Ethiad 777-200 First Class Abu Dhabi to Dallas

After a long layover in the first and business class lounge in Abu Dhabi, I was ready for the flight to Dallas.  The flight was scheduled for 14 hours and 46 minutes.  Plenty of time to enjoy the experience of first class on Ethiad Airways.

To purchase this flight, one way, would cost $8,826 if purchased at least one month in advance.  I used 90,000 American Airlines miles to fly it for “free.”  Right now, American is offering 60,000 bonus miles for signing up for one of its credit cards.

1461737027953
Projected flight path Abu Dhabi to Dallas (click on any photo to enlarge)

Pre-Departure

The Abu Dhabi airport and Ethiad first-class lounge (which was merely a roped off area in the business-class lounge) are not as nice as the other airports and premium lounges in the UAE.  Ethiad is building a new first-class lounge that, unfortunately,  was still unfinished.  (The new lounge is now open, and reports are it is spectacular.)

1461731959199
First-class portion of the business-class lounge in Abu Dhabi

The lounge I visited had some nice features though.  This lounge will be covered in a separate post.

I didn’t realize that I would pre clear customs for the US in Abu Dhabi.  Pre clearing customs meant that on arrival in Dallas passengers walk off the plane directly into the passenger terminal without going through customs and immigration.  Other than Dublin, Ireland, the Abu Dhabi Customs and Border Protection pre clearance facility is the only one outside of North America and the Caribbean.

After clearing customs there was another smaller business/first-class lounge that I waited in before the announcement that the flight was boarding.

20160427_103749
Departure gate area in Abu Dhabi

When I got to the gate, the flight was indeed boarding, and I immediately walked onboard.

Ethiad 777-200 First Class

Ethiad 777s have eight first-class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.20160427_104507.jpg

The Seat

I had seat 2A, a window seat in row 2 on the left side of the aircraft.

20160427_104236
Seat 2A
20160427_104246
Seat 2A

The seat is spacious, private and luxurious.  It is actually a suite since there are doors that can be closed for privacy or sleeping.  There is the leather seat which faces forward, a console on the left with controls for the seat and the video system, a small minibar with snacks and drinks and a leather ottoman under the video screen for resting your feet and storing small items like a backpack.  Personal comfort in this seat is assured.  An important point on long flights like this one.

20160427_104718
Video controller and connections and power ports
20160427_105050
Minibar

There is a small closet in the forward wall of the suite.  It is big enough to hang a shirt and trousers.  The closet door opens outward and has a mirror on the interior surface.

20160427_212409

Seat 2A closet

The seat and lighting controls are on a video screen built into the console near the passengers left hand.1461892838869

The seat controls are extremely simple.  They take the seat, which is 29.5 inches wide,  from fully upright for takeoff and landing to a fully flat bed, 80 inches long.20160427_123415

The seat also has a massage function.  There is no way to confuse this seat with a business-class seat.

Amenities

Ethiad first class comes with accoutrements truly worthy of international first class.  There was a nice gift bag on the ottoman when I boarded.20160427_105623

20160427_105752
pajamas, amenity kit and slippers inside

The amenity kit was chock full of good stuff.  There was a dental kit, shave kit, ear plugs, q tips, makeup pads, mouth wash, breath mints, socks, eye shades,  Le Labo facial moisturizer, lip balm, hand lotion and roll on pulse point oil and pillow mist.

20160427_112933_resized

 

20160612_220421~2_resized
Amenity kit with Emirati “Saddou” design and contents

Ethiad provides noise-cancelling headphones, naturally.

 

In-flight Entertainment (IFE)

The video screen is one of the largest I’ve seen in first class.  It is placed directly in front of the seat.  It is does not fold out so it does not need to be stowed for takeoff and landing.  You can use it gate to gate.

1461737027953
Video screen
20160427_114219
Video main menu

 

The Service

The flight attendant offered a personal greeting as I boarded through the forward boarding door that was reserved for he first -class cabin.

When I took my seat there was a welcome note signed by the cabin manager, Terry.  He came by shortly to introduce himself and explain the service on the flight.  Meals could be ordered at anytime and the onboard chef would prepare any combination requested from the a la carte menu and even dishes not on the menu if possible.

