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Etihad: A Diamond In The Rough (pics)  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Recently, the airline industry in the Middle East has seen tremendous growth with a number of new airlines trying to establish themselves in a competitive market. One of the most recent additions to the airline industry is Etihad Airways. The national airline of the United Arab Emirates has made its presence known with extensive marketing techniques. The opportunity arose for me to fly them and with some hesitation, I agreed to it. For the first time in close to five years, I would be flying on an airline not associated with my main frequent flyer accounts, on a long journey. One of the airlines marketing slogans states that flying Etihad will “change the way you see the world.” It was with this in mind that I embarked on a journey that proved to be memorable.


Etihad Airways 205
Mumbai – Abu Dhabi
Airbus A330-203 (A6-EYW)
Seat: 2A
Scheduled Departure Time: 23:00
Actual Departure Time: 0:15
Scheduled Arrival Time: 0:20
Actual Arrival Time: 1:30

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Photo © Tony Woof
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Photo © Ton de Haan


Check In: The drive to the airport was fast thanks to the low density of traffic on this quiet Saturday evening. I said good bye to my parents and proceeded to get my bags x-rayed. The Etihad counters were pretty empty with a single person in front of me at the Pearl Class check in counter. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I was greeted by a friendly girl, who handed me a piece of paper with a few questions on it.
“Sir this is for all New York bound passengers. You can go ahead and fill it in the lounge and hand it to an Etihad agent at the gate.” Along with my boarding pass I was also handed a lounge invitation for the common use Clipper Lounge.
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The immigration counters were deserted which meant I was through in no time. I leisurely walked down to a rather deserted Clipper Lounge and sat down next to a glass showcase full of various model airplanes. The decor in this lounge was much better than the “red room” which I had been using on my last few trips. The seats were comfortable and though the lighting was on the dark side it did not detract from the lounge.
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There was a self service area in the corner where I poured myself a glass of orange Fanta from a soda machine. Towards the other side there was a snack table with some vegetable samosas, pasta, Caesar salad, vegetable sandwiches and more. I settled on a vegetable samosa but decided to leave it at that as I did not want to fill up too much before the flight.

Soon enough the lounge started bustling with people and there were hardly any seats left for the large influx of passengers. As it was close to 10pm, I decided to give my seat up and head out to the gate. However, my boarding pass did not have any gate information on it so I had to check the board outside.
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As you can see, same problem, no gate information was displayed. Considering the flight was suppose to depart in under an hour, this was inexcusable. Just then two Etihad ground personnel came by so I decided to follow them. This proved to be a wise decision as they led me straight to gate number 7.

Boarding:Here lay another problem, security was not letting anyone through into the gate area at this point and a large line had formed. I decided to stand on the side rather than join the ever growing queue of people.

Around 10:30pm, close to 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time, the gate opened up and people were allowed through security. I joined the rather long line now and waited my turn. At 10:45pm our crew showed up meaning there was no way we would be leaving at 11pm at this rate. Passports were checked by Etihad staff before we were let into the gate area. I sat down and tried to relax while watching the gate area fill up with passengers.

Shortly after 11pm, boarding was announced for passengers needing special assistance and passengers traveling with children. In typical Indian fashion, the entire gate area stood up while pushing and shoving their way to the single boarding door. The Australian lady next to me and I both started laughing at the circus that was unfolding in front of us. We both let the rush go before we slowly proceeded to the door where I discovered something else irritating, there would be no jetway. We were asked to go down a flight of stairs only to be stopped at the door as the bus was full. We continued chatting for another ten minutes while we waited for the bus to come back.

The two minute bus ride took us to a hard stand gate that was directly across from the terminal. I was greeted at the door by a Indian flight attendant who took my boarding pass and turned to the flight attendant next to me,
“Jess, please escort Mr. Tamboowala to seat 2A.”
After the escort, I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible in the old seats on board this version of Etihad’s A330’s.
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Upon sitting down, an unsmiling Korean flight attendant approached me with a tray of champagne, water, orange and watermelon juice.
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At exactly 11:55pm the door was closed and Captain Stefano welcomed us onboard. He apologized for the late departure but never gave us any information as to why we were delayed in the first place. While we were waiting on the ground, the cabin crew distributed the dinner menus.


We pushed back after another 20 minutes with a manual safety demonstration which I found rather unusual as this aircraft had an entertainment system. The taxi to the runway was fast and we waited for our turn which commenced after an Indian Airlines A320 landed.

The Flight: Service began about 20 minutes after take off with hot towels and dinner orders.
“Mr. Tamboowala what would you like to drink as an aperitif?”
“A Diet Coke please.”
“Sure, and what do you want to eat?”
“Can I have the chicken please?”

Once the entire cabin’s orders were taken, the lead purser came up and distributed DVD library forms.

I looked through the options but nothing really excited me. I decided that music would be the best form of entertainment for me while I tucked into my dinner service. However, I did see the Indian lead go around collecting the forms that passengers had filled out. She came back passing out leather pouches, much like the AA Trans-con ones.

A short while later my “amuse bouché” arrived, it appeared to be some form of paprika spiced chicken on toast.
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While the chicken was plump and delicious, I had a problem eating it with no toothpick let alone any sort of silverware. The chicken piece was way too big for the slice of bread and with only one napkin; it became a rather messy affair. I saw the flight attendant across the aisle handing out forks yet our flight attendant never gave us the option. In fact when someone asked for a fork she reluctantly got one with a stern “just to let you know this is finger food sir!”

