It was freezing cold and dark as I waited for the driver from Etihad to arrive. Having not warned them not to ring the door bell, I had to wait outside for a few minutes. The driver was running late, but I didn’t find out until he called their office. The driver arrived about ten minutes late, but the light traffic early in the morning did not cause much delay in getting to Heathrow Terminal 4.
Terminal 4, when it was BA’s main terminal for long distance flights, was very familiar to me. However, by not flying the limited number of airlines that call it their Heathrow home, I hadn’t been for a number of years. It has changed.
Fast Track was quick, only one person in front, and I was through in less than 2 minutes. The whole airside experience has changed – rebuilt and expanded, it is as glitzy as many of the other terminals.
The Etihad lounge is located in the old T4 BA First Class Lounge, in the basement of the lounge pavilion near Gate 10. Skyteam has the Ground Floor.
Down a spiral staircase or in the lifts, I was welcomed by two friendly members of staff. They did a quick tour and then handed me over to the staff at the spa. They provided details of their services and took a booking from me for a free treatment. (I was travelling in First and so the first treatment is free.)
The lounge had a range of different areas – a sit down restaurant, a buffet area and some comfy seating. I found a spot in the corner and settled in to wait for the flight. My treatment time arrived and I went to the Spa, filled out the short health questionnaire and then accompanied the masseur to the treatment room for a relaxing leg and foot massage. The Spa staff did spend time the lounge discussing options and pricing with passengers once I had finished.
I had a nice Eggs Benedict at the restaurant. The service was pretty good with orders coming out quickly.
Fairly quickly the lounge filled with other passengers. The 9am flight was operated by an A380 so was pretty full of First and Business Class passengers. Seats were at a premium by the time it came to leave for boarding.
Etihad use the gate immediately opposite the exit from the lounge, and splits passengers between Upper and Lower decks at separate gates (10a and 10b). However, for some reason, Upper Deck passengers were sent along the Lower Deck jet bridge forcing us to carry our luggage up the stairs at the front of the plane.
I was soon on board and settled in my Apartment for the flight to Abu Dhabi. More about that tomorrow.
A solid lounge with a good offering of food and drinks, but get there early if you want a choice of seating.