How We Got to The Middle East: Etihad Airways

I know I said I’d write more about Iceland, but we recently came back from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and I cannot even begin to tell you how fantastic this trip was.

I’ll start with how we got there. Rewind to Christmas Day 2014. We were supposed to be in Morocco, but the plans fell through at the last minute. Jeremy was pouting and I was eating my weight in Christmas tree shaped Peeps. I logged into Facebook and a friend of mine had tagged me in a mistake fare deal to India. I was checking it out, and realized that not only did this mistake fare apply to India, it applied to parts of the Middle East as well. India’s not super high on my list, but Dubai?! MEGA HIGH on the list.

Katie: “JEREMY!!!!!” *Jer comes running* “Do you want to go to Dubai??”

Jeremy: “I feel like at this point you shouldn’t even need to ask me that.”

Katie: “Ok good, because I just bought tickets. Guess how much. Guess high because I want to surprise you.”

Jeremy: “Well, I know it’s gotta be some sort of deal, so…$1,200?”

Katie: “HAHAHAHA,” *insert evil laugh here* “THREE HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOLLARS!”

When I say mistake fare, I mean that Etihad (the national airline of the United Arab Emirates) really messed up (some sort of currency conversion error), but it paid off for us. We booked tickets for 10% of what they’d normally cost. I was so ecstatic, I did an annoying happy dance for at least a week after.

Fast forward 9 months later, and we’re back from our trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. To say it was incredible is an understatement. It was a bit complex, as we hadn’t yet decided to leave our life in Dallas, so we had to fly from North Carolina to Dallas, then Dallas to Abu Dhabi, which took 15 hours.

I was worried about the flight for some reason, even though I’d been 14ish hours from Dallas to Seoul and done fine on that trip. However, I slept 9 or so hours and then watched movies and ate delicious local cuisine for the rest of the time.

A couple of things I didn’t like: We’d decided to check our bags, and the line to do so was outrageous. Etihad also doesn’t offer mobile boarding passes for flights departing from the US. For an airline that constantly wins awards, the seats in Economy were incredibly small. I’m not a huge person, but the sides of my legs were pressed against the armrests the entire time. Also, and this was the most annoying thing; they didn’t seat me and Jer together, despite booking the tickets together as well as 9 months in advance. The flight over, our row mates were kind enough to accommodate our request, and the flight back, the gate agent was able to wrangle us seats together. Not putting passengers together who are clearly traveling together on that long of a flight is just not cool.

What I did like: The food was wonderful. I was really happy they served a more local cuisine and didn’t just stick us with the standard chicken or pasta. Bizarrely enough, they did pass out little bags of caramel popcorn mid-flight, which I could have eaten about 30 bags of. The entertainment was also top notch, they had the widest selection of movies, tv shows, and music of any airline I’ve ever been on. Etihad also has a free shuttle service from Abu Dhabi airport over to Dubai (about an hour), which was really great.

Overall: Our experience on Etihad was a positive one. I may have had an entirely different story had I been sitting next to a stranger for 15 hours, but alas, it all worked out. And I mean, we got the deal of a lifetime on tickets so I can’t complain!

Now, who else wants to have a mistake fare I can take advantage of?!

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