This week we have a trip report with a difference. Rather than focus on the journey, we get to experience the joys of a new airline lounge at Sydney Airport – the newly opened Etihad lounge, located in concourse C of the International terminal.
With arrivals and departures split between upstairs and downstairs, there is often a lot of unused room on the arrivals levels to use as a lounge. And rather than just fill it with a buffet and lounge chairs, Etihad has decided to be creative.
The entrance, whilst small, is neat, and well appointed. The decor is the same as for the other EY lounges worldwide – rich oak, bright and airy, a feeling of entering a luxury hotel lobby. The lounge is located entirely downstairs and is separated into distinct ‘zones’ – a dining room, lounge area, bar, kids area and then restroom/showers
At this stage, entry to the lounge is only on offer to Virgin and Etihad customers travelling through to Abu Dhabi. As a result the lounge does appear to be underutilised. However, with Etihad soon to receive some A380s with Sydney an expected destination, the lounge is expected to get busy over time.
One point of difference to other lounges is its facilities for junior travellers. A play room with sound proof doors and adjacent mini buffet is somewhat unique amongst lounges at Sydney. Being separate from the main lounge area, families can enjoy the lounge without impacting on others who may wish to complete some work before departure.
Lounge food is often a hot topic for our members. Etihad clearly see this as an important aspect of the lounge experience as well. With the highly regarded Qantas First class lounge nearby setting the standard with its a la carte dining, clearly having just a buffet was not going to cut it. Despite Etihad having just the one lounge, a sit down menu based three course meal is on offer. For those that prefer to serve themselves, a buffet is also on offer
In terms of food, there’s a usual cold buffet, mainly a vegetarian selection and cold slices, but with an Arabic flair such as baba ganoosh. Western deserts are also available. Usual drinks/coffee/tea behind it – Twinnings and Nespresso pods. Selection of can/bottled drinks are plenty in the fridges behind this buffet.
It seems Etihad has lifted the bar for business class lounges in Sydney with the new lounge. To have a look at the lounge, ask a question, or even provide details of your own experience, why not join the conversation HERE.