Part XIII: Etihad 777-300ER AUH-LAX
This is the last part of my trip report- it’s taken me longer to write the report than it did to take the actual trip!
We arrived at Abu Dhabi Airport’s dedicated business class check in for Etihad travelers about 1 1/2 hours before departure.
It’s cutting it a bit close for my standards, but we wanted to get as much sleep as possible. Since we had been to the business class lounge on a previous trip (and no longer would receive a free spa treatment), we instead decided to clear security straight away and clear US customs, and hang in the Pre-Clearance Lounge instead. Not as great of a lounge, but we had limited time anyway.
Check-in was fast, and we used the e-Gates after registering quickly, which made customs move very fast. Then, the long, long walk to the US Pre-Clearance facility, which required another security check and then US customs. With all that done with, we had about 30 minutes to relax in the Pre-clearance lounge.
We decided to walk over to the gate a bit early. There she was!
We boarded quickly after fighting through the crowds at the gate. Boy, do I miss the boarding gate at the IAD Etihad lounge!
We had traveled last year on Etihad 787 from DC, so we knew this hard product wouldn’t be as “new” as that one. Frankly, the 787’s business studio seat is gorgeous. This one, not as much, but it’s certainly not terrible.
Then we got comfortable with some champagne.
Menus were distributed.
After about an hour of being in the air, it was showtime. I went with the tenderloin. L, the pasta.
I thought the steak was much better than what I had on SG.
After that, a big time sleep. I think I slept about 8 hours of the 15 1/2 that we had for the flight. No complaints there! I did wake up at one point and have a steak sandwich and some tea.
Etihad’s “Dine Anytime” is great, but I do love have a more full presentation for multiple meals, like what we had on Singapore. No complaints on food quality, though.
After the long journey, we arrived back in Los Angeles, where we started. We still had a short hop on an American CRJ (yuk) to Phoenix, but we exited security to wait for our bags, so I could get my laptop. But, we forgot that they would check all the way through to Phoenix, so we were laptopless. I did get to experience how stupid US Preclearance is for folks that need to retrieve their bags. I think there were at least 6 Etihad employees pointing folks in the right direction to find the carousel, which required people exiting security, exiting the building, and fighting the crowds awaiting other flights outside of customs to get their bags.
Overall, I still love Etihad, but Singapore’s service was ultimately the winner here. Same goes for Hyatt’s new Globalist status. There have been a ton of complaints on here, and they’re well-placed, but for me, I saw the value of the status on this trip.