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LHR-AUH With Etihad Airways 31May05 [+ Pics]  
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2608 posts, RR: 28
Posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 20520 times:

Departure Airport: London Heathrow, United kingdom (EGLL/LHR)
Arrival Airport: Abu Dhabi - International, U.A.E. (AUH/OMAA)
Airline: Etihad Airways
Flight number: EY 304
Aircraft type: Airbus A330-223
Registration: A6-EYX (c/n 232)
Date: 31st May 2005
STD: 2115
Class: C (Pearl Zone)
Ticket Status: Confirmed
Scheduled Flight time: 7hrs 15mins

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Photo © Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography

After arriving into Terminal 1 with bmi, I collected my baggage and proceeded on foot to Terminal 3, via the underground walkway. I passed through the Virgin Atlantic check-in area into the main Terminal 3 check-in concourse, which was as busy as ever. I went straight so the SAS check-in in Zone E, where Etihad are checked-in by SAS.

After collecting my ticket and checking-in, I proceeded upstairs and through security, to escape from the hectic place that is Terminal 3 landside. I changed some of my money from GBP to AED, and headed straight to the O’Neill’s pub for a nice, cool pint of Stella. At GBP3.00, I was pleased to see it was still possible to get a pint for under 3 quid in London. I enjoyed my drink, but rather than get carried away, I headed off to Gate 6, from where flight EY304 would be departing. After having my passport checked again, my boarding pass was pulled and I entered the secure gate area.

I took a look out of the window to see which aircraft would be taking me to Abu Dhabi tonight, and was pleased to see that it was not one of the two EY aircraft I had flown on before. Etihad’s current fleet comprises the following aircraft, which are in a variety of seating configs as they are leased from various operators:
A6-EYA – A332 – F18C36Y171;
A6-EYB – A332 – F18C36Y171;
A6-EYC – A343 – F10C30Y225;
A6-EYD – A332 – F12C24W28Y152 (sold as F12C24Y180);
A6-EYV – A332 – C31Y267;
A6-EYW – A332 – C31Y267;
A6-EYX – A332 – F18C36Y171;
A6-EYZ – B763 – F10C36Y150.

Tonight I would be flying aboard A6-EYX.


As I looked out at ‘YX, I noticed Jet Airways’ A340 VT-JWB on an adjacent stand, ready to operate 9W’s newly established LHR-BOM service. I think the 9W colourscheme particularly suits the A340, and ranks among my favourites.


I made several phone calls to friends from the gate, and then a SAS agent made the boarding announcement. Etihad Airways refers to passengers as ‘guests’, and guests traveling in Diamond Zone (F) were invited to board first. I don’t actually think anyone was traveling in Diamond Zone on this flight. When it was the turn of Pearl Zone (C) guests to board, I made my way down the jet bridge to the aircraft. I was welcomed at the L2 door by three very smart-looking crew members, dressed in Etihad’s smart dark grey inform with white veil. I had been allocated seat 9C in Pearl Zone, and had seats 9AC to myself. Naturally, I took seat 9A, by the window. The cabin of ‘YX is unchanged from when it was flying for TAM, Brazil.


After a few minutes, one of the FA’s offered a selection of pre-departure drinks from a silver tray. I took a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, which was very refreshing.

Departure time was just a few minutes away, and the Captain spoke on the PA system to advise of a technical problem which would probably cause an approximate 30 minute delay if it could be rectified, which would mean powering down the aircraft. A minute or two later, the APU cut out, and the power and lighting were lost for a while.

I glanced to the left, and admired the AA 777-200 on the adjacent stand. The AA livery is so timeless, and should never be replaced, I thought.


The power came back on after a few minutes, and the problem was sorted. After about a 1hr 15min delay, the BA engineer finally left the aircraft, and we pushed back. By now it was dark outside. ‘YX taxied out past Terminals 3 and 1, and joined the queue for take-off on Runway 27R, onto which my bmi flight had landed earlier. Several aircraft departed before us, including a BA 744, VS 744 and EK 773. Taxiing behind us was a World Airways MD11. I assumed this was operating on behalf of BWIA West Indies, as I had seen a BW flight on the departure screens which had been delayed since that morning, and I have seen WO filling in for BW on the BGI-MAN route in the past.

It was now our turn for departure, and ‘YX lined up on 27R. The engines whined into life, and the take-off roll commenced. Take-off was extremely smooth, and a nice view was had of the lights of LHR and the surrounding area. We soon banked to the left, and I was able to watch the WO MD11 take-off behind us. After departure, I was served a glass of white wine which I had ordered earlier, when asked what I would like to drink after take-off. I was my intention to sleep on this flight, as the IFE still leaves a bit to be desired on EY’s leased aircraft.

About 40mins into the flight, the meal service began. The Pearl Zone menu offered the following:



Smoked Peppered Salmon
On a bed of grilled artichoke served with pesto and salad julienne

Main Course:

Thai Prawn Curry with Arabian Rice (signature dish)
Green Thai curry served with Arabic style rice, accompanied by baby squash, roasted red peppers and baby spinach

Chicken Korma with Lemon Risotto
An Indian style preparation of chicken in a rich, mildly spiced curry sauce, served with Italian risotto rice, and sliced green eggplant

Cold Selection Medley (light option)
Of hot smoked peppered salmon with artichoke heart, and garden salad


Mascarpone with Mango Coulis
Italian Cheesecake garnished with summer fruits

Cheese and Fruit:

Cheese with Crackers

Fresh Fruits


Assorted Teas: Ceylon, Earl Grey, Green Tea

Coffee: Brazilian - Freshly Brewed, Decaffeinated, Cappuccino, Espresso

Hot Chocolate

I opted for the smoked peppered salmon, followed by the Thai prawn curry. Having had the same last time I flew on EY’s LHR-AUH service, I knew it would be good. It was presented nicely on Wedgwood china, although UK security rules still stipulate that plastic cutlery must be used on flights to/from the UK. After the service, I pulled down my window blind, reclined my seat and slept under the Etihad blanket for a few hours.

