An Abu Dhabi Dabble. ETIHAD 777 from Manchester

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13 years 4 months

Posts: 125

Hello and welcome to my latest trip report featuring ETIHADs non-stop service Manchester - Abu Dhabi – Manchester, and the ParkInn hotel situated on Yas Island.

The trip planning stage.
Having flown almost exclusively with Star Alliance carriers for the last few years to earn frequent flyer miles into my chosen programme I felt something of a change was in order. I started my flying days with the intentions of wanting to fly as many different aircraft types and airlines as possible but things were starting to get a bit same old same old due to not wanting to miss out on miles earning potential. Don’t get me wrong I am still hooked, but a change from the Lufthansa/SWISS 319/320s would be very welcome on a one off trip.
I had been watching ETIHAD fares for quite some time with an interest in maybe trying them out should something take my eye. Well, as luck would have it a “spring discount” was being offered and after a couple of days to think about it I decided to go for it. A nice and simple MAN-AUH-MAN. No crazy connections to make, no multiple segment days and no spine crushing 15hr plus days that have been the mainstay of my travel plans for the last couple of years. This was just a trip to kick back on.
The only snag (if you can call it that) was a minimum stop over of three days to qualify for the discount. I got round this to some extent by taking a flight out on the Saturday evening (arriving Sunday morning) which was classed as one night of the Three needed to qualify. The remaining two nights would be spent shacked up in the ParkInn on Yas Island which was had for a rather respectable £86.

Let the adventure begin.
My plan was to take the train from Halifax to Manchester Airport as this would be an evening flight leaving me plenty of time and options to get there by rail. On the day however I was offered a lift from my parents so I accepted that. They came to pick me up soon after and off I went.
ETIHAD use T1 at Manchester, so after being dropped off there I walked round to the check in desk which had just opened. Perfect timing. The formalities took no time at all and I was soon on my way to a very quiet security area. I stood inline behind a good looking brunet, once her coat had been removed at the instruction of the security officer she revealed to us she had very little on!!! Some kind of dress that you might see partly covering the girls in a seedy nightclub (not that I would know). Quick as a flash the guy said to her “please make sure your pockets are empty, IF YOU HAVE ANY”. Quality line and my kind of humour:D. We both just grinned like a couple of teenagers in a sex education lesson. Don’t think Miss hot stuff was very impressed.

I made my way up to the Executive lounge which I had to pay to use as I have no status with this airline. I got a £2 discount though. The England v USA game was due to start soon, and as the only male in the U.K who doesn’t like football, I found a quiet corner to sit in and get stuck into a bottle of red.

Relaxing with the vino.

Flight Number: EY 22
Equipment: 777-300

About an hour before departure I went down to gate 27 to await boarding. The holding area was very quiet, I suspected most people would be watching the footy until half time. Once onboard I took my place in seat 20K and waited for the stragglers to arrive. Well they never showed up and the doors closed with a load of only about 40% in Y and the middle seat kept empty.
Our scheduled departure time of 21:10 came and went with no word from the crew regarding our delay. I could see from my window that the ground crew were walking around the aircraft every now and then and that quite a large number of pushchairs looked like they were being loaded? Anyway after about 50 minutes delay the announcement was made we were ready to go. At last! A6-ETF taxied out to 23R at such a slow speed and in the fading summers light I knew I would probably miss a decent sunset. After takeoff we made a turn to the right of about 170 degrees allowing a good overview of the airport.

Climb out as we get the last glimpses of the sun going down with the massive GE90s powering us skywards.

As soon as the seatbelt sign was off the crew were out with the drinks cart and to distribute menus for the evening meal. ETIHAD recently updated their Y class product to what they call “Inspired Service”. Not really sure what this involves, but worthy of note is that three main meal choices were offered in economy. I took a G+T and opted for the chicken curry which was on my tray table around 30 minutes later. Well the food was very nice indeed. A good helping of meat in this foil tin unlike some Y meals you can get with one small piece of something that looks like it used to be part of an animal. Sorry no pictures of the food this time folks.
Having the low load factor on this over night flight was helping with the usual cramped quarters. ETIHAD have followed Emirates lead in recently changing the configuration of their 777s from a 2-5-2 layout to a slightly more cramped 3-4-3. As I said before this was fine tonight as the middle seat remained empty.

Cabin shot after our late dinner as the mood lighting comes on and people settle in for the night.

Not being the kind of guy to sleep much on planes I fired up the EBOX system to hunt out some films to watch and settled on “Up In The Air”. Its a film about a mileage junkie trying to hit his lifetime goal of 10 million frequent flyer miles, played by Mr Clooney. Some of us probably have quite a bit in common with this guy.

During the night regular drinks runs were made by the crew offering water, juice or something a bit stronger if that’s what you wanted. Nice to see this, usually a sign of a good airline.

I opened my window shade as the sun was just starting to rise in the East and along with the anti-collision beacon its light was being cast on one of our motors.

Map feature on EBOX showing our flight stats.

And our routing.

Our crew came round with about 1hour to go to provide us with one last drink and a warm sandwich as our arrival snack. I always look forward to the decent stage of a flight, checking out what’s around, especially on a visit to a place for the first time.

Spotted this cool structure on final. Think its offices?

After our delay back in MAN we had made up some ground and touched down on time in Abu Dhabi. As the aircraft taxied in I could feel the heat on the window. I was looking forward to being blasted full on by the 40 degree plus temperatures that are common in this part of the world at this time of year.

