Etihad Airways » User reviews
All-class rating 7.5
- Boarding 7.3
- Seat for sitting 6.7
- Seat for sleeping 6.3
- Service 7.7
- Entertainment 7.3
- Food & drink 7.8
- Punctuality 8.4
- Baggage 7.6
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
See what everyone's saying about Etihad Airways. Each month we're awarding prizes for the best reviews, so remember to review your flight when you return...
MargaretByrne flew Etihad Airways Coral Economy (06/05/2013 09:04)
We were flying Dublin/Abi Dhabi/Phuket return. Ethiad staff very nice and mannerly, Air Berlin was a shocking experience.
Seats had enough room, except we couldn't put our seat back and the lady in front came right back into our space even when eating she wasn't asked to put her seat in the upright all the way. Films were fine, sound was good, food was normal plane food, drink was handed out and plenty of water during the flight. Only problem with Ethiad is that they teamed up with Air Berlin, very dissapointing to be let down on the second flight.
Service was very good, people were moved around the plane to accommodate them, in giving them extra seats, one woman had 3 people moved so she could sleep across the seats and she was only 4ft6, lots of taller people could have been moved to give them a bit of extra leg room. It is the same old story the quite people get over looked and the moaners get rewarded. That's life. Ethiad we will deffo fly again with you, but never ever Air Berlin!!
Return flight from London to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi
I fly a reasonable amount and have tried a fair number of airlines for long haul flights, direct where possible and my choice being through a combination of price and good reviews/reputation. This was the first time I had tried Etihad and thought I'd try a flight with a connection as the waiting times were very short and it was an excellent price.
The London - Abu Dhabi legs were on an Airbus (300?) and the Bangkok - Abu Dhabi legs on a Boeing 777. Both trips in a central aisle seat on a 3-4-3 seat layout.
I checked in on-line, though I had difficulty with the Etihad website not working on both outward and inward flights. Baggage drop at the airports was quick.
The legroom on the Boeing 777 between Bangkok and Abu Dhabi was terrible and (I'm 1.90m tall so never have a huge amount of leg room in Economy but this was poor) the seats cramped and narrow meaning I was either overlapping my shoulders with the person next to me or getting knocked by anyone who walked past which meant sleep was difficult. Between London and Abu Dhabi the Airbus seat was adequate for the 6hr flight with better legroom. There was little room on any flight when the seat in front was reclined. Temperature of the cabin fluctuated quite a lot, generally cold but I prefer that to overly hot.
Usually I don't mind aeroplane food but this was some of the worst I have ever received on a plane in 15 years, for only the second (and third) time I could not eat the meal given to me. There is supposed to be 3 meal options, but on none of the 4 legs of my trip were there 3 options by the time I was served. Twice, on the flight from London to Abu Dhabi and the return from Abu Dhabi to London I was left with 1 option. Outbound, the tomato and basil pasta which glowed a strange luminous red colour and tasted worse than it looked, inedible. I also left the chicken noodle breakfast option from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi unfinished. Bread rolls were generally stale, desserts the standard sickly sweet unidentifiable goo in a pot. The cheese was a Dairy-Lea triangle.
Service from the flight attendants was ok but slow, they were looking harassed and stressed by having to apologise to a significant number of people for the lack of food options; Etihad would do well to get some feedback from their flight attendants on what people ask to eat and adjust the meals available accordingly.
I would have given the in flight entertainment a higher score; it is a standard selection of films, television programs and games, easily enough to keep an insomniac busy for 2 flights to Bangkok. The problem is that on the Airbus, Etihad have their own wi-fi to allow people to make phone-calls with their own mobile phones. People making phonecalls isn't the issue, when the wi-fi is available a message appears on the screen interrupting whatever people are watching. A message also appears when the wi-fi is not available. On the flight from Abu Dhabi the wireless continuously kept connecting and cutting out, sometimes within seconds which was extremely frustrating and had a number of passengers cursing throughout the films.
The punctuality of all the flights was good and the turnaround of getting baggage off the planes and onto the carousel for collection was very quick.
In future I will spend the extra £250-300 and fly direct with someone (anyone) else.
A quick hop from AUH to DMM, just time for a pleasant breakfast.
Boarding was by coach, reasonably orderly and baggage delivery was swift.
Good connecting flight.
The lounge at AUH was busy, but not overcrowded and offered a pleasant and comprehensive breakfast buffet.
Boarding was orderly, premium pax were called towards the end and the walk from the lounge to the gate is only a couple of minutes.
The 77W has the newer version of the EY flat seats and it was in excellent condition, clean and fresh.
A choice of drinks was offered on boarding and a lunch menu given too.
The flight itself was a standard EY flight, good service, good F&B and an ontime arrival in London.
To summarise, a very good business class flight.
Can't really fault the service of Ground Staff or Cabin crew as previous review - they were all somewhat very good in comparison to many. What is diabolical is the seating.
Must has been stated in the past about how great the Economy is with Etihad so basically, as one who normally travels business on medium and long haul, I tried it.
