Tuesday, January 2, 2018

TRIP REPORT: Etihad Airways, Belgrade - Abu Dhabi

TRIP REPORT


Today marks the start of the new EX-YU Aviation News trip reports section, giving visitors the opportunity to share their flight experience. For more details click here.

Submitted by Greta Bálint-Marković

I took a flight from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi in November. It was a Saturday around 10.30AM and the airport was really busy when I went to check in. I later realized that the Air Serbia flight to New York was checking in so there were a lot of people around. Etihad has a dedicated business class check-in desk but it was shared with Alitalia. There were at least 5 people in front me waiting to check in and the process was very slow. There must have been some problem with one of the passengers because I waited for around 15-20 minutes to get to the front of the line. The two Australian ladies in front me (who were on my flight) were very unhappy. They turned around towards me and commented loudly that they are Etihad Platnum members and that this was unacceptable. When I eventually got in front the check-in process was quick and completed in less than a minute. I went straight to passport control which was also quick since there is a dedicated business class lane and it was actually empty.

Some photos from the airport:





When I got inside the departures area I went straight to the Air Serbia premium lounge which is used by Etihad. I have to say that the lounge is probably one of the best business class lounges in Europe, and I have been to a few. It's divided in two parts with one lounge area and the other a restaurant area where you order restaurant style food off the menu. The staff is extremely polite and they always ask if you want drinks, coffee, anything to eat. I really like the decor of the lounge too and toilet facilities were great. Very clean, bright and modern. There are showers as well. After I had some cappuccino I left the lounge to have a walk around the terminal and then went to my gate where you have to go through security.





Business class boarded first. The cabin was full. The crew were really polite. Both of the cabin crew working in business class were Serbian and they greeted passengers by name (and those from Serbia in Serbian). Newspapers, welcome drink, menus and amenity kit were distributed before departure. Blankets and pillows were at the seat upon boarding. In some of the photos below you can see the amenity kit in the seat pocket in front of me. I think it looks kind of cheap and low cost, especially if you compare to example Qatar Airways. There isn't a lot in them. I now read they have introduced a designer buy on board amenity kit which has high priced products in them but I feel like those should be offered to business class passengers for free. 

For the pre-departure drink I took champagne. The menus were in English, Serbian and Arabic. Announcements were in English and Arabic and a few important ones were made in Serbian too. The food was very nice. There is of course entre, three main courses to choose from and desserts. They also have snacks like sandwiches, crisps and even popcorn you can order. It's all a-la-carte so you can order the food whenever you feel like it. Most ate straight after departure including me. The cabin crew took food orders before we took off. I chose some arabic mezze entre which was delicious. My husband had some beef salad, which he said was great and I'm also sharing a photo of with you. If I knew I was going to write a report about the flight I would have taken some more photos of the main course but I did take a photo of the ice cream I ordered after.






We landed around 30 minutes early into Abu Dhabi before the huge rush hour. Of course because Abu Dhabi Airport can barely handle all the traffic it has, we disembarked from the stairs and into a bus. There is a dedicated bus for business class passengers. That new midfield terminal can't come soon enough.


Overall Etihad is still very good in business class. The crew were very nice and really friendly. Food was fantastic and there were so many choices for this 5 hour flight. Entertainment system is also great. There are a lot of movies, TV shows, documentaries. There is also internet onboard which I bought but it was very pricey and it was very slow during parts of the flight (over Turkey it didn't work at all). But their pricing is different from plane model to plane. I have flown with some of their larger planes and the internet was much better. The ticket price was not too expensive so I would recommend Etihad on this route to anyone. I have flown with them three times now in business class (2015, 2016 and 2017) and I didn't notice any deterioration or difference in service (except for the amenity kits which have been downgraded)


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4 comments:

  1. Nice trip report. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice review. Agree with you about the lounge. The question is if it is excessive for a small airline like Air Serbia. Good to hear your flight was fullm

    This is a smart idea. Can't wait to read the other reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry it will get bigger.

      Delete

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