My empty dish was taken away rather abruptly by the same flight attendant who then proceeded to lay down some white linen. My tray was then dropped onto my table a short while later and my glass of water was filled up along with a bread basket being offered.
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The channa chat was an interesting choice for an appetizer. While it was not bad, it was not to my taste; a western option would have been a nice gesture. Luckily, the salad was pretty good and the balsamic vinaigrette dressing was excellent. The bread was however; hot, soft and fresh. My half eaten appetizer tray was collected and the main course was delivered a short while later with an equally stern look.
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While the chicken and the rice were perfectly fine by airline food standards, the cabbage masala on the other hand was revolting. Throughout the main course I noticed the other aisle being offered the bread basket multiple times yet it failed to appear once in our aisle. My tray was collected by the friendly Indian lead,
“Mr. Tamboowala, I hope you enjoyed your meal?”

The after dinner trolley rolled down the aisle once everyone’s dinner trays had been collected and was being manned by the Indian lead.
“Would you like some dessert today?”
“Absolutely.”
“How about some cheese?”
“No, thanks, just the dessert for me.”
“How about some tea, coffee, or liqueur?”
“Some tea would be nice please.”
“No problem.”
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Everything was laid out on my tray table with an “enjoy.” Being a fan of mousse, I found the dessert really excellent.
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Everything was cleared up shortly thereafter and the cabin lights were dimmed so that the passengers could enjoy the rest of the Hindi movie or sleep. Descent was not too far off when captain Stefano came on the P/A to inform us that all our connecting flights would be held for us.

Arrival & Transit: After a rather uneventful landing, we taxied towards the terminal where I was ready to leap out of my seat and run towards the JFK flight. However, at the last minute we turned away from the terminal and towards a remote hard stand. “Great” I thought, “this ought to be fun.” We were let out through door 1L where the Indian lead was on hand to wish everyone a great day.
“Do you end here sir?”
“Nope, three more flights to go today, JFK is the next one.”
“Oh wow, well in that case have a great flight, thank you for flying with us.”

With that I walked into the hot sweltering Arabian summer night and down into an air conditioned bus waiting at the end of the stairs. Once the bus had been filled up with all the business class passengers, we proceeded to the terminal. The ride was quick, or so it seemed after my endless rides around CDG a few weeks ago.

Once we were let out at the terminal, I proceeded inside where there was no representative or anyone greeting us. Instead there was a gate agent who was yelling, “Kuwait go through here, everyone else go upstairs.”

I proceeded upstairs only to find a huge line in front of the Etihad transfer desks. I quickly asked an agent where I should go for the New York flight. He pointed me in the direction of the transfer counter on the side. There were at least 30 people in front of me in line. At this point it was 1:35, 25 minutes before our scheduled departure time.
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I spent 15 minutes in line before an agent with a frown scanned my passport and checked my paperwork to make sure I was legally entitled to enter the United States. After that I proceeded to the counters behind her where an agent greeted me and asked for some more details. My boarding pass was printed with my pre-reserved 9A and I was told to go to the gate immediately for boarding.
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Etihad Airways 101
Abu Dhabi – New York/JFK
Airbus A340-541 (A6-EHD)
Seat: 9A (Moved to another seat)
Scheduled Departure Time: 2:00
Actual Departure Time: 3:15
Scheduled Arrival Time: 8:30
Actual Arrival Time: 8:35

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Photo © Mark H
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Photo © Mike Moores



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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
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Photo © Brian Futterman


Boarding: At the front of gate 7, an unsmiling Etihad agent greeted me to check my paper work one more time. My passport and boarding pass was slapped back on the counter top with a wave of a hand. Security was easy and I was down the jetway shortly after. I was greeted at the door by a lead Middle Eastern flight attendant. One look at my boarding pass and she gestured towards another flight attendant, “could you please escort this gentleman to 9A.”
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I was shown to my seat by a very good looking British flight attendant. I sat down and tried to settle in for the long flight ahead. My general impression of the seat was that it was comfortable but rather narrow. It could also have done with a slight bit more padding, but on the whole it was very comfortable. The legroom was excellent and the PTV large.
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Soon the lead purser came around with a tray of drinks, I settled on the apple mint juice.
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Just as I was settling in to read what movies were on offer for today’s flight, a ground agent approached me.
“Excuse me Mr. Tamboowala, I am sorry but we are going to have to move you to another seat. Please come with me.”
Oh great I thought, 9A was the best seat in the house and the rest of the cabin was pretty full. I reluctantly followed the agent to the galley where she turned towards a gorgeous Australian flight attendant and said “please escort Mr. Tamboowala to seat 1D in the Diamond Zone. Have a good flight sir.”

