This is third and final part of my trip report.
Having spent a week in Dubai and four days in Abu Dhabi, it was time to fly back to the UK for Christmas.
This was my first time on Gulf Air and turned out to be pretty unique!
Gulf Air GF9 Abu Dhabi - London
The Gulf Air flight was leaving Abu Dhabi at around 0300 so I was pretty tired by the time I arrived for check in at 0100.
I checked in and for the first time ever, had to pay excess baggage. I had sort of forgotten about all the shopping I did on my trip and my bags weighed in at over 52KG!
After sorting this out, I went to the Gulf Air lounge and waited for the flight.
Considering the time of day, the airport was pretty busy. In addition to several Gulf Air flights, there were also some Gulf Traveller B767's and three PIA 737's plus a BA 777.
On the way to the gate I did some last minute duty free shopping - I have to say that the Duty Free shops in the Middle East are amazing - a huge selection of goods and all reasonably priced compared to Heathrow.
Once I got to the gate, there was an additional security search and I joined the other passengers in the gate lounge.
Boarding started after about five minutes but there were no separate calls for First or Business so it was all a bit of a rush!
I got on board the A330 and turned left into the First Class cabin. It was completely empty so I assumed that the other passengers were still waiting to board. How wrong was I!
The purser then came over and introduced himself along with the flying chef.
It turned out, I was the only passenger travelling in First Class that night!
The stewardess bought me a drink and then a really nice amenity kit and some pajamas, along with extra pillows and a blanket.
The flying Chef then came over to ask me what I would like to eat.
As it was now 3AM in the morning I declined and said all I wanted to do was sleep!
The flights took off about 30mins late due to a paperwork mixup and as soon as we were airborne I reclined my seat and went to sleep.
The Gulf Air first class seat reclines 180 degrees and is very wide but is not as
comfortable as the United First Suite. Even so, it was still fine and was quite a strange experience being the only one in an empty first class cabin.
I woke up about 40minutes out of London, just in time to have a juice and some fruit, before we landed in a very wet and dreary Heathrow.
I look forward to flying Gulf Air again - the IFE was similar to Emirates with video on demand, cameras, games etc and hopefully next time I will take advantage of all the trappings that First Class has to offer.