I've taken 10 flights with Etihad now, their service is excellent and I have also been upgraded to a silver member. This means I get extra miles, lounge access at a couple of airports and sometimes a surprise upgrade (but I am still waiting for that bit). Etihad use a Boeing 777-300 out of Manchester, it's the best plane I've flown on. Having flown on a cramped Airbus A330 for 8 hours with a rival airline, I won't make that mistake again! Unfortunately, I've not had the privilege of riding aboard an A350, 787 or A380 yet.
During the flight to Abu Dhabi, the customer service was exemplary as always. Regular updates from the flight deck and a crew with a smile is always a nice bonus. The staff were smartly dressed, courteous and polite. For the first time, the food was terrible! It was not the worst, but not the great quality I've had with Etihad in the past. I had a potato salad, paprika chicken and chocolate mouse. It wasn't enjoyable, I actually enjoyed the folded pizza snack more, and they are always terrible.
As we climbed out of Abu Dhabi, I knew it wouldn't be long until I was back in one of the best cities in the world, beautiful Bangkok. Until then, I had to endure another 6 hours on-board the Etihad 777-300 aircraft. I say endure, but not in negative way, I'm just excited to get off the plane and head for some street food, that it feels like an eternity. The flight to Bangkok was much busier, however, this did not affect the high standard of service that Etihad provide. I actually had a great laugh with some of the cabin crew, talking about traveling and trying understand each and every accent. The night flight was much calmer, I actually love this flight, the sun starts to rise over the east coast of India, providing a beautiful display of technicolour in the atmosphere on approach to Thailand. We did have to make a small adjustment to the flight path, there were some large Cumulonimbus storms over the Andaman Sea. Who needs in-flight movies when you can watch these amazing electrical storms?
After another safe journey, I don't really have a bad thing to say about Etihad, other than the dip in quality of the food recently. It's a very competitive market though, with all the big airlines competing for your custom and trying to keep costs down. After all these flights, I've only ever had one issue with my luggage, it wasn't Etihad's fault, but they compensated me accordingly and their customer service was very reassuring. Even on social media, they are very engaging and always respond to my posts. I've even witnessed an in-flight medical emergency, and the professionalism of the staff was epitome. I know they are competently trained to deal with these situations, but watching their training in action gives you a great sense of security should the unthinkable ever happen.
I just wanted to add some more information, on my return flight from Bangkok, I was given speedy immigration and first class lounge access. I had arrived at the airport a little earlier than expected, so a comfortable lounge was just what I needed to unwind and relax before the night flight. The lounge was well equipped with drinks, finger foods, snacks, fresh fruit and helpful staff. This coupled with all the benefits at Abu Dhabi meant that the flight was an absolute breeze. The jet lag still caught up with me though, I've been waking up at 2am, but I'll adjust.
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The Hand That Bites