A friend tipped me off to this fare of $316 rt from IAD to AUH. I liked it so much I purchased two. Itinerary: IAD-AUH-IAD. Aircraft: B789. Hotel: Crown Plaza downtown.
First thing I noticed was that EY weighs all cabin carryon items. I easily made the cut; however, there was much drama around me as pax shifted content among various items of luggage. My every contact with staff was polite and efficient. I went through TSA security and took a seat at my gate. General boarding was in four groups. I was in group four. Nevertheless, I had room for my carryon in an overhead bin. The seating in economy was tight; however, the seat was comfortable. The entertainment system was free as were alcoholic beverages.
We took off and I enjoyed keeping track with the flight tracker. My special meal (vegetarian oriental meal) was not boarded. It was the only choice not containing dairy. I just took the setup with contained a nice salad.
I hit the jackpot for seatmates. A nice couple visiting the U.A.E. for the first time and on the same special fare. They were renting a car and driving to Dubai from AUH. He was vegan like me and we were familiar with several vegan restaurants in Rockville, Md. He preferred to call it a "plant based" diet or lifestyle. I like that. It avoids being tarnished by the PETA extremists who splatter nice old Jewish grandmas as they stroll their fur coats on Park Avenue. I never agreed with that.
At AUH two passport clerks starred at my new passport for ten minutes each before stamping a visa for me. I changed some money and took a taxi to my hotel.
Reception was cordial and efficient at the Crown Plaza. I drew a room on the 16th floor which had all of the usual creature comforts plus some fruit including some delicious dates. I had a good nights sleep.
I made a couple of forays into the neighborhood but was turned back by the heat. I wanted to ride the hop on hop off bus but it doesn't come even close to any hotel that I could see on their map. I am coming back next month with John and it might be more fun riding it together. On that trip we will be at the Intercontinental. I spent a lot of time lounging and swimming at the hotel pool on the top floor and taking in the city view from up there. I needed some rest time so it all worked out. I had a couple of excellent meals in the hotels Chinese restaurant. I also enjoyed the buffet breakfast.
I taxied back to the airport on my departure morning. At check in (for the U.S. bound preclearance flights) the friendly agent moved me into a bulkhead seat I believe to accommodate pax who wanted to sit together. I later found out that my new seat cost an extra charge of $150. Good deal.
I like preclearance as in Canada for U.S. bound flights. I followed the signs and I was there. The helpful staff guided me to the shortest queues. I looked for Global Entry but didn't see it until I was in the last state being interviewed by Customs guy. There were two well hidden Global Entry kiosks behind a post. Now I know. John and I will know where to find them on our trip next month.
The return flight was smooth and comfortable. Again, my special meal was not boarded. I slept a lot. Dulles airport looked good after fourteen hours in the air. So good to be a domestic arrival. I ransomed my car back and drove to home sweet home.