Thursday 13 November 2008

UK: to London

Last night, either Etihad's website or Omantel’s wonderful internet service prevented completion of the online check-in process for a flight to London via Abu Dhabi. This created havoc at the airport desk this morning as the system thought my ticket had been 'used'. Eventually, at a leisurely pace, the problem was resolved by a man in a nice suit leaving me a few minutes to get to the gate.

Arriving at Abu Dhabi was a bit of a shock as I entered what appeared to be the inside of a huge purple and green mushroom. With super efficiency, I was soon sitting on a smart, clean, bright, fresh-smelling A340 which seemed to taxi round the airport several times before lifting effortlessly into the blue sky.

The immaculate cabin crew served drinks and nibbles as I scrolled through the options on the aircraft's entertainment system. I found a wonderfully French film entitled 'Deux Jours à Tuer' about a bored and tired chap who acts as if he is insane with his family and friends. There were no car chases, no planets were destroyed, and no bad people were murdered – just people getting into a tricky situation around the dinner table. I will have to watch it on the way back to fill some of the missing parts caused by involuntary snoozing.

Etihad's service was quite excellent, particularly the food. Most impressive. Unlike the pilot's landing at Heathrow which was not one of his best.

It was incredibly quiet in immigration at Heathrow and I collected my bag to emerge into an empty arrivals hall to meet the driver from a nice little taxi company in Hampton.

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