Lounge Review: Etihad Premium Lounge At AUH

a person walking into a building

***This is part 14 of my “Big Fat Indian Wedding” trip report detailing a recent trip to Singapore and India***

1. Introduction
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.

etihad premium lounge auh entrance

etihad premium lounge auh seating

etihad premium lounge auh seating 2

etihad premium lounge auh 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.

etihad premium lounge auh cheese fruit

etihad premium lounge auh salad

As well as a hot buffet with a number of dishes.

etihad premium lounge auh buffet

etihad premium lounge auh plate

And it wouldn’t the Middle East without a huge selection of sweets, including pastries, cakes, and mousses.

etihad premium lounge auh pastries

etihad premium lounge auh sweets

etihad premium lounge auh dessert plate

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.

etihad us premium lounge auh entrance

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.

etihad us premium lounge auh seating

There was no hot food here, but plenty of sandwiches and sweets to go around.

etihad premium lounge auh sandwiches

etihad us premium lounge auh fruits

etihad premium lounge auh cakes

etihad us premium lounge auh desserts


  1. Have you visited Canada before? Most major Canadian airports have pre-clearance as well, which IMO can be awful depending on time of day but usually takes a good chunk of time on the average. How do they compare?

    1. I’ve only done Canada pre-clearence once, but it was much, much better. I think a large part is just the reality that coming from the Middle East, you are going have a more thorough screening.

  2. Thanks for the photos of the post Pre-Clearence lounge! Last time I traveled to the States from AUH it hadn’t been opened yet.

    Are there any facilities at the US Premium Lounge like showers or a spa or is it fairly basic? If it’s the same, it might make more sense to head straight there instead of visiting the main lounge.

    1. I did not see any facilities at the US Premium Lounge, but then again I wasn’t looking and could have missed them. It is definitely much smaller than the main lounge.

      My suggestion would be to use all the facilities at the main lounge, then to head through early and eat at the US Premium Lounge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *