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Old May 16, 12, 10:46 am   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Panama
Programs: AA PLT, Hilton Honors
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ORD-AUH-DEL in J, what to expect

I'm flying business class on EY and was curious how the service, seats and meals are with Etihad. I normally fly AA business or first but as they no longer have flights to India I decided to give EY a shot. I just couldn't seem to find much in the way of trip reports so I thought I would ask here. Thanks in advance.
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Old May 16, 12, 12:26 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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There are a few TRs around ... do a forum search and youll find them.

Lie flat beds are amongst the best business class seats anywhere. If youre traveling alone, get a window (preferably not the last row) - its a mini suite and extremely private.

IFE is OK - noise canceling headphones are good (tho I always bring my own!)

Chauffeur service is great if its in your city.

FAs are very mixed - some absolutely superb, top notch, attentive and focused and customer oriented. Others are absolutely dreadful.

Food is good. Filling, tasty, great choices. Their fresh fruit is out of this world delicious - dont know why but it tastes better than any other fruit plate Ive had in the air. Dine anytime is quite conceptual in my experience. They *say* you can dine any time - but they do have slots for meal services. If you want to eat outside these timings, you can - but it will take a while.

No amenity kits - pick what you need out of a basket of stuff - and no PJs.

Always informative captains briefings, in my experience. And their pre-flight music is really quite beautiful.

Have a wonderful trip
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Old May 16, 12, 2:54 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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The you for the quick reply, that's exactly what I wanted to know. It's too bad the service isn't more consistent one way or the other, at least that way one would know what to expect.

I'm in seat 9A, not the last one so it should be fine.

D.
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Old May 17, 12, 3:26 am   #4
 
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Yes, I agree. It would be great to know what youre going to get, but on the whole, even if theyre slightly incompetent, the FAs on EY really do try. Ive never had a time when my call bell wasnt answered ... so at least they are available to you, even if not proactive. And I often find on the flights Ive taken that its a mixed bag - green, inexperienced, nervous (or sometimes just bad attitude) partnered with the old school professional, proud to work FAs. You just need to identify which one is which, and make friends with the good and be patient with the not so!

They are rolling out the "new" Business seats across the fleet - the older ones (still lie flat) are light blue - the newer ones are a little more sophisticated browns and black and white. Both are extraordinarily comfortable, though the newer ones are better designed to accomodate all those bits and bobs that you scatter around you on a flight.

And btw. As soon as you get to AUH, in transit, go to the lounge and book your spa treatment if you want one (and I suggest you do - even if its just a shoulder and back massage). They are a wonderful, relaxing chilled out part of the journey. But the spa can get busy in the lounge, and so its useful to book first, then go eat or wander the duty free until its time for your treatment. I often follow up with a shower if I have time. The perfect pause in a journey that will be luxurious anyway.

Safe flying.
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Old May 17, 12, 11:55 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Thank you very much for that post. I fly AA many times a year and know what you mean about having patience with the new FAs and utilizing the seasoned ones when possible.

I'll be sure to book my spa treatment as soon as I get to the lounge. As I've never done this, is a tip expected and if so what is fair amount?

I'm glad to hear the seats are comfortable, it's a long 13 hour flight. I had read about the new business class seats rolling out but haven't heard if they are on the ORD-AUH route.

Thank you again. I'm looking forward to my first experience with EY.
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Old May 20, 12, 4:57 am   #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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I always give a little tip - usually in whatever currency I have. 10 ringgit or a few Euros... just to say thanks. Though its not by any means a prerequisite.

I have to say, Ive slept deeper and longer on Etihad J seats than any other. Youll be very comfortable. Though remember, if you like to change, bring your own pair of PJs!
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Old Oct 12, 12, 9:21 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: MSP
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Flying MSP-ORD-AUH and back this week. Thought I'd add to this thread instead of starting a new one.

Seating:
Doing seat assignments, Biz was full (at least online, it's not showing any seats open, though it's still got 3 J seats for sale. I'm in 5F, nearly the worst seat possible for me--close together middle seats, not a window, near the galley, etc. Should be OK but not ideal.
On the return, same issue--NO seats showing open; I'm in 5F again. But the flight is J9, so tons of unsold Biz seats. Does EY block many seats? Or could it be because it's an AA codeshare (though a paid ticket)?

