You know when I said that drinks on a rooftop bar overlooking Bangkok was the perfect way to end our travels? Well, I was wrong. The perfect way to end our travels was by flying business class with Etihad!
I’m not sure how I’ve kept that one quiet on social media as it was quite possibly one of the best experiences ever.
You’re probably thinking, “how on earth did they afford that? I thought they lost all their money in the outback?” I’ll come to that.
So, as most of my readers will know, our ten months of travelling came to an end a few weeks ago. After checking out of the Tower Club at Lebua at around 5:30am, we got a taxi and then a train straight to the airport. I can’t even describe the feelings when reality sunk in; we were getting on a plane to take us back to England.
Our journey was split into two flights. The first, Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, would take around seven hours whereas the second flight to Heathrow would take around nine. The plan was then to catch a tube from Heathrow to London Kings Cross and then a train from London to Newark to Lincoln.
We’d booked economy tickets too so we were really not looking forward to getting back, tired and groggy, and having to navigate England’s age-old transport network.
Bangkok to Abu Dhabi
We checked in as normal at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and received, as expected, our economy boarding passes. There was nothing to indicate any chance of an upgrade, especially not for free.
There was no change for the first flight and, with this being the older of the two planes, I was probably glad we didn’t get upgraded. We had to walk past the business class area that was simply curtained off from the rest of the plane.
Luckily we didn’t have anyone next to us so it meant we could sprawl out across the three seats. They weren’t the most comfortable but we’d just woke up so we had no plans to sleep! Seven hours of movies and music sounded good to me.
In economy, we were served chicken and rice and a half-frozen bread roll for breakfast. This was aeroplane food at its worst if I’m honest. The food flying over to Australia with Etihad was far better. We were offered one drink throughout the whole flight and had to constantly call for anything else we wanted. There was nothing special about this flight at all.
Abu Dhabi Airport
We only had an hour or so before our final flight home to England. It was lunch time and we were starving after eating so badly on the plane. First stop, Burger King. I know it’s not very healthy but, for some strange reason, I was craving a Chicken Royale.
Emma didn’t quite like her burger so I ended up eating one and a half burgers. I was stuffed. I wasn’t bothered though as I wasn’t fussed about another serving of chicken and rice.
Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow
By the time we arrived at the gate, boarding had already begun. We were at the back of the plane in Zone 4 so we assumed that they’d called those first as not everyone was queuing. For some reason, instead of using the automatic gates where you scanned your boarding card yourself, we went straight to the woman on the left.
When she scanned my boarding card, everything went red and she simply tore it up. I was a bit shocked at first until, all of a sudden, a new card was printed and I saw ZONE 1. We laughed a little saying imagine if we’d been upgraded. The lovely lady then said “Sir, you’ve been upgraded to Business Class.” The best thing I’d heard in a long time especially as we were on the huge double-decker plane.
Emma was concerned that she wouldn’t get upgraded too (IMAGINE!) but of course she did. We had no idea why this had happened. Were we simply very lucky or had someone paid for us to be upgraded? My sister had just text us saying “have a lovely relaxing flight”…I mean, no-one has a relaxing flight in economy.
After walking through a completely separate tunnel, we were shown to our seats with a glass of champagne. Whilst not all the passengers were well dressed, I suddenly felt very self conscious remembering that my shorts had a massive rip down the side and my trainers had recently developed a hole and weren’t exactly white any more. I did not belong in business class.
We quickly became acquainted with our new seats which were essentially booths with a huge touch screen TV and a fully reclining massaging seat (so much so that I could lie down). The best bit was however the stewards, in their suits and white cloths draped over their arms, being on hand with anything you wanted from the menu at any time. When taking our order for the main meal, I asked how everything worked. The reply was “You can have anything at anytime. There are no rules.” How good is that!
The flight was delayed by around half an hour but, honestly, I couldn’t have cared less.
As soon as we took off, our order of a Peroni and Vodka and Coke was delivered and that pretty much set the standard of the rest of the flight. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t that hungry after the Burger King. The one time in my life that I wanted to be starving to try everything on the menu.
I settled for an Arabic meze to start followed by beef, mash and veg posh style! I couldn’t fit anything else in but struggled through a few bites of cheese and biscuits. There was so much food I missed out on including a steak sandwich, quesadillas and cheesecake!
The flight was so comfortable I didn’t even really feel as though I was facing backwards. I watched another two movies and even managed to get some sleep.
In no time at all, we were making our descent in to London. All the familiar sights of the Shard, St Paul’s and the Houses of Parliament looked amazing from the air. Maybe I’d missed England after all!
I’d highly recommend flying Business Class with Etihad at least once in your lifetime although the price is enough to put almost everyone off. I’m so glad we managed to get the upgrade for free as I probably never would have been able to afford it. However, I’m not sure I could ever go back to flying economy again…
To read all about our adventures on our way home from Australia, click here.