[Edited 2007-09-02 20:53:49]

57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:


Etihad Airways 101
Abu Dhabi – New York/JFK
Airbus A340-541 (A6-EHD)
Seat: 1D (Moved to 2K)
Scheduled Departure Time: 2:00
Actual Departure Time: 3:15
Scheduled Arrival Time: 8:30
Actual Arrival Time: 8:35

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Photo © Mark H
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Photo © Mike Moores



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Photo © Josh Akbar
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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt


I was flabbergasted, I thanked her profusely as she handed me my boarding stub with 1D scribbled on it. I was escorted to the first row and informed where to put my lap top case.
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WOW, was my first impression. Before I decided to get settled in, I looked around the cabin to see if there happened to be an empty window seat. As sheer luck would have it, there was one, seat 2K. Two flight attendants came around offering dates and Arabic coffee. I gladly accepted both which was a nice change from the usual orange juice and champagne.
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As the flight attendants came around once again to collect our empty cups, I inquired
“Do you happen to know if seat 2K is taken?”
“At the moment we do not have our PL, but if you wait a few minutes, we will definitely let you know.”
So I sat back with my fingers crossed for a few minutes while just letting the new surprise sink in.

“Excuse me sir, you can go ahead and move to that window seat we just got confirmation.” With a large smile on my face I jumped up and moved on over to 2K. I opened up my pair of noise canceling headphones and plugged into some music while we waited for pushback.
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The captain welcomed us onboard in his French accent and apologized for delay which was due to “connecting passengers from a delayed Bombay flight.”
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Pushback began at 3:15, about 75 minutes after our scheduled departure time with the safety video being played on all our PTVs. During the taxi to the runway, the cabin lights were dimmed and the mood lighting was put into full swing. There was a big circle in the middle of the First Class ceiling that was lit in purple and was rather soothing to eyes.
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The Flight: Once we were lined up on the runway, we began our very smooth and silent take off roll. I was really amazed at how silent a fully loaded A340-500 was when compared to a fully loaded 777-200.

As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the cabin crew sprung into action. First they went around handing out hot towels to each passenger followed by the menu for today’s flight which was in a large brown leather binder.
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The Bvlgari amenity kits were handed out a short while later.
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This was followed by a little leaflet containing information on our pajamas.
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Once I had selected my size, an Asian flight attendant came around to my seat, knelt down beside me so that she was more at eye level with me.
“Sir, I am afraid you are not on the passenger list, what would you like me to call you?”
“Anosh is just fine, thank you.”
“Certainly Mr. Anosh.”
(Not quite what I had in mind, but Mr. Tamboowala would have just confused the poor girl)
“Would you like to eat now or would you like us to turn your seat into a bed?”
“Could I eat now and have the seat turned later?”
“Absolutely Mr. Anosh, what you like for your main course, pasta or chicken”
“The chicken please.”
“How about a drink with your meal?”
“The chardonnay would be great please.”
“Yes Mr. Anosh.”

The cabin crew were very busy at this point in time. Pajamas were passed out and each passenger was escorted by a flight attendant to the lounge at the front of the aircraft to wait while their seats were turned into beds. I found it a very nice gesture, especially the personal escort. I decided to sit back and start a movie while all this was happening. I browsed through quite a few selections that were on offer and settled on a movie that turned out to be excellent.
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Once all the other passengers had been taken care of, the Asian flight attendant appeared with a white table cloth. She proceeded to pull my tray out all the way from the PTV towards my lap. The huge white cloth was laid down with a smile and an “I will be back in a moment to set your tray table Mr. Anosh.” True to her word she appeared with a tray in one hand and laid everything out individually with one hand. A Russian flight attendant followed her down the aisle with a big silver jug full of water.
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A plate of fruits arrived first and the Russian flight attendant made sure that strawberries were facing me. Following her was the Asian flight attendant with a basket full of finger sandwiches.
“Mr. Anosh, we have three sandwiches today, salmon, roast beef and cheese.”
“Can I please have the salmon and roast beef one?”
“Absolutely sir.”
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The fruits were excellent, though I probably would have appreciated an actual appetizer rather than fruits. The sandwiches were a nice change from the regular bread basket one sees. I was offered seconds but decided to take just one more salmon sandwich as I did not want to over stuff myself. My empty fruit plate was collected and the Australian flight attendant showed up right next to me with a bottle of wine. My glass was very liberally filled up with a smile and an “I have an entire bottle here for you, so I’ll be back to top off your glass, hope you enjoy it.” About a minute later, a bowl of red salmon bisque was placed on my tray table with a “please enjoy.”
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The soup was excellent as it was hot and full of flavor. The pesto croutes were just right as they were crisp and wonderful. I do not think I have enjoyed a soup this much on the ground, let alone in the air. The Australian flight attendant showed up just as I had finished the entire bowl to top off my glass of wine as promised.
“I see you enjoyed your soup, here is some more wine” and jokingly added “I'll be back with some more as we have a whole bottle to finish.”
A few minutes later the Asian flight attendant appeared by my side with the chicken main course.
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I liked the presentation, but the aroma was even more tantalizing. The chicken was tender and very flavorful. The potatoes and carrot that were served with it were perfectly done, not over or under cooked. The couscous however was rather bland and not appealing to my tastes. Adding pepper to it did not do much good either, but then again it is hard to make couscous all that flavorful especially in the air.

My tray table was cleared shortly thereafter by the Asian flight attendant who asked me if the meal had met my expectations. The Russian flight attendant appeared a minute later with my set of pajamas.

