Introduction – Battle of the ME3 – Etihad, Qatar and Emirates First Class

So by now I’m sure you can tell I love the Middle East, especially Abu Dhabi. I’m not sure how I got to love the place so much, but I do. In January I’m headed to London for the first time to visit. When I was thinking how am I going to get there, I had a rather nice idea. Because I’ve done Etihad quite a lot now why don’t I compare all ME3 in one trip? So I booked all 3 to compare one another in a single trip, and all on their flagship A380’s.

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Leg one:

For the first leg, I will be flying on Qatar in first on their A380 from Sydney to Doha. I’m excited to fly them on this route because this is their only true ”long haul” route for their A380. I’ve flown Qatar in business class on their A350 and found the hard product to be excellent, but the soft product was quite lacking compared to their opposition.

Qatar Airways A380 First Class image - Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways A380 First Class image – Qatar Airways

Leg 2:

Well, this leg is also on Qatar but on an A320 to Dubai. I’m also very excited to trial their Al Safwa first lounge which looks brilliant.

Qatar A320 Business Class Image: Qatar Airways

Qatar A320 Business Class Image: Qatar Airways

Leg 3:

Excessive bling, AKA Emirates. I’ve flown Emirates many times across to Auckland and found the experience pretty great. However, I have never flown them over 3 hours. I’ll be flying them to London, and I’m excited to test them on a longer flight.

Emirates First Class

Emirates First Class image: Zac George

Leg 4:

Well, this was a given. I’ll be flying my beloved Etihad back to Abu Dhabi. I’ve flown them eight times in the past year all long-haul, and I’m interested to see what they are like on medium haul flights.

Etihad A380 Apartments

Etihad A380 Apartments Image: Zac George

Leg 5:

To be decided.

Bottom Line

I’m extremely excited for this trip and be able to review all 3 in a single trip. I’ll also be reviewing the lounges, so there will be many posts from the whole trip.

Review – Etihad 787 First Class Abu Dhabi – Brisbane

Following on from my Washington to Abu Dhabi flight I had a short transit before I left for Brisbane. I absolutely love the new Etihad first class lounge, so I went for a quick visit to have a bite to eat and get a haircut, yes get a haircut in the lounge, how awesome!

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

After my haircut, I left the lounge and walked to the gate for my last flight on my long journey home to Brisbane. Gate security was a bit of a mess but boarding started on time and priority boarding was very effective.

I again went around the cabin taking photos from different angles, and the light was great for the pictures.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

I sat down a few minutes later and started to get comfortable for the flight. Now if you fly often, you’ll be able to tell how good the crew will be on the flight and this flight I had a very good feeling they would be and I was 100% correct. The CSM came around to welcome me onboard and place the welcome tray on the seat. She also mentioned there were only 2 people in first which means ultimate privacy.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

A few minutes later the onboard Chef Imke came and welcomed me onboard and handed me the menus, this is when I could tell this will be an amazing flight, the crew were just amazing, and we hadn’t even taken off yet!

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

Here are the menus:

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Etihad 787 First Class Appetiser Tray

Etihad 787 First Class Appetiser Tray

The tray had a coke, olives and warmed nuts.

Even though I ate in the lounge, I still wanted to dine onboard because the food is just brilliant.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

To start off with I had the Tomato and Red Pepper soup for the appetizer.

Tomato And Red Pepper Soup

Tomato And Red Pepper Soup

Sorbet to cleanse the pallet for the main.

Sorbet

Sorbet

For the main course, I had the Wagyu Sirloin which was cooked perfectly.

Wagyu Sirloin

Wagyu Sirloin

And for dessert, I had the chocolate and caramel pudding which was also brilliant.

Chocolate Caramel Pudding

Chocolate Caramel Pudding

Again, the dining on Etihad in first does not disappoint!

After having some food, I decided to watch some movies then try to get some sleep. As there were two people in first, the crew offered to make the bed up opposite me which was nice. I didn’t get a photo of it, but this is what it looks like set.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

I ended up having about 4 hours of sleep which was good enough for me. I did wake up hungry so ended up getting some pastries and a coffee to wake me up.

Pastries and Coffee

Pastries and Coffee

There were about 4 hours of the flight left in the flight when I woke up, and I got bored and walked into the galley to stretch. I saw the crew looked bored so decided to have a chat; we ended up talking for hours, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time talking to them. It made me appreciate how much cabin crew does for us as passengers, and they are amazing people. I have never flown with such nice and friendly crew; it proved even further that Etihad definitely does deserve five stars.

I even got a photo with them because I was just soo impressed with the onboard service.

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I didn’t want the flight to end, but sadly every good thing has to come to an end. I again ran around taking photos before we arrived into Brisbane.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Approaching Brisbane

Approaching Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Bottom Line

Out of every flight, I have taken so far, this would have had to be my favorite. The onboard service I received was second to none, Etihad has once again done a magnificent job.

Review – Etihad 787 First Class Washington To Abu Dhabi

As you could probably tell by now, I am a huge Etihad Airways fan, so when deciding how I was going to get home from Washington, I immediately looked at availability out of IAD. As luck would have it, there were first seats available which I immediately booked with 115,000 AAdvantage miles. I also found first available to Brisbane and used AA miles again. This would mean I would be spending 26 hours in these seats, Awesome!

I arrived in Washington from New York with a short connection so I couldn’t visit the lounge for long. Etihad starts boarding an hour before departure, so I boarded close to when I arrived.

For this flight, I selected 2A which is a forward facing seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat feels very spacious and very private at the same time. The seats are an upgraded and modernized version of the suites on the 777, A340 and A330.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat has an ottoman which can also be used a seat for another passenger dining with you.

