Review: Etihad Airways Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi

Filed Under: Etihad

By the time we landed we really just wanted to go straight to the hotel and sightsee, since we only had one night in Abu Dhabi (and Ford and Matt both hadn’t been to Abu Dhabi before), but first we wanted to check out the arrivals lounge (it opened in September 2014), which I haven’t yet reviewed.

As we deplaned I first snapped a picture of our gorgeous A380. I think Etihad’s paint scheme is among the best out there.

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Etihad A380 upon arrival in Abu Dhabi

We arrived at Terminal 3, and followed the signage towards immigration and baggage claim.

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Arrivals hall Abu Dhabi Airport

There was no queue at immigration, so within about 10 minutes of our arrival we found ourselves at baggage claim.

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Baggage claim Abu Dhabi Airport

From there we followed the signage to the Etihad Premium Arrivals Lounge.

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Signage to Etihad Premium Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi

That required taking a moving walkway down a further level.

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Moving walkway to Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi

There we finally found the arrivals lounge. There are a few things which make the Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi especially unique:

  • It’s the first “real” arrivals lounge operated by a Gulf carrier
  • It’s open 24 hours per day (most arrivals lounges have limited hours)
  • It’s open to all first & business class passengers (most are limited to longhaul passengers)

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Entrance to Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi

Upon entering the lounge we presented our New York boarding passes and were quickly admitted.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi reception desk

We walked down the hallway into the main part of the lounge.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi entryway

The lounge isn’t big at all, though still wasn’t crowded. I suspect the lounge isn’t actually that popular, given that a vast majority of Etihad passengers are connecting in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, presumably those terminating in Abu Dhabi would head straight to their destination, rather than linger around the airport longer.

The lounge featured a couple of dozen seats in a uniquely shaped room, which added a bit of privacy.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

One area had some TVs built into shelves with some cool art.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

There was also a dedicated TV area.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

There was a small business center with one iMac.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi business center

The lounge had a small buffet with snacks and soft drinks. The last thing I wanted after our flight from New York was more food, so I simply snapped a few pictures.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

The buffet consisted of cheese, fresh fruit, sweets, juice, sandwiches, wraps, hummus, etc.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

In addition to the cooler with soft drinks, there was also an espresso machine.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi espresso machine

The lounge featured 10 fairly nice shower rooms, each with a sink, toilet, and rainforest shower. The staff also offered to steam clothing during a shower, which was a nice feature.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shower rooms

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shower rooms

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shower rooms

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shower rooms

Each shower room had a nice selection of amenities.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shower room amenities

In addition to the shower rooms, the lounge had a barber shop. First class passengers receive a complimentary shave, while business class passengers have to pay a nominal fee for the service.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shaving salon

Ford decided to get a wet shave.

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi shaving salon

After about 20 minutes in the lounge we headed to the Etihad chauffeur desk for our transfer to the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. Ford and I weren’t entitled to a chauffeur, since we were connecting the following day to Male on the same ticket. However, Matt was entitled to one (since this was the termination of his trip), so we drove with him.

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Etihad chauffeur desk Abu Dhabi

We were driven to the hotel in an Audi, and the ride took about 15 minutes.

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Etihad chauffeur Abu Dhabi

Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi

Arrivals lounges are a popular offering at some European airports, though aren’t as common in the Middle East. That’s probably because in the Middle East most passengers are connecting, and those not connecting are often arriving at strange hours, where there’s no need to freshen up before heading into the office, as seems to be the intent of these facilities. There aren’t many to compare, but this is definitely one of the best arrival lounges.

Nonetheless I thought the Etihad arrivals lounge was fantastic. It’s a great place to grab a shower or shave before taking your complimentary chauffeur to your destination.

When available, do you typically use an arrivals lounge? If so, under what circumstances?

  1. For Etihad, yes as that’s where you get your Chauffeur. Most others no, I would rather get to my destination as quickly as i can.
    Depending on the time it can be nice to grab a quick sandwich there before driving to Dubai, or wrap it up and take it to go. The last thing i want is to drive an hour, have to check-in, and then realize i am now hungry….

  2. Used an arrivals lounge once at LHR. Was in town for ~24 hours for work. Landed at 7am and needed a place to shower before a noon meeting. Was also a great place to relax while I waited on a colleague who was flying in from Chicago.

    For someone going right to the office its a great addition. For someone ready to start a vacation, I agree there’s not much of a point.

  3. Since I’ll be landing late here in Oct, I think i’ll skip it and head directly to the hotel but I’m glad you reviewed it. At least I know the option exists!

    I think the current EY livery is gorgeous as well, though I think it looks even better on the 787. Hopefully you’ll review F on that aircraft at some point – I thought it was great and very intimate. Also curious to see the livery on the A350 that they’re getting delivery of, either this or next year.

  4. I find arrivals lounges in London particularly useful since most flights originating from the US East coast arrive in the early morning but hotel check-in isn’t until the afternoon. Shower, breakfast, massage, read the local paper, perhaps a nap, then Heathrow Express into the city. Perfect way to start a vacation.

  5. If you are connecting to another flight at AUH in less than 24, can you use the arrival lounge, get a wet shave, then later go to the First Class departure lounge and get another spa treatment, such as a 15 min massage?

  6. “It’s the first “real” arrivals lounge operated by a Gulf carrier” — nope. It’s the only Arrivals Lounge in the UAE, as Emirates shuttered their own arrivals lounge in Dubai a long time ago. But Qatar offers a dedicated arrivals lounge in Doha.

  7. This was the only disappointment on my JFK AUH trip. I figured l would get a shave in the arrivals lounge so as not to waste my 5 minutes of shower water. Upon checking in to the lounge, l was told the barber was at lunch. Really? Several of us guys from the JFK flight were turned away as a result. I thought it very poor scheduling.

  8. A bit off-topic, but if I am arriving in AUH at 1am and continuing to MEL at 10pm same day I am not entitled to use the chauffeur service? I booked this via AA. It is two awards, but I think this is booked on one ticket. Am I correct?


  9. the lounge was great. We used it coming in from Almaty. We were there around 9:30pm. I enjoyed it. Etihad is a fantastic airline and do everything first class!

  10. Flight from GVA arrived at 05:40, so this was an awesome place to shower, shave, and have a relaxing breakfast before taking the chauffeured car to the hotel. Looking forward to our next visi .

  11. I have also used the arrivals lounge in a couple of occasions when arriving to AUH. Maybe even the same barber. It is always nice to freshen up if you have anything but a hotel room or your own house to look forward to, so arrival lounges make sense for a limited audience

  12. I am flying Business LHR to AUH on the 19th November. This will be my first middle eastern airway and its business class already looks considerably better than anything offered by BA or Virgin or just about anybody else.

    This is a privately funded flight to see my sister who lives about 20 minutes from the airport and while it is not one of the apartments or the residence I am still excited about all of the plaudits and reviews that I have read.

  13. Just a heads up. I had paid F ticket on EY – BKK-AUH-JFK. (J on BKK-AUH sector as no F offered). Booked to have 18 hrs in AUH to see city and play golf as part of legal thru ticket which EY issued. Came of flight to use Arrivals Lounge and was denied. Very poor experience with lounge dragon. Policy she kept saying. So I could eat and drink and drink in F lounge as transit passenger but not take a shower in Arrivals Lounge. Really. They need to up game on front facing staff.

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