Hello and welcome to my latest flight report! This time would be my experience onboard Etihad Airways's A330-200 taking me from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta. Scroll further down to see how it went!
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge
This flight was actually my second leg trip connecting my flight from Manchester to my final destination, Jakarta. Flight from Manchester to Abu Dhabi was at 20:30 for 7:15 hours long using their B777-300ER, and arrived in AUH at 6:45 in the morning. Having roughly 4 hours transit time, I went directly to the Etihad Premium Lounge located at terminal 3. The lounge is reasonably nice and spacious enough to contain passengers from many different places continuing their flight to other destinations. I actually intended to take shower right away, however when I arrived at the lounge (around 7 am), it was quite packed with passengers. Toilets and shower rooms were quite full with a considerable queue at the time. I decided to sit and grab a breakfast for a while waiting the queue to subside. Later that morning (around 9 am) the lounge was much less crowded than before and I decided to take a nice shower while waiting for my flight back home to Jakarta. Here are few pictures I managed to snap during my stay at the lounge.
The shower room
The food choices were also exhaustive. Salads, fruits, main breakfast meals, sweets were all there. Choices of drinks from water, juice, coffee, tea were also available. If you'd like to have more of the alcohol, a bar is also there to serve you. These are some instances of the food section at the lounge.
There are many factors we can consider to assess the crowd of the lounge, but for this case, I see that the morning pack was highly attributed to many of Etihad's flight which landed in the morning (mainly those between 5:30 am to 7 am) - although this has also a lot to do with a number of passengers. The number of flight landed early (5:30 to 7 am) compared to those landed at 9 or 10 was quite stark. Therefore I would recommend you if you have adequately long transit time at the same time as I did and want to use the shower room so bad, I would suggest to grab a food for a while and wait for the pack to subside at around 8 am or 9 am. Then at the time you can use the shower room or toilet pretty freely without being concerned of the long queue or people waiting after you. I also noticed (from my outbound flight to LHR) that the other busy period of the lounge occured at midnight as well, where many of EY's flight landed at the moment.
Etihad premium lounge at terminal 3 of AUH would be one of the best options to choose should you have a quite long transit time here. Exhaustive set of facilities here will definitely help you through the transit time in the most enjoyable way possible. Food and drink options offered in this lounge is also considerably good. For your information, you might find that the lounge would be quite packed during morning and midight time (due to Etihad's flight schedule). There would be quite a queue at some facilities such as shower room during the busy period.
Booarding was scheduled at around 9:45 am and I decided to leave the lounge at 9:30. My flight to Jakarta would be departed through gate 45 which is pretty close to the lounge. As I walked through to the gate, there are still duty free shop and a few souvenir shops around. This airport is definitely designed to give a good transit experience for the passengers. In addition, AUH also has a very clear signage and direction that it helps you not to get lost.
Welcome to gate 45! I arrived at the gate around 10 minutes before boarding and was able to catch some picture of the waiting room situation.
Not long after, boarding was commenced. Always a pleasure to cut such a long line like this.
This was the bus we used to board the airplane. Business class passengers were given this dedicated bus apart from the other economy class passengers. There seemed to be nothing special about the bus as it was pretty much similiar to that of used by our fellow economy class passengers. The only point of difference here is probably just a matter of space and privacy. Anyway, I always love the bus-ride experience as it can take me closer to ramp situation and pass by a number of aircraft quite closely. This sometimes makes my mind wander around imagining where this certain planes might fly :D
After such a nice bus ride, we finally made it to our plane which turned out to be A6-EYL. This exact fleet has been serving Etihad Airways for almost 11 years now where its first flight took place at 5th of December 2006. This plane houses 22 business class seats and 240 economy class seats. Powered by RR Trent 772B-60 engines, Etihad's A330-200 is typically deployed to serve certain routes such as Jakarta, Beijing, Nagoya, Brussels & Dublin to name a few.
Flight Information Aircraft: A330-200 Reg.: A6-EYL Seat: 7K Flight duration: 8 hrs 35 mins ETD: 10:45 ETA: 22:40
I was greeted by two nice cabin crews which pointed me towards my seat, i.e. 7K. Seating layout in this Etihad's A330-200 is 1-2-1 with window and aisle seats being alternated to each other, (window seat being designated with odd numbers). Middle seats are also alternated to meet the needs of passengers who travel alone and to those who travel with company. Anyway, if you happen to travel alone, aisle or window would be a great option here. Yet in case you need more privacy during the flight, I would suggest you to secure the window seat as they offer a lot of privacy for the passengers. This seating arrangement also applies for majority of other Etihad's fleet including their 777, 787 and A380 although they offer a more advanced business studio product in their B787 and A380.
Load factor for the C-class was less than 50% at that day with only 10 seats being occupied out of the overall 22 seats.
Welcome to 7K! This would be my seat for the next 8 hours
In general, seating area is sufficiently spacious though not as spacious as the business studio product in their 787 and A380. Enough space for my shoes is available just under the foot-rest. The seat itself is quite comfortable for such a long haul flight. Just like regular business class product, this seat can be reclined up to 180 degree making it a flat bed and is also equipped with massage feature. Remote control was located just on the left side of the seat. The location of this remote control becomes quite troublesome when the seat is transformed into a full-bed mode. It gets a little bit tricky to plug it in and take it out as it is hindered by the 'bed'. In addition to that, cloak hanger is also available on each seat. However, normally the cabin crew will offer the passengers to keep their jacket in the cloak room and giving it back right before landing.
