***This is part 13 of my “Big Fat Indian Wedding” trip report detailing a recent trip to Singapore and India***
2. United Global First Lounge at SFO
3. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge at SFO
4. Singapore Airlines First Class San Francisco to Seoul
5. Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul to Singapore
6. Conrad Singapore
7. Eating Singapore Part 1 – Flowers, Supertrees, and a River Safari
8. Eating Singapore Part 2 – Hawker Stands, Chili Crab, and Kouign Amanns
9. Dinner At Singapore’s Best Restaurant, Restaurant Andre
10. Premier Lounge at SIN, SilkAir Economy Class to Hyderabad
11. Part Hyatt Hyderabad
12. Exploring Hyderabad
13. Etihad Airways Business Class Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi
14. Etihad Premium Lounge at AUH
15. Etihad Airways (Jet Airways Config “Jetihad”) First Class Abu Dhabi to San Francisco
Even on partner mileage redemptions, Etihad provides chauffeur service for premium cabin passengers and this made for a relaxing start to our 24-hour journey home. Pick-up from our hotel was scheduled in advance, and I was very impressed with the logistics. Not only did we receive an email and phone call the day before to confirm, we also received about 2-3 text messages the day-of with updates on when the driver was expected to arrive.
We jumped into the sleek Mercedes S-Class, which definitely stood out like a sore thumb as we drove through the streets of Hyderabad on the way to the airport. We arrived at the airport only to find a complete zoo, and it took us over 15 minutes just to get from the curbside drop-off to the check-in counter.
Security was also a pain since they had separate lines for men and women, in completely different areas. So my wife and I had to coordinate a post-security meetup before braving the thorough individual security checks.
Once we were through, we headed over to the lounge, but not before making a stop at Karachi Bakery to pick up some Osmania Biscuits that one of our friends highly recommended.
The lounge was actually quite nice, and we grabbed a seat and hung out here for about an hour. The internet situation was a bit of a pain, since it required flagging down the attendant and getting an individual code via SMS.
Even though I wasn’t that hungry, I took a look at the food options which included some sandwiches and salads, along with a few hot food items.
It’s always exciting to try a new airline, and this would be our only chance to sample the “real” Etihad, since our flight home would be on the Jet Airways-configured version, which has earned the nicknamed “Jetihad” and carries with it a largely negative connotation.
We were among the first to board, and initial impression was that this was quite impressive for a regional Business Class product.
Already waiting for us at the seat were a blanket and pillow, along with an eyeshade.
The blanket was actually quite memorable and I’m not sure what it was made of but it appeared to be very high-quality and had an incredibly soft, almost velvety, feel to it.
There wasn’t any space for bags underneath the seat in front of me, so I had to place my backpack in the overhead compartments. Once I did that, there was plenty of legroom to stretch out.
Shortly after take-off, menus were distributed. At this point of the trip it was really unnecessary to eat anything on this flight, but I’m not exactly the type to skip a meal.
The meal service got kicked off with drinks.
I ended up ordering the fish sayadiya which was really good.
I fired up a movie to watch with my dinner.
The E-box system had some decent selections, but again nothing compares to the Emirates ICE system.
And the Arabic coffee cheesecake to finish which was delicious, along with a cappuccino.
Before I knew it, we were landing in AUH.
Overall, this was a great first experience with Etihad, and I’d like to fly them further in the future. Along with the food, the highlight of this flight was the service and the international crew on-board this flight took great care of us.