“Sir what would you like me to call you?”
“Anosh would be fine, thank you.”
“Certainly.”
Just then the Australian flight attendant knelt down near my seat,
“Would you like me to turn your seat into a bed now?”
“That would be great, thank you.”
She stood up and walked back to the galley. A mere second later the lead flight attendant of Middle Eastern origin who had greeted me at the door stood in front of me.
“Excuse me sir, as you were a last minute upgrade, I was wondering what you would like me to call you?”
“Anosh is fine, thank you.”
“How about your last name sir?”
“Its Tamboowala.”
“Well Mr. Tamboowala, would you please follow me to the lounge and bar up front while my colleagues make up your bed?”
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I grabbed my pajamas and followed her up to the front of the aircraft. I sat down and we talked while waiting. She guessed that I was Indian from my name and started talking about her travels there and even the fact that one of her closest friends was named Anosh.
“I hope your experience so far with Etihad has been good.”
“The in flight service has been excellent so far, thank you very much for asking.”
“It is my pleasure Mr. Tamboowala, if there is anything else you need, please don’t hesitate to ask me personally or any of my colleagues. You are our guest and we want to make sure you feel taken care of.”

I proceeded to the bathroom where I changed into the pajamas that had been provided by Etihad. They were extremely soft and comfortable, much nicer than I was expecting. I also noted that the bathroom had some toiletries set up next to the sink. It was still dark outside so there was not much of a view outside the window.
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I proceeded back to my seat and hung up my shirt on a hangar in the mini closet located to the left of my PTV. I found my bed to have been made up completely along with a mini square chocolate on my pillow with the words “Sweet Dreams” written on it. The Asian flight attendant appeared by my side a short while later,
“Mr. Anosh, would you like to be woken up for the snack service mid flight or would you rather not be disturbed?”
“Please wake me up for it, thank you.”
“Certainly.”
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A bottle of water had also been placed on my armrest. However this was no ordinary small bottle of water that almost every other airline serves, this was double the size. I finished up watching the rest of the movie which I had paused since the end of the meal. I pushed the fully flat button, put the pillow behind my head and pulled the duvet all the way up to my neck. All those glasses of wine must have done it as I was asleep in no time, a rarity from my experience.
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The next thing I knew, I was being woken up ever so gently by the Asian flight attendant,
“Mr. Anosh, would you still like to have your snack?”
“Yes please.”
“We have a chicken sandwich and a vegetarian sandwich.”
“Can I please have the chicken sandwich.”
“Certainly, and for dessert we have a cake and some fruit tart.”
“I’ll have the cake please.”
“Certainly Mr. Anosh, would you like anything to drink?”
“A cup of tea would be nice.”

Once again my tray table was individually set by hand in the exact same layout as the meal after take off. Three things were placed on my tray table, first a small plate containing tomato and basil pesto along with an olive. The second plate was the chicken panini cut in half. The third plate consisted of the cake with some cream and a strawberry.
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The sandwich was wonderfully warm and went very well with the basil pesto. The bread was not hard or chewy but rather soft. The chicken was tender and juicy.
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My tea was delivered piping hot just as I was about start on the dessert. It was basically a small sponge cake with chocolate chips which had been warmed up; I absolutely loved it.

During the meal, I fired up the IFE and settled on some sitcoms.
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With a good six hours to go, I settled on watching another movie.
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Everyone in the cabin at this point was sleeping so out of sheer boredom, I walked up to the front to check out the lounge and see what snacks had been set up for us.
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Back at my seat I attempted to find the outside camera, but much to my dismay, half of it was frozen over providing a rather limited view of the Atlantic. I settled on another movie.
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Once the movie was over, it was getting close to breakfast time so I grabbed my clothes and headed to the bathroom to change and freshen up. The bathroom was still as clean as ever, and the toothbrushes stacked to the side came in very handy for me.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05183.jpg
I splashed some cologne on myself and proceeded out towards my seat where the Australian flight attendant was waiting for me.
“Mr. Tamboowala, would you care for breakfast?”
“Yes please.”
“Have you made your choice yet?”
“Can I have the salmon and egg bake along with a cappuccino please?”
“Absolutely, would you like any cornflakes or muesli?”
“No thanks.”

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05186.jpg
I selected CSI as my entertainment for breakfast, which in hindsight was not the most pleasant thing to watch when eating.
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The Australian flight attendant knelt down beside me a short while later,
“Mr. Tamboowala, may I set your table for breakfast?”
The standard table cloth was laid out followed by the usual condiments but with two new additions, a small bottle of marmalade and a plate of butter.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05193.jpg
A bread basket was brought over by the Russian flight attendant with a variety of breads and muffins. I settled on a croissant and chocolate muffin.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05194.jpg
The croissant was warm and soft, exactly the way I like it. The muffin was excellent however, slightly warmed up with gooey melted chocolate chips in the middle. A fruit plate was gently placed on my tray followed by another round of the bread basket.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05195.jpg
The fruits were chilled and very nicely kept for something that had been in the air for over ten hours. My empty fruit plate was collected and the bread basket appeared in front of me once again. As we still had a good amount of time left in flight, I selected another movie to entertain me.
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The Australian appeared by my seat once again with my cup of cappuccino. My main dish took a little while to appear but it showed up eventually with an apology from the lead.
“Sorry Mr. Tamboowala for taking so long. I hope you enjoy it.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05199.jpg
The salmon egg cake was an interesting item, almost like a frittata which tasted pretty good but it did need some salt and pepper to help. The potatoes on the side were excellent, not too soft and not too hard. The spinach and mushrooms complimented the eggs very well.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Etihad/DSC05201.jpg

