Trip Index (what we have published so far):
Etihad is branding itself as a leader in luxury travel and is ready to invest in this marketing promise.
I actually went to Terminal 1 first, for my flight to Beirut. I had no trouble checking my bag in and then making my way through the terminal walkways to the lounge.
But, dear God, this place is crowded. It feels like the dark days of 2007 at London Heathrow. Crowded, hectic, stress-inducing walkways and huge lines at security. All you want to do is to leave this airport – literally. It is easily one of the most unpleasant modern airports.
I finally made my way to the lounge near Gate 35 and my impression of the airport changed. The lounge is spacious, filled with light and has modern interior architecture. On a busy Saturday at 8AM, the lounge did not seem crowded (though it wasn’t empty either).
My first thought was to grab an espresso; besides the automated espresso makers, the bars actually have baristas. They crank out a really good espresso.
I shot a number of pictures and had many employees smile at me and for being in the picture. After that, a ‘lounge dragon’ came up and explained in stark words how much ‘damage’ I was doing by taking photos. She let me go without taking my SD card, but I rather stopped taking pictures at this point.
The food options include a great many choices, from pastries to eggs to fish as well as salad and yoghurt. While I’m usually hard-pressed to eat any breakfast, this was a sumptuous affair.
The WiFi clocked in at 4 Mbit and I had no trouble uploading some pictures.
Boarding again came 60 minutes out and given my experience with Etihad a day earlier, I heeded the call to step aboard another very cold airport bus on the way to my flight to Beirut.
Update – I went back a number of times since to the lounge including dinner service – which was equally excellent. One thing that I noticed is how crowded the restrooms are – it’s a huge lounge and the property accommodate just 4 people at the same time.