Showing posts with label Etihad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Etihad. Show all posts

May 14, 2017

Review: Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

Introduction
Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room LHR
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

Etihad Airways EY 171
Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Los Angeles (LAX)
November 27, 2016
Aircraft:  777-200LR
Seats:  2D/2G

We boarded the 777 for what would be the longest flight of our lives.  Clocking in at #6 on the longest flights in the world, the Abu Dhabi to LAX flight is blocked at 16h 30m and covers nearly 7,300 miles.  The Buffs had just beat Utah and were headed to the Pac 12 Championship so we were ready to celebrate.  We settled in for what would be a fantastic flight.

GO BUFFS!

May 7, 2017

December 4, 2016

Incredible Etihad A380 Flyover at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

We returned from Dubai last weekend after an awesome week at Al Maha, the Park Hyatt Dubai, and a night in Abu Dhabi.  We were fortunate enough (thanks to an ATRP reader) to attend the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday for qualifying.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yes Marina Circuit 
Race time
Before the race, Al Fursan (UAE Blue Angels equivalent) put on a spectacular performance.

UAE Al Fursan putting on a show
Before the actual race on Sunday, they stepped it up even further performing with an Etihad A380.  Check out the video.  Unreal.  Love the soundtrack as well.


Stay tuned for our flight last week on Etihad from Abu Dhabi to LAX.  We had a near perfect flight despite the length (5th longest in the world).

October 30, 2016

Return to Al Maha: Planning & Booking

Introduction
Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

We're headed back to Dubai next month to spend a couple of nights at Al Maha.  While we've had an incredibly warm October here in Denver (it was 80 degrees today!) we wanted to head somewhere a bit warmer in November to relax and outside.  Southern Europe is nice but just not that warm.  We were just in Asia a few months ago so Dubai fit the bill.  Using our BA Travel Together Ticket to fly first class all the way to Dubai made it even more appealing.

Hotels:

As it stands now, we have 6 hotel nights planned.  We land late in Dubai so booked the JW Marriott Marquis for 35,000 Marriott Rewards points.  Dubai's hotel market is insane - we had so many options it was hard to choose.  But we'll be heading to Al Maha around noon the next morning so for 12 hours, we certainly don't need something crazy.  The JW Marriott Marquis is also the tallest hotel in the world so that clinched it for me.

JW Marriott Marquis advance purchase rate

October 23, 2016

Return to Al Maha: Introduction

Introduction
Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

I'm still in the middle of writing trip reports from our RTW adventure in August, I'm getting excited about our next trip and wanted to get the introductory post out.  We spent a couple of days at Al Maha  last year and vowed to return as soon as possible.  Of all the hotels we've been around the world, Al Maha is the most unique, special, and we've both lusted after returning for a year.

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai

June 5, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi to New York

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Washington Dulles (IAD) Lounge Hopping
United Airlines 777-200 Global First Washington to London
United Arrivals Lounge London
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to New York
American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

After a quick visit to the pre-clearance lounge, it was soon time for boarding.  At this point, it was 3AM local time and 11PM London time and we were both ready to relax onboard, have a great meal, and then get some much needed sleep.


Etihad A380 First Class Apartment 3K
We both woke up a bit as we made our way down the jetway to the upper deck of the A380.  This wasn't our first time flying Etihad's First Class Apartment and it certainly won't be our last.  We arrived at our seats (3K/4K) with me taking the rear facing 3K and Emily in forward facing 4K.  This would allow us to eat together (in my apartment) and sleep together as the divider is lowered and the two beds essentially become one.

May 15, 2016

Review: Abu Dhabi US Immigration Pre-Clearance

During our trip home from London and Abu Dhabi, we were able to use the pre-clearance facility to clear immigration and customs in Abu Dhabi.  If you're ever traveled to Canada, you've experienced a pre-clearance facility.

Essentially you are cleared to enter the United States prior to departure via a US Customs and Border Patrol facility that is managed and staffed by US officers.  Once through the checkpoint, you're in an isolated area prior to departure.  When you land back in the US, you head straight to baggage claim or the curb.

Beyond Canada, there are pre-clearance facilities in the Caribbean, Ireland, and in Abu Dhabi.  We've traveled to Vancouver and Toronto recently but I was interested to see how the experience differed on another continent.

