We got up early and said good-bye to Tommy, Mallory, and the girls. Similar to when we arrived, a complimentary car ride to the airport was provided for premium cabin passengers. So, we took advantage of the free ride.
The Abu Dhabi Airport is Etihad’s hub. There is a completely separate terminal entrance for Business and First Class passengers, complete with bellhops waiting to take your luggage.
You sit down to check in and then are directed through a very uncrowded immigrations and security area for the terminal.
The first class lounge was very nice. We had a sit down restaurant breakfast, and Alyce took advantage of the free massage treatments offered.
As it was getting close to boarding time for our flight, the lounge attendant kept saying to not leave. We don’t like to cut it close, so we left probably before we should have. As such, we had to wait in a long line to board the plane. They probably usually hold the first class passengers until the end of boarding, so they can just walk right on without a wait.
Onboard, we were greeted with champagne from the in-flight chef…yep, in-flight chef. He chatted with us about their serving style – order whatever you want whenever you want, it is completely up to you.
The seats were great. They were completely enclosable suites (with doors). Though, they were petty private even with the doors open. They each had a huge screen and footrest on the other end. The chair itself was a recliner that laid all the way flat.
The flight itself was very nice. We ate, watched some TV shows and movies, took a nap, and messed around on the computer. The food was very good for airplane food.
Service was good…but probably not up to our other first class flights. Not that it was bad in any way…just not a smooth. An example – I asked for a Bailey’s cream float (or something like that) that was on the drink menu. They came back and asked me what I wanted as they were not sure how to make it…I didn’t know, I saw it on the menu and it sounded good. They ended up coming up with something that was delicious, but it was a little odd that they didn’t know how to make something on their menu.
Another minor issue was that they seemed to run out of a lot of stuff (food wise). They were out of two of the three courses I requested for my meal (the appetizer and the dessert).
That is part of the deal when flying in economy and can even happen in business class…But it should not happen in first class, especially when all I asked for for dessert was vanilla ice cream – which is very easy to store and serve relative to other desserts.
Minor stuff, and the flight was still excellent overall. But it is the minor things that separate our first class flight experiences with how great Qantas and Cathay Pacific were. Plus, had I spent the $12,000 retail that this flight cost, I would have been pretty annoyed with not getting something as simple as ice cream.
So sorry for sounding like a brat…As I’ve explained before, I try to stay objective. Make no mistake though, I thoroughly enjoyed the flight. Need further proof than mere words? We’re flying Etihad first class again on our next planned trip.
Anyway, for a 14.5 hour flight, it went by pretty quick. We were back on American soil. It felt great…momentarily.
We got to immigrations and had easily the longest wait of the trip at roughly 90 minutes of standing in line. And it wasn’t just the wait that was frustrating, it was watching the workers work. They’d work for a minute then take a break and mess around…I think they were on break more than they were working.
We eventually made it through and caught the train to the JetBlue terminal to check in for our flight to New Orleans. We purchased a separate flight for this last leg (rather than continue on on our American Airlines award ticket). Why? We would have had to spend the night in New York or Miami, and that was not happening. Fortunately, Jet Blue had a flight that could get us home that night.
Check in was quick and easy. We had a pretty long layover because I did not want to chance missing the flight, but that was compounded with an over two hour flight delay – also the longest of the trip. But we left that night and were headed for New Orleans.
We landed in New Orleans around midnight; our bags made it there with us. I really wasn’t sure that we would make it through the trip with no lost luggage. To me, that is a testament to the foreign carriers.
My mom and brother met us at the airport with my car. We gave them a hug hello and chatted briefly, but we were shortly on our way home. We were beat at this point but were running on adrenaline, excited to get home and see our dogs.
After nearly 29 hours since we left Tommy and Mallory’s house, we had made it home.
We opened the door, and it took a second for the dogs to realize what was going on. They were tired and confused. But they quickly realized who exactly had just come home in the middle of the night and were very excited…but probably not as excited as we were.
HOME. Our dogs, our house, our shower, our bed. It was nice. We love to travel – obviously. But it’s always nice to get home – no matter the length of the trip. But this one was extra nice.