Round the World Trip 2014: Part 4
Part 4: Middle East Flights
CMB Airport 6 Hour Layover: Prior to arriving to Colombo, I was able to obtain my Etihad boarding pass and added it to Passbook on my iPhone. Upon arriving to the Araliya Business Class Lounge, I soon realized that this wasn’t going to be any easy layover since I had two separate tickets. I arrived on a SriLankan ticket and then departing on an Etihad ticket. They wouldn’t let me into the lounge unless I had a paper lounge pass from the ticket counter which I would receive upon checkin. The only issue is that the Etihad ticket counter only opens 3 hours prior to my flight. I went to speak with an agent at the transfer desk which is run by SriLankan Airlines for all airlines that fly in and out of Colombo. She mentioned she would take my passport and Etihad confirmation email printout to the counter when they opened if I return at 1:35AM. This wouldn’t help as I needed a lounge pass. I went back to the lounge and explained the situation and finally they let me in ensuring I would get the lounge pass. Exactly 3hrs prior to my flight I brought my passport and itinerary to the transfer desk. In return I received a transfer “bookmark” which was probably the riskiest move I made on the trip since I was no longer in possession of my passport. I had to trust them. The transfer agent returned about 30 minutes later to the lounge with my passport, paper boarding pass and the lounge pass. It all worked out but it wasn’t easy.
CMB-AUH Etihad EY267 Business Class: After a long (6 hours) and tiring layover, we departed for Abu Dhabi about 1 hour late putting the departure time at 5:30AM. There was only 1 other passenger in Business Class which allowed me to snag a few extra pillows and blankets. Etihad blankets are the best I’ve seen on a plane. The flight attendant came around to ask if we wanted anything to eat and I chose to eat breakfast 45min prior to landing into Abu Dhabi. The seats were very similar to Virgin America 1st Class so I was able to get a nice 3.5hr nap in before breakfast. I opted for the traditional Middle Eastern breakfast and was surprised at how much I liked it. Shortly after an excellent breakfast we landed into Abu Dhabi. We taxied for a long time prior to arriving to a remote stand gate. Business Class guests (2 of us) were chauffeured off in their own bus to bring you to the main terminal. After immigration, I went to the brand new Etihad Arrivals Lounge which was spectacular. It was one of the nicest lounges I’ve been in and their customer service was up to par with St. Regis hotel quality. I was very impressed with my first Etihad flight!
Stay tuned for the Grand Finale… Part 5 will feature my return flights from Abu Dhabi to SFO which includes 1 flight in Suite Class.