Once the tray table was cleared I headed to the bathroom one last time to brush my teeth as I knew I had a long day ahead of me. When I returned, I found the lead flight attendant staring at my PTV which was on the moving map.
“I just wanted to see what the temperature was outside, looks like a rather chilly day in New York.”
“It may be in New York, but it won’t be at my final destination.”
“Where do you live?”
“Florida.”
“Oh wow, that will definitely be warmer than New York. I hope you enjoyed your flight today with us?”
“I certainly did, it was excellent, thank you.”
“You are very welcome. I hope to see you onboard one of our flights soon.”
“I certainly hope so.”
We chatted a bit more before she excused herself to make the landing announcements as our descent was well under way.
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Arrival: The forward camera was turned on as we got closer to the ground which provided some excellent entertainment for landing.
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Touchdown was one of the smoothest I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The taxi to Terminal 4 was rather short with minimal traffic along the way at this hour in the morning. Our gate turned out to be at the corner of the longer pier which meant we could expect nice walk to immigration.
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Once the door was opened, a JFK Etihad agent welcomed us to the United States and informed us that we needed to keep our documents out and ready for inspection at the Jetway. Being First Class, we were let out first with the lead Middle Eastern flight attendant at the door wishing each of us farewell.
“Bye Mr. Tamboowala, welcome home.”
“Thank you for a great flight.”
“My pleasure, I look forward to seeing you again soon.”

Once my passport and filled out paper work was checked by a rather grumpy Homeland Security representative, I was let out into a rather deserted Terminal and began the long walk towards immigration which is located between both piers. The line at immigration was not overly long but there were quite a number of passengers from TAM and Emirates, both of which had just landed before us. The line was rather slow moving but it took just under 30 minutes for me to get done. Overall the process was not as smooth as my arrival a few months ago in Terminal 1, but relatively pleasant none the less.

The carousel was already fully loaded with baggage and turning by the time I got to it. Bags were on top of each other, it was hard to see anything clearly. However, my bright blue KLM tags were extremely easy to spot in the chaos which made things a lot easier for me. Customs was the standard “where are you coming from and why do you live in Florida?” I was ushered towards the exit after the officer was satisfied with my answers.

As I boarded the AirTrain heading towards Terminal 2 for my connecting Delta flight at Terminal 2, I realized the best part of my journey home was over. It did not take long and soon I was standing in line at the Delta check in counters with a number of other passengers being yelled at by an agent about how we all were standing in the wrong line, despite the signs above their heads. All I could do was dream of the hours I had just spent my Diamond Zone seat as I got barked at like an animal.

Verdict: Etihad was a very pleasant surprise and I was happy to try a rather new airline. While the ground operations were horrendous, especially at Mumbai, I was relatively pleased with the airline overall. The Mumbai – Abu Dhabi flight definitely needed some work. The lack of gate information and delay announcements made it a very frustrating boarding process. Not a single announcement was inexcusable on Etihad’s part. The old seats were acceptable for such a short flight, but Etihad really should update these old aircraft interiors if they plan on keeping them for a while. DVD players were fine, but an AVOD system with some short features would have been more enjoyable on a flight of this length. The food out of Mumbai was decent but too Indian centric for my liking, a Western option would be a welcome addition. My biggest disappointment lay with the particular flight attendant serving my aisle; she would definitely not be able to hold a job with Korean Air. Service lacked finesse, charm and genuine warmth, things that were very evident across the aisle. The Indian lead however was every bit as charming and caring as Etihad advertises their cabin crew to be.

I am sincerely thankful for the upgrade and was extremely pleased overall with the First Class product on Etihad. The seat was extremely comfortable in any position, especially sleeping. The food was plentiful and of excellent quality. The in flight entertainment was one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of using, excellent quality with plenty of choice. The small touches such as pajamas and a chocolate on my pillow were very much appreciated. The cabin crew on this leg was great; service was friendly and efficient but not intrusive. They made sure every passenger was cared for and had a genuine smile to go with it; they truly represented what Etihad stands for.

So did Etihad change the way I see the world? They sure did! I finally got to experience my first private suite in the air. Congratulations Etihad, for being such a young airline, you have accomplished quite a lot. Move over Emirates, Etihad is going to set new standards for in-flight service and comfort.

Score:
Etihad 205
Check In: 9 (Nothing too exciting, friendly and quick)
Lounge: 8 (Not a bad place, but certainly nothing exciting)
Boarding: 2 (Utter chaos with inefficient service from ground personnel)
Seat: 8 (Soft and comfortable for this short flight)
Aircraft: 9 (Looking a little old, but generally well kept)
Crew: 7 (Average service only saved by a good lead)
Meal: 8 (Nothing bad, but too focused on Indian food)
Entertainment: 7 (DVD players are fine, but shorter features would be appreciated)

Etihad 101
Boarding: 8 (The document check was a mess, but otherwise it was smooth sailing)
Seat: 10 (No complaints whatsoever from me about the seat)
Aircraft: 10 (Relatively young and in perfect condition)
Crew: 9.5 (Very friendly and nice)
Meal: 10 (Quality and quantity was excellent)
Entertainment: 10 (Plenty of choice, one of the best IFE systems I have ever used)
Arrival: 9 (Not as fast as Terminal 1 but still pretty decent for JFK)

Total: 124.5/150 = .83
Etihad scored a 83%. It is a shame that EY 205 brought the overall score down, which would have otherwise been very high.

