"How was it?" I asked Aannsha as she strolled back to the table where I sat tucking into the cooked breakfast and beer I'd promised myself. Aannsha smiled and said "Really good, I went at just the right time and got straight in, now I feel really refreshed." Another perk of flying business class and transiting through the Etihad Airways main hub in Abu Dhabi is the complimentary use of shower facilities in the business lounge area. I'm fairly sure that my wife didn't need a shower, but if it's there, you've got to try it, was the theme for this trip.
Our stopover in Abu Dhabi was a short 2 hours and 25 minutes and after clearing in, there was just enough time to hook into the free Wi-Fi, eat, drink, shower and go through security to board our next plane which would whisk us off to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Normally short stopovers are the ideal on a long haul flight, but this time around both Aannsha and I were a little disappointed that they were so short because we wanted to get as much bang for our buck by checking out all the facilities on offer, after all this business class thing was a once in a lifetime treat.
At 8.20am we were welcomed aboard the Etihad Boeing 777-300ER by the ever smiling crew. I have often wondered if cabin crew attend special classes where they learn how to do the perfect smile. Business seats on this aircraft are split into two sections. Forward of the door there are eight seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and I was in seat 6C which was a window seat, Aannsha's seat was next to me across the aisle. Once again my jacket was taken and hung up, champagne and hot towels were offered and we settled in ready for departure at 9.05am. Just as we were enjoying a champagne refill one of the smiling ladies came and asked if we'd like to move to two seats that were together in the other business section. Aannsha had the good smarts to go check them out and it's good that she did. If we'd moved we would have had a 6 month old baby right next to us for the next 7 hours and 40 minutes.
The menu on this flight was almost identical to that of our first flight, so sticking with the theme of 'if it's there, you've got to try it', I opted for the pea and mint soup with crème fraiche to start, followed by the grass fed fillet of beef with polenta chips, asparagus, red onion jam and beef jus. All washed down with a couple of glasses of 2014 Chateaux Trebiac Bordeaux. I'm not normally a big fan of desserts, but because everything else that I'd eaten had been so perfectly cooked and very tasty I stepped out of my comfort zone and requested the chocolate soufflé served warm with pistachio anglaise. My taste buds thought they'd died and gone to heaven, had I not been so full I might have been tempted to order a second one. After eating, I eased my seat into a reclining position, switched the seat control to full body massage and settled down to watch a movie with a glass of Remy Martin. All very civillised.