Etihad AUH Premium Lounge bar
After a couple of hours in the Etihad Premium Lounge, we headed back into the terminal towards the pre-clearance facility which was well marked with signage.  At this hour (2AM) the facility was pretty empty despite three (JFK, Chicago, San Francisco) US bound flights.

We passed through another security checkpoint before entering the pre-clearance facility.  The hall looked like any other US immigration checkpoint complete with USCBP officers and pictures of The President and Secretary of Homeland Security on the walls.

The facility contained a half dozen or so Global Entry kiosks.  We soon had our printouts and were headed to speak to a USCBP officer before leaving the UAE.  Kind of a surreal feeling.  We were through after 30 seconds or so of conversation - essentially "back in the US" with 45 minutes to go before boarding.

Etihad AUH US pre-clearance lounge setup

Etihad has built a lounge specifically for these US bound flights which although small, was perfectly serviceable for 45 minutes.  The lounge contains a small amount of seating, a bar, food offerings, and restrooms.  We had a coffee and a few snacks before heading out to board the waiting A380 bound for JFK!

Waiting for us on the plane

I had heard horror stories about long lines and mismanagement of the pre-clearance facility.  That doesn't seem to be the case any longer.  Everything was clean and efficient - in many ways a more pleasant experience than going through this process in the US.  When we landing at JFK, we were in baggage claim in 10 minutes claiming our bags before our Etihad Chauffeur whisked us off to The New York EDITION!

May 7, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Washington Dulles (IAD) Lounge Hopping
United Airlines 777-200 Global First Washington to London
United Arrivals Lounge London
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to New York
American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

As we checked out from the Park Hyatt, our Etihad Airways chauffeur arrived in a black A6.  We received a somewhat threatening text (some odd translation issue it seems) and an email that the car was arriving and the driver came inside the lobby to greet us and assist with our bags.  




I have to hand it to Etihad - the ground service experience with pretty flawless.  

We were soon in the card headed to AUH where we arrived around 11:40PM for our 3:25AM flight.  That was going to leave plenty of time to relax, get a massage, and a shave.

April 24, 2016

My 5 Favorite First Class Products

Over the past four years, I've been fortunate enough to fly on some of the world's best carriers in international first class.  If you're wondering how I've been able to do that, start here.

In fact, I've flown more than two dozen segments on nine carriers with another few dozen flights in international business class.  People often ask about my favorite carriers, flights, amenities, seats, etc...it's not the easiest question to answer since crews matter and vary from flight to flight.

Amenities (pajamas, amenity kits) are rotated.  Catering can be vastly different from one flight to another especially when comparing flights from a home base (i.e Singapore Airlines out of Singapore) vs. an outstation (i.e. Singapore Airlines from Frankfurt).  Don't forget aircraft - while the seat on Emirates' A380 and 777 is very similar, the experience is vastly different given the shower and onboard bar on the A380.

All that said, here are my personal rankings of the top 5 international first class products (in order):

1)  Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment

Hands down, Etihad offers the best first class product in the sky.  The amount of personal space is just ridiculous given that Etihad has a single aisle on their A380 vs. the double aisle that every other airline uses.


Etihad has amazing amenity kits stocked with Le Labo products and very comfortable pajamas.  The entertainment system is top notch and they offer live TV and wifi.

April 3, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Washington Dulles (IAD) Lounge Hopping
United Airlines 777-200 Global First Washington to London
United Arrivals Lounge London
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to New York
American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

Let me get this out of the way before I start the review.  We've had the pleasure of flying international first class on some of the best carriers in the world.  We've flown north of 20 segments in long haul international first class over the past few years.  



We've had some amazing flights on Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, and Emirates.  But honestly, all of those flights pale in comparison to what Etihad offers in their First Class Apartment.  The biggest commodity on a commercial aircraft is space.  And with this product, Etihad delivers - plane and simple.


Etihad Airways A380

March 20, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Washington Dulles (IAD) Lounge Hopping
United Airlines 777-200 Global First Washington to London
United Arrivals Lounge London
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to New York
American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

We received a text that our Etihad Chauffer had arrived and made our way outside the Andaz where we found our driver waiting.  I'll have a full review next week around the Etihad Chauffeur service including how we communicated with dispatch and drivers while traveling internationally.


Early morning walk to Liverpool Station
The drive to Heathrow took almost 80 minutes in morning rush hour.  We pulled up to terminal 4 which hosts a hodge-podge of airlines.  


