|June 07: Etihad Airways
by Greg Lindsay
IN TRANSIT: ABU DHABI -- I had the good fortune of flying to the Gulf aboard Etihad, the UAE's #2 airline (and, like Avis, they try harder). Etihad was Abu Dhabi's response back in 2003, when Dubai's Emirates was already well on its way to world domination. I was lucky enough to be upgraded to Pearl (i.e. Business) class for the 14-hour non-stop to Abu Dhabi, which included one of the softest, 180-degree lie-flat beds I've ever slept on at 36,000 ft. Emirates may be serving New York with three flights a day, and Qatar Airways may have just started service (via a stopover in Geneva, which means your sleeping patterns have more time to adjust, I guess), but I arrived on Etihad with one of the milder cases of jet lag I've ever known. We'll see how I do in coach on the way back -- a 2 AM departure, and an 8:30 AM arrival. Ugh.