There are lots of arabic airlines in the air… Etihad is one of them. They have their base in Abu Dhabi, and fly from the world and back to home, as their slogan is…
The choice, time or money
For the next few months, we are going to write a lot about travel stuff… We are going to Melbourne Australia! With a tight budget we have looked ways to save some money. The most comfortable route from my base, Oslo, must be with Qatar. They have direct flights from Oslo to Doha,Qatar every day at 15:00. When arriving in Doha at 23:25 there are only 90 minutes to wait until there’s another direct flight to Melbourne. And arriving time in Melbourne is at 21:30 on the next day local time. Total travel time including waiting is less than 22 hours. Qatar’s price when having a return flight in 9 months, in November, is app 1690 euros.
But when travelling on budget the price does matter. And I found a better price when I used Kilroytravels. I got a student price because I am below 32 years old, which was 950 euros. It’s a lot. So I had no choice. I went for this ticket. The price included 2 stops. The first trip was Oslo to London Heathrow with Scandinavian Airlines Friday night at 20:15. And when in London at 21:30 local time, I had to wait 11 hours and 45 minutes for the next flight. Etihads flight was at 9:15 in the morning and was in Abu Dhabi app 7 hours later. There I had to wait on the airport a little bit more than 2 hours. And from Abud Dhabi the next flight lasted almost 14 hours. I expected to be in Melbourne on Sunday night at 7:20 pm. The total travel time was 37,5 hours. It was almost 16 hours more than Qatar’s travel. But the money does matter more for me than the travel time, so it was not that difficult to make the decision.
The first trip was a basic uncharming SAS experience. SAS used an old Boeing 737-700, fair enough for a 2 hour flight. SAS is known for their old flight attendants. SAS is an expensive company, but is not offering much more than the low fare airlines are doing. The unique thing is that you get a cup of coffee/tea for free! The tea is just a basic flavour, not a fruit tea or anything special, and you will need sugar for enjoying it. I think that the SAS trips always are boring. Less personality than any other airline! The crew does their job, but there is no enthusiasm, humour or generosity.
The next trip was with Etihad.
Etihad used an Airbus 340-600. It was not a new one. And the seats had pink/brown design, looked old-fashioned. The seats are maybe ok for a 7 hour-flight. But the thing was that Etihad used the same Airbus model even for the next 14 hour flight!
The service aboard was a bit rude. They did not serve many drinks during the long flight. They filled up their small red plastic cups only half full. And when I asked if I could have an extra cup of water they ignored me every time.
They had loaded the plane with limited meal plates so when they came to the last seats behind they had only fish left. Lots of people became angry. Even the passengers that had paid for special meals got what they had ordered.
The entertainment aboard was ok. Many movies to choose from. I could choose between blockbusters, international, european and asian movies and tv series. Also lots of games and interactive programs. But the passenger chat did not work properly. Every seat had its own phone and it was possible to call friends for a price of 8 euros pr minute. The phone also worked as a remote control on the interactive games. The 10″ touchscreen was a bit slow and I had to press very hard for getting any reaction.
But what I missed most of all was Intenet. Even the low-fare airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has begun with wifi aboard. Etihad has installed wifi service only on 5 of their planes. I think wifi had been the best time killer on long-haul flights!
The waiting time on the airports
A cool thing is that Oslo Airport offers free wifi. Just find the wifi network and follow the instructions. You must send an sms (free) and you get back a code that is valid for 1 hour. After that you are able to send another sms and you will get another hour. A service that works like a charm!
In London nothing is free. A 1 hour access pass was like 3,95 pounds. A 24 hour wifi card is like 10 pounds.
In Abu Dhabi wifi was free on the second floor where the restaurants were located.
I did not enjoy the rude crew. I missed wifi. And only one of three meals I got was accepted, the first one with chicken. Etihad was cheap, and I could live with these minor problems. They took me at least safe from A to Z.