Etihad Dreamliner display at LHR

March 6, 2016

Another Etihad First Class Apartment Seat Booked!

Just returned from an awesome day in London.  I opened my laptop, fired up Etihad Guest, and quickly searched (as I've done daily for the past week) for another open seat on our flight to Abu Dhabi.  To my surprise, not 1 but 3 seats were open for booking (first column under "GuestSeat").

Etihad First Class Apartment Availability LHR - AUH

Since Etihad premium awards are somewhat challenging to book via the US call center, I Skyped American's Australian line and within 25 minutes, had my (golden) ticket rebooked in Etihad's First Class Apartments.  I did have to pay the $75 close in booking fee but the taxes were actually $12 less than when originally booked...thanks to the strong dollar over the past 2 months.

So stoked.  Follow along on the blog and Instagram for updates over the next week!

February 6, 2016

First Class Birthday: Planning & Booking

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto
Air Canada 767-300 Business Class Toronto To London (LHR)
Andaz Liverpool
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge London
Etihad A380 Business Class London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK)
The New York EDITION

I've been grounded since November when we returned from our round the world adventure.  So I am really excited to get back in the air and travel somewhere.  Once we had our Etihad First Class Apartment booked from Abu Dhabi to New York, we just needed to build a trip around it.  We decided on London for a few days prior to Abu Dhabi and New York.  It's been a few years since we were in London and it's one of our favorite cities in the world.  So it was an easy choice.  Here's how I booked everything.

Hotels:

Given our day flight from Toronto, we needed to get there the night before.  There's a Sheraton attached to Toronto's Pearson airport which couldn't be more convenient.  I was able to book a AAA rate for $122 USD which seemed like a deal to me...thanks to the strong USD.

We'll see if we can make a change to Lufthansa first class within 15 days of departure.  That would certainly be more fun the Air Canada business class.  Either way, we'll be happy.

In London, we decided to stay at the Andaz which cost 75,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points, transferred in from Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

In Abu Dhabi, we settled on the Park Hyatt.  We arrive early in the morning (1AMish) and depart early the next morning (3AMish) so I booked two nights to guarantee we can be in the room the entire team.  Not the best use of points/cash but we'll be comfortable and given the overall cost of the trip, made sense.  I booked one prepaid night at a rate of $220 USD.  The second night cost 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and $125.

In New York, we'll be staying at the New York EDITION for a total of 80,000 Marriott Points.

In total, I used 85,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and 80,000 Marriott points.  The cash outlay will be $467 for 8 total nights.


Flights:

The flight from Denver to London cost us 140,000 United miles and $18.  London to Abu Dhabi on Etihad business class cost 60,000 American AAdantage miles and $530 in taxes and the dreaded UK premium departure tax.  We received 6,000 miles back for holding the AA Platinum Visa card.

The Etihad first class apartment flight cost us 170,000 AAdvantage miles after the 10,000 mile rebate.  We also paid $73 in taxes.

To get home, we paid cash for a United flight from LGA to DEN.  While the flight actually cost $410 for both of us, I paid with my Citi Prestige card which rebated $250.  So the total cash outlay was $160.

In total, I redeemed 140,000 United miles and 226,000 American miles.  We also paid $781 in taxes, fees, and airfare.

Summary:

Despite the heavy departure tax in London, I still put together a pretty sweet 8 night trip for less than $1,250.  I redeemed a total of 531,000 points and miles for all of the flights and hotel nights.    That compares favorably to our previous trip where we spent 654,000 points and miles and more than $2,100 in cash for a 9 night trip.  Stay tuned for the individual trip report segments coming next month!

January 17, 2016

Booking Etihad Chauffeur Service

One of the great perks of flying Etihad's premium cabin service is the Etihad chauffeur service.  There are other airlines (i.e. Emirates) that provide complimentary chauffeur service on premium cabin bookings but not on certain award tickets.  Good news is that Etihad does provide complimentary chauffeur service on award tickets.  The service is even available to business class guests.  Here are the rules from Etihad's website:

  1. Guests holding tickets with confirmed reservations in Business Saver, Business Freedom and First Freedom.
  2. Etihad Chauffeur is available to Etihad Guest members redeeming their miles on First and Business class.
  3. Guests travelling on Etihad Airways operated flights (although holding other airline tickets), are eligible for the  Etihad Chauffeur service.
We'll be flying two qualifying Etihad segments on our upcoming trip to London and Abu Dhabi.  That means we'll get complimentary car service four times:

