This was an early morning flight so I got a cab in Dubai to take me the 1 hour drive to the airport.
Note, this flight departed in Terminal 3 that is soon to be replaced by the much larger and nicer Terminal A
A nice feature of Abu Dhabi airport is the dedicated business check in out front – that’s simply a door right to the left of the main terminal.
While it was very crowded at the business check in – I didn’t have to wait and everything went pretty smooth.
Now, Abu Dhabi airport is a little tricky since there are two business class lounges. One after security in the main departure area and another one if you are flying to the US beyond the customs area.
If you are flying to the US, its nice to be able to do customs before departure, but note you will need to arrive much further in advance and experience a slightly smaller lounge.
For me, I was off to the regular business class lounge in the main terminal and was looking forward to having some breakfast.
After you clear security and customs in Terminal 3 – you will make your way half way down the concourse to find the business class lounge.
Entrance to the lounge was pretty smooth and there was no one in line. One quick scan of the boarding pass and we were in.
Immediately entering the lounge you will notice it’s a bit dated but there are many different area separated by a large bar.
As soon as you walk in you will noticed a snack area that opens into a larger buffet as well as a few different types of areas with unique styles of couches and chairs.
There are a number of different seating types in the lounge as well as a dining area. Given it was early morning and I was planning to eat going the dining area route that was completely empty seemed to make sense.
As you look further down the lounge you will notice a large bar and many different sections separated by couches.
I took a quick look at the directory and you’ll notice mainly a business center and den that were not immediately in sight but further down in the lounge.
I of course came for the food and decided to check out the offering. While we were still coming out of COVID protections you’ll notice almost everything cold was individually wrapped.
This included every croissant or even piece of bread – gave off the vibes that these were not very fresh but I didn’t try them to be honest so who knows.
As for the hot food there was a decent selection. I browsed through some familiar but also some unfamiliar dishes.
There was your usual breakfast spread with of course some local specialities.
The buffet was divided into local cuisine as well as western cuisine. What I like best about the Middle East is the type of dips and stews they always have, even at breakfast time.
On the western side there was your usual pancakes as well as a few other staples.
The hash browns were well laid out and did still appear crispy, which is hard to do in a buffet.
The eggs just looked ok but pretty standard for breakfast buffet fare.
There were two types of sausage, I believe chicken and lamb as pork is not common in the UAE.
Same with the bacon, this was beef bacon I believe but can’t recall what the sign said.
By this time a few people started gathering in the dining area as more travelers started entering the lounge.
I took a quick peak at the business center and there were plenty of iMacs as well as printer here if needed.
The couch areas by the bar seemed the most comfortable and while it didn’t look crowded it was decently filled in every space.
I always like when a lounge has a real espresso machine and I couldn’t pass up getting one.
My espresso came out great – especially given that the bartender was questionable about how to use it. I’d say this is a great pull for someone not confident in their espresso making and I really enjoyed it.
I did two quick plates of breakfast to sample both the local dishes as well as the western.
I went with all your standard items and I’d have to say I enjoyed the hummus, toast, and I believe mudamas way better.
Summary & Takeaways
The Etihad lounge in Terminal 3 was probably a great addition when it was first released but it definitely feels dated. The space is pretty spread out and seems comfortable but it could use a refresh that aligns more with the luxury they present in the air.
Etihad is well aware of this and released stunning new lounges in the new Terminal A that really lives up to their name.
While Terminal 3 served its purpose for a long time – Abu Dhabi Airport received a huge upgrade and I think will be attracting many more travelers from now on.
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