Flight Review of Etihad Airways EY41 Abu Dhabi to Dublin
Flight Details: A330-200 aircraft, EY41 Abu Dhabi to Dublin, Pearl Business Class, Seat 7K
Check-in and luggage allowance: Since this was on onward connection originating in Sydney, my bags had been tagged to Dublin and boarding pass already issued.
Lounge access: As soon as I disembarked from the aircraft, I spotted an Etihad representative holding a sign with my name, which could only signify something good, or something bad. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it was the extra VIP service provided for my entire trip, with the escorts provided at every sector to show me to the lounges, help with my bags, skip pass long queues, again showcasing the Etihad principle for good service.
The lounge in Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi airport was a short 10 minute walk from the Gate, and is located in the 'new' 3 year old wing. With the Pearl Business and First Class lounges located next to each other, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I too had access to the Six Senses Spa treatments.
After quickly perusing the Spa Menu at front desk, I booked in my 15 minute facial an hour before my flight, allowing plenty of time to shower afterwards. The treatment was conducted by specially trained Six Senses Spa therapists in a relaxing private treatment room, with showers located within the spa area allowing guests easy access.
The Pearl Business Class Lounge is relatively large, but before long, was filled to maximum capacity with only a few seats to spare. An extensive breakfast buffet with a mix of local delicacies and hot and cold Western food, was repeatedly refilled but notably, the bar was relatively empty - it was 7am after all.
Free WIFI is provided throughout the lounge, as are access to half a dozen computers.
Greeted again by my Etihad representative, I was escorted to the old wing of the airport to board my onward journey to Dublin.
As soon as I stepped on board, the Etihad service continued and was escorted to my seat, asked what pre-flight beverage I would prefer and helped with my hand carry to be lifted to the overhead compartments.
The A330 cabin was configured in full Business Class and Economy only, therefore putting us in the front end of the plane. The larger space was refreshing and my window seat on the right provided a different aspect and even more privacy to where I was seated on my first leg.
The customer service throughout the Etihad crew is on par, and showcases the training staff must undergo to join the airline.
Meal and snack service:
As soon as we are in the air, drinks are served with an amuse bouche of Falafel and Haloumi skewers.
Again, an extensive menu featuring an 'all kitchen dining' list of options as well as full courses are on offer, and I opt for the traditional dips and chicken tangine en papillote - meaning it's cooked and served in a baking bag, which must be one of the most creative dishes I've had on any flight.
The traditional dips were served first with a trio of warm breads, and a special mention must be made to the humous which was presented in an edible turkish bread bowl.
The main course, served with warm scented cous cous, was delicious with wonderfully flavoured tender pieces of meat and vegetables - again another five-star meal that could easily be featured on any five-star restaurant menu.
Nestling into the seat (49-inch seat pitch), I switch on the 16-inch flat screen, but decide to watch my iPad shows instead of the movies on offer, which were the same on my earlier leg.
Plugging in my iPad to the socket provided allowed for extensive viewing throughout the 8 hour flight.
Since this was a day flight, the cabin was dimmed to allow guests to sleep, but not to the extent of an overnight journey.
The larger business class and seemingly wider aircraft allowed for more air to flow throughout the cabin.
On-time performance: Arriving on time in Dublin, I again was greeted with a personal Irish escort who fast-tracked me through immigration and helped with my luggage.
Etihad Airways operates 10 services per week from Abu Dhabi to Dublin.