Maldives Trip 2013: Chauffeur & Washington Dulles Airport

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
Conrad Maldives
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.

At the airport!

At the airport!

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).

Etihad Diamond First Check In

Etihad Diamond First Check In

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.

Etihad Lounge Washington Dulles

Etihad Lounge Washington Dulles

Etihad Lounge Dulles

Etihad Lounge Dulles

Etihad Lounge Dulles

Etihad Lounge Dulles

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:

Food

Food

Food

Food

Food

Food

…a dessert bar with a few snacks:

Dessert

Dessert

and a a la carte menu, which, while not exactly extensive, should have something for just about everyone:

Lounge Menu

Lounge Menu

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:

Boarding from the lounge...

Boarding 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!

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Comments

  1. That looks like a great start to a fantastic trip! How did you go about finding availability, booking, etc?

    • We Fly Free says:

      Part of looking for availability is about knowing what carriers fly your intended route. But searching for space on Etihad is actually really easy and free. You just go to the Etihad Guest reservations page (http://www.etihad.com/en-ae/plan-and-book/book-redemption-flights/) and search. I find that segment by segment (i.e. IAD-AUH and AUH-DEL, for example) is easiest.

      Anything with “Guest” availability is open to awards from partners like AA or ANA, though ANA will charge fuel surcharges while AA will not.

      • Thank you! I’ve noticed recently aa has stopped showing partner availability to Asia when BA, etc show it as available. Any idea what that is about?

        • We Fly Free says:

          AA.com only shows award space on BA, Qantas, Air Berlin, Finnair, RJ, Alaska and Hawaiian. So JAL, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia, Qatar, etc won’t show up on AA.com while they do on BA.com.

          If you’re talking about routing on BA to Asia (i.e. USA-London-Asia), AA.com wouldn’t show that because it’s not a valid routing with AA. They don’t allow routing to Asia via Europe. BA would allow that routing, however it’s crazy expensive since they price redemptions by segment and distance.

  2. When is the next entry coming? Looking forward to reading about the flight on etihad.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 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 Conrad Maldives 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 […]

  2. […] 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 Conrad Maldives 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 Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  3. […] 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 Conrad Maldives 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 Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  4. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  5. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  6. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  7. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  8. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport) W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  9. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport) W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  10. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport) W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

  11. […] 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 Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Conrad Maldives Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport) W Hong Kong Hong Kong Airport Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class […]

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