concorde lounge recently on this site, and the new acclaimed BA first is cramped and frankly a bit claustrophobic. I came back to London from LA recently, and half way across, I was wishing the plane had still been fitted out with the old F class seats. I was only ever a silver card holder with BA, but I have used them so little in the last 2 years, I think I have been demoted back to blue 🙂25 Oct 2012