Ringing in the New Year @ 36,000 Feet

Etihad A330 Business Class Cabin

So far since our move to Abu Dhabi, we have booked two award trips as a family which allows to save money while still traveling in more comfort than we could reasonably afford other wise.  We originally booked a return from Munich on Air Berlin and had a long layover in Dusseldorf.  A few weeks before we left for the trip I was able to find a direct flight to Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways in business class.  This upgrade cost us an additional 10,000 American Airlines miles each — the award ticket is 30,000 miles one way for business class as opposed to 20,000 miles in economy from when flying from Europe to the Middle East.

Chocolate Santa’s in the Atlantic Lounge @ Munich Airport (not our Chanel bag)

Upon arrival at the Munich  airport we were fast tracked through check in, bag drop, security, passport control, and boarding (though admittedly none of these areas had any delays or lines since the airport was pretty quite at 7:00 pm on New Years Eve).  We found ourselves in the Atlantic Lounge in Munich in no time at all with more than 1.5 hours to spare before boarding.  While we enjoyed the pre-flight treatment traveling in business class, we would have had lounge access anyhow thanks to our priority club membership. The real reason we wanted this flight was for the onboard experience of Etihad business class.

Toasting to the New Year at Altitude 

Remade our way to our departure gate at about 9:00 pm where we quickly boarded through the jetway and made our way to the business class cabin. The cabin was configured in a 1-2-1 formation allowing direct aisle access for every seat.  Jen and Teo had two adjoining seats, angled into each other which allowed her to help him with his meal/ipad/bed without having to move around the cabin to reach him thanks to the “honeymoon” style setup.  I was seated in the row in front of them with my seat facing out towards the aisle which gave much more privacy even though the seat next to me was empty the whole flight.

Couldn’t wait for his “bed seat”

We have flown Etihad economy half a dozen times the last year and have always been impressed with their crews, service, and attention to detail.  We had another wonderful service experience by the business class team who paid attention to every last detail and made sure to give special attention to Matteo (including giving him a special children’s amenity kit which he loved).  Pre-flight drinks were immediately handed out and my champagne flute was refilled every time I turned around.  As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the crew sprang into action with a 3 course dinner service that started with a ramekin of warm nuts, followed by a starter, main course, dessert, and finally a cocktail or coffee/tea.   I chose the Artichoke soup as my started (which was delicious), went with the salmon main dish (good but a touch  over cooked), and finished with a cappuccino and some strawberry ice cream.

After watching some TV episodes on the expansive Etihad in flight entertainment during the meal, we all fell asleep for a good portion of the flight and before we knew it we were prepping for our landing. We were ready to get home to Abu Dhabi as it was now 7:00 am local time after losing 4 hours through the night to time changes.  We were given fast track passes to go through immigration and once we landed we flew through immigration, collected our bags which were awaiting us at the carousel and then headed to the Etihad Arrivals lounge.  We stopped to freshen up and grab a quick snack for breakfast.  One of the nice touches of Etihad premium cabin tickets is that it includes chauffeur service to anywhere in the UAE upon arrival.  We didn’t have to worry about a cab or airport pickup as we had a brand new Audi A6 awaiting us to quickly shuttle us home in style.  Overall we had a terrific flight home which was possible only through earning points and redeeming them for terrific value.


2 thoughts on “Ringing in the New Year @ 36,000 Feet

  1. This trip looks like it was awesome. And, Matteo looks as though he is a great traveller. If that is what you do that is what you become.


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