Other posts about this journey:

Korean Air First Class 777-300ER (Kosmo Suite) Atlanta to Seoul/Incheon

Lounge Review – Korean Air First Lounge Seoul/Incheon

Korean Air A330-300 First Class Seoul/Incheon to Ho Chi Minh City

Hotel Review – Park Hyatt Saigon

13 Pictures – Vietnam Airlines A321 Economy Class and SkyTeam Lounges – Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok And Return

First Look – Thai Airways A350-900 Busness Class Bangkok to Phuket

Thai 777-200ER Business Class Phuket to Bangkok and Domestic Royal Silk Lounge

Ethiad A330-200 Ho Chi Minh City to Abu Dhabi Or What the Ethiad Airways A330-200 and New Thai A350-900 Business Class Have in Common.

Lounge Review in 15 Pictures – Ethiad Business-Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

Ethiad A320-200 Pearl Business Class, Abu Dhabi to Male, Republic of Maldives

Hotel Review – Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort& Spa

Trip Report – MLE Lounge, Maldivian Airlines Dash 8, Male to Koodoo, Maldives, and Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives

Hotel Review – The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa!

Male Leeli Lounge and Ethiad A320-200 Pearl Business Class, Male to Abu Dhabi

Etihad had been working on its new First Class Lounge & Spa for months.  This was my first opportunity to visit since it opened this summer.  This stay would be brief as the Etihad A380 flight departed only about three hours after the arrival of the flight from the Maldives.

Since I arrived in bu Dhabi (AUH) in business class (the A320 had no first-class cabin), there was no Etihad rep to meet me and escort me to the lounge.  Nevertheless, the lounge was easy to find once I  reached the departure level in Terminal 3.

Entrance to Etihad first class lounge & spa

I would not have time to try many of the available services but definitely wanted to get a massage and try the restaurant.

Spa and Style and Shave entrance

It was nice to have a 30-minute back massage.

Massage room

After the massage I went to the restaurant to order dinner.  I couldn’t resist even though I knew that dinner would be offered aboard the A380 soon after takeoff.

Dinning area

I ordered the rack of lam from the a la carte menu.

Rack of lamb and an excellent scotch ( Johnnie Walker Blue I believe)

After dinner I relaxed for a few minutes in the seating area in front of the TV wall where images are projected on a wall of TVs that must be 30 feet long and 12 feet high.  Waiters patrol all of the seating areas of the lounge to take any beverage requests.

AUH is unique in that there is a US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance facility here.  Those flying from AUH to any US city clear customs in AUH.  That saves tons of time when landing in the US.  You simply walk off the plane into the terminal like on a domestic flight.

The downside, in this case, is that clearing customs in AUH reduces the amount of time I could spend in the first-class lounge.  US passengers must clear customs no later than one hour before scheduled departure.  This facility even has Global Entry kiosks.

Because of the pre-clearance requirement I was unable to sample some of the other services in the first-class lounge such as  a haircut, shave, shower (I would shower on board the A380!), clothes pressing, or the fitness center.

Bonus Review – AUH Post Customs Lounge

Since all of its passengers will have a least one hour to kill before flight departure, Ethiad provides another lounge after clearing customs for those who had access to its business or first class lounges.

Etihad post-customs lounge seating area

The post-customs lounge is not up to the standards of of the Etihad business-class lounge at AUH much less the first-class lounge.  The seating is uncomfortable and there are few electrical outlets.  Still, there is wifi and a decent selection of food and beverages (if you did not get enough of the better selection in the other lounges) for what should be a short wait before boarding the flight to the US.

Next, the final post on this journey covering the remarkable trip in the first class apartments 0n the Etihad A380.