Flight EY460 to Melbourne, economic system
It’s not a well known truth, however Abu Dhabi’s flag service, Etihad Airways, presents a free, continuous bus service from Dubai to attach with its flights departing this airport. The bus, which picks up on the perimeter of downtown Dubai, takes two hours to journey 160 kilometres between the rival emirates. It’s nowhere close to full, so everybody will get two seats to themselves, and I arrive on the airport precisely two hours earlier than my flight.
Terminal 3 is devoted solely to Etihad flights, whereas T1 and T2 are for the opposite airways. You’d suppose the federal government would subsequently splash out on this terminal, however the décor is a positively utilitarian gray, compounded by the actual fact it is deathly quiet at 11pm, with none of its ordinary buzz. However, it gleams, as workers spray and polish each floor avidly.
I’ve already uploaded my PCR checks and vaccination standing by Etihad’s web site and obtained my Verified to Fly standing, so the workers merely double-check my paperwork and I’m by the check-in course of so quick, I virtually have whiplash. With necessities now altering (absolutely vaccinated travellers now now not want a PCR check earlier than flying into Abu Dhabi), it might probably solely get sooner.
Compared with Dubai, which opened its airport early and determinedly to all comers, because it resolutely went forward with its a lot delayed Dubai Expo, Abu Dhabi has been way more reticent to fling open the doorways as the worldwide pandemic eases. Added to that a number of drone assaults by Yemeni Houthis close to the airport only a few weeks earlier than my flight, and consequently, there are tumbleweeds blowing by its corridors. With so few individuals passing by Abu Dhabi, passing by safety is painless, with a number of scanners standing empty.
FOOD AND DRINK
Everything is winding down forward of my flight again to Melbourne, which departs at 12.40 AM. I seize an infinite cup of tea and a toasted sandwich from Costa: the cafe chain is at all times a dependable selection in these components, in case you do not need to reek of cooking oil. There are the same old fast-food choices, however as Etihad’s 2021 outcomes confirmed a passenger load of just below 40 p.c over the total 12 months (rising to 70 per cent in December 2021), the heavy toll on the journey business is instantly obvious, even in such world hubs.
What to purchase? There is a ridiculous quantity of gift-boxed dates on sale, from lovely, pistachio-stuffed dates from high-end model Bateel (my selection) to bins of the famed fruit from the Liwa oasis, the place the film Dune was filmed. The top-tier vogue, watch and sun shades retailers are open, however all of the DIY fragrance testers are packed away. Thanks for nothing, COVID.
Amazingly, there’s a little purple publish field airside, so I end and publish all my unwritten postcards earlier than leaping on the free wifi. I might have a free bathe close to gates 32 and 37, or take a PCR check for AED40. Many issues change, however the gold kneeling camel, on which each child who visits Abu Dhabi has been photographed sitting, remains to be there.
While cautious Abu Dhabi is popping out of hibernation, it is nonetheless a shock to see simply how sleepy the airport is. But if which means no queues and quick service, then sleepy is nice.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE