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Whilst this lounge is no Sydney QF F Lounge, I have certainly seen a lot worse. A dedicated dining area and a good selection of food and drinks, with plenty of staff  on hand for assistance if required. There is a SPA here for massages as well (always a good thing) but again, not of the grandeur that SYD F Lounge offers.  There’e some nice areas to relax and watch TV (or not) and a reasonable bar area nicely stocked.  There is also a couple of computer/printer bays if required.  There are not a lot of toilets in this lounge and the showers (all 2 of them) are merely an extra cubicle next to the stalls in the bathroom: not my idea of  a great layout.  The one common theme in all Etihad’s lounges is that they are scrupulously clean. However, the other common trait is the lack of power points for recharging phones. tablets and computers. Luckily, in First and Business  at least, the aircraft are fitted with both USB and 220V power so we walked off the plane with all equipment fully charged. This is a nice lounge to relax in if transiting, but the T3 lounge is far bigger  and offers a lot more services, so it’s worth the walk : about 10 mins between lounges.

 

American Airlines have garnered a number of A330′s since the merge with US Airways and this aircraft, and indeed the route, is one of those. The flight leaves LHR at 1.20pm and arrives into CLT at 5.45pm local time. flight time is nominally 9hrs 25m.  The aircraft are far form new, but this one was in excellent condition. The J class cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration, with the seats angled inwards. The centre seats offer reasonable privacy for the single traveller, although obviously the single seats along each side are better if you want complete privacy or to work whilst in transit and not bother your seat mate. The seats are comfortable, offer more than enough leg room and lie flat when converted into a bed. Not a lot of storage in the seat pod, although shoes/boots fit comfortably under the foot rest. Pillow is a good size but the blanket/duvet is on the thin side, so if you feel the cold (as my wife Zoe does) you may want to wear something warm.  The inflight entertainment (IFE) is delivered via a 15 inch screen, with plenty of titles to choose from, both in movies and TV. The music choice lacks a little, in my opinion, so if you enjoy your music whilst travelling, take your smart phone music library with you.

The amenities kit is standard fare – with lotions and potions supplied by Red Flower and aptly branded Wanderlust. However, I do love the fact that American always supply a small packet of tissues and a pen – enabling you to fill out the customs forms without getting a pen from your carry one or coat that had been carefully hung in the cupboard by the FA.

The menu is also reasonable: I had the cod, which was surprisingly good. Zoe had the beef and was very happy with it, but it looked a little overcooked for my taste. Medium rare is not on the food heater settings. Dessert is always the same for us if available, the Ice Cream Sundae. Construct your own with nuts, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream (calorie free of course) drizzled over Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. There is a nice looking cheese platter available too, but we never seem to order it!!! The wine list is nothing to write home about , but the reds were acceptable. The champagne was rubbish.

The service was very good but not outstanding. And interestingly, with a different FA in each aisle, Zoe felt hers was less remarkable than the service I received.

Overall, a very comfortable flight with good service. Not a bad way to get across the Atlantic pond.

After the 787 First experience BNE-AUH, I was expecting somewhat of a let down on this leg in an A330, J Class. Whilst the hard product was considerably less comfortable, the service and the food was exceptional. The config is 1-2-1 with the window seats in the herringbone style – one angled inwards and the next angled outwards. I don’t have a problem with this, however, the strange open sided footrest allows your feet to drop off when trying to lie flat. In the case of the outward angled seat, this means your feet can fall into the aisle – not great if you’re trying to sleep. Not a true lie fat bed, but reasonably close to it and cushions were comfortable: this was a daytime flight of 8hrs so no sleep was attempted. USB and power points are available, however positioning makes egress from the inwards facing seat difficult if power leads are plugged in, as you have to step over them to get out into the aisle. Not a great deal of storage space, but room for your phone beside you and space for shoes, under the foot rest. The tray table was one I had not seen before this flight, but it was functional enough albeit difficult to get around whilst deployed.

The food on this flight was excellent – nice array of choices and some nice wines to go with it. The usual IFE controls and strangely, the list of titles available far exceeded that available on the BNE-AUH flight.  Overall, a very comfortable flight with great service that seems to be the norm for Etihad.