We arrived at AUH just a couple of minutes late and after what seemed to be an eternity chatting to one of the FAs about where I was heading to we finally deplaned.
We were in Etihad dedicated terminal and I had about two hours before I needed to board the onward connection to Brussels – so there was no need to rush. After wandering around for about 45 minutes to stretch mu legs I headed over to the Business Class lounge to chill out.
Like the A340 I had flown from Sydney in – the lounge was looking very tired. This perception was not aided by the woman a couple of rows over from me snoring very loudly much to the amusement of many of the lounge guests. The lounge also had a smoking area – which wasn’t a good look. My other immediate impression was the high reliance on immigrant labour from the subcontinent and south east Asia. This of course wasn’t a surprise – but in the duty free shopping precinct and lounge you could have been forgiven for thinking you were in Manila or Kuala Lumpur.
At the mandated time I headed down to the gate and found we were being loaded on to buses out to the A330 destined for BRU. The gate was a scrum but they were operating a separate ‘premium’ bus (the only difference was it was less crowded). Once at the plane found that yes this aircraft had the newer Pearl Class cabin which didn’t look so tired and actually gave me a little shoulder room.
One thing that did strike me about Abu Dhabi was the temperature on the short walk from the terminal to the bus and the bus to the plane. At 2am the temperature was still in the 40°C range and was humid as well. Doesn’t bode well for stopover on the way back does it?
I settled in and watched the remainder of Mirror, Mirror which I had started on my way to AUH before drifting off to sleep. Sleep was a little more difficult on this flight though because of a lot of talking from the galley. I still managed to get a decent amount of rest across the two flights and hopefully have put myself in a good spot for resetting my body clock to the new time zone.
After breakfast the call to prayer has hit some of the passengers and the plane maps system has a quite cool feature that tells you the direction of Mecca so you can pray. A number of people have disappeared into the forward galley – which isn’t very big – so I’m assuming there is some form of prayer room on board. Which is a cool touch.
I still haven’t managed to motivate myself for this trip. Work has been so full-on and stressful that I just haven’t had the chance to get excited. Indeed when packing I was kinda lamenting having to head off at this time. I’m still bloody tired from all of the additional hours I have been doing – and the challenge remains as to whether I will be able to overcome that in time to actually enjoy any part of this trip – or whether I will just sleep through every non-work element in an effort to get recentred. Time will tell.
Have started descent into Brussels. Been a long journey – glad it wasn’t in economy!