The best flight (Melbourne to Abu Dhabi)

I check in and am assigned seat 25H. It’s an aisle seat near the rear of the plane. I am happy with the seat. It’s where I believe I will sit on the 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, due to last night’s missed flight I will now fly from Abu Dhabi to Istanbul on board a Turkish Airlines flight so I cannot get a boarding pass for my connection. But my luggage is checked through and I am checked into the flight. So it’s just a matter of collecting a boarding pass from the transit desk once I arrive in Abu Dhabi.   I sit on the floor near the gate charging my phone and punching out some work. My name is called and I attend the desk. “Sorry Mr Gills, we had to change your seat. You are now in 35H. It has the same configuration as the one you had.” I’m unconcerned and smile a thank you. I return to the floor and keep working. Ten minutes later my name is called again. “Another seat change?” I ask smiling. “We’ve upgraded you to Business Class.” I almost fall over. It’s like winning the long haul flight lottery. I am not complaining. I explode with the news on Facebook. Winner winner chicken dinner.    I line up to board with everyone else. Until I am directed to the Business Class aisle. Wow. That’s what it feels like.      On board the plane I am directed to turn left instead of right. What greats me are massive single seats like personal pods. I am offered a choice of champaign or juice served in a glass. I take the juice. It feels odd to be called “sir”.      Before we take off the purser (or is it burser?) takes my meal order. There’s an a la carte menu up here.      The flight starts with my choice of beverage. I take a jasmine tea. It is served with warmed almonds and chashews, and a small chocolate. The tea is served in a proper cup and the nut bowl is warmed. That’s my work set up there with the little budget laptop.   I select the cauliflower soup. It’s served in a proper bowl with warmed fresh bread roll. And the taste is yummy.   Next comes the braised beef with carrot purée and Brussel sprouts. The beef melts in my mouth and the carrot purée is perfectly seasoned. It’s like eating at a restaurant.  And then the dessert: lemon tart. Did I mention that they put a table cloth on our table and give you real cutlery?    After completing a day’s work I discover the flat bed option on the chair. I’m heading to Turkey so I put on The Water Diviner and lay back in style. The movie plays out in Istanbul and Gallipoli; two places I have decided to include on my itinerary.   Naturally I have to try out the massage function on the chair.  From Abu Dhabi I will have a long way to go because I need to fly Turkish Airways to Istanbul then another Turkish Airways flight to Bodrum. All up it will be 16 hours between landing at Abu Dhabi and arriving at my final airport. So despite it being daytime in Turkey I sleep about 8 hours laying down. What luxury!  I arrive in Abu Dhabi feeling refreshed. The other passengers from my flight look tired and bleary eyed. That will be me again next time. But today is “Thank you Etihad Day”.

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