1)  From the Andaz London to LHR
2)  From AUH to the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
3)  From the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi to AUH
4)  From JFK to the New York EDITION

January 9, 2016

First Class Birthday: Introduction

Introduction
Planning & Booking
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto
Air Canada 767-300 Business Class Toronto To London (LHR)
Andaz Liverpool
Etihad Airways Lounge London
Etihad A380 Business Class London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK)
The New York EDITION

I realize I still have a few trip report segments to finish for our last trip to Singapore but I'm so excited about this trip, I wanted to get the Introduction post out.

I've already posted about booking Etihad's First Class Apartment and will probably be posting about the experience several times before/after the trip.

Since the timing worked out, we decided to make this a trip to celebrate my birthday.  Emily's excited as this is a step up from last year's flying east to get west adventure.

Trip route - courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper

We'll leave after work Friday evening taking United's direct service to Toronto.  The flight arrives late and we have another flight the next morning to London so we'll spend the night at the Sheraton Gateway which is connected to the airport.

The next morning, we'll take Air Canada's day flight (often called the CEO flight) from Toronto to London.  The flight leaves around 8AM and arrives around 8PM.  Pretty perfectly timed to be able to minimize jet lag and get to sleep upon arrival.  I'm still hoping we'll be able to upgrade to a Lufthansa First Class flight (connecting through Frankfurt or Munich) but that would be a last minute change if at all.  If not, we'll be perfectly fine in AC business class and I'm excited to review an option that is widely available on points in advance.

We are both really excited to check out the Andaz Liverpool in London which is located in London's East Side.  We both loved the Andaz in Amsterdam and it will be great to check out another Andaz property in Europe.

After a few nights in London, we're off to Abu Dhabi via Etihad's A380 business class.  Again, I'm hopeful that a couple of First Class Apartment seats open up (only 10,000 more miles each) but it will be cool to review both the business and first class apartment cabins on the A380.  

In Abu Dhabi, we'll spend a couple of nights at the Park Hyatt before heading to the airport for 14 hours in our first class apartments!  We're mixing it up a bit - staying a couple nights in New York before returning home to Denver.


Nearly 17,000 miles of flying

All in, this will be nearly 17,000 miles of flying and a couple of new airlines to review!  I'll post the Planning & Booking segment prior to our departure as well as a couple other posts about Etihad.  Stay tuned for another great trip report!

December 31, 2015

Etihad First Class Apartment Booked!

After starting our premium flying careers with amazing Asian carriers, we're just now dabbling with the ME3 (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar).  At the moment, the pinnacle of ME3 premium cabin flying is Etihad's A380 First Class Apartment.  The Residence (literally 3 room accommodations on Etihad's A380) 's pretty sweet but unless you're about to shell at $32K for a one-way flight, it's likely unattainable.  Good news is the First Class Apartment is totally attainable with American Airlines miles.  The catch (at least on the flagship JFK - AUH route) is that award space is now only being release at the very last minute.



Emily and I have been talking (this week) about a trip in early March for my birthday.  Our timing was pretty impeccable as the flood gates opened on Wednesday.  Etihad was releasing up to 3 First Class Apartments available for the Abu Dhabi to New York segment.  Major thanks to Gary and Lucky for posting early on this.

Another catch - AA agents in the US sometimes have trouble seeing award availability. For whatever reason, that's not the case for Australian call center agents.

I found seats on a day that worked for our schedule and Skyped the Australian AA call center centre.  After waiting on hold for an agonizing 35 minutes, my call was answered by an extremely friendly agent.  He was able to see the space and had us booked in under 5 minutes.  This morning, the award ticketed!  Total cost was 90,000 AA miles and $38 USD each.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

We are both beyond excited.  We do want to spend a day in Abu Dhabi but not much more than that.  So we'll be looking to spend time in Europe before making our way to Abu Dhabi for the flight home.    I didn't think I'd be able to top my Emirates experience but I have a feeling this is going to be even better.

They say timing in life is everything and that was certainly the case here.  I've been fortunate to catch a few of these (Singapore in 2012 and Asiana in 2014) where impossible award availability become virtually unlimited in a very short period of time.  The trick is taking advantage quickly - don't think, just book.  You'll be happy you did.