***This is part 14 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
Upon arrival at Abu Dhabi airport, we disembarked and navigated our way over to the Etihad Premium Lounge. Since the First Class Lounge was currently under construction, there was a small section in this lounge roped off for First Class passengers. However, the section was filled and looked a bit claustrophobic, so we ended up finding a seat elsewhere near the bar.
Despite the fact that it was just past midnight, the lounge was humming as many folks were scheduled on flights that departed well past midnight and into the early morning. Ours was scheduled for 2:25AM, and we were instructed by the staff to leave the lounge at least an hour or more in advance to account for the pre-clearence process.
So we only spent about an hour here, and of course I couldn’t help but to graze just a bit. I thought about utilizing the style and shave facilities but was pretty tired at this point, so a midnight haircut was the last thing on my mind.
There was a rather impressive selection of food here, and the service was very attentive and kept the buffet constantly re-stocked. There was a section that had fruit, cheese, and salads.
As well as a hot buffet with a number of dishes.
And it wouldn’t the Middle East without a huge selection of sweets, including pastries, cakes, and mousses.
We packed up our stuff around 1AM and started the pre-clearence process, which I’d describe as a huge pain in the butt. Honestly, going forward I’m planning to avoid connecting to the US via Abu Dhabi as a result.
I’d read reports on Flyertalk about this process taking upwards of 2-3 hours, and I’m glad to report that ours only took about 45 minutes from start to finish. So it sounds like the operations are working much more smoothly, and as a result flights to the US are no longer being delayed as often as a direct result.
The first step was the most thorough security checkpoint I’ve ever encountered. Each person was screened from top to bottom, including a pat down, and had the contents of their bags essentially emptied as part of the process. So you can imagine that it took a long time since each person would then need to re-pack.
The customs side of things actually went very smoothly courtesy of Global Entry, and we were able to pass through in just a few minutes.
Because the pre-clearance process can be such a wild card in terms of time, there was actually another lounge afterwards. As the “US Premium Lounge” name suggests, it appeared that this was built specifically for passengers departing for the US.
Overall, a very similar style and setup to the other lounge, and actually felt more relaxed. Maybe it’s because everyone had finished the dreaded pre-clearence process.
There was no hot food here, but plenty of sandwiches and sweets to go around.