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

I absolutely love the first blankets!

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

The seat is 26 inches wide which is great for sleeping and lounging on.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

On the right side of the seat, there is a storage area, lighting controls, and the IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

This side is also where you’ll find the panel for more light settings and IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Control Panel

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

This is where you’ll find the various reading materials and headphones.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

On the left side of the seat, this is where you’ll find your chilled minibar and storage space.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

I love that Etihad’s in-seat minibar is chilled, something their opposition doesn’t do.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

As I settled in I was brought a welcome tray that consists of water still or sparkling, a welcome letter signed by the cabin service manager (very nice touch), a hot towel and some dates.

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Menus were also brought to the seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Menu's

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

This was my second time on the Etihad 787 but first time in first, so I started to look around and discover the aircraft.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

The in-seat hangar is a great feature on the seat especially when you’re wearing shirts and coats that crease easily.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

The 787 cabin only has eight suites making it very private and exclusive. The two window seats are backward facing while the aisle is forward and row 2 is the opposite.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The middle seats have a divider which is great for couples traveling together or if you’re solo and want added privacy.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Pyjamas and an amenity kit were brought to the seat as I sat back down. I was excited to find that the kits feature the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The new Omorovicza products are quite nice, but I had a huge soft spot for the previous Bergamotte 22 products.

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad has two lavatories in the first class cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The lavatories were always kept clean when I visited.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The bathroom also housed the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

I went back to my seat, and we started taxiing shortly after.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

You can tell Etihad are very happy with their recent awards, they definitely do deserve it.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

We quickly took off and reached our cruise altitude of 39,000 feet, pretty impressive! The crew brought a tray which had a coke, olives and warmed nuts. I decided to watch the election live which was more interesting in the air.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Sadly I didn’t get photo’s of the menu but here are the meals I had.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

For the starter, I had the duck.

Duck Starter

Duck Starter

Sorbet to cleanse the pallet for the main.

Sorbet

Sorbet

For the main, I had an Authentic Gulf Lamb Biryani.

Gulf Lamb Biryani

Gulf Lamb Biryani

And for dessert, I had Strawberry, Coffee, and Chocolate Ice cream.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

After the brilliant meals, I decided to get some sleep as I would need it!

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

I had around 6 hours of comfortable and deep sleep which proved to be vital for the long journey.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

They call them suites for a reason, closed doors 😉

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

The cabin was dark, but this was a long exposure of the cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

After waking up from my sleep, I was feeling pretty hungry, so I decided just to have some light pastries and water. You can really feel the difference flying on the 787, waking up to no dry mouth and throat is fantastic.

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Shortly after having the pastries we started our descent into Abu Dhabi. I love waking up to mood lighting, and this felt great.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Bottom Line

I still think Etihad are an incredible airline and they improve every time I fly them, the service and quality are always top notch and I always have amazing flights while onboard their aircraft.

Jet lag Express – Flying Home From Washington The Long Way

Good evening from beautiful Washington DC!

This past weekend has been one of best experiences I have ever had. I was very lucky enough to be invited to attend “BACON” (BoardingArea Convention), and I have learned so much and met some incredible people which have been the highlight of this trip without a doubt. A huge thank you to the BoardingArea team and the following bloggers: Ben and Tiffany from One Mile At a TimeRene from Rene’s PointsStefan From Rapid Travel ChaiGary from View From The WingKevin From Economy Class & BeyondMax and Trent from TravelUpdateLee and Charlie from Baldthoughts, and Matthew From Live And Lets Fly It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Well in the morning I sadly leave D.C and start my journey home, but not in a normal way.

So here are the legs:

  • DCA-BOS (American First)  (A319)
  • BOS-MIA ( American First) (757)
  • MIA-DFW (American First) (767)
  • DFW-LAX ( American First) (A320)
  • LAX-JFK (Amercian First) (A321)
  • JFK-IAD (Delta Economy) (CRJ200)
  • IAD-AUH (Etihad First) (789)
  • AUH-BNE (Etihad First) (789)

At the end of these trips I will have requalified for Qantas platinum, Over re-qualified for Virgin Australia platinum and will even get my Dad platinum and be extremely tired and probably grumpy (sorry Mum)

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Bottom Line

I am very excited about the new few days, and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. I have loved visiting the U.S, and it won’t be long, and I’ll be back.

 

Very Interesting – Etihad A320 With Lie Flat Seats

After scrolling through countless pages of FlyerTalk pages, I found a post that caught my eye. As an Etihad fan I was very intrigued and tried to find some more info, but nothing was available online. Etihad has a single A320 with lie flat seats.

Images courtesy of VH-RMD on Flyertalk:

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It’s also interesting that the seats are covered in the old seat cover, and they don’t feature IFE.

it’s definitely a ‘special’ aircraft as it is quite different to the others in the fleet.

  • A6-EIZ is the oldest in the fleet
  • It features different engines (CFMI CFM56-5A1)
  • It’s the aircraft that does charters

Could this be a  test for their A320NEO fleet? Who knows…

The aircraft does however still operate normal flights to Doha, Oman, Bahrain, etc.

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I would love to think that it’s a test for what’s to come as their competitor Qatar also use the B/E Diamond seats on their A320.

Look familiar? Image: Qatar Airways

Look familiar? Image: Qatar Airways

Bottom Line

I found it very interesting that Etihad has lie flats on their oldest A320, but it would make sense if it is just a test aircraft or dedicated charter aircraft. I would love to see Etihad put Diamond seats on the fleet as their current product is not competitive.