"it was ridiculously crowded"
J Carters (United Kingdom)
I had the unfortunate pleasure of having a lay-over at AUH airport Terminal 1 a while ago. The place is small and it was ridiculously crowded and there was no place to sit anywhere. It was in general a very uncomfortable experience with a smoking area so disgusting that even after a 7h flight into AUH I passed up on the chance to smoke. I was glad to just go to the gate (located in between the shops) and wait there. Once the security check was starting it was a men-first situation and the women had to wait until the men had passed through. It was the flimsiest security check I have ever had the metal detectors were beeping quite often but everyone was waved through anyway. Never been happier to get onto a crowded plane just to get away from there.
"as bad as I was dreading"
Fiona Cameron (United Kingdom)
Terminal 3 may be more unique than Terminal 1 which is like any terminal anywhere in the world admittedly Terminal 1 is more spacious which is a plus and there were numerous powerpoints which I saw a family use to plug in the portable DVD player to keep the kids happy. There were computers in Terminal 1 with free internet access which helped pass the time on my overnight stopover. Security checkpoints were not as traumatic as I expected and all in all it was as bad as I was dreading.
"a vast improvement"
R Bath (United Kingdom)
Just a transiting passenger both directions. New terminal is a vast improvement although long walks are required and it's kind of boring. Old terminal building with its interesting but terrifying decor is a shocker. Advice: Toilets upstairs are far better than those downstairs (the worst I've ever seen at any airport). Coming back Business Class lounge and transfer hotel OK.
"A lot more spacious"
A Newton (United Kingdom)
A lot better since the new terminal 3 has opened. A lot more spacious and even at their busiest time between 11am - 3pm not a problem. a few duty free shops and places to grab something to eat. not bad at all compared to T1.
"a little cramped"
P Nixon (United Kingdom)
A fine airport with all the mod cons if a little cramped for the volume of customers currently using it. The unique architecture is a welcome break from the beige and glass structures so common in modern airports and although the facilities are spartan they fulfil the purpose. The staff are heplful and pleasant with the exception of security. However I've had far more unpleasant experiences with security personnel at other transit hubs in the region these guys should are par for the course.
"extremely dull airport"
S Pathirana (United Kingdom)
Having the displeasure of using this airport a couple of times I have now preferred using Dubai and that is saying something. Extremely dull airport ridiculously tacky terminal which has no space at all. Can get very crowded. Toilets are horrid. There's been talk of expansion and the little expansion that has happened is barely noticeable (more check-in counters at departure). Rude officials at arrivals and I have had my bag searched every time I have come through here. Etihad is a nice airline to fly and it's a shame that it is served through this sad excuse for an airport.
"avoid it at all costs"
J Song (United Kingdom)
I had to go through this airport during my flight from KUL to DUB. Inbound at 8-45pm and outbound at 2-55am - horrible. It took me 30mins from bus to the terminal and once the bus had set down the crowd of people in the bus were lost - where was the exit? The alley used to enter the terminal was also used to go on board and there were no signs dividers. We managed to find our way through by asking for directions to other passengers who were going onboard. As for the terminal itself like all reviews below avoid it at all costs. No seats and if any very uncomfortable seats plus annoying announcements every minute - it gets more annoying if you can't find a place to sit. The duty free shops are a rip-off too. It takes 10 mins to get around the airport and with its dome shape and tiles on the walls the noise echoes throughout and with the announcements its a nightmare! The security checks were over- secured and literally for every passenger they took about 5 mins to interview asking why did you transit in AUH why are you going there how long did you stay in your destination etc.
"a deeply boring place"
Pasindu Karunaratne (United Kingdom)
Hanging around in any airport is to be avoided and in Abu Dhabi all the more so. It is a deeply boring place to have to spend any time there being nothing much to do. The seating – what there is of it – is comfortable. The airport seems tiny. The mosaic dome makes a change but it allows voices to echo so is noisy. This is exacerbated by the continual – and I mean continual – announcements which are also impossible to understand. There is a Costa so you can get a good cup of coffee and pay in £ if you wish. I didn’t particularly notice the smoke that so many people have complained of. Crowd control is southern ie long queues and lengthy processes. The toilets are reasonably unpleasant. Shopping is very limited to the usual Duty Free fare of watches perfumes cigars and alcohol. There are no quiet places to sleep so if you have an 8 hour stop-over during the night as I did you are going to have little fun. You can get a little sleep on the carpeted floor in the passages to the gates. All in all an experience that is not recommended.
"a big disappointment"
S Sharma (United Kingdom)
Etihad was a pleasant experience travelling between Sydney and Manchester but the stopover in Abu Dhabi was a big disappointment. Had 2 hours to spend here in either direction and found the airport to be small crowded noisy and smelling of cigarette smoke. Finding a seat and getting comfortable was next to impossible and hearing the announcements over the humdrum was difficult too. Hopefully the new terminals and expansions will do justice to the airline that the airport serves.
"tiny and really overcrowded"
T Vincent (United Kingdom)
I flew with Etihad from BRU to BKK with a 2 hours stopover in AUH. At first sight I found the terminal quite original and nice (the green mosaic); but tiny and really overcrowded. The terminal is non smoking but this is theory as it smells cigarette smoke everywhere. In fact there are smoking areas in bars but no smoke extractor so the whole terminal looks like a smoking room. Going from the 2nd floor to the 1st one using the stairs is hazardous as smoking is not prohibited in the piano bar between the 2 floors. Toilets are on the 1st floor. There look really old fashioned and are not so clean (lot of water on the ground). So what to do when you are in transit? There are 3 bars/snacks but it's almost impossible to find a seat. Prices for drinks are OK. Not so many duty free areas. Ideal for short stopovers as it takes only 5 minutes to go from one gate to another but probably the worst airport I've ever seen for people in transit. I expected much better for a city like Abu Dhabi.