Chauffeur + Washington Dulles Airport
Dulles to Abu Dhabi Etihad Diamond First
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business
Conrad Lounge & Seaplane
Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class
W Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong to New York Cathay Pacific First Class
JFK Airport and AA Flagship Lounge
New York to DC American First Class
One of the coolest parts of booking a ticket in Etihad premium cabins is the chauffeur drive service which picks you up, usually just about anywhere in the metro area served by the airport, and brings you to the airport. [They also drop you off at most destinations, but not writing about that quite yet.] So this ticket is really a negative cost in terms of cash outlay since the cash tax co-pay are much lower than an Uber would cost us for the ride to the airport.
I booked our chauffeur service several months ago, and we did receive a confirmation call from the local contractor about a week ago confirming our 6:00pm pick up time. That’s a bit on the early side for a 9:30 flight, but I understand that if they’re taking responsibility for getting you to the airport, that they’re going to want you to be there in plenty of time so they’re not responsible for re-booking you if you miss the flight.
At 5:45pm, our driver called to inform us he arrived at our apartment building and was waiting for us downstairs. He had a nice, just a few day old Cadillac sedan with back seat climate control and cold water… nicer than your average Uber car for sure.
We didn’t hit any traffic and just a few minutes before 6:30 we arrived at Dulles airport. The Etihad counter is located around the back side, and they had a dedicated line for first class passengers with absolutely nobody in it (in contrast to the economy line which looked like about 100 families permanently moving across the world).
Security was also super light (“sir, there’s nobody in lane 7″) and we went from curbside to airside in about 7-8 minutes–most of which we spent getting checked in, which is extremely unusual for Dulles in my experience.We took the train to terminal A and made our way to the Etihad lounge, which is located just about 15-20 yards into the terminal from the escalators.
It’s a beautiful two-story lounge, though from what I could tell the second story wasn’t open. There’s a small buffet with cold options:
…a dessert bar with a few snacks:
and a a la carte menu, which, while not exactly extensive, should have something for just about everyone:
We decided to skip the traditional restaurant style table and sat down in lounge chairs. Service was extremely attentive… definitely more so than in the Lufthansa lounge at IAD and more resembling one of their first class lounges in Frankfurt. This is the reason I would say it’s probably my favorite lounge at Dulles Airport as it provides a near first class lounge experience, but it’s a mixed class lounge. Add in the chauffeur ride, and this is about as good as it gets at as a non-hub ground experience.I ordered the cannelloni and Cara ordered the lentil soup. She also asked to see the tea menu, but apparently that’s more of a suggestion to ask for what tea you might like, than a physical menu…Drinks were constantly refreshed, and before we knew it it was time for boarding, which can be done directly from the lounge:
Instead of a boarding call over the PA, one of the lounge employees simply starting circulating and letting everyone know that it was time to board. I didn’t stick around to see if there was a final boarding call over the PA since I wanted to get on board early and snap pictures, but I can’t imagine anyone not noticing boarding.
On to Abu Dhabi!