Flying with Etihad A380 – Business Studio!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’ve had a fantastic time during the Christmas holiday break and are looking forward to an exciting New Year ahead. We are still trying to catch up from our vacay last year, hoping that our travel blog will inspire your next travel destination. This post, we look at what it’s like flying with Etihad Airline – Business Class.
Etihad Airline has won several awards as the “World’s Leading Airline’ and currently ranking No 8 as the world’s top airline in 2017 by the leading consumer-aviation website Skytrack. Last year, Etihad was the first United Arab Emirates airline to be awarded with the most coveted five stars for quality standards in the airline industry.
I had the opportunity to fly Business Class on their A380-800 from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and B777-300ER from Abu Dhabi to Manchester.
The Sydney Etihad Airways premium lounge is a good size, it’s slick with stunning fit out, leather chairs, quiet zone, state of the art business centre, wifi, and shower facilities. The buffet counters offer a selection of delectable food, a wide range of drinks and a la carte dining for those who prefer a restaurant style of dining. Since it’s a 15-hr flight, I settled for a lighter option, a small bowl of tabouli and mixed Middle Eastern fare washed down by James Squire’s excellent 150 Lashes.
All the business class seats are on the upper level and my seat number was 16K. It’s configured 1-2-1 with alternating forward and rear-facing seats with extra storage and an overhead compartment. For single travellers, it’s best to travel wth the single seat and for couples, the middle seats so you can have plenty of time conversing during the flight, you can also pull up the centre divider for privacy during the flight. All seats are adjusted to a full-flat bed with a pillow and soft blanket.
After settling down in my seat, the onboard hospitality starts with the pre flight drinks, choices from their sommelier wine selection and Champagne Billecart-Salmon NV Brut.
The E-BOX onboard entertainment is second to none, the in-flight touch big screen has got everything covered from the latest movie releases and the all-time favourite, live channels, shopping, tv shows, news, flight path, audio and games. For conveniency of charging your gadgets there are usb ports, a telephone service and wi-fi for live connection at 40,000 feet, plans are available for this service. A complementary pyjama kit was handed out too (latest word this has been discontinued) and an amenity skin-care kit. There is also a combined First and Business Class Lobby Bar, a circular table seating for 6 persons with fully stocked bar, if you get peckish, you can order food or snacks from the crew. For entertainment a large screen for all the latest news and sports broadcast. A perfect place for a catch up with fellow passengers.
Etihad offers anytime dining service, meaning you can eat what you want from the menu when you want, you can even sleep first then eat later. The crew will also recommend wine to match with your food. The Arabic mezze plate was a perfect starter, a selection of Middle Eastern hot and cold appetisers and for main, the flavoursome chicken biryani, tender chicken cooked with spices and basmati rice, this dish ticks all the right boxes. An array of dessert follows after the meal and after dinner drinks.
After my meal, a movie, and a quick night cap at the Lobby Bar, it’s time for me to relax and I can feel all the comfort and privacy in my studio. Breakfast was served before we touch down in Abu Dhabi.
The Business Lounge in Abu Dhabi is reflective of the airline’s modern image. Boosting a very spacious floor plan, offering counters of food and drinks, a business centre, dining, relaxation areas and shower facilities. The buffet area offers a mixture of hot and cold food with emphasis on Arabic and European fare. Unlike most lounges, even airports in general these days, smokers have a dedicated lounge area where they can go for a smoke, in the airport itself, handy glass booths, that can accomodate up to six or so persons are dotted around the Terminal and gates, where the last minute urge to light-up can be satisfied. The roar of the extractor pulls the plumes of smoke from the little box that is held in an almost mystic cloak of cloud, and if its busy, you have to queue, and, don’t forget to make friends with the one that still has a lighter.
We departed Abu Dhabi on schedule, this time I’m seated in 9A on B777 300ER. The Business Class configuration differs slightly as compared to A380, but the now familiar furnishings remind you that this is a Business cabin.
The service was impeccable from the moment I boarded the aircraft until I disembarked in wonderful Manchester. Lunch was served along with a selection of drinks. The flat bed was so comfy that I fell asleep for most of this leg, also the time changing time zones were catching up. We landed at Manchester airport on time.
Verdict – flying business class on Etihad Airways was a dream come true, it’s a splurge for under 30 hours of flying. It’s one of those once in a lifetime opportunities not to be missed if the circumstances arise, check out their website, they do special airfares that are book in advance, you will experience Arabian hospitality and exceptional service that only this airline can deliver. I Just wonder what’s in store for their future inflight-service.
For details, check out Etihad Airways site for all their destinations and packages available.