Saturday, February 12, 2011

Etihad Me At Hello

I have just made it to the Transit area - ahh, mosaic dome - in Abu Dhabi International Airport for one of the best flights I have experienced. After all these years of travel, and countless flights and randomised airlines...Etihad Airways just may have won my heart!

I drove down to the airport with Mum, and went through the Customs doors. I am aware I am a little bit of a travel snob, just by having a chuckle at the fact that someone has left their passport at the first security check of their journey - they are in real trouble if that's their beginning.

I jab my belly with a blood thinning shot of clexane, and then board through Gate 9, to find the comfiest airplane seat I have ever sat in. And yes, I have flown Business before, nothing special. This one, however, in regular economy last night, is cushioned, roomy (unbelievable but true), and despite my skepticism about it's write up as an ergonomically enhanced chair, I am sold. It doesn't just recline, it actually does cradle as the website claims, back eases back and the pan moves forward. Plus adjustable lumbar support. I am blown away, and after 14 hours of that, I am not as stiff as I usually feel after such a flight. Awesome.

I spent the first two hours with James Franco in the amazing 127 Hours. After seeing the adventurer during the week on The 7pm Project, I was even more intrigued to see the movie. The cinematography, the play out of emotions and then final dilemma to save his own life, this movie was enthralling. Maybe a little modified for the flight viewing, it wasn't as gory as I had been expected, but is certainly not for the faint-hearted! Great performance, and amazing story.

A walk, more liquid intake, to ward that elevated DVT risk away, we were fed. I almost squealed with delight at the real cutlery provided with the meal. That doesn't happen much any more!

I get some sleep. Me! Sleep, on a flight! Almost unheard of. But again, comfortable setting! The seat allocation is that all single travellers have a couple of seats to themselves, which also help. This is a thinking airline! Sleep between Jakarta and Colombo, according to the maps.

Lights back on in the cabin, but low and inoffensive, I then watch The Social Network. I will admit, I had not been keen until it was endorsed by the Golden Globes - and I actually really enjoyed it. A depiction of the rise and rise of Zuckerman, but also the geeky, sad friendlessness of the man who put together a site that helps the world's friends stay connected. Fascinating.

Of course, I would love Etihad to read this and send me a free flight, but seriously, I am just saying - I think I have finally found a carrier I may look out for more than normal.

I mean, even the loo on the plane is done up like a hotel bathroom if you go in at the right time, with the folded ends of the toilet paper - and the outer edge ones have a window.

Anyway, 2 thirds of my flights done, I am not beside myself at the prospect of the rest of the journey.

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