WELL, I must say I was not happy on my return flight which was quite amazing as the outbound to Abu Dhabi was very acceptable.
The difference was the aircraft. London to Abu Dhabi on EY 18 on 13 December 2012 was an Airbus - much more comfortable seats and seemingly more space.
EY 11 return on 17 December was on a Boeing 777. The seats were cramped and very uncomfortable, not helped by a hard armrest with a width half that of the depth of a credit card [1 inch], pitch not appropriate for a person of 5 feet, 6 inches, let alone my height of 6 feet, 1 inch.
Quite simply, though a lover of the airline in general, on this occasion, Etihad have got the seating completely wrong in the 777 to justify them being a 'cut above the rest' - maybe they should take a look at the seat pitches and comfortable seating offered by others in Economy.
Flight from Heathrow to Bangkok via Abu Dabi.
Very small seats on these 777s, and if the person in front reclines their seat it becomes impossible to move.
It surely makes no sense to cram as many seats as possible into a 777 when many of them are empty anyway.
Also the food was average at best, and the cabin kept very cold.
The staff were not helpful, in fact seemed disinterested.
We did this same trip last year on Qatar which was far better al round, especially the seat spacing which was much more comfortable.
I had heard only good things about several of the airlines based in the Middle East. My decision to fly with Etihad was based purely on cost, as they proved slightly cheaper than Qatar and Emirates.
The latter two airlines are either some of the best around or need to consider bringing down their prices just a tad, because this flight was arguably the best I have ever been on.
I'm under 6ft and I still find legroom an issue on planes, so I can only imagine the issues this causes to my taller peers. On this flight it was not an issue due to not only the natural legroom provided by the seating layout but by the clever mechanics of the seat. In leyman's terms, as you recline your seat, the back slides backwards (as you would imagine) but additionally, the 'seat' part of the chair moves forward which ultimately results in a chair that can actually provide the means for a reasonable bit of sleep. Maybe I'm easily pleased but I was fascinated and very pleased with this.
The menu was good and the choice of middle eastern food and/or a middle eastern spin on food was a nice touch and delicious too. This food was tasty in it's own right, let alone impressive for airplane food.
The entertainment was very good. The films and TV shows were just to my liking, there was actually too much to choose from but I certainly won't be lodging that as an official complaint here. I also enjoyed the music choices which featured music from what must be every corner of the globe and my inquisitive ear scanned over all sorts of jams from American Blues, to Asian Sitar classics.
Service was always there and very polite. The plane was exceptionally clean and almost sparkling inside - however this may have something to do with how new the plane is to the fleet.
All in all this was a fantastic flight, and for an infrequent flyer such as myself it opened my eyes to just how important those little touches are on a flight, and in the future I will certainly be disappointed to receive anything less than I did on this Etihad flight (even if that is too much to ask for)
Etihad's business class seats are not a patch on some others, eg Qatar's B777.
Not only is it narrow but there is a danger of leg entrapment as you extend the seat. With the exception of one small pull out cup-shelf and the tray-table there is also NO space for your book, glasses, iPod, water bottle etc. These sky beds also waste a lot of space; there are large gaps around the seats which could be used for a wider chair and some shelves.
The meals took about 90mins to come out after take off which really cuts into the medium haul flights (eg Tripoli - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi - Bangkok). And not sure why but they only served breakfast to those who asked for it.
The staff were very friendly, though.
EY017 (A340-600) Abu Dhabi to London 21st October - First Class seat 2K
Pick up from Dubai Marina was without fault, taking 50 minutes to Abu Dhabi terminal 3. Terminal 3 is a small dedicated Etihad terminal, the far end of which deals just with F/C checkin and the next door area, but separate is the business check in. Immigration is around 25 feet from check in, and security a further 15 feet, the lifts to the lounges are immediately behind security, and a large duty free area adjacent to the lifts. So if you are in to walking don't expect much exercise here.
The Diamond Lounge, is exceptional, and the lounge staff are helpful, attentive and provide a truly personal service. The spa provides all the classic short treatments if you have around 15 minutes. Food and drink is excellent, the menu being al a carte. If you smoke there is a cigar room with free cigars provided.
Gates are usually only a couple of minutes walk from this lounge for the UK flights, so no need to start to board until around 20 minutes before the flight time. I have flown in this class and route (Lon-AUH-LON) with Etihad 4 times now, and each and every time they have been very good indeed.
What made this particular flight special was the crew on EY17 on the 21st. The Cabin Manager, Ali S****, was exceptionally good, and spent a great deal of time with passengers in F/C. He is one of those naturals that meet and greet and serve passengers rather than sit in his "office" like so many do. He was constantly always around the cabins doing anything necessary to make the flight a good experience for any passenger.
Etihad have a Chef in F/C to both cook and present food and wines. On this flight, the chef Fraser, was from Scotland, and I have to say I have never been presented with food as good on any airline anywhere before. I heard his accent when I boarded, and when i asked if Scottish beef was on the menu today it certainly got a laugh.
