Hello everyone, this is part two of a trip to Abu Dhabi I made through Paris. You can check the BOG-CDG segment Here
So having spent most of my 10 hour transit walking in Paris, I took the RER back to CDG. I know the RER gets a lot of fire from FRists and other usual riders, but I've come to consider it one of the best airport links around (hear that Dulles!)
Since my bag was already checked in BOG, and already had a BP in AF stock, I skipped this awful queue and proceeded quickly to passport control and security checks.
Passport control took ages with a lot of passengers for a CX flight making most of it. The security check was rather swift instead. As soon as I was done with it I had a magnificent view of my ride to the UAE.
Then is up to the Duty Free stores… since there was no Lounge I could use my Priority Pass card to enter, I had to freshen up at restroom and change my shirt for the flight.
I then moved to look for a plug adaptor, as I had lost mine to my ex-girfriend. By the time I showed to the gate they were calling me for a visa-check and giving me a new boarding pass in EY stock.
Boarding was quick and fairly organised…went quickly to the long bowels of the A340-600. This plane felt longer than LHs…
Nice touch by EY- the "smart pillows". Much more useful than regular ones which I seldom use.
Seat pitch seemed more than enough for the longhauls these 4 holers perform…
After this picture was taken I was asked to move by a Dutch couple..I was going to protest when I noticed I had indeed seated in the wrong place, oops!
Now in my real seat…everything looked more than fine.
Amenity kit: earplugs, toothbrush, socks and eyshades. Very nice touch! The headphones were above industry standard for Y class.
The crew then passed and distributed menus for today's trip.
On the way to Abu Dhabi
Boarding took a fairly long time, during which I mostly slept. I woke up when I noticed we were taxying to the runway. During takeoff we were granted awesome views of Paris at night. My camera is rather bad for night pictures so I won't share them.
The cabin was lit with mood lighting that changed colours throughout the different phases of the flight.
During the drinks round I chose apple juice since I didn't feel like drinking alcohol. I wanted to have an alcohol-free weekend.
Eventually we were handed our meal, I chose the fish kofta. Not a wise choice for me. It tasted too fishy, but the rice was awesome. The dessert was very tasty too.
After our dinner was picked I was basically done for. So I slept during the rest of the flight.
Arriving to Abu Dhabi
Etihad does make sure you are aware of the imminent arrival. There's a lot of movement and things being done in the meanwhile, so I was unavoidably waken up. But I was treated with great views of Abu Dhabi and its surroundings during dawn.
Our ride at destination
We arrived at Terminal 1. The sheer amount of people in the place is impressive. Immigration took ages. When I arrived to the booth the guy told me I couldn't use the booth since I had a visa (uh? thanks for the heads up before queuing there), by that point I was very exhausted, so I asked an Italian family if I could cut before them. I was finally allowed into the UAE. I picked my bag (thankfully it made it all the way unscathed…), and then I was selected "randomly" for a security check. It was super super thorough, I had a lot of questions asked about the purpose of my trip, and whether I had been to the UAE before or not. At a point the guy asked me why I looked so badly and I told him I had a 30 hour trip, so I was basically hammered. Eventually he concluded I wasn't a menace to the country and was let through.
Paris - CDG
Abu Dhabi - AUH
I have some mixed views on my first experience on Etihad. I wasn't pretty much impressed by it to be true. IFE was awesome and the seat and other amenities too, however I didn't like the food (my fault in a way) and the crew (composed mainly of middle eastern women) wasn't as kind as I expected, they seemed bothered sometimes.
This was also my first experience in Terminal 2A, the recent renovations sure make the airport look neat and quite on par with rival hubs like FRA, AMS, LHR and MAD. It's a shame the passport check was so lengthy (this has been a trend for me in CDG).
Arriving to AUH was a mess, not a nice first impression of the country.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the return. BTW theres no FR on AUH-CDG since it was a night flight, and I didn't get a window seat as result of a last minute unconsulted seat change by EY. Not a nice move EY, it made quite a poor impression on me.
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