Being seated at the front of the plane ensured I was off and into the airport 5 minutes after parking up. Immigration was cleared in an effective way and I went outside to experience the heat. HOLY S**T!!!!! what a shock leaving an air conditioned building straight out into the heat. I got a taxi to my hotel and parted company with 65AED which is about £13. O.K for a 15 minute ride from an airport.

My hotel booking stated I could check in at 14:00. As it was only 08:00 I thought I was pushing it a touch for an early check in. Much to my surprise I was told this was fine and my room was ready. I thanked the reception for their cooperation and went up to my room for a shower and a wee knap.

Some basic amenities in the room, the likes of which only Alan Partridge could get excited about in his travel tavern.

My plan for today was to just relax by the pool and take it easy which I had no problem doing. A nice breeze coming off the Arabian Gulf kept the temperature to an almost tolerable level. The pool area was so chilled out. Lounge/Easy Listening music was being played out across the grounds, Zero7 and Air that type of music. It was so easy to unwind and a bar selling a good range of drinks was situated next to the pool.

After heading back to my room and freshening up, I decided to head out to see what goes on of an evening in the Yas Island area. Well, rather disappointingly nothing goes on! Mainly because there is very little there. Construction is under way on a lot of massive projects, but aside from the Grand Prix circuit and the hotels, nothing is finished yet. I felt a bit cheated by this as the hotel information “hints” that most things are complete and that there is lots to do. Good marketing.

I walked across the Yas hotel situated on the grounds of the Grand Prix circuit to capture it lit up in the evening.

Here it is by day. Looks quite impressive I think.

I also took some pictures around the hotel.

Pool area by night.

Sun lounges on the decking

After a bit of wandering around I just had a couple of Coronas in the bar and went to bed.

Next day and I was up early to go and sample Abu Dhabi city centre. I was informed at reception I could get a taxi for 65AED/£13 or take the new bus service for 2AED/0.40p. Being a Yorkshire lad I took the bus. I had no plans other than to go there for a couple of hours and wander round before heading back before the midday heat got too intense.

Picture of the CBD

Quite an interesting place. I should have done some research before going down there as I just kinda followed my nose and didn’t really go to any specific places in the city.

After a bus ride back to Yas, it was pool time again. I was here to relax after all.
I sat out until long after the sun went down as did most people around the pool. The sunset was quite disappointing as it disappeared behind a layer of dust/smog.

Another shot around the pool area with the bar in the background.

I had a meal and a few beers in the hotel then went up to my room to pack my roll-on case for my departure at 06:00 the next day.

Up the next day and back to the airport. Wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how busy it would be but it wasn’t bad at all. ETIHAD have there own terminal, T3, so it’s easy to navigate for a first timer. Fast, friendly and efficient check in, easy security passage and a lot of expensive shops airside.

General overview of duty free section.

My ride home, A6-ETA was parked at gate 35 making it impossible to get a picture of it.
I did manage to get a shot of this A 3SLOW CLIMBER with the “sail” themed control tower over its starboard wing.

After a short wait we were asked to board flight EY21 to Manchester almost 1 hour early. This would have been fine if we were early or on-time. Unfortunately there seemed to be an issue with the cargo door resulting in a 2 hour delay meaning we sat on the plane, without moving from the gate for 3 hours. Well that’s just the nature of the beast I guess. My last 100ish flights have had no significant delays (over 1hr) so I guess I was due one sooner or later. To be fair it was very well handled by the crew. IFE was activated and food and drink rounds were frequent as we sat on the tarmac.
After the problem was addressed the captain informed us of a flight time of 7hrs 10 mins and we pushed back.

The flight home was again only about half full, and as before the middle seat was kept free to help on the comfort front A few words on the seat then. Well it’s not too comfy in terms of padding but the “gadgets” are plenty.
As can be seen from this shot a full range of connectivity is on offer. USB, Ethernet and an international power adapter for charging the oh so popular laptops, not to mention the size of the screen itself.

Climb away from AUH over desert expanse.

The flight home was fairly uneventful. The food was not as nice as the outbound journey but other than that it was a similar affair.

We did have to avoid a massive storm en-route, near Italy. We were in the cruise at FL340 and this cell was up to maybe FL360. Looks quite nasty and we picked up some moderate chop around its perimeter.
Well we landed on 5R about 2hours late in quite nice conditions which was a good thing to see as I was taking the train home. I had no luggage to collect so I just hopped on a train and after a taxi ride from the station up to my house that was that. A true Planes, Trains and automobiles tale.

Thanks for reading and as always comments welcome.

Original post
Profile picture for user T5

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 6,503

A nice report and lots of great snaps. :)

I flew with Etihad Airways in late 2006 and enjoyed three flights on their 777-300ERs (including A6-ETA) when they were in a 9-abreast economy configuration. As far as I can remember though, they were 3-3-3 and not 2-5-2.

Profile picture for user Rickt

Member for

13 years 10 months

Posts: 552

Once again a great report there Lee,

Enjoy your flight later this morning......


Member for

17 years 3 months

Posts: 12,842

A great comprehensive report with a worthy pictorial..I'll be looking forward to your next one with anticipation

Member for

10 years 1 month

Posts: 31

question did you get the women number :p lol

any chance of reposting the pics up ?? please