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Re: Barry Lincoln's Summer 2016 Venice and Maldives Trip
Final Part of the TR - EY F Experience in AUH and On-board the A380 F Apartments

Immediately after deplaning, we tried to make our way to the F lounge.  Now that was easier said than done.  We landed in a different part of the terminal and the signs were super-confusing, or atleast they seems confusing.  Eventually we found our way and proudly displayed our boarding passes for access...

20160802_232339reva by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

To be totally honest, we were exhausted but there was no way we were going to pass up the F experience at AUH. 

20160803_005617 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Our first stop was to make appointments for our complimentary massages.  The lounge was empty and we had ample choice of times. 

20160803_005508 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

We had an hour to kill before our spa appointment so we had drinks and took some pictures of the lounge...

20160803_005428 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

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Made some small talk with the bartender (who had just arrived from Serbia - never been on a plane before until traveling to AUH for the job).  He mentioned that 80% of those employed in and around Abu Dhabi are foreigners.  They put him up in a newly built dorm with several roommates who all work for EY in different capacities.  They give them one free plane ticket home a year.  Turned into a super interesting discussion...

Now, I have to admit that I am not much of a massage person.  And the massage at AUH didn't change that.  I was in more pain when it was over than before it started.  Luis' dug his elbows into my back and I almost screamed in pain.  I thought maybe he somehow figured out I was a yid and decided to give me the royal AUH welcome... either way I was happy when it finally ended.

About 45 minutes before the flight, we were advised to proceed towards the USA pre-clearance facility to clear US immigration.  This is a HUGE timesaver because you do not have to clear customs in the US - you enter the US as a domestic passenger.  Process was pretty quick.  Once we cleared immigration, there's a second EY lounge on the other side (much smaller and no where near as nice as the F lounge).  At this point, we were anxious to finally board the A380 behemoth and head to our F Apt. 

As we approached the boarding gate, an official looking gate agent made a b-line towards us and immediately asked us if we were Mr and Mrs Barry Lincoln.  I thought it was a little strange that he knew exactly who we were.  I thought he was going to escort us on board.  Nope... he explained to us that there was a family of 4 travelling in F and wanted to know if we'd be willing to part with our 3A and 4A seats for another pair of seats in F in order to accommodate the family to allow them to sit together.  To which I quickly responded no.  We had expressly booked these seats as these are one of two seat combos in F where you can lower the divider between seats and literally "share" the APT with the seatmate on the other side.  Once we said no, he didn't push us any further.  At the time, I thought about trying to extract some value in exchange for making the accommodation but ultimately decided that it wasn't worth the bother.

Within a minute or two, boarding began and we proceeded down to the F jetbridge.  While I won't go into extreme detail about the flight, I will post a ton of pictures for everyone to see.  The experience was totally incredible and in a totally different league than any experience offered by a US or European airline.  From your dedicated, well-trained hostess who makes your bed every time you get up to the on-board chef who made every accommodation possible to ensure we enjoyed our Hermolis meals, EY does not cut corners in serving their F passengers.  The privacy offered by the enclosed suite, to the onboard bar/lounge, to the shower, you truly feel like royalty on board EY-F.  We had two leftover Pom meals that we took with us - the staff offered to heat them up - and we ended up eating across from each other in one of our apartments. 

There is tons of storage space with every amenity well-planned and thought-out.  Before retiring for the night, I asked to hold a "reservation" for the shower 90 minutes before landing, giving me enough time to shower, change and daven so that I'd be ready to get to work after landing.  Showering at 38k feet was incredible, albeit a very short 5 minute shower.  But it made a huge difference getting off the plane reasonably rested and refreshed ready for a days work.

20160803_020521 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

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I chatted up one of the F attendants and learned that the Residence was empty this flight.  She said that the Residence is typically occupied by the members of the royal family or ultra-wealthly sheiks or entertainment personalities looking for more privacy.  She said that she's worked flights where the royal family took down all of F and J on a flight. 

After soaking in the experience during the first 2 or 3 hours (of the 13 hour flight), we decided it was time to sleep.  Our beds were made and shades were drawn. 

After a great shower schachris and breakfast, we were finally on approach to JFK...

20160803_161212 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Deplaning was quick.  On our way to baggage claim, I said goodbye to this enormous bird...

20160803_093440 by Barry Lincoln, on Flickr

Straight to baggage claim we went where I was hoping a chauffeur would be holding a sign with our name on it.  Etihad had sent me several emails in the days leading up to the flight with my chauffeurs name but he was no where to be found (or didn't want to take us to NJ).  Turns out there were 15 or 20 drivers around a dispatcher near baggage claim.  They eventually assigned us a driver (Mohamed) who was very professional  and took us home...

All in all, it was a great trip.  Was great to be away for 10+ days.  Now it's time to plan the next trip...Am thinking Asia-Pacific... maybe Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong etc...

Wow sounds like a great trip!!

I'd love to hear about what you have in mind for the the next trip!!

November 14, 2016, 05:02:01 AM
CORPORATE CHASE BUSINESS ACCOUNT TO PAY PERSONAL CHASE CARD. Never started a thread but didn't see anything on this topic.

Has anyone ever been able to pay a chase personal credit card with a chase business corporate account?

