Etihad’s First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi To Open In May 2016

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways offers one of my all around favorite first class products, thanks to their A380 First Class Apartments.

Etihad-A380-Apartment - 1Etihad A380 first class cabin

However, Etihad still doesn’t have a first class lounge at their home airport. In 2014 Etihad opened the Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal 3, which is their “flagship” business class lounge. And they’ve also been using that for first class passengers, as they proceed with first class lounge renovations.

Etihad’s premium lounge Abu Dhabi first class section

However, the opening of the first class lounge has been delayed considerably, as it was originally supposed to open in late 2014.

Last May I shared an update on the opening of the new Etihad lounge. I was told that the lounge should open in the second quarter of 2015, though shortly thereafter was told the opening was delayed until October. Then last August we received an update that the new lounge was supposed to open in early 2016. Then last November we received an updade that the new lounge will supposedly open in mid to late 2016 at the earliest.

The good news is that it looks like they’re finally making progress on their first class lounge. Etihad Airways plans to open the Abu Dhabi first class lounge in May 2016. They even shared a picture of the entrance to the new lounge on Instagram:

Etihad’s first class lounge Abu Dhabi

Etihad also issued the following press release:

In May of this year, Etihad Airways will open a spectacular new First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3, for the exclusive use of its First Class guests, Etihad Guest Platinum and Etihad Airways Partners Platinum guests, and those staying in The Residence on board its Airbus A380 fleet‎. The investment and development of the world-leading facility highlights the airline’s commitment to its valued top-tier guests.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The new First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi will be the jewel in the crown of our ever-growing global lounge portfolio, a showcase of intelligent design and innovation,‎ and the world’s best premium airport experience. We are confident that it will deliver a product and service which is as highly acclaimed as it is inflight and look forward to unveiling its many unique features with great pride.”

The state-of-the-art space combines modern Arabian design elements and the understated elegance and luxury synonymous with the Etihad Airways brand, demonstrating the airline’s legendary hospitality and constant drive for perfection in its multi-award-winning First Class experience, both on the ground and in the air.

Color me excited! I’m curious if it will rank as one of my top first class airline lounges in the world.

Bottom line

I’m excited for Etihad’s new lounge in Abu Dhabi to finally open, and plan to check it out once the doors open. I trust the design will be beautiful (probably like Etihad’s new lounge in New York), though I hope the lounge also has some great amenities. At a minimum I expect it will have a spa and barber shop, though let’s hope it also has great nap rooms and some other cool features.

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Etihad’s lounge New York

I’m especially curious to see what they do for passengers in The Residence!

Now we just have to hope Etihad sticks to their anticipated timeline for the lounge opening.

Do you plan on visiting Etihad’s new first class lounge when it opens?

  1. How confident are you that they’ll stick to the May opening date? This has been pushed back so many times before, I’ll have a hard time believing it until it actually opens. I guess the photo is a good sign.

  2. They only fly a380 to London and Sydney and London has high airport tax. So the only way to enjoy their a380 apartment on the cheap is to fly to Sydney from Abu Dhabi? Are they planning on adding more routes on a380 this year?

  3. Until it is finally opened, all suggested dates must be taken with a huge pinch of salt, based on their track record.

  4. @Credit Etihad also flies the A380 to New York. In May, EY A380 is flying to Mumbai, and in June, Melbourne.

    You can be creative with your routing. Since AA considers Abu Dhabi and Mumbai to be the same region in terms of awards, adding a AUH-BOM sector would require no additional miles.

  5. Oh snap this is exciting indeed.
    I really hope they don’t further push out the opening date.
    As far as amenities go, I’d also like to see a cigar lounge like the one in the LH FCT in FRA, and spa/cabana facilities like the ones in CX’s The Wing lounge in HKG.

  6. If you fly to AUH in first but then connect to an EY flight that does NOT offer first class but only business class, will you be able to use the first class lounge during your layover?

  7. How hard can it be to open in a lounge in an airport you essentially control and when you’re owned by the local government?

