Netdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 182 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 19665 times:
Ever since Etihad airways started their service from Chicago, I wanted to try them out. Plus, all my friends and co-workers who flew with Etihad, spoke positively about their service. In the past I flew with Emirates mainly from either New York or Houston. Since I live in the Chicago suburb, a one stop service to my native country seemed very desirable to me. However, there was a 14 hours layover in AUH for which I was provided meals and hotel accommodation at the airport. I will cover that part as I move along.
For my flight I left work a little early, around 2:45 pm. I got home around 3:15 pm. My brother showed up around that time and we left home around 4 pm. I got to the terminal around 5 pm. Once I got inside, I found a long line with people having large suitcases. I had large suitcases with me as well.
Going to ord
Queue at etihad counter.
I got to the ticket agent around 5:25 pm. The agent mentioned that it was his second day at work and was in training, so another person was helping him out. Once my luggage was tagged, he encountered some issue with printing my boarding pass. He said that the system would require the same credit card used to purchase the ticket. But unfortunately I didn’t bring that card with me as I use different card internationally. So, the station manager was called, he showed up and told me that someone need to fax the credit card to his office before they can print my boarding pass. When I tried to call my brother using my ATT cell, call wouldn’t go through because of network busy issue. Then I asked for a cell phone, the station manager let me use his phone which worked fine with T Mobile service. Anyway, my brother faxed the credit card around 6:45 pm. By that time another agent was working at that counter. When she tried to print the boarding pass, it wouldn’t print. So, the station manager and the agent both tried in vain. Then the agent called someone and got some instruction as to how to print. It worked, and the station manager seemed puzzled as to how she managed to print the boarding pass. She said she had to totally offload me from the system and load me back again. Anyway, once boarding pass was printed, she went inside the office and didn’t show up for 10 minutes. It was getting close to 7:15 pm and I was getting nervous as there was no other passenger besides me waiting around the counter. Anyway, the station manager came out and handed me my boarding pass and passport and jokingly said, ‘you’ve been offloaded’. Of course, at that time the joke didn't sound funny to me. I was escorted by a Eithad agent to the gate bypassing the queue at the security screening area and was onboard around 7:25 PM. So, I encountered a huge hassle even before my journey started.
January 15, 2010-01-17
8:05 pm air borne.
Flight time: 13 hours.
Doors were closed around 7:40 PM and pushback started. The captain cam on the PA and mentioned that the flight time would be 13 hours. There were only few planes ahead of us so takeoff roll started shortly. I was impressed with the noise level compared to 777-300ER and -200LR that I previously taken. I was seated right behind the wing on 26K. The aircraft took off a little slow but with relative ease. Soon after that cabin crews started to distribute water and refreshing towels. We were given the menu. Soon after that pre dinner snacks were served which consisted of small biscuit packet and drinks. I opted for diet coke.
Waiting at the gate at ORD
Take off roll at ORD
Space between the seat and window on A340-500
I started to play around with the entertainment systems and found that it had lot less option compared to Emirates. There were 24 movies in the ‘new release’ section. However, it was easy to browse through all the options. I watched ‘Public Enemies’, which was a good movie in my view. Within two hours of the flight dinner was served. Out of the two options, I chose ‘Lamb Kofta with rice’, which tasted good. We received the next snack 4-5 hours later. There were two options for that, tuna or vegetable sandwich and cold drinks. I chose tuna sandwich which tasted ok. Between dinner and snack, cabin crews made several rounds offering juice and water. In addition, there were fruit/candy baskets in the back of the aircraft.
In flight to AUH
I made three trips to the lavatory during the flight. The second time I walked to the back of the aircraft and found that the lavatory was flooded and was out of service.
Lavatory with window
The last meal service was offered about 2 hours before landing and consisted of two options, fish biriyani and turkey pasta. I opted for turkey pasta as I am used to eating meat biriyani and not familiar with fish biriyani. I didn’t find any turkey in the pasta and it didn’t taste good at all. So, I didn’t like the last meal.