Lounges:
At ORD: I have Oneworld BA Gold so I can use the AA Flagship lounges at ORD. From what I have learned, EY uses the SK lounge at ORD, which I've been to and is OK but nothing special. If it were you, would you hang out at the AA Flagship lounge and head over to T5 75 minutes before departure? That's my current plan.
As for AUH, I plan on arriving around 2 hours before my flight; is it a nice enough lounge to want to spend time in, or just a plain old airline lounge? I am flying the AA codeshares so no Limo services, right? My hotel (Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi) offers RT airport transfers for Club Room bookings, so I don't need one anyway.

Onboard catering:
Is it a true dine when you like service? If anyone has a link to a recent menu on ORD-AUH-ORD in Biz, I'd love to see it.
What are opinions on EY's catering ex-ORD, vs. ex-AUH? Some airlines (SQ, NH, OZ that I know of) have some strong catering stations and some weak; are there any memorable/favorite dishes/drinks that people have when flying EY, for example Arabic Mezze, etc?

Meal Times, sleep times
The departure time ex-ORD is quite good for dinner, then a long sleep; I haven't travelled to the Middle East before; when I go to Asia, I sleep a bit but not a huge amount, arriving tired, late evening to BKK or SIN and sleep; Looks like it might be good to try and stay awake on the flights as much as possible so I can sleep when I arrive to AUH, early evening.

IFE
Just looked at the IFE guide. Wow, impressive selection!
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Old Oct 12, 12, 10:54 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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All the good seats are blocked online. You have to call and request a window seat. Identify your reservation using the EY record locator, which you can get from AA.
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Old Oct 13, 12, 9:10 am   #9
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly View Post
All the good seats are blocked online. You have to call and request a window seat. Identify your reservation using the EY record locator, which you can get from AA.
Glad I asked! Thanks for the reply.
If anyone has any other info/experience on my other questions, feel free to add! Thanks.
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Old Oct 13, 12, 12:14 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago & AUH
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Kyushuman -

Definitely call EY to request your seat. AA can give you the EY booking number. You should also be able to book the limo service on the EY site but since you get it with the hotel it might not matter.

The Le Royal Meridien is a nice hotel btw - ask for a sea view if it's available.

The lounge in AUH is great. You'll also find the food on board to be quite good. Steps ahead of AA. The starter bread is delicious and agree on the fruit plate. I've flown this route many times and have never been disappointed. Have a great flight and enjoy Abu Dhabi!
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Old Oct 13, 12, 12:40 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chgo2AD View Post
Kyushuman -

Definitely call EY to request your seat. AA can give you the EY booking number. You should also be able to book the limo service on the EY site but since you get it with the hotel it might not matter.

The Le Royal Meridien is a nice hotel btw - ask for a sea view if it's available.