After getting the lowdown from the cabin manager, a flight attendant offered pre-departure champagne.  It was Bollinger Le Grand Anne, which retails for about $150 per bottle.

20160427_104546                                             Bollinger with figs and dates

Soon we were taxiing for takeoff.  The airport at Abu Dhabi has one of the coolest control towers ever.  We departed on runway 13R.

20160427_115859~2
Abu Dhabi airport control tower
1461738132539
Departure from Abu Dhabi

After reaching cruise altitude the service continued with drinks.20160427_121521

The initial flight path was northwest over Iran, skirting Tehran, and the over the Caspian Sea.

1461744347720
Initial flight path

We had a view of snow-capped mountains is northern Iran.1461893120055

I elected to start my dinner service after about 90 minutes after takeoff.  The dinner table is in the console on the left.  It folds out, and the attendants set a very nice table.   with The silverware was created for Ethiad by Studio William.1461768434900

I chose the scallops for an appetizer.

20160427_125358
Scallops with cauliflower puree and apple slices

That was followed by a soup course.  I picked the carrot soup.

20160427_130449
Carrot and coriander soup

My entrée was the beef filet.  The chef prepared the steak medium as I requested.

20160427_131611
fillet with carrot puree, foie gras snow, baby vegetables and veal jus

For desert I selected the cheese plate and port wine.

20160427_134317
Cheese and fruit plate

First-Class bed

After dinner I watched some of the entertainment options including live TV before grabbing a little shut eye.20160427_120910

A lie flat seat, like those in business class, is nice, but does not feel like a bed.  Those seats are often narrow and passengers are only provided a blanket or quilt and nothing to sleep on other than the seat cushion.  Of course, compared to an economy seat, business class seems luxurious.

Ethiad first class provides a totally different experience that is akin to actually sleeping in a bed.  The attendant reclines the seat to a lie-flat position, covers the seat with a mattress pad, covers the mattress pad with a sheet, and finishes with a soft quilt.  As a finishing touch, Ethiad provides excellent pajamas.  I did not change into them on this trip, but still slept very well.  I saved the pjs for use at home.

20160427_213123
Seat 2A is now a bed almost 80 inches long and 30 inches wide

Closing the sliding doors to the suite completes the conversion to a replica of an actual bedroom.

20160427_215228
Privacy with suite doors closed

First-Class Bathroom

To get an appreciation of the whole experience in first class, I’ll include some pictures of the bathroom.

The bathroom was large, big enough to change in, and well stocked with lotions, sprays and anything else that could come in handy.  Most remarkable was the cleanliness of the sink, counters and even the floor.  An attendant must clean it after every use.

Light meal  

Later I ordered a “light” meal from the Grill Menu.  I ordered beef again.  Because Nepal is an overwhelmingly Hindu country, beef is a rarity there.  I was suffering from beef withdrawal.

20160427_203249
Beef Medallion

Cheesecake and appetizer

It is amazing how fast a 14 and 1/2 hour flight goes by when travelling in first class.  There is something about being waited on hand and foot and having gourmet meals and fine wine and liquor served in a comfy chair while watching movies.

Alas the approach to Dallas came way too soon.  At least there was a good view of Love Field the other airport in Dallas.

20160427_155929~2
Love Field

At DFW, the 777 parked at the D Concourse, which has the gates for wide-body aircraft and international arrivals.

20160427_162216~2
Qatar A350 at DFW Concourse D

Thanks to pre-clearing customs in Abu Dhabi, passengers just walked off the aircraft and straight into the terminal.

Conclusion

This was my fourth flight international first class.  The other were two flight s on Cathay Pacific and one flight on Japan Airlines.  All were spectacular, and each has strengths in certain areas that the others do not match.   I, however, would put Ethiad at the top of the list based on having an on-board chef with the ability to order anything off the menu (and even off the menu) at anytime plus the ability to close sliding doors and create a private suite.

Later this year on a trip to the Maldives, I’ll have the opportunity to fly Ethiad’s  first class apartment on the A380.  That is even better than the product on the 777.  I’m looking forward to trying it.

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Ethiad 777-200 First Class Abu Dhabi to Dallas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s