When Will Etihad’s New Abu Dhabi First Class Lounge Open?

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways is investing quite a bit to try and improve their premium passenger experience at their hub in Abu Dhabi.

Last year they opened the Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal 3, which long term will be their “flagship” lounge for business class passengers.

Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi

Furthermore, they’ve opened the Etihad Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi, which is open 24 hours per day and available to all arriving premium cabin passengers.

For a while Etihad’s new First Class & The Residence Lounge has been under construction, and it promises to be impressive. They closed the old Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi last year, and it was slated to open again in April of this year.

The reason it promises to be so impressive is because they’re literally converting the entire old first & business class lounge into a lounge exclusively for First Class & The Residence passengers, so it will be massive, and hopefully they’ll have amenities to match.


Anyway, the lounge is supposed to be open by now, though as is the norm for Middle Eastern carriers, they can’t seem to open anything on time. Doha’s Hamad International Airport was opened several years late, and even to this date their new first class lounge isn’t yet open. Qatar Airways said their new Al Safwa First Class Lounge was supposed to have a delayed opening in late April, though it’s delayed at least a month beyond that.

As far as the new Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi goes, I’m still getting conflicting reports, though based on what I’ve heard it’s nowhere close to being complete. I’ve followed up with Etihad recently and they’re still unofficially hoping to open the new first class lounge in the second quarter of this year (though it sounded like really late in the second quarter), though I also had a friend that passed through the airport recently and asked, and he was told it’s apparently scheduled to open in October.

In other words, we really don’t know.

Unfortunately I wouldn’t expect the new Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi to open for at least another couple of months. In the meantime you can continue to use the Etihad Premium Lounge, which has a partitioned off area for first class passengers.

Etihad Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi first class seating

Furthermore, as a first class passenger you receive both a spa treatment and a service at the Style & Shave Salon.

Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Six Senses Spa

Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Style & Shave

Bottom line

It would be awesome if the Middle Eastern carriers focused a bit more on execution than hype/bling, though I guess that’s not really quite as exciting for them. 😉 I figured I’d post this update since I know lots of people are flying from Abu Dhabi to Sydney starting later this month, since they’re launching A380 service on the route.

  1. Kind of a related question – any word on when the Al Safwa first class lounge in Doha is opening?

  2. I have to say that when I went through there in March I was not blown away by the Business Class lounge. Now, the spa part was lovely – though you’re in there for 15 minutes so it’s not like you really get to enjoy it – and overall, of course, it’s better than any domestic lounge in the US or Canada (except the American Express Centurion Lounges) – but still, compared to many I’ve been to it was just meh. It’s design with a lot of hard surfaces makes it noisy; it got very crowded as the inbound overnight connections arrived; the service is a mix between pleasant enough and surly; the food – while abundant – isn’t really great. Kind of like a mid-range hotel Sunday brunch.

    Compare that to their own Dublin lounge which is very similar in design concept but just much more pleasant (of course it’s much smaller, too), has better a la carte food options etc. and you can see what it *could* be. But it isn’t that today. It’s not the sort of place I’d want to get to early and enjoy (like the Virgin Clubhouse SFO or the Lufthansa First Terminal FRA, say).

  3. Aren’t they in the midst of building a brand new, gigantic terminal? Are they upgrading their lounge offerings just as a stopgap until the new facility opens with all new lounges?

  4. I’m arriving in EY F, and connecting to QR J (regional F). To that end, I would not be able to use the EY Lounges. Does anyone know if the EY arrival lounge is better than the Al Dhabi or Al Reem lounges? Is it worth passing through customers? My layover is about 4 hours.

  5. Dang – I’m flying first class through Abu Dhabi in early July, and was hoping the lounge would be open by then. Guess it’s still not impossible, but highly unlikely.

  6. We have a layover from 7:45 pm until 10:05 pm next March (flying F); does that typically allow enough time to get one of those shaves I read about on here?

  7. @ wanderlustb — Yes, the arrivals lounge is better than either of those lounges. If you have the time I’d probably check it out.

  8. @ Cory — They are indeed opening the new terminal, though realistically it may be several years before it opens. Furthermore, I suspect they’ll continue operating out of Terminal 3, in addition to the new terminal.

  9. @wanderlustb – I think you’ll be able to use the Arrivals lounge in AUH. They just look at your inbound boarding pass. It’s worth checking out. It’s small but nice. Very civilized. The shave facility is terrific (I had a straight blade shave there) and the showers look nice though I didn’t use them. There were a ton of staff in there when I was there. They have cold and hot drinks as well as snack-type food, though no alcohol. Keep in mind that it’s outside of immigration and the baggage hall so if you’re going to be connecting you’ll have to deal with all that as well as security/immigration going back in to the gates. But it might still be nicer than either the concourse in general or the other lounges – I haven’t been in them, though I know that the Al Rheem has recently been renovated to some extent.

  10. Thank you for the insightful response. I appreciate it very much. Any chance of using the EY departures lounge with my inbound F boarding pass?

  11. @ wanderlustb — Without an outbound boarding pass on Etihad it’s highly unlikely.

  12. This January I went to see the project for the new terminal, it will be huge and according to the project officials it will be used exclusively by Etihad and maybe by its partners.

    If my memory serves me well, it should be open and operating by 2017, but I am not sure.

  13. It’ll be sad if Etihad don’t have the First Lounge open in time for the launch of the A380 service to/from Sydney. Hopefully the first week of June they’ll open, as I have four Etihad flights transiting through Abu Dhabi (AUH) after that, the latest in August (which that lounge definitely needs to be open by then).

    You certainly hope it’s not going to be as delayed as Qatar’s.

  14. I was terminating in AUH with an inbound EY boarding pass and that’s all I needed to get in. I can’t imagine that they’d care if you weren’t connecting to another EY flight. Just say you arrived on EY. That’s all that’s required. I’ve arrived at LHR on Virgin and used their arrivals lounge before transferring to LGW for a BA flight. Likewise the AC LHR arrivals lounge prior to a KLM flight. Never had an issue.

  15. Are there any updates concerning opening of Etihad First class Lounge?
    Next week I will fly to Tokyo and I would like to know if iti is open

  16. I cannot really understand how Etihad keeps getting all the high accolades that they acquire.

    The terminal is claustrophobic, the Premium Lounge is horrible. Walking into the lounge at 11:30 last night every seat was packed with worn out travellers. One gent I’d never met before walked up to me and said, “I’ve done social work in slums nicer than this.”

    I flew Abu Dhabi Moscow last night in business, no first class offered, no flat bed, and the food was last class.

    Having travelled with Emirates for years I decided to give Etihad a shot as the ticket was much cheaper.

    Conclusion: If you travel a lot and just want peace and luxury from the time you step in the terminal .. go EK.

  17. Hey Lucky
    Do you have any idea when they are going to extend the A380 to other flights from LHR and also on the AUH-Melbourne route? Have got a first seats in March on this route (all on 77W) so wondering if we might luck out with a change of plane??



  18. @ Charlie — They don’t have plans to fly the A380 to Melbourne as of now. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more A380s to London, though not positive about the timeframe.

  19. Any updates for the date of opening for the First class lounge @ AUH?
    I’m traveling on Aug 20th this year.

  20. @Lucky Last I heard is this Fall. Is that what you are hearing? Anyone to reach out to get more information?

  21. I have reason to believe that the new first class lounge in auh will be opened in May 2016. enjoy!!!

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *