How do you emerge from a long flight looking smart and relaxed? A new airport lounge - complete with barber - is one answer. Julietta Jameson tells all.
Good morning Abu Dhabi.
Hitting the ground running after a long international flight is gruelling at best. When you've arrived early and can't get into your hotel room for a shower or simply don't have time to check in, it can feel like the mother of all first world problems. Etihad Airways is the latest international carrier to offer an arrivals lounge, a post-customs sanctuary in which to unfurl and freshen up before greeting the world beyond the airport. It's a concept already offered by airlines including American and Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow and Cathay in Hong Kong.
Etihad's first and business class passenger lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport (no economy passengers are welcome, regardless of flyer status) has 10 shower rooms stocked with amenities and soothing fluffy towels. While you're in there, a free steaming service will whisk away and smarten up the day's clothing, returned within 10 minutes. Also free, is 'SHAVE by Etihad Airways' a wet shave salon with barbers sorting out five o'clock shadows.
The greater lounge has the requisite large screen televisions, an array of local and international newspapers and "cafe style" food and beverages. As you'd expect these days, internet access is free and strong and there are additional facilities for business meetings, so you can plan your day's onslaught.
Etihad Airways operates 11 airport lounges, including the new Arrivals Lounge, and its separate first and business class facilities at Abu Dhabi. More than 280,000 guests visited Etihad Airways' lounges between January and July 2014, an increase of more than 20 per cent year-on-year.