You Can Now Pay to Use the Etihad First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi

As of May 1, you can now pay to use the Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Interestingly when I reached out to Etihad to ask if I could review the First Class lounge after it opened last year, they denied me saying it was exclusively for outgoing First Class Passengers. Now it’s accessible by Platinum Virgin Frequent Flyers (as it should be!) and they’re selling space in it to Economy and Business Class passengers!

Personally, I think it’s a bit of a kick in the nuts to the Virgin Gold flyers who are directed to Al Reem Lounge in Terminal 1, which I had to use last year, and is an absolute abomination. I think they should extend the opportunity to access this Etihad Business Lounge now that they’re selling space to the First Lounge.

The Etihad First Lounge has a long list of facilities including fine dining prepared by in-house chefs, a gym, a barber and blow dry bar, a cigar lounge and a ‘Relax and Recline’ room. However, there have been a number of articles written saying that the product and the service in the lounge have dipped dramatically since its opening. The recliners have been removed from the ‘Relax and recline’ room and reports say the a la carte menu has been scaled back. I’ll be able to make that judgement for myself in June.

Anyhow, onto the pricing.

  • If you’re flying in Business or Economy Class, you can choose from 2, 4 and 6 hour upgrade packages starting from USD $200 / AED 735.
  • As a First Class guest, you can invite a companion to join you in our First Class Lounge & Spa for USD $100 / AED 367.
  • If you’re an Etihad Guest Gold member travelling in Business Class, you’ll have a preferential upgrade rate of USD $100 / AED 367.

If you’re a Business Class passenger you already have access to the Etihad Premium Lounge for free, which I covered in my Etihad Business Review. I highly doubt there’s value in spending any money at all accessing the First Lounge. And as a Virgin Platinum member, I can invite a guest into the Lounge for free. So I wouldn’t be very impressed if I was flying First and was asked to pay for my guest!

Virgin Platinum Lounge Access Abu Dhabi

I don’t get a complimentary Spa service with my Elite Status, and I can’t imagine you’ll get one with your Entry fee either but I could be wrong.

This is an interesting move by Etihad, I’ll let you know in June if I think it’s worth paying for.


James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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