It is usually the most tiring of the 4 sector. A long flight over the Indian Ocean. Usually very bumpy. After resting and relaxing at the Etihad luxury lounge, I make my way to gate 33, which is situated in the new terminal. On the wall near the lounge there is an exhibition. I do not have any details but this light show is pretty cool. The piece of carved wood do not look like the shade it projects on the wall. Quite well done !
My ride for the day is A340-600 A6-EHK. An old friend of mine. She flew me twice alreayd in the past. It is one of 7 A340-600 in the fleet. The second last to be delivered, in Aug 2008. A6-EHF is the only A340-600 I have not flown on….argh….that could be hard to achieve as the A340-600 will be replaced by the fuel efficient 777 and also the A380. Note the flame shapped control tower in the background. Unmistakable.
Due to the congested Oman air space (lack of modern equipment, air space restriction due to military activity and small number of entry/exit point) our plane is delayed at the stand for about 50 min. No drama for me as I am seated comfortably. This is now a regular occurence. The plane has the original business class product. Which was revolutionary a few year ago. But the pod feels really narrow. The IFE system looks pretty tired and image definition is pretty poor. However the staggered configuration makes up for it, and EY is too me still the best business class in the business. Finally we are pushing back. It is a beautiful clear morning in AUH.
It is a long taxi to the runway. I spot a beautiful combination of Jet Airways aircraft on the tarmac, a 737, a 777 and this gorgeous A330. Etihad sister airlines are crowding the AUH tarmac. I have seen a few Jet Airways and Air Berlin aircraft, as well as the Air Seychelles A330
Finally we are airborne. We take off to the East and head straight to Oman. This is a typical AUH suburbia with a lavish freeway system. Space does not seem to be a problem here.
We track over the bare land of Oman. Quite an amazing sight. But photos are tricky
The Indian Ocean is in sight. A turn and we heard for the Omani coast
An island off the Omani coast
On the long way over the Indian Ocean towards Australia. We fly at the vertical of Male, Maldives. I was snoozing and did not see the paradise Islands nation. I did have meal too, but did not take any pictures….
After a long sleep I wake well and truly over South Australia. Soon Adelaide is in sight. The big sleepy country town is….sleeping…
The first generation business class seat. The window seat on EY business has total privacy, and unobstructed aisle access.
Soon we arrive in the outskirt of Sydney. Flying over the Royal National Park towards the Pacifc Ocean to line up to the runway, landing to the North Wollongong in the distance.
The many beach on the South Coast squeeze between the Royal National Park and the Ocean
Final preparation for landing
Some plane spotting as we go to our gate. VH-OQL coming from Dallas. The longest scheduled A380 flight at the moment
Which livery do you like the best ? the old kangaroo or the evoluitionary one ? Without hesitation the new Roo is far more vibrant and powerful
A few tails….Cathay A330, LAN A340, Air India 787 and Qantas A330. A gorgeous SYD summer day ahead
We park next to this sexy Virgin Australia 777
We are in the block now….
Abu Dhabi - AUH
Sydney - SYD
Another beautiful experience with Etihad, my carrier of choice for Europe, although the aircraft had the old business class product. The crew was good, although they could have done with a bit more attention to details. I had ordered a special meal (seafood) which seems to distract the crew from their service pattern. I was served last while all the passengers around me were served...Again the flight was full, so that could explain the lack of attention. The meals were good (sorry no pictures). On time performance was average, due to the delay at departure (Oman air space was congested - completely out of control of Etihad). We left with 50 min delay. We arrived with only 30 min delay. Going through SYD Airport immigration and baggage collection was smooth, although 8am is the peak time for the airport. I was out fairly quickly and the limo driver was waiting for me. SYD Airport copes a lot of critics but I still find the airport very efficient by world standard. We are very lucky in this part of the world.
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