I awoke after the breakfast service had been completed – not that I’d have had anything but a cup of tea if offered. I pulled up the window blind to see that it was daylight outside. Within a few minutes we began our initial descent towards AUH, with the speed brakes being deployed for a short time.


As we approached Abu Dhabi, there were nice views of the many islands and sandbanks in the area.





A few minutes later, we landed in AUH.




As we taxied towards the gate, a number of other aircraft were visible, including a Japan Airlines 744, China airlines 744, Etihad 332 and 763 and Gulf Air 763.




Then, it was time to head into Abu Dhabi. I slept for most of the day, and then started getting more familiar with my new surroundings.


Many thanks for reading my report on Etihad Airways – I do hope you enjoyed it. All comments are most welcome.

* * *

As usual, I looked into the history of the aircraft I had flown on.

A330-223 A6-EYX was previously with TAM, as PT-MVA. It was painted up for a lease to China Airlines, but the lease was cancelled due to the SARS outbreak. It was later leased to South African, before being leased to Etihad.

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Photo © Helmut Bierbaum
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Photo © Philippe Jeandy

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Photo © Renato Salzinger
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Photo © Simon Willson

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Photo © Remi Dallot

* * *

If you wish to read any of my previous reports, click on one of the links below:


15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB742 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 3831 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 20316 times:

Excellent report!  bigthumbsup 

How's life going in the UAE, are you living in Abu Dhabi?

I've always wanted to see what EY was like, thanks and great pics!


User currently offlineMichaelJP From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 20282 times:

Aaahh...Abu Dhabi.

Love that place! The busy bustling streets, the crazy taxidrivers, the crackhead drivers, the long road from Abu Dhabi to Dubai with a new higher speed limit now.
UAE certainly is a treat!
Last october I took that very same flight and I must say...I wasnt impressed.

However...you have restored my faith in Etihad...and I think I need to get dad to buy me a ticket to visit him once my last exam is done.

Cool trip report! Great photos! Awesome commentary! Looking forward to more!

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3826 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 20278 times:

Nice report!

For J class that seat looks pretty piss poor!  thumbsdown 

"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2608 posts, RR: 28
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 20045 times:

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 3):
For J class that seat looks pretty piss poor!

The cabin on this aircraft is in the TAM config, just as some of the A330s are in the ex-Volare config.

The latest aircraft, A6-EYD, is much nicer, and gives a much more accurate taster of what Etihad have in store when the current leased fleet is replaced. Expect big things from Etihad when the new A330-200s, A340-500s, A340-600s and 777-300ERs arrive.

User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 19928 times:


Excellent report, it is nice to hear about Etihad and the photos are great - especially the approach into AUH. Well done!


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineTeva From France, joined Jan 2001, 1881 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 19840 times:

Very nice report.
I just have a question: do they serve wine with the meals (as EK) or no alcohol at all?

Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
User currently offlineFlyingfool From Netherlands, joined May 2005, 467 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 19653 times:

Quoting MichaelJP (Reply 2):
the long road from Abu Dhabi to Dubai with a new higher speed limit now.

New speed limit, is this like the rest in the UAE also.... "oversized"?

User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2608 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 19648 times:

Quoting Teva (Reply 6):
Very nice report.
I just have a question: do they serve wine with the meals (as EK) or no alcohol at all?

Yes, they do, if u want wine.

User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 19634 times:

Congratulations on a fab report Ian biggrin 

Really detailed, and nice pictures, just my cup of tea Wink


Sam biggrin 

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineOzvirginuk From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 396 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 19442 times:


An excellent report, very detailed and very interesting. Great pics too. Hope life in the UAE is treating you well, and that your new job is enjoyable.

Definately want to try out EY and would love a trip to the middle east too.

Nice one.


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1748 posts, RR: 37
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 19213 times:

Thanks for a great trip report. I have always wondered what Etihad was like and your trip report was definitely informative, especially with the pictures.

SR 103

User currently offlineHardiwv From Brazil, joined Oct 2004, 8780 posts, RR: 47
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 18932 times:

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 4):
The cabin on this aircraft is in the TAM config

Just a correction: they are in the old TAM configuration. Nowadays TAM has lie-flat seats on Biz/First on all A330s...when EY's 330 are returned to TAM (later in the year) I'm sure TAM reconfigurate them with their new lie-flat seats.


User currently offlineTaloush From United Arab Emirates, joined Jul 2001, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 18824 times:

Brilliant report! And the pics are excellent--a bit TOO excellent, in fact...I'm homesick now  Sad

It's OK though...It's my turn soon enough: July 2nd I fly DTW-LHR-AUH on BA...Yay  spin 

I heart Abu Dhabi...


Your attention, please.
User currently offlineKLM685 From Mexico, joined May 2005, 1577 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 18707 times:

Great report! I liked reading it and watching the pictures. I'd love to go someday to the UAE, I know I will someday, but I don't know when lol.

I coudn't resist staring at the picture of the seats, where a safety card just half shows up...I collect them so when I see that I go: so close and so far at th same time :P

KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
User currently offlineMatt27 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 18081 times:

An excellent report and very nice pics too.


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