ABU DHABI, UAR-Abu Dhabi international airport's comforting conveniences make it a favoured departure point among Overseas Filipino workers from United Arab Emirates, including those from nearby places like Oman, who are flying to Manila.
Ditto for business travelers with connecting flights who enjoy taking their time to relax at the well-appointed airport lounges for a spa, hot meals and open bar warmed by the welcome attitude of Filipino airport workers.
Fully operating duty-free shops and premium lounges open 24/7 help travelers while away their time in this newfound shopping mecca.
Filipino workers staff many of the shops, which makes it more fun when shopping for items with bonus gifts.
They also make it easy for departing OFWs to pick gifts for their loved ones back home. Even for international travelers making a connection through Abu Dhabi, it makes sense to buy high-ticket items like watches, gold and jewelry, tax-free.
For business and first-class passengers, a stop at one of premium lounges offer an open bar, six-course hot buffet meals, samplings of the famous Arabic coffee and a variety of coffee, tea and desserts 24 hours a day.
Free wifi access and charging stations are available. The lounge also offers complimentary spa, facial massage and shower facilities. The fully stacked bar carry premium brands for liquor, wines and beer.
For frequent flying OFWs in the United Arab Emirates, who are allowed to visit Manila five to six times a year, departing from Abu Dhabi is a clear choice because of the new fleet of Etihad jets and perks that are easy to accumulate.
Surprisingly, for long-haulers from JFK New York to Manila, it takes only one and a half of a round trip to reach silver status, entitling the passenger to extra 10-kilos of luggage or a third luggage free, with an access to Al Reem Lounge for complimentary food and services. These are normally limited to gold status members of American airlines. For one who is flying for work, this is a major advantage.
Lounge-hopping may well be a new option for those traveling with five or more hours of layover. The Six Senses Spa staffed by mostly Filipinos offer free 15- minute facial, head massage, back or foot massage. Attendant Venus said she has a continuous appointment with 15-minute window.
These Filipino workers on lounges are also entitled to travel benefits like the flight attendants. From one grand lounge to a mini lounge next to the boarding gate, for that last hour Arabic coffee, travelers are treated to an experience that is fun all by itself.