Turkey pasta with no turkey!
We landed at AUH around 7:10 pm. Landing was very smooth and thrust reverses were barely used.
Landing at AUH
I deplaned into what looked like a new and modern terminal. I’ve been to AUH before but in the dome shaped terminal. This was different. Anyway, I went straight to the airport hotel lobby only to be told to go to Etihad transfer desk first. I exited the hotel and went to the service desk close by which was located in the dome shaped terminal building. I was handed a voucher and was back in the hotel soon afterwards. I was given a room and told to eat dinner and breakfast. I was confused about the dinner and breakfast part as I was not handed any coupons or vouchers as Emirates does. After leaving my carryon in the tiny room, I went back to the reception area which hosted a buffet and a restaurant. I was wondering around the buffet area when one employee approached me and inquired whether I was a guest or business class passenger. Once I told that I was a Etihad guest, I was led into the restaurant. Out of the menu I ordered butter chicken curry, which tasted good. I was told that both dinner and breakfast would be free for me. But cold drinks such as coke would cost $3.
I was told that the hotel had only 40 rooms and most of the time totally full. The room I stayed didn't have any windows so it felt like a box.
De-planing through the bridge.
AUH new terminal.
AUH old terminal
AUH Airport Hotel
Anyway, because of time difference I couldn’t sleep after 5am local time and came out to use the business center to type part of this report.
AUH Airport Hotel Business center
At around 7:10 am the next morning I went to the restaurant to have breakfast which wasn't too bad. I checked out of the hotel at 8:15 am and headed to the departure gate #2. Around 9 am I saw a line forming at gate 2. I waited 15-20 minutes before joining the queue.
Breakfast at Hotel restaurant
January 16, 2010-01-17
Flight time: 5 hours.
Boarding started around 9:30 am. The first thing I noticed after boarding was that seat pitch wasn't as generous as that of the previous flight. Seats were more congested.
In this flight there were large number of passengers from Middle eastern and far eastern countries going to Bangladesh for annual Tabligue Ijtema (Religious gathering).
Once airborne, the usual service started with water and refreshment towels. Two hours into the flight lunch was served. I opted for 'Murgh Makhani' which was tasty. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. We landed in DAC right on time at 4:30 pm. There were several other flights from middle eastern countries landed in DAC right around that time. So, there were huge queues at the passport control. Once I got to the desk, it took about a minute to complete the formalities as I had travelled earlier with the same passport and the officer was able to retrieve my passport details in his computer pretty fast. After that I picked up luggage quickly as they were there when I got to the conveyer belt.
In flight to DAC
Passport control at ZIA.
Overall, experience with Etihad would have been better had I not encountered the credit card issue at ORD. Regardless, I will probably fly with them again
Quoting Netdhaka (Thread starter): Once I told that I was a Etihad guest, I was led into the restaurant. Out of the menu I ordered butter chicken curry, which tasted good. I was told that both dinner and breakfast would be free for me. But cold drinks such as coke would cost $3.
- Odd you get fed but have to pay for soft drinks!
Netdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 182 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 18487 times:
Quoting QatarA340 (Reply 1): I am honored to be the first person to comment on your Trip Report!
Thanks for being the first to comment.
Quoting QatarA340 (Reply 1): First of all, very detailed, well-done, and exciting!
Quoting QatarA340 (Reply 1): Secondly, I am surprised that you don't have at least a copy of your credit card with you. It is almost standard these days to do so at the airport! Thank God you traveled in the end.
Well, I haven't come across this issue lately, especially domestically. When I flew with EK six months ago, I don't recall having the issue as well. In addition, while returning from DAC no question was asked about my credit card. So, I am not sure if it is a rule that is applied consistently. By the way, the station manager overrode such requirements in the end, when they were not able to print the ticket. He could have done that earlier.
Quoting QatarA340 (Reply 1): The Hotel Room in AUH looked torturous. Did you leave the airport at all in the transit time you were there?
No, I didn't. When I checked in it was 8 pm. I didn't know whether I could see much going outside that late. However, If I stay during day time in future, I will certainly plan to go outside for some sightseeing activities.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3): I should hope so, after all, the card issue was your fault.
May be, but as I mentioned earlier, I haven't come across this lately.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4): I'm shocked by the meal presentation - very poor, it seems EY has cut back here.
Yes, the quantity of food isn't at par with EK as well.
Quoting Bochora (Reply 5): But when you look at the menu, you clearly didn't get that pasta, you had the penne with mozzarella!
Thanks for pointing this out. It was my misunderstanding then!
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 4919 posts, RR: 55 Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 18214 times:
What a pain! I don't understand these lame credit card transaction issues. If the card is in your name, what is the hassle? Having said that, I have had some draconian card checks ... but then again, they have been on my crazy itineraries .
EY seems to continue to be poor. I agree with PH's comments that the food seems really poor and the transit hotel would make me sick.
BTW, DAC seems to have improved quite a lot since I was last there.
OB1783P From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 325 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 17814 times:
I read your report with much interest, as I am contemplating going JFK --> AUH --> DAC some time this year.
I have a few questions:
How crowded were the transatlantic flights?
Does Etihad use the "mood lighting" on the A340? I've always wanted to see that...
Does 1h 35 min on the way out and 1h 25 min on the way back seem like enough transfer time in AUH?
Good read! Thank you for sharing.
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
Flightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 862 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 17369 times:
So glad to read about the EY service and the TR out of ORD. I have nice memories of EY and I think they seemed to have impressed you too. I think Qatar Airways has the same policy about having the credit card with which you made the booking. With EK at JFK, they didn't even bother asking me, while my CC was left back in Toronto lol. Not very nice about the Station Manager saying that you've been offloaded, considering the ordeal you had just been through. That room though with no window is still not bad, it could have been worse. Was your aircraft the Airbus A340-500 or -600?
Flyboy_se From Switzerland, joined Feb 2000, 745 posts, RR: 5 Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 16764 times:
Quoting Netdhaka (Reply 6): Well, I haven't come across this issue lately, especially domestically. When I flew with EK six months ago, I don't recall having the issue as well. In addition, while returning from DAC no question was asked about my credit card. So, I am not sure if it is a rule that is applied consistently. By the way, the station manager overrode such requirements in the end, when they were not able to print the ticket. He could have done that earlier.
Usually it is stated before you make your purchase if it is required to present the card at check in.
It is only done once, hence why they didnt ask you on the return journey from DAC.
Not sure about EY, but at QR not even station manager can override that requirement.There is a block in the system which is unblocked when you enter CC details. You said the station manager went into the office for 10 minutes.Could be he called helpdesk to have them remove the block.
Glad you had a nice flight.
The hotel looks nice considering the airline provides it for long transfers.Not many do that, and it is sure better then spending 14 hours in waiting area
Ojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2794 posts, RR: 22 Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 16415 times:
I think this is the first TR of the ORD - AUH flight.
My friend and and aunt flew separately on EY ORD - AUH. Both of the times the flights were cancelled due to poor loads and the hopeless ground staff at ORD were actually trying to shift the blame elsewhere. Very poor show there.
However I'm sure it is a pleasure to fly the A345, on such long routes.
A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
Ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1550 posts, RR: 54 Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 15282 times:
Very nice Trip Report!
I have been waiting for someone to post one on EY's ORD service
I am also not too pleased about the meal presentation, but i am glad to see that you got three meal choices for the Dinner and also for the Light Meal services. Comparatively, Emirates offered a choice from 2 selections on the YYZ flight, and Qatar seems to follow suit on their much longer IAH flight!
I keep hearing that Dessert in Coral Economy is now served separately, and after the main meal from a separate trolley. Is this true? It did not seem like it from your report.
Surprisingly, it is my first time to see what those Airport Hotel rooms look like. Frankly, i am not too keen on window-less rooms. Staying at a window-less room at the Mercure Hotel in Schiphol, after arriving from a flight from the USA just depressed me!
