Our son Luke's work schedule meant that Aannsha and I found ourselves at Brisbane airport with an hour to kill before the Etihad check in counter opened, which was in hindsight a good thing, as it allowed us to regain our composure and for Aannsha to refresh her slightly smudged eye liner.
At 7.30pm the Etihad ground staff opened the check in and as we were first in line we were eager for a quick check in so that we could make the most of the business class lounge area before our flight at 10.30pm.
It didn't go quite as smoothly as we imagined. We are both dual UK and Australian citizens and we were flying on our UK passports for easier entry into our final destination of Spain. However there seemed to be some sort of problem with Aannsha's UK passport. It seems that Aannsha's old UK passport was in 'the system' but it was in her first marriage surname and didn't include the first name Aannsha. Therefore 'the system' was getting itself into a tizzy trying to reconcile her new UK passport which has the first name Aannsha and the surname Jones.
Thankfully the check in lady was very polite and professional and after checking our Australian passports, thanking us for our patience, making several phone calls to some unseen supervisor and waiting for 'the system' to refresh 3 times, eventually it all got sorted. So firmly clutching our boarding passes we wandered off to find the business lounge.
Our decision to book business class seats was done for several reasons. Firstly we know from past experience how physically gruelling a 35 hour plane trip is in economy, secondly we got a much better price for the sale of our house than we imagined and thirdly flying business class was going to be a once in a lifetime treat to ourselves.
In Brisbane airport Etihad Airways has a sharing agreement to use the Air New Zealand lounge. At the lounge entrance we showed our boarding passes and were pleasantly welcomed in. There were maybe 8 or 10 people in there already and we had no problem finding a table and a couple of comfy chairs, which gave us a view of the runway so we could watch the planes coming and going. At each table there's also an electrical outlet for plugging in mains powered devices and a couple of USB ports for charging phones or tablets. Very handy.
I am guessing that the food selection varies based on the time of day and by the time we were there the selection was mediocre. Limited to fresh sandwiches, fruits, various chilled desserts, breads and biscuits. There was also a self serve bar with a good selection of beers, wines and spirits, plus tea and coffee making facilities. I poured a large vodka orange for myself and a gin and tonic for Aannsha and for the next hour and a half we snacked on the foods, topped up our drinks as needed and recharged our phones.