The lounge in AUH is great. You'll also find the food on board to be quite good. Steps ahead of AA. The starter bread is delicious and agree on the fruit plate. I've flown this route many times and have never been disappointed. Have a great flight and enjoy Abu Dhabi!
I just called and wasn't able to get a window for the outbound (wish I'd called a month ago, when it was J9!), now it's J3. Which means some seats are blocked, so I will try for a window at check-in.
For the return AUH-ORD I got 7K, a window! Great.
Does anyone know when EY's check-in at T5 in ORD opens? I am arriving from MSP into the AA terminal at 17:00, almost 4 hours before EY departs. I asked on the AA forum if I could use an AA lounge while I wait for EY to open, and they said if the AAgents are going by the book, then no because it's not a OneWorld flight.... Does anyone have experience with that?
Also, because I have AA flight numbers, I'm not eligible for the Etihad Limo service--even though it's a paid ticket, right?
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Old Oct 13, 12, 7:30 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
I just called and wasn't able to get a window for the outbound (wish I'd called a month ago, when it was J9!), now it's J3. Which means some seats are blocked, so I will try for a window at check-in.
For the return AUH-ORD I got 7K, a window! Great.
Does anyone know when EY's check-in at T5 in ORD opens? I am arriving from MSP into the AA terminal at 17:00, almost 4 hours before EY departs. I asked on the AA forum if I could use an AA lounge while I wait for EY to open, and they said if the AAgents are going by the book, then no because it's not a OneWorld flight.... Does anyone have experience with that?
Also, because I have AA flight numbers, I'm not eligible for the Etihad Limo service--even though it's a paid ticket, right?
You should be able to take advantage of the limo service as long as you book on etihad.com using your etihad confirmation number. I've done this many times without issue. As far as check-in time, I don't know that I've ever arrived more than 2 hours prior but it seemed as if they had been open for some time. I want to say it's 3 hours prior but I'm not certain.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 1:48 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Just reporting back about my wonderful experience on EY's ORD-AUH flight.
Check-in, Security: 5/5
Check-in was already open about 2.5 hours before the flight; I walked right up to the check-in counter, and got my BPs quickly. Agent was friendly, apologized 2x for not having any window seats; he said I was the last one to check in (!) at 6:10pm for the 8:30pm flight.
Stopped to grab a sandwich because, from memory, Terminal 5 is a dire place indeed. Was glad I did, since take-off was delayed as we sat on the runway for an hour after departing the gate--so dinner wasn't really served until past 10:30pm.
LOUNGE: 4/5
Went through Premium security and was past in 5 minutes.
The SAS lounge is perfectly acceptable--WiFi, very friendly agents, plenty of cold snacks, drinks, newspapers. Nothing special though, so I wouldn't bother getting there too early.
BOARDING: 0/5
Boarding was the only bad (and I mean, really bad!) aspect to the whole flight. It was probably the most chaotic boarding process I've ever seen, with around 100 people trying to get to the agent at once. Pushing, yelling, etc. The agents even seemed surprised, so maybe it was a rarity? Anyway, totally awful way to begin the experience.

SEAT/IFE: 5/5
Seating turned out great--upon boarding, saw my seat (5F) which is exactly next to another seat--it's about as close as you can get to a flying double bed! There is barely an armrest between it an the seat beside it. Before I sat down, the lead FA (in a white jacket--the purser?) approached me and asked if I was flying together with the man in the next seat. I said no, and then he asked if we would mind moving to window seats so two women could sit together. Yay!
Ended up in 9K. Great seat! Next to the window, tons of space to put stuff (on the floor), amazing IFE system. Watched 4 episodes of "Downton Abbey" during my leisurely dinner.
CATERING: 5/5
I think I was the last one done eating, in fact. I went with all Middle Eastern choices, including the delicious Arabic Mezze, and then a chicken skewer with rice dish, cheese, and for dessert an Arabic bread pudding. Yum!
Breakfast was also excellent, with many choices.
Inflight Service: 5/5
Again, excellent. The purser was very knowledgeable about the wines, recommending a South African Stellenbosch red that was quite new to them, but was popular. I was interested because I went on a winery tour in Stellenbosch (outside of CPT) just this past March. I usually don't even drink red wine--and this was SO good! If anyone wants the name I'll post it here when I come across it later.
Service was attentive; plenty of top-ups, including about 3 glasses of champagne as we sat on the tarmac at O'Hare, and very friendly. About 3 other FAs also occasionally worked my aisle, and all were excellent and professional.
ARRIVAL: 4/5
Since I never heard back from Etihad about getting a car, I was lucky I'd confirmed the (free) one with my hotel. The guy was waiting when I arrived. It was easy to find an ATM (just outside of arrivals) and we were soon on our way.
Well done, Etihad.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 7:56 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Thanks for the trip report.

Could AA at MSP not give you your boarding passes all the way through? You absolutely had to check in at the EY counter at ORD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
Watched 4 episodes of "Downton Abbey" during my leisurely dinner.
That really would have to have been a leisurely dinner.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 10:43 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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No chance with AA giving Boarding Passes at MSP. The AAgent tried but no luck. Also couldn't change my seat.
I had done OLCI with Etihad's system, and I was shown as "checked in", so you can do that ahead of time, but there too I couldn't print the Boarding Pass.
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