SR 103

[Edited 2007-09-02 20:49:57]

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Absolutely superb report, Anosh. Very well documented by a wide selection of pictures.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The old seats were acceptable for such a short flight, but Etihad really should update these old aircraft interiors if they plan on keeping them for a while.

A6-EYV & A6-EYW are former Volare birds and will leave the fleet in February and May 2008.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26900 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

WOW!!!! All i can say is WOW.....The F class experience with EY is amazing. The best ive seen to be honest. Your photos were excellent as was the write up. Bvlgari amenity kit!! Thats my product of choice and is a true reflection of the EY standards. The proper Cappuchinos are also a great idea. I read everything and savoured every photo. Hopefully I will get to experience it myself sometime.

Thanks for a wonderful TR

OA260  Smile


User currently offlineUairFokker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice service, although I think I might have felt a bit uncomfortable under so much attention. Didn´t you feel that way?

User currently offlineSeansasLCY From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2007, 850 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Brilliant trip report. Etihad does look good, a friend of mine recently flew to BKK with them in economy and said it was once of the best flights the family had been on. As soon as they launch HKG or PEK i'll have to give them a try, maybe even in Pearl or Diamond Zone!

User currently offlineAlaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 905 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

This is one of the best reports I have read in a long time! Wonderful job and also amazing pictures as well! It is now my goal to try and fly Eithad some time! I just hope that they join an alliance soon!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
and a plate of butter.

this might seem like a strange thing for me to quote, but airlines never seem to give me enough butter I always have to ask for two or three of the trays of butter, yet Etihad sure gives you enough!  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I realized the best part of my journey home was over.

That would be a hard change of events to go from such a high class airline to... Delta.

Once again, amazing report!
~Cheers-
~~Kyle H.



to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
User currently onlineEI787 From Ireland, joined Jan 2006, 1513 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Superb trip report Anosh!

I'm so envious of you right now though Big grin First class on EY looks stunning!! If there's one First Class I'd like to experience, it has to be EY's!


Well done again on a super report!


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Absolutely superb report, Anosh. Very well documented by a wide selection of pictures.

Thank you, glad to see you enjoyed the pictures.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
A6-EYV & A6-EYW are former Volare birds and will leave the fleet in February and May 2008.

I was under the impression they were going to stay for a longer period of time. This is good news!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
The F class experience with EY is amazing. The best ive seen to be honest.

It certainly is one of the best out there!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Your photos were excellent as was the write up.

Thank you.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Thanks for a wonderful TR

Thank you for taking the time to read it all.

Quoting UairFokker (Reply 4):
Nice service, although I think I might have felt a bit uncomfortable under so much attention. Didn´t you feel that way?

After flying so much Continental, Northwest, and Delta, it was nice to actually feel wanted and looked after.

Quoting SeansasLCY (Reply 5):
Brilliant trip report.

Thank you. I am happy to see you enjoyed it.

Quoting SeansasLCY (Reply 5):
As soon as they launch HKG or PEK i'll have to give them a try, maybe even in Pearl or Diamond Zone!

I am sure that won't be too far off in the future. Good luck with that, I look forward to a trip report

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 6):
This is one of the best reports I have read in a long time! Wonderful job and also amazing pictures as well!

Thank you.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 6):
I just hope that they join an alliance soon!

My fingers are crossed for Skyteam for obvious reasons. If Skyteam can get Etihad, Malaysian and Kingfisher to join, there would be no doubt in my mind about who I would be flying.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 6):
yet Etihad sure gives you enough!

Actually Air France also gives you quite a large amount. If you see some of my previous Air France trip reports, you would see the size of the butter.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 6):
That would be a hard change of events to go from such a high class airline to... Delta.

Earlier this year I did Korean Air to Delta and the year before that I did Malaysian to Continental. I am getting used to being let down these days.

Quoting EI787 (Reply 7):
Superb trip report Anosh!

Thank you very much for the compliment.

Quoting EI787 (Reply 7):
First class on EY looks stunning!!

It is, I don't think my pictures did the product enough justice!

SR 103


User currently offlineWhiteBirdFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

A wonderful report! Thank you very much!

It's more than great to see that at least one airline has now restored First Class to a first class experience. Actual coordinated, patient and perfect passenger attention. I'm extremely impressed and very happy for you that you got to experience flying in such style. I hope you get to do it again!

Cordially,
WFB


User currently offlineWestJetYQQ From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2987 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow......I'll need to fly Etihad in the Diamond Zone then. That was a great, albeit a long read! Big grin

Cheers
Carson



Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8524 posts, RR: 54
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report, really enjoyed the read and the photo's are excellent!

The meal service on the JFK looks simply superb, the meals on the flight x BOM looks much lower in quailty, though I wonder if that is partly down to the route?

All in all this is what I expect from EY given the TR's posted here.

