Review: Etihad’s New Business Class (and Temporary First Class) Lounge, Abu Dhabi

Here I review Etihad’s new business class lounge (with temporary first class section) in Abu Dhabi International Airport’s terminal 3.

Previous installments:

  1. Introduction, overview, and costs
  2. Star Alliance first class and business class lounges, LAX
  3. Etihad First Class, Los Angles – Abu Dhabi.. the 3rd Longest Flight in the World!
  4. Premier Inn, Abu Dhabi International Airport

In the morning, after leaving the Premier Inn across the street from the airport, we found our way to the terminal via the outside rather than underground walkway.

It’s a bit quicker, you cross the street instead of winding around the underground passageways.

I was pleased to be leaving from the newer terminal 3 today (there’s a departures board outside the hotel lobby). Not only that I’d be having an aircraft with lie flat business class for the four hour journey to Male. And I’d be able to check out the new business class lounge in terminal 3 as well.

I walked into the premium check-in area. You come upon business class check-in with first class to the left.

I was already checked in, but this is also the location for premium passport control and security. There was no line to depart the UAE and then security is immediately thereafter, with only a short wait.

Immediately in front of security is the location of the old lounge that had separate first and business class sections. It is being converted into a first class lounge entirely, and had originally been expected to be complete in January but the last generate date range I was given was April. We’ll see.

In the meantime there is a new business class lounge further into the terminal, and there’s a temporary first class section there as well, so that’s where we headed.

Once inside the lounge I showed the agent both my business class boarding pass and my arriving boarding pass stub from the night before showing first class. I was told ‘well this is the one lounge either way.’ I asked “sometimes there’s a first class section, so i thought I would ask?” She said, suprised, “oh, yes, we do have that let me show you there” and she walked us over to the roped-off first class section of the lounge.

I’ve read about cooked to order food and menu service in the first class section of the lounge. Instead all I experienced was a roped-off small section of seating, that wasn’t especially well-policed (people came in and sat themselves there at will), with a waiter who would bring over drinks on request. Otherwise there was little difference between the business class and first class experience in the lounge.

It’s a large and well provisioned lounge. It’s bright and new. But it’s busy.

This is a look over to the dining area from the first class seating:

And the first class seating.

The broader lounge.

I ordered a cappuccino from the waiter, and then explored the lounge and food offerings.

In terms of the rest of the facilities, there’s more open seating areas, work stations, a bar, and a spa offering complimentary 15 minute treatments (that I didn’t avail myself of on this visit). There is also a kids’ room.

When Lucky reviewed this lounge, he wrote:

I can’t say enough about how attentive the service in the lounge was — Amal, the lounge manager, is a class act, and together with his team they really do a hell of a job. Suzanna checked on me every few minutes to see if I wanted anything to drink or eat, if I wanted to schedule a spa treatment, etc.

I had the exact opposite experience here. Nonetheless, is was more than adequate for a premium lounge in the Middle East, with plenty of food both hot and cold.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I was just at this lounge 2 weeks ago and did not see anything special about it. When compared to the Qatar lounge in Doha this is hundred of miles behind. I also flew Etihad Business Pearl and did not see anything special. They might have a great aircraft A380 with the most comfortable seats in the sky but everything else is pretty much standard.

  2. I think Lucky sometimes polishes off an entire bottle of champers on the flight and then gets extra friendly with the staff, in which case service does become that much more personal. But, like you, my experiences have been extremely “normal.”

  3. I saw signs for a lounge after I got through US Preclerance this weekend. Do you know if they are making a lounge after US immigration instead of having to sit at the gate area?

  4. In the past, you’ve labeled your prior posts as “Must Reads”. Why are they now dubbed “Previous Installments”?

  5. I went to this lounge 3 weeks ago. While it is physically beautiful, service was not exceptional (though not bad). It was empty when I visited (late evening). All said and done this lounge is heads and shoulders above any lounge I’ve visited in the US.

  6. @mark i write whatever strikes my fancy at any given moment, which is what makes it my blog. thanks for continuing to read regardless of what i label something from one post to the next!

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