  8. “For the exclusive use of its First Class guests, Etihad Guest Platinum and Etihad Airways Partners Platinum guests, and those staying in The Residence on board its Airbus A380 fleet‎” –> Ben, this is more than interesting to read. Do you think that this also means that, for example, Platinum card holders with AirBerlin (as Etihad Airways Partners) will have access to the lounge? Would be awesome 😀

  9. My family is flying two in First and 2 in Business out of AUH in early June. Whats the likelihood that the 2 smucks in business class (my son and I) can finagle our way into this lounge?

  10. @trup It cant hurt to ask, since the rest of your family is flying F but unless you and your son have an arriving or departing Etihad first boarding pass, I wouldn’t hope for much

  11. On a side note, I’ver read that arriving F passengers at JFK have been given access to the new EY lounge there.

  12. In my experience, as a business owner, construction delays almost always relate to A) material shortages or B) regulatory red tape. Given that A is — at most — a months-long problem before you change materials and move on, it surprises me that a state owned airline can’t get this done inside of 2 years. Hence my comment/question…

  13. @travel4b where have you read that? Just wondering since I will be arriving in F at JFK in early August and have a long layover before connecting and wanted to check out the lounge but have not found any advice on it…

  14. @Levi,

    I saw it on the EY forum on Flyertalk a few days ago. And there are no logistical problems since you clear Immigration and Customs in Abu Dhabi, so you deplane at JFK right next to the lounge. At least, that’s my understanding. I’m considering it the consolation prize since I’m flying EY in F in March.

  15. I am arriving at JFK in morning @ 9:35am on A380 first apartment. connecting flight is available from EWR @1pm in first class operated by AA.
    Do you guys think the layover time is good enough to go to EWR from JFK (using etihad car) considering immigration/customs will be cleared in abu dhabi (If it helps, I am US citizen)? This is on Monday.. few months from now..

  16. @ shah,

    As long as there isn’t a major flight delay or traffic problem you should have plenty of time. However, I’m pretty sure the Etihad is very specific in not allowing their chauffeur service to be used for inter-airport transfers.

  17. @travel4b thanks for the info! That is what I was thinking as well since pre clearance is in Abu Dhabi. If you do give it a try in March, let me know how it goes! Thanks again.

  18. @travel4b

    Thanks for the input. Strangely, when I had called and booked chauffeur service and mentioned to transfer from JFK to EWR, they did not say anything and book it..! Guess, I will have to find out on the day of travel.. As a backup, I have now reserved rental car as well…

  19. arent they building a completely new airport scheduled for 2017? then why would EY waste resources and pour money into a brand-new flagship lounge that will be used maybe for a year at the most?

    or are the constructions elsewhere/superimposed on/around the premium terminal. thus even as the airport grows, the J & F section (atleast as used by EY) are good to go?

  20. I’m a huge fan of your reviews and daily updates about aviation news around the world! I’m super glad to hear that Etihad will be opening their First Class lounge in May as it’s my birthday on May 6th! Though I kinda doubt wether they will stick to that date. By the way I’m so jealous of your endeavours in premium cabins around the world! I’m only 12 but I still dream of one day flying Etihad First Apartments or the Singapore Suites.My parents say that flying business class or first class is too expensive but I hardly ever listen to them when they say stuff like that. Currently I’m trying to book a trip to NYC in biz class and right now I’m looking at going through Abu Dhabi (starting from Athens) and then taking the business studio to NYC. Please let me know if you think that the Etihad Business Studio is a good product and whether I should focus less on the hard product or which airlines offer better products (I know you would recommend American but if I go to NYC I would prefer to fly either on an A380 or A350). Please let me know if you know of any websites that sell cheaper tickets than sky Anyway, keep up the reviews and I can’t wait to read other reviews of the airlines you said you wanted to review in 2016 in your recent post. THANKS!

  21. We were flying first from BOM to JFK and were stuck in the Abu Dhabi lounge for almost 8 hours due the recent snow storm in NY. It was not fun. As you can see in the pictures the couches are not long enough to stretch out and there are no places to sleep. As it turned out I ended up sleeping on the carpet for about 2 hours. I was very happy to get to the A380 apt.

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