Boarding was pretty disorganised, and I’d begin to think this was a Mumbai Airport feature but there are airlines such as Etihad, and back in the day, Kingfisher which would enforce boarding sequence pretty well. So, the incoming flight was delayed, however, instead of going back into the lounge, I just waited in the boarding area. This was my first time being at Gate 1B, so I wasn’t in the know of what I was getting into later.
Boarding started about 20 minutes later, and business class was called first, being the highest cabin on this A320. Almost a couple of minutes later, however, the boarding for economy started as well, except, little did I know we were headed for a long walk to a bus gate (1B).
Surprisingly, the bus was stuffed to the brim with business and economy class passengers, and then we set out on a long ride around the Mumbai tarmac, since the plane was parked at the domestic side of the terminal, and we were boarding from the international side. This was about a 30-minute ride driving amongst planes, but middle of the night and a very sleepy and groggy me at 4:40 AM was not the best combination for plane spotting at this hour. I did spot an Air India Boeing 747-400 though, parked at its hangar.
We managed to make it to the plane 40 minutes after I walked through the gate. And then we waited, and waited, till we got to get on the plane.
Etihad’s A320, my ride to Abu Dhabi
We boarded through 1L, and I headed towards the turquoise-coloured Pearl Business Class cabin where I was seated in 1A today.
Mumbai (BOM) – Abu Dhabi(AUH)
Thursday, May 9 2013
Distance flown: 1226 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1A (Business)
Meal Service: Breakfast
The seats were regular business class seats on a narrowbody you would expect in this side of the world, however, the service was on the ball. As soon as I was seated, I was presented with a choice of welcome drinks, which if I remember correctly, was water, some sodas and a mango and lemon based drink. I went with the last one. Like you know, airlines can’t serve alcohol on the ground in Indian airports, so this was what we had.
The regional seat on Etihad Airways A320
Legspace check. Works well on the bulkhead
We pushed back and took off about 35 minutes later than schedule. I dozed off for a bit after this, and woke up an hour later to see that the breakfast service had already started. Seeing me awake, the stewardess approached me to ask if I wanted to have some breakfast. And then, I was asked about what did I want to have for breakfast. For those of you interested, this is how the menu read:
Wanting to try out the Middle-Eastern option, I went with the Taste of Arabia menu. While the crew worked on that, I booted up the IFE, and started to fiddle with it. It seemed to have a good collection for a short flight as well. We were provided headsets as well, but they were not needed since I just settled to watch the airshow. Nicely enough, there was also a USB port with the screen, which could be used to watch your own media via a phone or a USB stick maybe.
Fifteen minutes after, a tray appeared with the breakfast in one go. The crew brought along the bread basket shortly after as well, and I went with a warm croissant.
The breakfast was pretty delicious even for an unearthy hour, and I followed it up with some coffee after the breakfast. There was also a wine list given away, however I don’t think anyone was interested in it at this hour of the morning since most of the cabin was sleeping.
Too bad the coffee could not keep me awake for much and I slept off for the rest of the flight. I was woken by the captain coming on the PA system to announce the beginning of descent into Abu Dhabi about 20 minutes prior. Just about enough time to wrap up my equipment, such as iPad and the accompanying wires and put it back in its place. Here are some pictures overflying Abu Dhabi:
Once we landed, we navigated through a maze of Etihad planes of all shapes and sizes before finally coming to stop at a remote bay again, where a bus waited to bring passengers to Terminal 3.
Ready to be bussed off again
Surely it was the regular business class executed well, and I’m thinking Etihad has the current timings to make it a convenient transit with other flights which depart early morning from Abu Dhabi to other parts of the western world, however I did not like the timings at all. Now only if they could do something about it, I may consider Etihad for trips to the Middle East.