My Glamorous Life: Being Force Fed A Tasting Menu At 3AM With A Stomach Bug

Filed Under: Etihad, Travel

Let me start by saying that I’m beyond grateful to be able to make a living doing what I’m passionate about. Since a very young age I was obsessed with airplanes and travel, and I pinch myself every day about the fact that I’m able to do this full time. That’s despite the constant jetlag and exhaustion. Seriously, I couldn’t be more grateful for this, and I owe it all to you guys.

So take this post as being tongue in cheek, as it’s more of an amusing reflection of what my life is like in practice, despite what it may look like in Instagram pictures, etc. This has been an especially crazy travel week for me. Over the course of about a week I flew from Los Angeles to Taipei to Singapore to Bali to Hong Kong to London to Abu Dhabi (don’t worry, I’ll explain the reasoning for it eventually).

I took the 2PM flight from London to Abu Dhabi, which arrived at 1:30AM. I was dead tired after getting minimal sleep the past week. I wasn’t hungry in the slightest. And I even had a bit of a stomach bug.

But I asked that we visit the Etihad First Class Lounge upon arrival, given that it’s the one “top” new first class lounge in the world that I haven’t yet reviewed. (to be able to do this I booked a throwaway ticket to Muscat on the same reservation — it didn’t cost me any extra miles, and would allow me to visit the lounge).

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So on arrival I snapped a bunch of pictures of the lounge and got a quick 15 minute spa treatment — after all, that’s needed to review a lounge. Ford was being patient, even though he was dead tired at this point. I photographed all the food and drink menus as well.

“So… ummm… do you mind if we quickly share the tasting menu?”
“I’m not hungry at all and you’re sick. And ‘quickly’ sharing a tasting menu sounds like an oxymoron.”
“Yeah, but, uhhh…”

As I said above, this is the last great first class lounge I’ve yet to review, and you can’t judge a lounge without trying their food. Further to that point, I want to give every lounge the opportunity to put their best foot forward, and in this case I assumed that was trying the lounge’s signature tasting menu, catered by Emirates Palace, one of Abu Dhabi’s best hotels…

…even if I wasn’t hungry at all, and quite to the contrary, was feeling sick.

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So Ford sat down with me, and I informed the friendly server that we wanted to share one tasting menu, as we really weren’t very hungry.

Go figure for the first three courses, the server said “chef insists we serve you two, because they’re not big enough to share.”

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I’ve never been one to eat foie gras because the concept seems especially cruel to me, though five courses later, I think I can at least somewhat relate to what those ducks have gone through…

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Again, this is all intended tongue in cheek, though I figured it’s something others who like to document their experiences can relate to. A countless number of times I’ve boarded a flight wanting nothing more than to sleep the entire way, only to go through the entire meal service so I can document it.

My experience in the Etihad first class lounge was even more extreme.

Can anyone relate to the occasional “struggle” of trying to maximize/document an experience?

  1. Exactly the same happened to me at The Wing in Hong Kong at the end of a massively indulgent vacation. Was incredibly excited and forced myself to try everything, despite the fact that all I wanted to do was hug a lavatory. In fairness it was self inflicted, but the booze in the lounge at the Four Seasons was hard to resist!

  2. Just a note to let you know how much your efforts are appreciated. Feeling half dead from a 8 day trip with a 9 hour time shift. I know you try to stay on the same time zone but any other anti jet lag tips would be appreciated. Don’t drink but have Ambien or Zanex for sleep. Try not to use them minimally because it seems like they just leave you more tired and fuzzy headed sometimes.

  3. Can you please explain the process of a throwaway ticket? How do you leave the lounge and get into Abu Dhabi?

  4. Everyone can relate to the circumstances of having to pound through work when you don’t really feel up to it. For us corporate folks, this is called Thursday and Friday. Just take solace in the fact that you’re probably out-earning many of us!

  5. You ever think about slowing down just a little bit? You have to take care of yourself sometimes. You’re more productive when rested and happy

  6. I love your blog and your contributions. All this traveling without proper rest WILL TAKE ITS TOLL on your health. You’re young, but if you continue what you’re doing without proper rest, you’re going to feel it.

    No amount of EK suites, SQ suites, EY residences, can compensate for poor health.

  7. My first Emirates flight was the same, sick as a dog yet the lovely attendant insisted that i try the champagne and kir drink with a filet mignon…an absolutely lovely dinner any other time, I had 1 sip of the drink and sank back into my seat for the remainder of the flight. At least i was able to take the chocolates home to enjoy a few days later when i was better. It’s horrible not being able to enjoy these moments.

  8. This happened to my wife and I the last time we were in San Francisco. We completely stuffed ourselves with a late lunch, and some more at the free wine hour at our hotel. We had reservations at one of the city’s best spots for crab at 9, and of course, weren’t the least bit hungry. But we didn’t go all the way to SF not to have crab, and lunch the next day was already booked – so we powered through. Not a good decision. But I’m glad we did it.

  9. So you had to work at your job while not feeling well? Sure we’ve all had to do that. It’s what you do when you need money to buy food and pay bills. What was the point of this post? Just a humblebrag?

  10. Oh I can TOTALLY relate! When I flew business on Turkish Airlines for the first time, I really wanted to totally take in the experience! However, 2 days before I was supposed to fly with them, I got a serve stomach bug and had to be hospitalised! I was on a lot of medication, couldn’t drink any alcohol or milk and was practically sick the entire trip.

    At least I got to visit Istanbul for the first time though! 🙂

  11. I am curious like Alvin.

    How did u get into Abu Dhabi from the F lounge? Did u not need to clear security to get to departures area to enter F lounge?

    Then from departures, u manage to get back into city?

  12. Hero!
    No one in the history of civilization has done something like that before.

    Amazing Lucky!
    More posts about this sort of thing please!

  13. Since when does Fois Gras come from ducks ??!? .. Geese last time I heard ! Lol .. strong work Lucky .. battle on thru champ ! .. cheers

  14. The closest I have was flying to Berlin on KLM for a three day weekend from Los Angeles, not sleeping the whole time, then on the flight home and getting horribly sick mid-flight and then trying to help by giving me food. They had such a hard time waking me up. It was when the New business seat was a novelty, though, so that was fun. Lol

  15. Every job has its moments:

    Although I can partially relate. I battled C. difficile for 10 months… while being on the road ~250-300 nights/year. Closer to 250 that year, but plenty of unpleasantness on the road. I wasn’t in any one location long enough to see a doctor steadily about it. Imagine that feeling for 10 months and traveling and working….

    It could be worse. You could have the guy’s job in the aforementioned video.

  16. @Alvin @Flyingfish

    Google “hidden-city” ticketing. He didn’t leave the terminal, just didn’t get on the flight to Oman.

  17. @Nev Johnson —Foie gras can come from a duck or goose. First line of the wikipedia post: “Foie gras is a luxury food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened.”

  18. Had a similar experience earlier this week. I finally had a chance to try out Qatar first class. Despite having that quesy stomach feeling from a week in Thailand, I forced myself to “enjoy” the full dinner service including drinks and caviar. Of course I also had to try out the gorgeous bar that I had heard so much about. Needless to say that I spent the last three hours of the flight throwing up in the first class bathroom. I must have been slightly delusional at this point because I wasn’t mired in self-pity, instead I kept think how lucky I was to have such a beautiful bathroom to throw up in.

  19. THANKs For the Post ..I throw UP 4x in 2 minutes in a waste bin in FRONT of the Check In counter . I just got off a cruise @ 8am ate lunch @ 12 @ Burger King in airport @ 2pm in ONE SECOND I WENT BAD .
    Fine the next morning I HATE Flying and walking too.

    THANKS !!!!!!!!


  20. That’s what toilets are for!
    You sh#@ it out and start eating again!
    Try having an entire flight quarantined for 30 munutes before they give the ok for everyone to disembark after having had what was a dirty salad in damascus 2010.
    Upon arrival into australia to sick to stomach even water i threw up on an attendant when she lifted the lid on a dish which i didnt ask for so she learnt a dirty lesson.

  21. Stomach bug so bad rather than use toilet as it was sore from the runs it was easier to shower at the deserted wing lounge in hong kong.
    The shower attendent became concerned after five showers in four hours while in the lounge.
    In the end she offered me the same shower to try and contain the mess.
    It was easier to stand over shower outlet rather than use the toilet next to it. Nothing nicer than letting one rip while hot water runs over you.
    If i have done it im sure others have hence i always wear thongs now in airport lounge showers.

  22. This happened to me over the last Christmas holiday. Was in SF for an extended layover. Ended up eating sliders and other counter foods from the Cathay First Class Lounge. Got on the flight to Hong Kong and 8 hours in was sicker than a dog. Lead FA was able to get me some meds and I made it to my final destination Cebu in one piece. Evidently I got some food poisoning due to eating food that was left out too long

  23. I flew Air France from Geneva to CDG and I had just been on a ski holiday. For the whole time in the airport, I was vomiting in the toilet and just could not move as it was that bad. My abdomen was also burning with pain. My partner told me that I was unfit to fly so we told check in staff what we could do and they said “hospital “. I was taken to the nearest hospital and they said I had severe food poisoning. 48 hours in hospital was not fun.

  24. @projectile

    I honestly save my bowel movements for the airport lounge showers. There is not much more exciting than leaving a steaming pile in the shower for someone to find, and I totally agree re: the warm water!

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