Introduction to The Long Way back to Australia
Bangalore to Mumbai (Jet Airways Business Class Class 737-800)
JW Marriott Sahar (Mumbai)
Mumbai to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
Tour of Etihad's The Residence
The Frankfurt Hotel (Frankfurt)
Park Inn by Radisson (Luxembourg 1)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe (Luxembourg 2)
The Westin Grand (Frankfurt)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Seoul (Lufthansa First Class A380)
The Ritz-Carlton (Seoul)
Tokyo to Sydney (Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER)
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER (Etihad ticket)
Mumbai - Abu Dhabi
Class: First Class
Note: This will be a slightly shorter review since I have previously reviewed Jet Airways First Class.
I appreciate when airlines give you extra amenities, especially before the flight even begins - such as Chauffeur Driven pick ups, and Etihad does this really well. Flying first, you usually get an E-Class Mercedes pick up so you do go in style.
Upon getting to the airport (literally 5 minutes later) the chauffeur informed me to enter through the last gates which is where Etihad check-in counters are located, which I did. Unfortunately it seems like there was a mix up as there were only Jet Airways counters, not Etihad, as they had moved - but for some reason no one knew where they were. So I had to trudge back to to the TV screen's to find that they had moved to the complete opposite end of the check-in area, which was slightly annoying, but it gave me a change to check out the beautifully designed Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
After a short wait in line, I checked my bags in and they directed me to the Express security checks. When I last flew this flight from Delhi, there was a staff member to walk me all the way through to the security clearance area, but there was no such service this time - which is fine, since it turns out that the express security check area was in a separate area from the normal security area, and I was through in a matter of seconds. Once I was done with immigration I headed for the GVK Mumbai Lounge - which was frankly one of the most gorgeous lounges I have ever seen. The business class section was utterly packed, but a staff member of the lounge showed me to the separate, and slightly private First Class area, which was nice and empty save for one other passenger.
I was seated by the friendly (and professional) wait staff in the First Class section, and given a drinks and food menu - which was a nice touch as opposed to the buffet option in the non First Class area. I decided since I was up, I'd start off with Champagne - a nice Moet & Chandon, which is honestly not a bad choice for a lounge, and a contract one at that.
I wasn't really hungry, but I wanted one last taste of India before I left so I ordered a favorite of mine - Gulab Jamun! If you've never tried it before, it's a must have.
It was presented in a very nice large dish, and they were hot - and tasted fresh, so they may have been made upon request. As usual, these were very delicious, and not overly sweet. Yes, I knwo Champagne + Gulab Jamun is a totally weird combo - and it exactly didn't mix well together, but when in Rome.. or Mumbai in this case.
The staff promised me they'd let me know when boarding had started, and right on cue two of them came around and told me it was time to board. I thanked them and started a 10 minute walk, rather impressed with a beautiful contract/non-airline lounge. As I got to the gate, I walked straight to the First/Business Class side to board, and entered the plane. A male cabin crew member, who looked like he was totally disinterested in his job, and the flight, showed me to my seat, and that was probably the last interaction I had with him for the entire flight, though I felt like I was asking him for a favor when I asked how long the flight was, which was odd considering how amazing Etihad teams have been in the past. Nevertheless, I settled in and tried to take some quick pictures before the apparently full First Class section filled up.
As always, Jet Airways do not have the most modern or amazing seats in the sky - but they are fairly comfortable and the warm tones are soothing. And as I always say - beat's flying in Economy! As I settled in, one of the younger female cabin crew staff asked what I would like to drink, and I just settled for a fresh-ish Orange Juice.
It was of course accompanied by the usual signed welcome letter, a hot tower, and dates. I skipped the Arabic Coffee this time. I found this flight odd, because most staff seemed to be in an unpleasant mood, without smiles or pleasantries, except for the one that was interacting with my side of the cabin. None introduced themselves by name though, except the cabin crew head, a British gentleman, but he was nowhere to be seen till the end either.
I settled for a cinnamon danish and a chocolate danish for breakfast, but neither were really appetizing. I'm not a chocolate person, so I didn't like that, while the cinnamon danish was passable, though both were nice and warm. Knowing the long day ahead, I decided to take a nap before landing.
With the doors closed, the 'cabin' feels quite private and spacious as well, so I took a few pics to give an idea.
Like I said, for a 4 hour flight, the seats and bed are comfortable, but I highly doubt I would feel the same after 10 hours on these, if presented with that option. I did manage to get 1.5 hours of light sleep before I was woken up by the captain's announcement that we were landing. The Cabin Crew head came and informed me which gate to go to for the next Etihad flight, which was a classy touch at the very least.
Once we landed, at a gate this time rather than a remote stand like my previous Jet Flight to AUH, I exited the plane to a very welcome surprise, where there was a Etihad ground staff member with a placard/sign with my name on it, along with a airport staff to carry my carry-on bag! I wondered what was in store for me...