I chose a garden salad to start. This was freshly made and dressed with excellent dressing - none of the usual rubbish from a small bottle. I chose Sea Bass for a main course which he cooked to perfection, the presentation was as good as any top restaurant in London, followed by a quattro of deserts - a taster version of all the deserts on the menu. The Chef will discuss the menu, and change items as and how you want them. A Chassagne Montrachet 2011 was recommended, and was truly delicious. Items are all cooked freshly, although I couldn't quite work out how the chef does it, because the galley does not seem to have anything special other than a combination oven/grill. There is a large menu, including a grill section, as well as set dishes, and lots of lighter options. When was the last time you were asked how you wanted your steak / lamb etc cooked on a flight!
Divadi was the the other female crew member in F/C (sorry if I misspelt your name), but you exuded charm did an excellent job. Etihad should be very proud of the three of you because you are the face of the airline as far as passengers are concerned.
Any negatives? Very few, but the e-box system is not as good as ICE on Emirates, and the suite is not quite so sophisticated even though still very comfortable. However, both are more than good enough and MUCH better than on many airlines (new first on BA please note!). Just at the front of the right of the A340-600 there is a large toilet about 3 times the size of a typical aircraft toilet. A further toilet although normal size is provided on the left. Ample amenities are available, and it is very attractively decorated in dark shades and hidden lighting. If you get bored drinking fine wines, then you can sit on the loo seat and look out of the three windows available, although the wine is a much more attractive option.
F/C is always an expensive product, and really what you are paying for is the extra space and facilities. I have always felt that very few airlines give good value for money in this class, and many are notoriously bad. Every time I have flown with Etihad they have been very good, and this last flight was the only time I have ever felt I had 100% value for money. Thank you Ali, Fraser and Divadi - you are a credit to Etihad. I wish all airlines could boast crew as good as you, and, even though many claim it, I have never met any.
IngridHazelspring flew Etihad Airways (30/09/2012 14:28)
Our flight with Etihad was fabulous, we could not fault the lovely service, food and entertainment. However, where Etihad does not rate well, which is not reflected above, is with respect to their ground services. Etihad is difficult to contact, does not follow through on matters raised and does not fully provide the car service it promotes.
Firstly, our car service on pick up was around an hour late. Secondly, for our upcoming trip we are unable to book the car service for our return trip home because it is actually a Virgin flight, not Etihad (though we booked and paid Etihad and the flight has an Etihad code).
I contacted Etihad via email, as their Sydney office was unable to assist and my query was palmed off and still has not been resolved.
Despite my high rating above, which would not be so high if the questions covered a broader ranger of services, I suggest traveling with an alternative airline until Etihad improves their out of flight services.
Enjoyed really good service form start to finish. Check-in at Heathrow was empty so got that done really quickly.
Went through security to airside and wandered about before the flight. We got boarded very quickly and for some reason the queue to board went down very quickly.
The flight was fairly full but it didn't feel too cramped. Seat was comfortable and plenty of legroom to stretch out for sleeping (it was an overnight flight).
The entertainment system was good with lots to choose from although it could have done with a few more TV programmes I think.
Service on board was great and the food was good too. Normally, you get a choice of three meals with Etihad and the evening one was lovely. The only problem was when it came to the morning, my breakfast was a choice of chicken or chicken which for any Brit is not the most ideal breakfast.
Still I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it considering it was so early in the morning.
Would definitely fly them again and would be happy to recommend.
AidanConnolly flew Etihad Airways (12/07/2012 11:39)
On my last two trips to Europe, Eithad delayed my first flight for 24hrs, plenty of apologises but no funds or response to complaint, they then lost the family bags on the return flight.
On my latest trip they only lost one bag. Hooray!! But wait for it; they decided to put me in a central seat with a five month old baby!!! With no baby bassinet for 15hrs...sorry, Eithad was late on this flight too. . . 16.5hrs. Try holding an over sized 5month old baby in a confined space, this was extremely stressful and exhausting for the baby and people around us.
Funny the Stewardess, was most apologetic, asking if I wanted to catch the next flight, not aware of having limited baby food and nappies for one flight. And, if the Etihad stewardess indicates she will take your telephone number, so Eithad customer service will call you in a few days, do not believe her as they have not called and is a tactic to prevent complaints becoming formal!!
Eithad you put my babies health at risk, I will not forget this.
edmundroxas flew Etihad Airways Coral Economy (12/06/2012 01:08)
Lousiest aircraft I've been in. They added two more seats at economy so I cant sit comfortably. The ebox was totally busted continually re-setting & touch controls were out. Food was lousy & semi-spoiled with soggy veggies. Tight seats. No leg room. Only positive thing is warm reception of the Filipino stewardess. Advise to future economy flyers, look for other airlines.
jyotsanabablani flew Etihad Airways (10/04/2012 16:02)
I had flown Etihad way back in 2007 to Mumbai. It was a long journey from dubai, though but i enjoyed the bus ride. The airport experience was not bad as it was not at all tiring.
The seats were very comfortable compared to my experience on economy with other airlines. The food was awesome..no complaints at all.
The crew were very co-operative and had a smile, which was very pleasant. The fares have been on the higher side so not travelled again, but would definitely want to travel Etihad to various destinations in the future.