Several comfort kits are readily available on each seat in this flight. Those kits include a pillow and blanket, a noise-cancelling headphone (unfortunately I forgot taking picture of this one), and a bottled mineral water (in this case is Al-Ain). Sadly, amenity kit was not readily available on each seat which probably because this was not an overnight flight. But still, for me it is quite disappointing that they do not distribute the kit for an 8-hour flight (even they do not provide a set of tooth brush in the lavatory). Just for your information, Etihad provides lip balm and face moisturiser from Scaramouche+Fandango within its amenity set.
A complete set of reading materials was also available for the passengers to take to their seat. In addition to that, inflight wifi was also available with a very interesting offer. Etihad's inflight wifi is charged based on time instead of data usage. There are 3 options of wifi pass available, i.e. 2 hours pass, 4 hours pass and flight pass which costs USD 11.95, USD 17.95 and USD 21.95, respectively. Here are few pictures of the reading materials and the seat-pocket stuff.
Back to my flight experience, as I finished storing my stuff into the overhead compartment and settled on my seat, one of the crew offered me several options of welcome drink which includes champagne, fresh juice (orange or carrot) or mineral water. My choice fell to the Billecart Salmon to begin the flight. Another crew also came and asked me what I would like to have after take-off. I just went with potato crisps and glass of still water and also decided to eat later.
The plane began to taxi and safety video was put on.
"Please be aware of the nearest exit, and that might be behind you" Alright, got it!
We also encountered A6-ETB ready for take-off to Manchester as EY 21.
Our plane finally took off at 10:54 local time, or 9 minutes behind the schedule. Here are some photos I could snap right after take-off.
One of the cabin crew then came to me, bringing my previous order of potato crisps and a glass of still water. I also made a time to explore on today's inflight menu.
Having looked at the menu, I actually had made a choice. Yet, as I was still full after some breakfast in the lounge, I decided to put off the meals later, and explored on what E-box had to offer. E-box, or Etihad's inflight entertainment offers a wide range of music, movie, TV series, live TV and games. The IFE is controlled by the remote control located right on the left-side of the seat. Looking at the appearance (and considering the age of the plane), the remote control seemed to be worn out already. Fortunately, it was still responsive and I did not find any issue using it.
Also made a time for lavatory inspection! The lavatory was kept clean and spotless during the flight. Really appreciate the cabin crew for this. Anyway, Etihad uses Scaramouche+Fandango for their grooming kit. As seen on the picture are antibacterial hand gel, hand cream and facial mist.
Few moments afterwards, cabin light was dimmed into a mood lighting mode and then was turned off to facilitate passengers to have a proper rest. The overall flight was almost set into this resting mode, with all window shades on and all the light off. I also decided to sleep then.
I woke up around 3 hours later when our flight were cruising right above India. I decided to watch some movies and order something to eat. Well, one of the perks of flying Etihad is their Dine on Demand facility which allows passenger to have the meals anytime they wish. However, the downside is probably a risk of running out of the favourite menu which exactly happened to me at the time. I initially opted for the beef tenderloin but then it ran out already. As an alternative, I went for the pan fried malabar grouper as the main, dill poached prawn as the starter, and sticky toffee pudding as the dessert. I also opted for a glass of apple juice to accompany my meals. Presentation on the main was actually quite horrible and not appetising. Sadly the taste went the same way; the fish was not fresh at all, just like a reheated food from the fridge. Both the starter and the dessert were just fine and there was nothing special about it. This would be a learning for me that I should've secured my meal option and told the crew about my choice earlier before take off.
I spent the rest of the flight watching some movies, got on some musics, or simply put the screen in autoplay mode to show me some flight information. Being quite unsatisfied with the food before, I decided to have some snacks. This time I opted for the sandwich, and later I went for an ice cream for refreshement prior to landing. The sandwich, fortunately was much edible than the main meals I had before. While for the ice cream was just fine. It was just sad that my choice of vanilla ice cream was again running out.
My screen in autoplay until before landing.
Some cabin shots before landing; the light was turned back on into mood lighting mode.
The plane finally landed, on time, at 10:40 pm. The overall flight experience was great, except for the food. I found that the catering service was quite inconsistent as I actually had amazing meals in another Etihad's flight. However, I have to praise the work and the efficiency of the cabin crews who had catered all my needs during the flight. I love that they always came to me to ensure if I enjoy the flight.
Some cabin shots prior to disembarking. Our plane was parked next to Asiana Airlines which is being prepared for her next flight to Seoul Incheon as OZ 762.
After disembarking, I went right away to the immigration line, which had a quite long queue already. It was sad that C-class passengers are not given access for fast-track lane here. The only premium facility given was just the premium baggage collection where my baggage came early and had been separated from others.
Being an old terminal building, Jakarta's terminal 2 was quite renowned for being messy and crowded. This old terminal building also does not have a lot to offer to the passengers, thus it is indeed quite unsuitable for such a long layover. One other messy stuff here is just outside the terminal building where there are lots of people and lots of long and untidy taxi queue around. Well, thankfully, Indonesia now has the newer, cleaner and way more passenger-friendly terminal 3 whose situation is quite the opposite of this old terminal building.
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge
Abu Dhabi - AUH
Jakarta - CGK
All in all, my flight experience with Etihad Airways was great. Cabin ambience was comfortable with nice hospitality from the cabin crew. One disappointment came from the inconsistency in their meal service. Probably this becomes one thing they need to polish considering their position as one of world's 5-star airlines.
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