At Abu Dhabi airport, US-bound passengers are required to go through US immigration, customs, and an additional security check prior to their flight. The process is similar to departing from Canada, and allows customers to arrive as domestic passengers and thus make connections without undergoing additional controls.
Passengers are encouraged to go through pre-clearance at least 60 minutes before departure. There isn’t a lot to do in the US departures zone, and the Etihad US Premium Lounge, located immediately after immigration, offers guests a more comfortable alternative to the gate area.
Eithad US Premium Lounge AUH design
The Etihad US Premium Lounge at Abu Dhabi international airport features Etihad‘s traditional club design, an elegant yet impersonal combination of dark woods, sparkling white flooring, and bookcases exhibiting artifacts and artwork.
The lounge lacks windows and thus daylight, though with several US-bound flights departing late evenings or at the wee hours of the morning, that’s hardly a concern.
Seating options include traditional lounge seating, table-top accommodations, and dining tables. Unfortunately, guests are unlikely to be afforded the luxury of a choice: the club struggles to accommodate peak-time A380 departures, and latecomers might have a challenge finding a seat.
The lounge offers few power outlets overall, an odd oversight at a relatively new facility.
A small seating area is permanently cordoned-off for potential VIPs—an unfortunate situation when real estate is insufficient to begin with. At least, Etihad could let First Class passengers use the area when no VIPs are expected.
Eithad US Premium Lounge AUH amenities
The Etihad US Premium Lounge at Abu Dhabi airport offers limited amenities. The club is intended for short stays, and passengers will find world-class Business Class and First Class lounges prior to US immigration and customs.
The lounge features a small buffet with snacks, mini-sandwiches, dessert bites, self-service soft-drinks, juices, bottled water, Arabic coffee, and espresso. There is also a small staffed bar with a selection of wines and liquor. While elegantly presented, the food selection fails to impress, and the spread does not cater to the health-conscious eater.
With only two stalls per gender, the bathroom is dramatically under-dimensioned for peak-time traffic. The presence of an attendant is both awkward per western cultural norms, and unhelpful given the tight quarters.
Other amenities include a prayer room and a selection of newspapers and magazines.
Eithad US Premium Lounge AUH bottom line
Overall, the Etihad US Premium lounge for US-bound passengers at Abu Dhabi airport Terminal 3 disappoints. The club is chronically crowded, seating is limited, there are few amenities, and the food selection is underwhelming.
If possible, we recommend spending as little time as possible at the US lounge, and waiting instead at the far superior Business Class or First Class lounges located before US pre-clearance. Unfortunately, immigration and security wait times may vary. Premium passengers benefit from a priority security line, and Global Entry members enjoy a quick and painless immigration experience; yet it is always prudent to allow for buffer time.
The US lounge functions well as a quick pit stop with complimentary drinks, but should be avoided otherwise.
You may have access to Eithad US Premium Lounge as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Eithad US Premium Lounge at Abu Dhabi (AUH) welcomes:
- Etihad First Class passengers departing on a same-day flight (+1 guest.)
- Etihad Business Class passengers departing on a same-day flight (no guests.)
- Etihad Guest Gold and Platinum members departing on a same-day Etihad flight (+1 guest.)
- Etihad Economy passengers, for a fee.