Redcody flew Etihad Airways (02/03/2012 11:13)
Flew to Mumbai & returned from Delhi earlier this month on a quick business trip from Dublin.
Found the check-in and boarding very smooth & quick and was pleasantly surprised at the comfort of the economy seats.
The entertainment facilities were very good as was the food & beverage. Staff were exceptionally helpful and attentive. Most important was their punctuality. Would certainly use them again.
The limo transfer from Dubai was efficiently managed through SMS, was on time and had a better car than when in First (see other review).
Etihad's dedicated terminal in Abu Dhabi is very smart and I was checked in quickly. I've read a lot of horror stories about the lounge being standing room only but when I was in it there were only about 15 others. Having said that the whole terminal was empty and London was the only long-haul flight on the board.
The lounge is very pleasant and offers all waiter service though at times the waiters looked more interested in the TV than in serving the guests. I boarded late-ish and there was no queue so I was surprised to see the business class cabin absolutely full. I stood around like a hopeful debutante at a ball waiting for someone to take my jacket and only when I grabbed someone was it taken.
I believe the seat was the old one (sea green colour). So far as I am aware it is in storage space that the new one wins and the space for sitting is much the same, ie very tight. I would caution anyone against travelling in the middle pair of seats unless they are very intimate with other passenger as there seemed to be no privacy screen between the seats and because of the general layout you are cocooned in the perfect little love nest - which might not be what you want with a total stranger.
I had a window seat which provides a lot of privacy and a few bonus places on the floor to lay stuff. However, I was quickly pulling the seat apart to try to find where on earth these stray bolts were coming from that were jabbing into my rear. Eventually the penny dropped that these were the nodes for the massage seat. To me they felt about 1 cm thick and very noticeable. I spent most of the flight sitting on my duvet. When laid out you are fine as your weight is more distributed but when eating or working all your weight sits on those nasty little nodes.
Etihad prides themselves on "inspired service" which means, basically, that much is on demand and also that each approach from the steward/ess is specifically for you. That in turn means no trolley appears, ever, and every serving of a passenger requires the crew to make a dedicated trip from the galley to you and back again.... and then the whole thing again for your wine.... and then the whole thing again if you fancy water. This approach works fine if there is a high crew to passenger ratio but Etihad is no different to most airlines. The crew do work very hard but in the end I think the whole model fails.
The food itself was OK and the wines good.
On arrival there was a man at the carousel taking premium bags off (which didn't happen in First in Abu Dhabi). There is a dedicated transfer desk in T4 but, also unlike Abu Dhabi, all the drivers were ready and waiting.
Once again not a bad flight but it did not come up to the expectation which Etihad had raised in me by their advertising.
The limo to Heathrow was on time and the driver very polite. On arrival at T4 I was greeted at the kerb by a ground stewardess and a porter to carry my bag. Premium check-in was empty so that was completed rapidy and the same lady offered to escort me to the lounge but I reckoned I could manage on my own.
The lounge is pleasant with some views though it was night. It's all waitress service and seems to run smoothly. There is no dedicated First Class section. I took advantage of the very pleasant 15 min free treament at the spa and by the time I got out of there the flight was supposedly closing so there was no delay on boarding.
At first sight the seat is very pleasant, with plenty of space around you. Personally I didn't like the privacy screens as their construction means that even if you open them you are somewhat blinkered. It also means you can't see the crew coming which means you might need to rely on the call bell which I prefer not to have to do.
The controls of the seat are very hard to fathom and I never yet knew how to recline the back and had to rely on the presets (which are pretty good). The worst thing by far is that of the 4 individual lights not one of them allows you to read - unless you call holding a book at arms length reading. Very bad design.
While on the ground I was asked if I planned mostly sleeping or was I dining. I said the latter. This seemed to be interpreted as "in no rush" and we were overhead Bonn before I even got a drink. The food was OK but not startling. They make a big fuss about The Grill but what this means is that if you want something more imaginative than grilled meat you're pretty well out of luck. And said grilled steak wasn't so exciting, nor was the mezze. The wines were good.
After dinner my bed was made up, I changed into the (horrible nylon) pyjamas and slept well.
On arrival we got off quickly. Whereas in Heathrow (on return) there is someone to pull premium bags off the carousel there was no-one at Abu Dhabi. When I arrived at fast track immigration I eventually found the answer to "why did they stick my baggage tag to that flimsy map of Abu Dhabi airport" That was the Fast Track invite and the authorities were not amused that I had lost mine but grudgingly accepted my boarding card as proof.
Once past customs there is a dedicated desk and subsequent lounge for limos. You might think this is a nice touch but it simply means that they don't need to think about getting a driver and car until you turn up. I waited about 15 mins in the not very nice lounge while, I am certain, business class passengers were dealt with and eventually they dragged someone out of retirement and his similarly lack-lustre car with a dodgy transmission.
Etihad make a big fuss about non-branded vehicles for you privacy and safety but this one had a huge great advert for Etihad emblazoned across it.
It wasn't a bad flight but I think Etihad over-promises and under-delivers.
Travelled to India for a 4 day sales mission that started the evening of arrival.
Check-in and borading was as easy as you can imagine and the economy seats were reasonably comfortable. The crew were attentive without being oppresive and the individual entertainment system was excellent. A wide and varied choice that should satisfy everybody on a long haul flight. Food was excellent and served with proper cutlery - not the plastic stuff that breaks!
Having been in the travel industry for over 40 years and travelled on many carriers both short & long haul, I would certainly rate Etihad up there with the best & would recommend them to anybody - even in Economy class.
There was a great service at Sydney airport before boarding.
The man on the desk tried his best to get me in an emergency exit seat being 6' 4" tall.
Unlike Singapore Airlines there is no system, it seems to be first come first served and no priority for taller people. Unable to get a seat with enough legroom it did cause a bit of anxiety when I boarded the plane to sit in seat 18C, 2 rows in front of a row of children in the middle, extra leg room seats!
The 15 hour flight was extremely uncomfortable, not being able to sit straight in my seat with my legs closed. No chance of any sleep.
The food was very good with good choices. The entertainment system was the saviour of the flight keeping my mind off the lack of blood circulation to my legs.
Anyone under 5'10" should be alright, but the service was just ok, not a patch on Singapore Airlines who I will return to for my next trip.
I recently travelled FRA/AUH/BKK/AUH/BRU in C.
Boarding – handled very well on the FRA/AUH and AUH/BKK sectors. Boarding started nice and early and the flight was ready to depart well before the scheduled time. At BKK there was the usual incompetent ground staff (no matter which airline, I always find the ground staff at BKK to be hopeless). The queue to have boarding cards checked before entering the holding lounge went up all the way up the ramp to the upper level, and this was after boarding had actually started. Turns out there was only one person checking boarding cards and no premium line at all. On the AUH/BRU sector the flight left from Gate 6. What a horrible area – it really detracts from the quality EY experience.
Seat – this is where EY falls behind much of the competition. On 3 of the 4 sectors I, thankfully, got the “old style” new seats. On the FRA/AUH sector on a 333 I had the new seats, which I thought were positively dangerous. There is a huge hinge for the tray table sticking out precisely at knee level and within a few centimetres of my knee. Any sudden bump of turbulence and I was in danger of smashing my kneecap. Whoever at EY approved this design should be transferred to honey wagon duties.
The tray tables on the older style seats were much better in that there were no exposed hinges and they could be left open above the footrest area, allowing easy access to the seat. This is all the more important given the total lack of storage space. Do the seat designers never fly themselves? I always use an Ipad and my own noise cancelling headphones. The only place these could be stored was on the footrest. Drinks glasses had to be placed on the open tray table as the glass tray in the armrest was too small and invited knocking over of the glass with the slightest movement.
The Emirates C class seat on the A380 is basically the same as the EY seat (in terms of style and layout) yet EK can manage to provide plenty of storage and shelf space. EY could also look at the new LX business class seat to see how much better the seats can be on A330s and A340s.
Cabin crew – this is where EY shine. On each sector the crew were, without exception, friendly, helpful and efficient. On 3 of the 4 sectors, business class was completely full but this did not affect the service in any way, as it can often do on other airlines.
My only slightly negative observation on the crew is that the dine anytime system tends to make the crew more reactive rather than proactive as it is up to the passenger to request what he or she wants and when. Also, without the structure of set meal services, there is constant coming and going from the galley with the curtains being constantly drawn open with the result that bright light floods the darkened cabin. Also it means that the cabin crew are walking up and down the aisles for a substantial proportion of the flight, potentially disturbing those who are trying to sleep.
My comments in the previous paragraph are simply observations on how the dining system can cause unwanted problems. My experience was that the crews did their very best to minimise the disturbance to other passengers.
Food and drink – I found the food to be of a high quality and the portions were a reasonable size. I do miss having a cheese and dessert trolley as whether or not I have anything after the main course often depends on what looks good on the trolley.
The wine choices were of a high standard but the spirit selection was somewhat basic. At least EY use decent size glasses to serve drinks in unlike the thimbles TG uses.
Summary – overall an excellent airline with a great soft product. However, the hard product is too far behind the competition. If it weren’t for the dreadful (and potentially dangerous) seats and lack of storage, I would happily transfer most of my flights to the Gulf, Asia and Australia to EY. As it is, I may use EY again if the price is right but, unfortunately, it will be far from my first choice.
As per your website, Etihad B777-300ER economy seats are 9 in a row, which is not true. It is 10(3-4-3) in a row.
I have traveled 3 times in Toronto-Abu Dhabi sector in economy class. It is very congested with small leg space, which is very uncomfortable in a long haul flight. Their service is also poor relative to Emirates or Singapore Airlines. In-flight entertainment system is also poor.
I flew CBR-MEL-AUH-ATH one-way in Business. I flew Qantas from CBR-MEL and got to experience the awesome Qantas Business lounge in Canberra. It was much better than their Sydney and Melbourne lounges. Other than that, Qantas is not good and if you can, avoid it unless you're in business or premium economy.
They're ok. I'm just ranting on about Qantas, aren't I? Let's talk about the greatness of Etihad, shall we.
At 1930, I got picked up by a van (Etihad limo service for 6 people + driver) and driven to Melbourne Airport for the flight to Abu Dhabi.
Check-in was quite quick, as the Business queue was deserted. I did have a bit of trouble at security (my CD wallet is lime-green and apparently looked like a liquid(hahaha!).
I was airside by 2100 and the first thing I saw when I entered the Air New Zealand lounge was "Is this a lounge or an economy class departure lounge?" The food was OK but there was nothing to do. Although my flight was supposed to leave at 22:10, I got called at 21:10. My family and I waited until the final call at 21:30 and then headed up to the plane.
As I didn't know whether I would get the new or the old seat, I was very anxious to see. Fortunately, it was the new one.
I was in seat 12K at the very back corner of Business class. My family sat in seats 11D, G, H and 12E and F. Before take-off, I was offered water and a hot towel. I was thinking 'How good's this?, as I had only ever been on Qantas and Virgin Australia previously.
We took off at 22:04 and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the air hostesses came and took dinner orders. I ordered a veal cutlet and mashed potato. It was the best aeroplane food ever! Dessert was ice cream with a delicious biscuit on top. I then started watching "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2" as I had not seen it yet. The E-box is easy to use and you can just fast-forward past the ads. About halfway in, i paused and started playing bkackjack against the AI opponent and won lots of "money" I then reclined the seat flat and slept for five hours on that super-comfy bed.
The service was very good, although my mother complained of a rude hostess (I was on the other aisle so i didn't have to worry about that). About 2 hours out from landing, I got airsick (my travel medicine wore off) The purser was very helpful , as I went through 6 sick bags (poor me :( ).
I arrived in Abu Dhabi at 6:00am and I used their awesome lounge. Some of these reviews say that there is only one shower, but there are actually 6 more in the spa. I had a shower there and had breakfast. I tried surfing the internet in the business centre, but Safari kept blocking my Facebook and Gmail (security). I gave up and fixed this when I arrived in Athens with Google Chrome. The food was very good (especially if you love fried stuff).
At 9am, a staff member who had taken us to the lounge (this was a surprise) took us down to the taxiway and instead of being bussed, we got driven in 2 cars (there were 6 of us after all!) to our plane, an Airbus A320-200.
I sat in seat 2A, a window seat, but as there were only 2 people in the cabin apart from my family, we moved around a bit. I ended up landing in seat 1A. The inflight entertainment was the same as the longer flight, which is good (*cough* *cough* Qantas). I watched Kung Fu Panda 2 and played more blackjack (i like playing it). the lunch wasn't one of the best aeroplane lunches ever, but it was better than some food, such as Virgin's food (and you have to pay for that!).
I landed in Athens at 1300, 25 min. ahead of schedule. I got through immigration quite quickly and I had to help heave 7 check-in bags and 6 carry-on bags to a minibus (not from Etihad, as they don't do the limo service in Athens).
As a resident of Malta, who travels regularly to the Middle East, options were affected when British Airways decided to withdraw from serving the islands. This meant trying to find ‘through’ tickets from agents such as Expedia or risking the journey with two separate tickets, which usually meant allowing several hours of ‘buffer’ between flights.
Air Malta and Etihad Airways launched a codeshare last year, facilitating a single ticket trip from Malta to Abu Dhabi, with snug connections through London Heathrow terminal 4 and with a regular business class fare of approximately 1,530 euros, which represents very god value for money. This report chronicles my first use of this service.
I could not check in online for the flight (Air Malta uses a Sabre system for this) and had to report to the business class counter, where my baggage was checked all the way through to AUH, but only the London boarding pass was issued, due to system mismatches. This is not acceptable and the two airlines need to work on a solution to allow check in all the way through.
I will not describe the Air Malta segment to Heathrow, as I have previously reported typical business class flight. This one was no exception, although due to traffic flow restrictions from the UK, we did depart about one or late and as my connection was 1 hour 45 minutes, this was less than helpful, although beyond Air Malta’s control.
Arriving at Heathrow on 27L was helpful, as the taxi to terminal 4 was short and fast. Flight connections was quiet and so was the Etihad ticket desk, so I found myself walking virtually all the length of terminal 4 to get to flight connections and then half the way back, to gate 10. This was not user friendly, but then Heathrow generally isn’t in my 33 years of experiencing it.
Arriving towards the end of boarding, I was greeted on board the A340-600 by name and escorted to seat 11G, a nice touch more often encountered in first class, than in business. I was asked for my choice of pre-flight drink and requested a glass of water.
The seat was a middle aisle seat and my initial impressions were that it was a little narrow. Later when I decided to sleep, I found it just wide enough to be comfortable and truly a flat bed. Compared to British Airway’s business class seat, it is not quite as wide ad is a little firmer. Having said that, I did sleep well on the seat.
