Etihad Airways has just introduced the B787 Dreamliner on its Dublin-Abu Dhabi route. Ian Bloomfield experienced the upgraded Business Class on a recent flight.
Abu Dhabi in June may not be every one’s idea of a great place to visit, with temperatures in the mid to high 40s. However, Karen Maloney of Etihad Airways made sure this was a more than pleasant experience for the introduction of the B787 Dreamliner to the Dublin route this month.
Travelling to Abu Dhabi on the B777-300, the journey commenced in Business Class and, with a 1x2x1 configuration and 40 lie-flat seats, comfort was the bi word for the seven-hour flight. All seats have access to the aisle. Service from the excellent crew was first class, who all made the serious business of enjoying the Etihad hospitality of champagne, wine and a great menu served any time you required. The menu was a four-course meal with plenty of options including an all-day selection.
In spite of the seven hour journey we arrived in Abu Dhabi Airport well fed, watered and refreshed by a good rest. A great start to a special experience in the Middle East.
Etihad Airways Innovation Centre
One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to Etihad Airways’ Innovation Centre and meeting with Stephen Pierce from Ireland who is Manager Communications, Corporate Affairs, who gave a comprehensive overview of the training centre for Etihad crew. There were mock ups of both the B777-300 and B787 Dreamliner, which recently joined the Irish route. Every aspect of crew training takes place at the centre, with special emphasis on safety.
Midfield Airport, the new International Airport in Abu Dhabi, will open late 2019, continue phased development into 2020, and will keep Etihad Airways leading the way in the air to Abu Dhabi.
Etihad has a twice daily service from Dublin to Abu Dhabi from 27 June to 15 September using the B777-300 and B787-9 Dreamliner and then going back to daily using the B777-300.
A comprehensive guided tour of Abu Dhabi was led by Anne Marshall from the Department Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi and included Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn and Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. The tour also included a visit to Warner Bros. World on Yas Island.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
After 10 years in the making, the hotly anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi was opened on 11 November 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron. The museum, which is the first outside of France for Louvre, features 23 galleries that are housed underneath a spectacular dome roof that weighs the same as the Eiffel Tower. Featuring 600 pieces of art work, 300 of which are on loan from key French institutions, the museum embodies the spirit of openness and aims to create dialogue among cultures across the world.
Qasr Al Hosn
Built in 1761 to defend the only fresh-water well on Abu Dhabi Island, Qasr Al Hosn – also known as the White Fort – is the oldest stone building in the city, and as such has become a symbol of Emirati heritage, culture and tradition. Following years of restoration and careful development, the iconic fort opened to the public on 7 December 2018, showcasing a range of historical artefacts, photographs and memorabilia.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This majestic mosque is one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society. It was initiated by the late UAE President and ruler of Abu Dhabi, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and can house more than 40,000 worshippers, many of whom kneel to pray on the world’s largest hand-made carpet, which measures 5,627 square metres and took 1,200 women two years to make. The mosque came second in TripAdvisor’s list of the world’s top 25 landmarks, beating the likes of the Taj Mahal in India and Peru’s Machu Picchu.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi indoor theme park opened its doors to the public on 25 July 2018. The park features six immersive lands and brings together some of the world’s most iconic characters and stories under one roof for the first time in the region. Featuring 29 state-of-the-art rides, interactive family-friendly attractions and unique live entertainment, as well as a variety of authentically themed dining and shopping outlets, the park’s incredibly immersive environments, unique thrill rides and fan-favourite characters will create a truly unparalleled experience for all who visit.
Returning home on the B787 Dreamliner was the final highlight of the four-day trip. With so many features that enhance the experience of flying including 6’8” lie-flat beds, direct aisle access at every seat, privacy dividers, 18 inch touch-screen TV, power sockets and USB ports at every seat and dine anytime menus. The excellent crew are on hand to see to your every request and luxury onboard is the order of the day.
Abu Dhabi to the world is the Etihad message and with the Dreamliner Etihad opens the world to Abu Dhabi.