Trip report: AUH - LHR in J

Old Jun 16, 20, 3:32 pm
  #1  
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Trip report: AUH - LHR in J

Having flown a few days ago AUH - LHR in business on the 787-10, I thought I would drop a quick trip report in here, as I thought people might like to know what flying is like in this brave new post-Coronavirus world!

Check-in at AUH was fine; the place was pretty much deserted apart from maybe 10 groups of passengers. They were strictly enforcing the no wheelie bags for hand luggage policy and making people check them in. Thankfully I was already aware of this new rule and just had a rucksack (plus a very small cross-body bag for the passports) as my carry-on. They didn't weigh my hand luggage. I got there a little late, so I only had an hour before take off when I checked in.

Very quick through security - had to drop my mask briefly, obviously, for eye scanning.

The X-ray scanners seemed less thorough than normal (didn't have to take shoes off, or separate liquids or electronics), so that was quick, but due to metalwork in my body, I still had to go off for my usual pat-down.

None of the shops or cafes are open at AUH. We walked through to the gate and got straight on board. They allowed me to take my Baby Yoyo stroller on board for my youngest (who is 3 years old), even though I was half expecting to have to gate-check it.

Once on board, I made the kids stand and wait while I disinfected each of their cabins' touch points with Dettol - I wasn't taking any chances! (In addition to the safety video, they also show a safety video about the Etihad coronavirus cleaning regime, but I've been in the Middle East for long enough not to put too much faith in their cleaning practices). We were offered the usual welcome drinks (champagne/juice/water).

The staff were wearing masks, visors, and a white overcoat, but it wasn't at all intimidating. I think they had gloves on too, although I'm not certain. They were absolutely wonderful, checking on us constantly and going out of their way to make us comfortable. I was really impressed, as I could see that they were working in particularly arduous conditions, and I know they must really fear for their jobs in the current climate and probably also worry greatly about catching Covid-19.

I know that Etihad are limiting sales to 66% of seats in the current climate, but although there were only about 9 -10 people in J, we had weirdly all been seated together in a single cluster. One couple were moved before take-off, but I still felt uncomfortably close to another passenger. However, there were numerous announcements saying not to move seats unless the staff deemed it necessary, so I didn't try to get moved.

Service was as normal on board, with normal plates and metal cutlery, but the bread and cutlery was wrapped more thoroughly than usual. The food was great and still up to the usual standards, and the IFE seemed to have even been improved slightly (more choice for my 3 year old). The staff told me twice they had the amenity kits available and asked if I wanted one, but they weren't put out on the seats as normal. They also offered me face masks and alcohol hand gel. Headphones, pillows and the lovely blankets were given as normal, and had been sterilised and double-bagged.

I was served breakfast after take-off and lunch an hour before landing.

Arriving at LHR was very odd. The place was completely deserted - even more so than AUH. I don't think we saw any other passengers, not even from our own flight. Considering T2 and T5 are the only terminals open, and even then they were completely dead, the airport must be struggling hugely. We were chased up by 2 or 3 different staff as we walked through the airport to make sure we had done our quarantine form, which we had. At immigration, they asked us a few questions about where we were planning on quarantining, but it wasn't very thorough questioning.

Let me know if you have any questions.
NoY, john11111111111, gkl and 4 others like this.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 3:39 pm
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Oh and the toilets - there seemed to be only one available in J, as one of them was designated for staff only, and there were often long waits. We were not supposed to get up and queue (according to on-board announcements), but that wasn't always possible when I had a child who was desperate to go, and someone before us who was spending 10 minutes in the toilet while we waited!

I didn't work out what the cleaning regime was. With only one toilet, I don't think the staff got much chance to clean it, but I didn't really have any complaints, except that I would have preferred more toilets to be available to give the air inside chance to refresh between users (given Covid's potential gastro related symptoms and possible methods of transmission).
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Old Jun 17, 20, 1:11 am
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Different to the trip back to oz a few weeks. AUH-SYD.

massive spacing in the cabin. only 4 seats taken.

no lounge sucked while waiting fun AUH due to the lockdown had to be there early.. the flight was 1am and can't drive after 10pm... without a lounge and 2 young kids wasn't fun... anyway, no issues with luggage to take onboard. had 2 strollers and 2 wheelaboards. staff helped stow in the bins. again wiped the seats down, no issues there either.

staff were great, IFE and meals were all as OP said.

good to see some normalcy for travel, with even more spacing in the air and the unground experience as best it can be for now.. lounge opening will be nice though for late night flights while the lockdown is on in AUH.
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Old Jun 24, 20, 12:48 am
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Were you guys on a one-way out of UAE, or intending to come back again?
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Old Jun 24, 20, 8:37 am
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Intending to come back again, but I am very fortunate in being able to be completely flexible about whether we stay in the UK for a while longer or not.
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Old Jun 25, 20, 4:50 am
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Do you have any idea of what is required to come back into the country? I'm not even clear if it's possible to fly into AUH and enter the country yet.
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