I had hoped to fly EY on my next trip to SIN, however they do not have a daily service there yet, our dates don't match Sad

Thanks again for the excellent report.

Best Wishes

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinePilot320 From Croatia, joined Jun 2005, 93 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Anosh, this is one of the best TR I have ever read! Well done!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Middle Eastern flight attendant



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Captain Stefano



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
gorgeous Australian flight attendant



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The captain welcomed us onboard in his French accent



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Indian flight attendant



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Korean flight attendant



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Russian flight attendant



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Asian flight attendant

I'm under impression that in Etihad's planes you're like in tall building near East River  Wink


User currently offlineAY104 From Canada, joined Nov 2005, 505 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Excellent reading and viewing: you really put a lot of effort into that report! It is always a pleasure to read these Trip Reports and to know that there are still people such as yourself who do not let themselves become jaded and continue to appreciate the niceties, luxuries and courtesies provided.
Cheers,
AY104



The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 32767 times:

Excellent report, excellent pictures. EY looks like a great way to fly. What a stroke of luck getting the upgrade....ever find out why you got it?


"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
User currently offlineCrdaus From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 142 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thank you for your review of EY. I had considered EY for my recent trip to Europe from Australia but chickened out after reading about the apparent on-board service problems on the inaugural flights.However, your review has made me think again.

User currently offlineEK20 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Superb trip report Anosh! Great attention to detail in the writing and good pictures. I am flying EK in C in a few weeks, long haul and am keeping my fingers crossed for an F upgrade. I hope I can do a report half as good as this one.

User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Fantastic reading about your trip. F makes C look like the pits. Did you get an idea what the loads were in Y to New York?

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4753 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
A plate of fruits arrived first and the Russian flight attendant made sure that strawberries were facing me.

I was strangely turned on by the presentation... HAHAHAHAHA...

What an excellent report! Wow... The interior of the Mumbai - Abu Dhabi flight kinda reminded me a lot of Gulf Air, the old blue seats with the thin white stripes.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3236 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Anosh, what can I say. Those photos and the whole experience made me speechless. That flight from Abu Dhabi to JFK is just amazing. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

Now, I was wondering tf someone can make a comparison between Emirates and Etihad on New York service.



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Anosh!!!

Did you know that i kept checking this section double-daily for your TR for the past 3 weeks? haha ...

However it was most definitely well worth the wait. This is seriously the best TR i have ever read so far. Seriously!

Being a recent supporter for Etihad, i am very glad you had a great experience with them. Who wouldnt have had with all that pampering? The service, the presentation, and the especially the soothing ambience absolutely amazed me.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible in the old seats

Looks like the same seat i had to AMM. As you said though, not bad for a short flight, horrible for anything longer.

However, i am surprised that you got Yankee Whiskey. All travel agents here have been advertising EY as "the first mid-east airline with flat beds to India" .. Maybe a sudden aircraft change?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I found the dessert really excellent

I have to say, i have had great desserts on EY both in C and in Y. Yours didn't seem any different either.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
My general impression of the seat was that it was comfortable but rather narrow

Several people have been saying the same thing aswell. Let's see what i think next month  Wink

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“please escort Mr. Tamboowala to seat 1D in the Diamond Zone. Have a good flight sir.”

I would have had a heart attack right then and there! haha

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Etihad really should update these old aircraft interiors

Unfortunately, this IS the update! All seats on old-configurations have been given this very same 'face-lift'.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
My biggest disappointment lay with the particular flight attendant serving my aisle

Given the short duration of the flight, and the long turnaround at BOM, i would assume that this was the same set of crew that was on the inbound flight earlier that morning from AUH. For such a short flight, i wouldnt think they would be placed in a hotel to catch the next day's flight more than 24 hours later. So probably they were at some crew lounge or something. Perhaps she was tired?

However, I wouldn't have appreciated such service either.


Well done buddy! it was well worth the read! Have a good semester at ERAU!

Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineTreeHillRavens From Malaysia, joined Jun 2007, 397 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very nice report !! Thanks for posting. How was the load on your flight, by the way ?

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Really excellent trip report with lots of small details and fantastic pictures - a pleasure to read and watch!

You were really lucky to get an upgrade to First Class on Abu Dhabi - New York. Etihad Diamond Zone looks just superb - what a luxury!

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineDoor5Right From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 707 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
gladly accepted both which was a nice change from the usual orange juice and champagne.

NEVER!

But congratulations on a fabulous report. I am so, so green with envy! That lounge area looks amazing.



My soul is in the sky...
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2593 posts, RR: 30
Reply 24, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Airbus A330-203 (A6-EYW)

Bad luck there...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The old seats were acceptable for such a short flight, but Etihad really should update these old aircraft interiors if they plan on keeping them for a while. DVD players were fine, but an AVOD system with some short features would have been more enjoyable on a flight of this length.

As has been mentioned, these two aircraft are on their way out of the fleet along with the B767;

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The interior of the Mumbai - Abu Dhabi flight kinda reminded me a lot of Gulf Air, the old blue seats with the thin white stripes.

The seats are actually ex-Gulf Air. They replaced the old 'Coral Plus' seats which were in a 2-3-2 arrangement (ex-Volare/Canada 3000);

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I decided to sit back and start a movie while all this was happening. I browsed through quite a few selections that were on offer and settled on a movie that turned out to be excellent.

