Etihad just announced that starting today, all passengers can pay to access their Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa at Abu Dhabi International Airport, promising “a different level of service and hospitality before stepping on board your flight.” For a fee, economy and business class passengers can now access their flagship lounge where the Etihad team will (allegedly) “deliver service and hospitality comparable to that you would experience in a 5-star hotel” but is all the hype worth it? Or is this just another way for Etihad to squeeze a few more dollars out of you?
I visited the lounge last year and I did enjoy my experience. I mean, it’s no Lufthansa First Class Terminal by any means but it is a beautiful and modern space with a la carte dining, spa services and other unique features such as a fitness room and cigar lounge. You can click here to read my full review of the Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa.
Here’s the main seating area of the lounge.
The lounge offers restaurant-style, a la carte dining.
A small fitness room with some cardio machines.
Cigar room with a great selection of fine Cuban cigars.
Spa and shave services.
And even a couple of private rooms on a first come, first serve basis.
So how much will this first class experience cost you?
- If you’re flying in business or economy class, you can choose from 2, 4 and 6 hour lounge access packages starting from USD $200 / AED 735.
- As a first class passenger, you can invite a companion to join you in our First Class Lounge & Spa for USD $100 / AED 367.
- If you’re an Etihad Guest Gold member travelling in business class, you’ll have a preferential lounge access rate of USD $100 / AED 367.
Based on the information provided by Etihad, it looks like $200 will only get you a 2-hour pass for the lounge. However, they weren’t clear on how much longer stays would cost or how they would enforce the time limit policy. Will they just come and get you when your time is up? Or will they require you to purchase a lounge pass long enough to cover your remaining transit time?
Etihad’s press release says you can “Enjoy our most remarkable lounge experience with a variety of spaces to work, rest and play. Enjoy fine-dining prepared in-house by our Chefs. Relax in our spa, be pampered at nail bar, have a blow dry, or take advantage of our wet-shave service. Work out in the Fitness Room or rest in the Relax and Recline Room.” Based on that statement, I’m assuming guests will have complimentary spa services also but that’s not for certain because complimentary treatments are only provided to passengers traveling in first class and The Residence. Passengers with access based on elite status don’t get complimentary spa services so I’m not sure if pay-per-use passengers will get complimentary services either.
More information regarding the new Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa access policy can be found here.
So what do you guys think? Is it worth it? As much as I enjoyed my experience last time, I would have to say no.
I personally think the Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa is a great lounge but definitely not something that I would ever pay $200 to access, or even $100 as a business class passenger, for that matter. As a business class passenger, I would just use the Etihad Business Class Lounge for a whopping lounge access fee of zero dollars.
When I visited it last year, I thought the Etihad First Class Lounge was a beautiful space and it offered a competitive first class lounge experience but from what I hear lately, the lounge has really gone downhill since its grand opening. The recliners have been removed from the “relax and recline” room, the food menu has been trimmed down significantly and the service has really deteriorated.
It’s a shame but I won’t be paying to access this lounge anytime soon. For the money, I would just access one of the Priority Pass Lounges available at Abu Dhabi Airport. There are two Priority Pass Lounges in terminal 1, which is only a 15 minute walk from terminal 3.