Last month, Mike and I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time to meet our travel partner Helena, owner of Helena India Travels. We are sending our first group to Nepal in autumn and it was a great opportunity to meet her as well as the owners of the hotels where our group would be staying at. We were offered complimentary five nights stay by Mingma, the Nepalese owner of Chhahari Retreat and needless to say, we enjoyed every single day of our stay not only because of the nice room and excellent food in the restaurant but moreso because each one of them treated us like their own family. As for our flight, Mike and I used our remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person. Here's the full trip report of our trip to Nepal and I hope that thru this, more people would consider traveling to this wonderful country in the future!
Review: British Airways Business Class, Stockholm-London
Review: Etihad A380 First Apartment, London-Abu Dhabi
Review: Al Dhabi Lounge, T1 Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Abu Dhabi-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Doha-Kathmandu
Review: Chhahari Resort, Kathmandu
Review: Yeti Airlines to the Himalayas
Top Attractions in Nepal
Review: Executive Lounge, Kathmandu International Airport (KTM)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Kathmandu-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Doha-Paris
Review: Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, T2 (CDG)
Review: British Airways Business Class, Paris-London
Review: Hilton London Heathrow Airport
Review: British Airways Business Class, London-Stockholm
Flight: EY 20
Departure time in London: 15:00 (actual 14:56)
Arrival time in Abu Dhabi: 1:20 + 1 (actual 1:28)
Equipment: Airbus A380
Duration: 7h 32m
Date of flight: May 25, 2016
*This is an award travel, First Class flight #34
Etihad First & Business Class Lounge which is one of the best lounges I have visited. I just love the "ala carte" dining and the complimentary treatment at their Six Senses Spa.
on my first flight in May 2015 and my second flight in December 2015!
Comparing Etihad's dining and food offering to other airlines I have flown with in first class, there is no doubt that this is the most extensive list I have ever seen. First, you can dine in whenever you want, and choose from a large selection of lounge snacks, main course, lounge and grill, etc. One disadvantage of Singapare Airlines first class dining experience in my opinion is that they don't have the "Dine in Anytime" concept and it is a pity because flexibility is one of the best things I love when flying in premium class.
Fillet of Beef
Authentic Gulf Lamb Biryani
Mediterranean Open Lasagna
A Selection of Ice Creams
A Range of Breakfast Cereals
Eggs Cooked to Order
Fresh Fruit Platter
Freshly Baked Cookies
Lounge And Grill (Salmon, Fillet of Beef, Chicken Breast)
Chef's Table D'Hote Salad
The Etihad Steak Sandwich
Bollinger La Grande Année 2005, France
Duval Leroy Rosé , France NV
Chardonnay Bourgogne Blanc, Berry Brothers, Burgundy France 2014
Sauvignon Blanc, Vergelegen, Somerset West Stellenbosch South Africa
White Blend, Waterkloof 'Circle of Life White', Stellenbosch South Africa 2012
Merlot Blend, L'Hospitalet De Gazin, Pomerol, Bordeaux France 2010
Shiraz, Wyndham Estate 'Bin 555', Hunter Valley Australia 2013
Pinot Noir Muratie Wine Farm, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2012
Tempranillo, Marques de Riscal 'Reserva', Rioja Spain 2011
Malbec Blend, Clos De Los Siete, Uco Valley Argentina 2012
Viognier, Taltarni Late Harvest, Eden Valley Australia 2007
Fortifieds (Taylor's Select Reserve Port)
Turkish Airlines and Austrian are really cooking something during the flight or it is just plain preparation since the food were already precooked before being loaded so I asked Liz-Mari, the Food and Beverage Manager about it while she was setting up our table. I was informed that the chef, in this case Chef Graham, actually prepares food since the meat are raw and they have the cooking materials, etc. unlike in business class and economy where the food are all prepared in land. I yet have to ask the chef from Turkish Airlines about their job since I have an upcoming flight with them in September although I have none in the future with Austrian so I guess that confirmation has to wait, unless I ask them on Twitter. And yes, kudos to Etihad for having a real chef on board!
Green Pea Panacotta, Pretzel bread
Tomato Soup with Thyme, Garlic Oil
The soup according to Mike was spicy and delicious. Chef Graham also asked if we wanted some wine so Mike ordered the French red wine Merlot Blend while I settled for a glass of water. Rita, the cabin manager once again checked on us if everything was okay.
As per Chef Graham's recommendation, both Mike and I chose the Chef's Special which was chicken and pizza which was excellent. Everything from the appetizer to the main course tasted perfect and it felt like we were dining in a five star restaurant! Unfortunately, Mike and I were both full that we had to skip the cheese and the dessert. I had previously booked for a shower after the dinner so right after our meal, it was my turn to "shower in the sky" for the fourth time!
While the shower suite was still being prepared, I took my time to visit the Lobby (again) which is located between the first and business class cabins. Not surprisingly, nobody was there since most were probably still having their dinner or probably resting. Otherwise, this is a very popular place to hang out specially on day flights.
Business Class Cabin
in Etihad business class but it was on their Airbus A340 so it was the older business class. This one is really something I should try in the future.
Lavatory and Shower Suite
And now, it's my turn to shower. To be honest, I already showered in the morning at home before going to the airport, and then again at the Etihad First & Business Class Lounge at London Heathrow before this flight so this would actually be my third shower today. But of course, taking a shower at 37,000 feet is incomparable and I'll do it again and again. The first time I actually experienced it was when I flew on Emirates A380 First Class from Bangkok to Hongkong. It was a very short flight though so flying on Etihad on this route allowed me to enjoy it more.
Emirates and Etihad have pretty much the same rule when it comes to using the water. You get maximum 5 minutes of water and you can pause it when not needed. In my experience, I've never really consumed that 5 minute water alloted since I guess I was always after the experience of just turning the water on and enjoying the experience itself!
Time to Sleep
Our scheduled arrival time to Abu Dhabi was 1:20 so after taking my shower, I decided to have a nap. And who couldn't resist sleeping on this comfortable bed? I've flown on Singapore Airlines Suites Class last year and was able to have a double bed all for myself. Between the two, I prefer Singapore Airlines' double bed a bit more since there is still a divider on Etihad's beds making it a semi-double bed. Of course that is just my opinion.
Snacks before Landing
Arrival at Abu Dhabi Airport
Flying on Etihad First Apartment for the third time, I realized more and more how luxurious their first class is. I have flown a lot of times in first class on airlines like Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific and Etihad has truly reimagined everything to give such an amazing product: the most spacious apartment, a separate seat and bed, a shower suite, an inflight chef making a truly five star experience in the air and of course, the impeccable service of the crew. And this is simply unbeatable. While I think that Etihad's First Apartment is not perfect, (I still think that Emirates shower suites on their A380s are much larger and nicer and that the complimentary wifi offered by Qatar Airways to their first class passengers is something that's missing on Etihad) overall, Etihad's First Apartment is surely the most luxurious first class in the sky and no one can deny that. To all the crew on this flight specially to Samea, Liz-Mari and Chef Graham, thanks for once again letting us experience the best the airline industry has to offer! Until next time!
British Airways First Class, Atlanta-London
Qantas First Class, Dubai-London