The rooms though look quite decent for a transit hotel!
Quoting Ojas (Reply 13): My friend and and aunt flew separately on EY ORD - AUH. Both of the times the flights were cancelled due to poor loads and the hopeless ground staff at ORD were actually trying to shift the blame elsewhere. Very poor show there.
So that's why i've seen the ORD flight listed as 'No Operation' on the FIDS here, on two separate occasions!
Once again, great TR! Thanks for sharing!
A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
Netdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 182 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 15070 times:
Quoting Ronerone (Reply 15): I keep hearing that Dessert in Coral Economy is now served separately, and after the main meal from a separate trolley. Is this true?
No, it is not true. Dessert came with the meal on the same tray.
Quoting Ronerone (Reply 15): The rooms though look quite decent for a transit hotel!
I agree. It is MUCH better than sleeping in a couch in the lobby as many business class passengers were doing. It is quite refreshing to take a shower in a private bathroom and be able to sleep in a flat bed in a private room.
Lfutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3196 posts, RR: 30 Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 14814 times:
Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 17): Very nice Trip report. Glad to see that DAC dosent look to shabby as some of the pics Ive seen. BTW can anyone explain why American Airlines appears on the monitors at Abu Dhabi airport?
EY and AA codeshare on certain flights and so that would explain why you would see AA on the monitors in AUH.
Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
Netdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 182 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 14364 times:
Quoting Flyboy_se (Reply 11): Usually it is stated before you make your purchase if it is required to present the card at check in.
No body told me this when I purchased the ticket via phone. Another girl was in the same situation as me on that day and she had print outs that didn't mention about this also.
Quoting Flyboy_se (Reply 11): The hotel looks nice considering the airline
provides it for long transfers.Not many do that, and it is sure better then spending 14 hours in waiting area
I agree. It is much better than staying in the waiting area. However, I had to call several times for this. And the person in the phone couldn't understand why Etihad would arrange for such until I insisted that without this I wouldn't purchase the ticket.
Quoting Thai744 (Reply 19):
Has caused me dramas similar to this once in the past, and completely unnecessary in my opinion.
I totally agree. When I purchased the ticket, the charge was blocked by the credit card company as it was done by Etihad customer service in India and I had to call twice to provide personal details before they removed the block. So, the charge was authenticated. In addition, the credit card was in my name which could easily be verified by my passport details. So, the block was TOTALLY unnecessary in my view and caused huge hassle for me. Certainly not a good practice by an airline that wants to move up to the top in the business.
klwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 1810 posts, RR: 3 Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 12417 times:
Nice report, good pictures!
I took EY on JFK-AUH last September, the last day of Ramadan actually. The flight attendants were exceptionally competent, friendly, poised and service oriented. The snacks between meals were nice. The two meals were just OK, pretty basic, not bad. They were better than what I got on American last week when I returned from AUH back to DEN. I find hot towels and amenity kits in coach are a nice touch also.
The thing I do remember is that I didn't notice that the seats had the little winglets to help in keeping your head in position while sleeping.
One good thing I do remember was the video presentation prelanding presenting Etihad and Abu Dhabi airport. It was actually quite welcoming.
I recall on my flight about 3 or 4 toilets were out of service due for the entire flight, which was very strange, and led to lines.
AA appears on the screens cause they codeshare not only with EY, but even with BA into AUH. I flew on AA flight 6413 and 6412.
I do not know why some of you are complaining about no windows in that room. After that kind of a long flight, I am exhausted and don't really care about such things cause i need the sleep.
Also, as someone else already said, when i was shopping for my tickets back to the states I saw that Qatar also checks for the same credit card at checkin. I wondered about this practice, as someone in the states was planning on purchasing a ticket for me. AA/BA did not check when I flew out of AUH on them for this past trip.
The EY routing to Denver via Chicago is ideal for me. However EY is an expensive carrier, and they are not codesharing with anyone to DEN yet, so the tickets on AA would be purchased separately! EY is good, but not worth and additional 400 dollars.