Etihad Airways First Class & Business Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi
This was far less crowded than on my last visit but I had to spend too long there again. Having said this, the WiFi and the hot breakfast were good.
I eventually got a haircut, wet shave, manicure and a shower in the Six Senses Spa and felt human again.
Mahmoud Al Qadomi, my therapist in Etihad Airways Style & Shave who did my haircut and wet shave, was excellent and so good to chat with about Doha, Abu Dhabi, Jordan etc.
Back in the lounge I ordered a glass of champagne and read about Storm Katie, with planes being diverted away from London.
On the B777-300ER Plane
I had expected to be on an A380 again and was disappointed to find my Business Class seat on the 777 was not much better than the cramped configuration on the A330 I flew from Ho Chi Minh City on the day before. However, I got a glass of champagne, & a Financial Times newspaper, and started to feel better about it all.
I was in seat 5k, the first row in Business Class behind First Class. I got a Bloody Mary after take off and asked for crisps, rather than nuts. Service was very slow.
Etihad Airways' eat what you want, when you want, approach is ideal when your body clock is messed up.
I just got some BBQ chicken winglets (from the All Day menu), with a glass of Merlot. Slow service again meant I had finished the food by the time the wine arrived. Then I got some sleep on the flat bed.
When I woke up again, a few hours later, I got the chicken, duck & pistachio nut terrine. The tart Piccalilli that came with this made this dish.
Next I had the chicken breast from the A La Carte menu. The chicken was succulent and the flavours of the lentils & toasted onions moreishly delicious. The green beans were also well cooked and it was one of the best dishes I have eaten on a plane.
I then drank Glenlivet, and a double espresso, as the effects of Storm Katie made the flight extremely bumpy. It made me recall my 6 years in Bermuda and some very scary flights to New York during this time.
Movies & TV
Having watched 'The Revenant' and 'The Lady in the Van' on my plane the day before, during this flight I just watched 'The 50 Year Party' - about Annabel's. This had be thinking about my time in that legendary Mayfair nightclub.
People on this programme talked about the IRA's coded warnings, which made me remember when I was working at the Bank of England in the 1980s and we used to regularly receive hoax calls about these.
The flight took 7 hours & 10 minutes and landed at Heathrow on time. Immigration was easy & the luggage quick.
🐻🐻🐻🐻 (4 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - Mahmoud Al Qadomi in Etihad Airways Style & Shave in Abu Dhabi was brilliant, the chicken breast dish incredible but the repeatedly slow service on the plane lost this flight a 'teddy'. Tips:- ask for Mahmoud in Etihad Airways Style & Shave in Abu Dhabi & remember to book your free Etihad Chauffeur 24 hours before you fly.
At the end of my Far East trip, I was looking forward to being back in the UK for my 29 March birthday. On my last Etihad Airways A380 flight I was in a First Class Apartment and wondered what Business Class to London would be like instead.
Si Frew has lived in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar, Cyprus & the Cayman Islands. During this time he met Whoopi Goldberg (in Claridge's), Mike Tyson (in the Concorde Lounge at JFK) , Gordon Ramsay (in the Doha Four Seasons), Chris Eubanks (in The Dorchester), Cherie Blair (in Bermuda & again in the Doha Four Seasons) etc. There are funny stories attached to all these interactions, feel free to ask Si about them when you meet him.