When my glass of water arrived, I was asked for my after take-off drink and given a menu. I was surprised to discover that dining would be at my convenience and two main courses were on offer, with some alternative ‘light’ meals options.
The flight pushed back on schedule, followed by the normal 20 minute tax at Heathrow.
After take-off, I received a glass of G H Mumm cord rouge, which I thought was a reasonable fizz for a business class cabin and then decided to sleep, in the knowledge that I could eat later. Later turned out to be over Romania, where the aircraft had a slight turbulence encounter that woke me.
I decided to order a steak sandwich from the light menu and it came in about 20 minutes and was delicious. I often wonder why airlines try to produce restaurant style experiences, when a lot of us just want a good sandwich.
The service from the cabin crew was enthusiastic, but slightly ‘gauche.’ An example of this was after dinner, when I asked for a small glass of brandy and I waited over 15 minutes, following which a flustered stewardess arrived apologetically with a glass of (delightful) champagne cognac, saying how sorry she was that the aircraft had no brandy loaded, but that her colleague said this was similar. I had visions of the crew unpacking all the atlas boxes in search of the mythical drink!
Having recounted this amusing incident, I much prefer an enthusiastic approach to a smooth robotic service, so it did not in any way detract from the flight.
The inflight entertainment package looked similar to Emirates (which is intended as a compliment), although I did not use it on this overnight sector. The screen at my seat was about the same size as a 15” laptop, although fixed to the end of my seat pod, one did not get the impression of it being 5” larger than the BA business class screen, which is located nearer.
I dropped off to sleep over Turkey and woke up to the ‘bong’ of the seat belt sign, about 40 minutes out of Abu Dhabi, the crew had let me sleep through breakfast, per my preference.
Arrival was a bit of a shambles, being on a remote stand and with the air stairs being replaced after a few first class passengers had de-planed.
We were coached into terminal 1 and I discovered that my suitcase had not arrived, not a complete surprise given a tight connection at Heathrow. The same thing happened last year with an Air Malta/British Airways connection of over two hours and is not acceptable. Air Malta and Etihad need to get their act together and coordinate the delivery of ‘rush bags’ from flights running late on a tight connection.
Service recovery was professional, with an immediate cash payment of 200 AED for necessities and a promise that the case would arrive on the next flight from Heathrow, which it did at around 1915. A courier delivered the case at 0430 the next morning, which prevented me having my clothes pressed before work, but at least they arrived. I received an email, later in the day, advising me of progress and when I called later in the evening, I was promptly given the cell phone number of the courier, so that I could feel comfortable that the case would arrive – anyone who has ever waited for missing cases will understand how reassuring this was.
Overall, I would rate the flight as good value for money and the experience is very different to British Airways, with better food, better IFE (not that this is important to me), comparable drinks, slightly inferior seat (although I got nearly five hours sleep on a 6 hour 40 minute flight), much worse check in facilities, very different service with enthusiasm versus professionalism, but perhaps more importantly, very good ground service when things went wrong.
A little delayed, but finally, here is a report from my trip in April to Sydney on Etihad in J.
I’m sorry, but I can’t resist making some rather unfavourable comparisons with BA, but given that this flight was about £1000 cheaper than the BA fare, I don’t see that there can be any harm in making such comparisons. I realise that Etihad is bankrolled by the UAE, but there is still no excuse for BA’s failure to deliver an acceptable product.
Anyway, I realise that gripes are a bore, so let me get back to Etihad. I was going down to Australia to meet the sixth-month-old son of my oldest friend, who emigrated about four years ago. I did look into flyluxury4less, as my dad and brother-in-law had both used them recently for first class tickets to China, and I was about to book with them, when I found out that they wouldn’t accept credit cards, and, frankly, I didn’t want to shell out that sort of cash from my bank account. So, I booked, as usual, through Expedia, which I highly recommend. There was an excellent first class fare on Etihad for the dates, but I restrained myself and booked into Business Class.
I had read a lot about Etihad’s J class seat (Pearl Zone) and the feedback was pretty mixed. I can understand the criticisms of the seat that I had read, although I didn’t necessarily agree with them, but these have been addressed in Etihad’s new generation J class seat, which, to my complete surprise, featured on 3 of the 4 legs on this trip. I hadn’t seen this seat advertised or featured anywhere, either on this site or, indeed, on Etihad’s own website, which I found surprising.
Anyway, the new cabin, as I have tried to capture in this report and photographs, should appease the detractors. I should point out, however, that I found it very difficult to do the cabin justice in my photos, so please be tolerant!
Ok, so to the trip and the features. Firstly, limo service in Business Class is great. I live 96.8 miles from Terminal 4 at LHR, so was just within the 100 mile radius for EY’s J class rules. I was unable to book the limo service on EY’s website – I just kept going round in circles on there – but the call centre staff, based, I believe, in India, were very helpful and the limo service itself was very good. Nice ride in a BMW 730D (this means nothing to me, but it might to people who know about cars). Water and newspapers were in the car, and despite a major pile-up on the M3, we arrived in good time, as we diverted.