I just flew MXP-AUH with EY and watched this movie too. I was disappointed in the ending - I wanted him to 'win'...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Customs was the standard “where are you coming from and why do you live in Florida?”

WHY do you live in Florida?! That is a ridiculous question.


Your report was superb - detailed and thorough with the pics adding so much to it. I'm glad you enjoyed the F Class experience. I was fortunate enough to fly F on the JFK-AUH run last year and managed to sleep all the way.

You may be interested to know that EY are now doing away with reference to the 'Zones'. You will now have Diamond First class, Pearl Business class and Coral Economy class.


25 Post contains images Mk777 : As always, an awesome TR. This time on EY. I wish IAD would attract Indian airlines and Mid-east carriers, though recently QR has started service ther
26 Post contains images A340600 : Wow! Fantastic report, looked like a truly amazing F experience, though was the service as overpowering as it seemed from the report? Thanks for a gre
27 Trintocan : All I can say to this is... WOW! EY seems great in First Class! I often had to think, was this really an aircraft or a luxury hotel with a spa hidden
28 Post contains images Buck3y3nut : WOW Anosh!!! Great trip report and I guess thank your lucky charm for an upgrade to F in EY. The F product truly looks amazing and the conversations y
29 SR 103 : Thank you very much. That makes the two of us. Thank you, good know you enjoyed it. Well it was Business Class, not First. Thank you for the complime
30 LACA773 : Anoosh, Thankyou for another lovely trip report! I get excited when I see you have written another one and you had mentioned on your trip eastbound yo
31 Ronerone : HKG is in 10 days. However another airline beat MH in terms of price. As for next month, a sudden trip came up, and it will definitely involve the Pe
32 Karan69 : Wow Anoosh that was simply awesome,your TR makes me wanna give EY a go. Its great to see EY will give its complacent giant neighbor a run for its mone
33 Post contains images AeroMexico777 : Dear Anosh While I´m a huge fan of your trip reports, I´d never written tou you before. First of all, congratulations for the quality of your writti
34 Ryanair!!! : EK, EY, QR, SV, GF, RJ all have FAs from all over the world. I have a feeling it is due to the restrictions placed on their own moslem women from wor
35 Post contains images INNflight : ...I'm hungry now :D Well done on an excellent report, thanks very much... and lovely pictures!
36 Post contains images GQ : SR 103, your trip report is amazing! The style of writing and pictures are very discriptive, who wouldn't want to fly EY in hopes of having the same e
37 Post contains images Zillox : Awesome !!!! The purple ceiling is worth flying for Etihad Airways did a fine job, if I read the report First class.. everybody must done it once!!! E
38 AeroMexico777 : HI! THNX for that kind answer Ryanair!!!! HAVE A nice DAY AeroMexico777
39 SR 103 : Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the compliment, much appreciated. It is a great kit. These days amenity kits in Business Class are nothing special
40 BoeingForEver : best TR ever....good job
41 B747forever : Amazing, Excellent, great, awsome what more can you say. Really great pics too. Thank you for sharing. B747forever.
42 SR 103 : Thanks for the complment. Thank you for that compliment, glad to see you enjoyed it. SR 103
43 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : Anosh, This was really one of the best trip reports I've ever read. You gave every detail necessary, and the pictures are absolutely superb. I'm suffi
44 Mirrodie : NIce trip report. Now does Etihad have 5 classes? And you were in 1st class, right?
45 Faustino927 : Anosh did you eat enough food on your trip? Jezz!
46 Post contains images YOWza : I don't think this TR was detailed enough, nor did it have enough pics. Seriously though, fantastic report, the best I've seen. EY F looks brilliant.
47 Post contains links 777way : Etihad can also mess up things, like in here http://dawn.com/weekly/review/review3.htm
48 SR 103 : Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Etihad definately has laid some solid foundations for itself. Hopefully things don't get too bad as they expand and beco
49 UK_Dispatcher : You may be interested to know that the first aircraft in your report, A6-EYW, has just left the EY fleet. A6-EYV will be following shortly.
50 Phileet92 : wow, thats sounds like a great trip! especially with the upgrade. you should find out why you got upgraded. any other exciting trips coming up?
51 Post contains links SR 103 : Good to know. Ah well, at least I got to fly one of WY's "classics." I am not entirely sure to this day, but I think they needed a row of seats to fi
52 Ba777pilot : why is it that alot of Middle Eastern airlines put the nicer biz seats on the a340's. but very nice trip report. ba777
53 Readytotaxi : Wonderful, WOW, got to do that trip, many thanks, will add that to my wish list.
54 Trekster : ummm WOW What more can i say. One of the best TR's I have read in here.
55 Aussie_ : excellent TR - well done! I have just returned from a marathon EY trip (all in Y - not so lucky as you!!) routing BNE-SIN-AUH-MUC//LHR-AUH-SYD and I w
56 LASOctoberB6 : I'm wondering how I managed to miss this trip report.. I was speechless while reading, it was great! I wish I had money to fly like this. It makes me
57 SR 103 : As far as Etihad goes, the 345's and 346's serve the premium markets while the 77W's tend to fly to more leisure markets. On Qatar, both the 346's an
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