I woke up way to and headed to the airport at 6am. My excitement was very slightly dampened when checking out the weather where I was and the weather where I was going.
The Check in agent couldn't print me out a boarding pass for the AMM-AUH-CMB legs on EY for some reason. 25 minutes later I was in the Dan lounge, (nothing changed, the same substandard, mediocre lounge it always was.)
More frustrating then waking up early for a flight is waking up early for a flight and then it getting delayed
though in this case it wasn't so bad as I had a 5 hr stopover waiting for me in AMM and I was fine missing part of that. 45 minutes after the original departure time I boarded and was in for a surprise when I saw they changed the usually scheduled train with wings to a lie-flat 787
Soon after settling in I took my camera out of my carry-on to take some pics. I immediately had a stewardess come over to me and seductively whisper in my ear "are you going to be taking pictures of me"? Taken aback she then reworded it as a statement that I may not take pictures of the cabin or crew. The rest of the 1:15 that I was trapped in that tube with the 20 minutes I was actually in the air was otherwise uneventful and nonsexual. The cabin had 2-2-2 seating and felt extremely spacious and open, it just felt a little less private than lots of other configurations. From my seat I was able to view the screen of basically every other seat which contributed to the lack of privacy feeling, other than that it was quite decent. The Doona I had purchased right before this trip was an absolute lifesaver and is one of the greatest travel inventions of all time.
Upon landing in AMM I was told by transfer desk that they also cannot provide an EY boarding pass and they would need to send an agent to the ticketing counter that was before security for me, but alas they only open 3 hrs before departure which was still an hr away. In the meanwhile I was stranded in the 20 ft wide arrivals hall with a toilet and a hard steel bench, (a little touch of NY airports
). Half hour later when it came out I was flying business they immediately changed tunes and an agent walked me past security and to the lounge where he then disappeared for way to long with my passport to procure my passes and check me in. The lounge was decently large and overlooked the entire terminal. Had an empty room of daybeds where I rested until time for boarding the next flight.
AMM-CMB was operated by EY A330 with lie-flats seats and had a full business class.
Good thing I boarded early as it took the flight attendant 15 minutes to connect the car seat. The cabin had a 1-2-1 configuration which for some reason felt cramped yet more private.
There was no human meal served although they did provide Stogel cat food in case I brought my pet along. Since when are Muslims not allowed to eat Kosher? Maybe they realize that if they serve this to them the UN will jump up with claims of Zionistic mistreatment of Muslims.
On second thought, I actually may have found something edible.
Cabin crew was very nice and extremely child friendly. There was no jet-bridge so we had that dreaded airport bus waiting for us. It was surprisingly pleasant and smooth with no waiting. Usually I absolutely hate them and would avoid airports and carriers that use them as the standing in smelly, seat less cattle cars waiting for yet another soul to be crammed in has the ability to ruin my experience.
AUH airport is immaculately spotless and well kept. I cringe every time I fly into the states and experience the subpar, pay $6 to rent a cart, $12 for WiFi, rundown infrastructure and rude CS .
There are huge 3 ft wide screens all over the airport with flight info, shop locations, and turn by turn directions to your gate or lounge.
I headed to the Etihad lounge in terminal 3. Its quite expansive and aesthetically pleasing . There are showers, spa, barber, salon.... They provide a short complimentary treatment for all passengers. There is a fully stocked kids room where people were leaving their kids with the attendants. My stopover passed quickly and I was off to my final leg.
I missed the business airport bus so was forced to endure a not brief enough reminder of why I fly premium. Aircraft was EY A320 with recliner seats in 2-2.
Was 1:30 from boarding until takeoff. With a child this down time is by far the worst for me. As much as I hate it we lived to tell the tale. 60 seconds of grumpiness and my kid fell asleep. I tossed and turned before waking up to the same non-edible excuse of a meal. Upon landing in CMB it took a couple minutes to get through a joke of a passport control and headed into the duty free which for some reason is by arrivals. I was never under the impression that large appliances are a big seller by duty free although apparently here they are. 9 out of 10 shops were washing machines, ovens, fridges....strange.
I found my driver waiting for me and picked up a Sim card for 1300Rs/$10 for a month with 5gb data and a bunch of minutes. There are a bunch of different kiosks in arrivals to pick up a Sim including ones that come free with some service that they hope you fill up at one of the million shops selling them around Sri Lanka ( funny thing, everyone has cars vehicles but gas stations are few and far between. No one has phones yet every other store sells sim cards and top-ups.)but at that price I just looked for the best which seemed to be Dialog. They only accept cash so go to the ATM prior. Walking out of the airport the humidity hit me like a truck. Below I have included a pie-chart I made to better illustrate the discomfort.
To hopefully be continued.....