I took the chauffeur provided by Etihad to the airport on the morning of my First Class flight to Melbourne, Australia (a reward from AA before they increase their rates). The check-ins at Terminal 3, reserved for First and Business Class have been split so there is a dedicated First Class entrance. Walking through the door I joined a small queue of passengers waiting to get boarding passes and check luggage. There was a single agent working and she was clearly having problems checking in two women who were already sat at the desk – she was switching back and forth between different PC’s. Behind them were two young men with about 10 suitcases and then me. It was 7am.
After a few minutes it became clear that there was a team meeting for all of the staff occurring just behind me. Ten to Fifteen members of staff were huddled around their team leader, ignoring the waiting passengers. Fifteen minutes later the two women were checked in and the solo agent started on the two young men. About 5 minutes later the meeting finished and I was served. The agent was very confused about what I needed to access Australia. She initially asked about whether I had an ESTA. I explained that I had an online visa for Australia, and she asked me if I had printed it out? In the end she swiped the passport and the system allowed me to be checked in and she seemed satisfied.
Just behind the First Class desks is immigration where you can use the iris scan they collected on arrival to leave through automatic gates. Through security and I was in the terminal and right opposite the lounge.
The agent on the ground floor checked my boarding pass and showed me to the lift. On arrival upstairs I was greeted and given a short tour of the lounge. I was shocked how small it was! I had expected a large expansive space, having been to the Business Lounge before.
I booked an appointment for a shave and then went in search of food.
There was a large sit-down restaurant with at table service in the seating area. A moment’s wait and I was seated for a delicious latte and full english breakfast – pic at the top. The restaurant was busy and people were being directed to wait near the bar to be called. The staff were super friendly although I see some people’s orders get lost and have a long wait before eating.
There were several other areas in the lounge where you could sit – the bar, a seating area at the back as well as a children’s room.
After I finished my food, I went to get a shave and have my nails done. There was no time for a massage, shower or treatment.
A few minutes later it was time to leave for my flight. Back through the Duty Free and a short walk I was at my gate where the B777 was waiting for my fourteen hour flight to Melbourne.
It’s a nice lounge, but a little small. I know that many Etihad flights don’t have First Class and so it is probably adequate.