November 14, 2016, 03:45:08 PM
Re: Israel & Bali: around the world in 17 days Wow very nice! Great TR in a timely manner
July 27, 2017, 04:08:51 PM
Re: Hidden City Ticketing;out=2017-08-08;stay=0

There quoting me some great prices,but I can't seem to find any of these, I tried Priceline and orbitz,they show these flights but with $300 more, any other sites to search on which usually matches to what ita Shows?

Can't pull up your link.
Did you try bookwithmatrix?

August 08, 2017, 02:41:17 AM
Re: Rome Master Thread
What are the options for Shabbos meals if you want to stay in the Ghetto? Seems like Chabad is an hour's walk away.
Baghetto meat (when I went they told me all the food was glatt)
Bella Carne (some stuff is glatt and some isn't)

June 14, 2018, 01:32:05 PM
Re: Hyatt Awards And Upgrades Master Thread
I can vouch for him. Smooth transaction, pleasure to deal with

December 06, 2018, 06:02:59 AM
Non-stop from Tel Aviv, Israel to Johannesburg, South Africa for only $364 USD roundtrip.
February 03, 2019, 08:03:34 AM
Rome Master Thread
#1 are you accusing people here about not looking into halachic shaylas? This place is FULL of halachic questions and quotes from rabbanim on topics from the dateline to kashrus. It's a forum of frum Jews.
#2 you obviously haven't read this thread which constantly has talk of going into the Vatican that everyone knows you need to ask your Rav as much as they know that about the Hawaii Shabbos issue.

No one is accusing anyone of anything, most of the thread is many people asking the question and only a very few amount of people responding that they themselves asked the question to their Rav and not parrating it from "some Rav" or "someone else"

Many people have a herd mentality when it comes to travel whether it's kashrus, Amira lakum (shabbos) questions, or any other shaylos that come up.

February 08, 2019, 07:15:06 AM
Re: "hocker" is a thief! Stay far away not a good person to deal with.
You shoulda seen what he ate in Thailand...

February 22, 2019, 04:44:02 AM
Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
Croatia or krokaw

February 24, 2019, 02:05:19 AM
Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
Which cities go together for one trip?

Any other ideas, folks?
Budapest is about 2 hours from Vienna which is about 4 hours from prague. Train may be a good option as well.

February 24, 2019, 01:16:10 PM
Re: hilton honors status.....
hi all,
  whats the best/quickest way to get status in hilton honors program.
i currently have the amex platinum, which says will give me gold status, is that good?
what would be needed to get diamond?

thanks for all the help
Best and easiest way is to get the Hilton aspire card with a $450 annual fee.

If you just want it for a short time/trip you can buy diamond status on eBay for about $16 for a 90 day trial.

April 03, 2019, 06:14:21 AM
Amazon opening in Israel!
August 21, 2019, 10:59:01 AM
Re: Citi Double Cash Cash Will Be Convertible To Citi ThankYou Points 1:1 Rate Starting 9/23 HERE WE ARE LIVE!

September 23, 2019, 07:44:07 AM
Re: Maldives Master Thread Just came back from the st Regis a few weeks ago.

Our butler was Tom and was amazing, Nadeeb left and Tom was trained in by him.

It seems they started charging $35++ to warm up your kosher meals. They charged once for lunch and then dinner. It was $35++ even though we heated up for 2 portions.

They will be starting to bring in kosher meals shortly, I donít have more details but our Butler was very excited to tell me.

Snorkeling wasnít too great at the resort, but the scuba diving was really good.

Random note they only have 4 garden villas and the pools are more private then the beach villas.

I was at the Conrad Maldives about 3 years ago in a base room.

To compare a little

1) owb is extremely overrated over a regular villa.

2) the Conrad is significantly larger, they also have 3 islands as oppose to 1 of the st Regis (although 1 is for staff only).

3) I felt that at the st Regis all the beach villas and 2 bedroom villas were extremely close to each other and didnít give so much privacy, and to a lesser extent the base owb as well, compared to the Conrad which being in a base room was excellent privacy and the next step up is a room with a pool that is fully private.

4) diamond status by Hilton is treated higher then a platinum member by Marriot, although I wasnít diamond at the time of the stay.

5) The st Regis rooms were definitely nicer and fancier although I believe the Conrad has been updated since our stay.

6) Both hotels know about kosher and are very accommodating.

7) The reef at the Conrad is significantly better then the st Regis.

8) Both have butler service, however the ability to watsapp your butler at the st Regis is unbelievable!

9) This might sound funny but I found that at the st Regis is wasnít as unique as the Conrad in regards that at the Conrad there are no other islands in sight vs the St Regis is surrounded by other local islands.

Bottom line, the St Regis is definitely more luxurious, however the Conrad is no slouch and now with the points rates at the St Regis vs the Conrad, the value is at the Conrad is much higher and easier to attain in my opinion.

November 16, 2019, 01:37:43 PM
Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold?
Nothing unusual for me, I average hundreds of award redeposits per year.
Booking is half the fun :)
I think planning to book is more fun

July 21, 2020, 01:37:30 PM
Kosher Around The World Topics? Sounds amazing!

Mexico and Asia- Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, DUBAI.

December 15, 2020, 02:31:26 PM
Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report Wow very nice tr!!
Just in time to remember asarah bteves!

December 24, 2020, 02:32:51 PM
Re: Kosher Around The World Topics?
A work in progress, open to feedback:

Wow very exciting!!

I hope it goes over well and doesn't upset any of the local parties.

January 18, 2021, 07:29:59 PM