I have to say, I love the EY lounge at LHR. It is a combined F/J lounge, but caters more towards the F end. It is a little small perhaps, but then flight EY18 was the only flight going out that night, so it was easily big enough to cope with the passengers on that flight. I was quite early arriving, and was offered spa treatments by the very friendly spa staff, but I didn’t really fancy them (the treatments, I mean, not the staff). There is a bar, but also waiter service, and I have to say the staff were outstanding. I am torn between this lounge and the Virgin Atlantic LHR clubhouse as my favourite lounge. I think EY might just have it, but perhaps unfairly, as the last time I was in the VS lounge, the hot water had failed, and so there was not hot food. However, the food in EY lounge was excellent. The A la carte menu was a bit limited, but the buffet selection was superb. I had a bit of everything – tiger prawn salad, chicken and Singapore noodle salad, spinach, beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, all delicious. I then moved on to hot dishes of pasta with fresh parmesan, and beef stew and excellent potatoes dauphinoise. I do realise that I sound like a pig now. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to fly Emirates First Class down to Australia, and experienced their lounge at Gatwick. Etihad’s lounge at LHR beats it hands down.
Seating area in LHR lounge:
Sit down meal area in lounge:
Buffet selection 2:
Bar area in lounge:
Dining area in lounge:
Arabic coffee just before departure. Departure wasn’t announced until about 15 minutes before scheduled departure time, but the gate was virtually opposite the lounge, so F/J passengers could board very easily after the majority of passengers were already on board.
I was greeted at the door by name, and escorted to my seat. Always such a nice touch. And here’s the much advertised J class seat:
Footrest and ptv:
And my feet! I have read numerous complaints about Etihad’s J class seat, but I suppose because the people who choose to review seats on sites like airlinequality are generally only writing reviews because they have had a negative experience.
However, I am 6 foot tall and of medium build, and the seat was plenty big enough for me, both in seated and bed positions. It is true that storage for small items or a drink/water bottle was lacking, and there could be more room for one’s feet, but these issues have all been successfully addressed in Etihad’s new J cabin, more of which later. There was plenty of room in overhead lockers, although there were no lockers over the central seats. The window seat in this cabin is clearly the best for people travelling on their own – very private. There is one criticism that I did have of the cabin on all four legs of the flight, however, and that was that it was kept uncomfortably warm, making sleep difficult. I have read that airlines up the temperature to make passengers fall asleep, but in my experience exactly the opposite is achieved.
Pre-departure champagne. Hot towels were also distributed on small wooden trays, rather than with tongs.
I just loved this warning! Can only imagine what had happened in the past!
Amenity kit turned into a shoulder bag, but not sure who would actually use it as such!
Menus distributed – didn’t realise you’re not really allowed to keep them! I did though.
Chardonnay and amuse-bouche.
This may not look great, but it was excellent! Was late night, and I’d already eaten like a pig in lounge, but this soup – carrot and almond – from the express menu was superb.
And breakfast was delicious too.
Very classy Voss water – I notice it’s disappeared from the service in the new J cabin, where Etihad’s own branded water is now served.
Beautiful view of engines!
F1 livery on our plane from LHR
Lounge was crowded, but still some people were happy to take up a couple of seats! The criticisms of the size of EK’s J lounge at AUH are quite justified at busy times, and the poor guy trying to keep the bathrooms serviced with towels etc simply couldn’t keep up. It does drive me nuts, however, that people are quite happy to occupy free seats in the lounge with their coats, just so that nobody will sit next to them. I rather pointedly asked one rather snotty looking woman if the seat next to her was actually taken, or whether the coat was hers. She VERY reluctantly then removed the coat. I meant to mutter a comment under my breath, but instead rather loudly said “selfish cow”. This did, however, have the bonus of her getting to leave fairly soon afterwards.
There was no PA system in the lounge – I imagine this is deliberate – so lounge staff walk around shouting out flight departure info, or a passenger’s name, if they were trying to page someone. I have to say, I found this rather irritating after a while.
Nice to have a shower in lounge – there was a “plate” showerhead over head too
Can’t deny beauty of A340
And here we are – the new generation Pearl Zone seat – love it!
Notice all the little extra storage bits?
Water storage, BUT, Voss water is now only in First Class I believe.
Table storage is an improvement on previous version of seat.
And much more room for feet, which I think was a common gripe about old version of seat.
Love the hot towel on wooden tray presentation.
I think my brother-in-law would be more interested in this shot than I am!
Bloody Mary and another interesting amuse-bouche!
And lunch –tiger prawns with a three-bread-loaf – was quite delicious.
This was grilled beef tenderloin with wasabi mashed potato and buttered carrots – it doesn’t look that special on the plate, but it was excellent.
Cheese was nice too!
This was breakfast coming into Sydney – was really delicious! And I could have asked for more or different combinations. The dine anytime menu system worked well, and FA’s were attentive and happy to serve.
Sunrise over engines at Sydney
Etihad’s black and white blankets and pillows are great – very distinctive.
This is a great business class seat.
Seat lights and water storage.
Etihad business class check-in at Sydney.
Etihad uses the Air New Zealand lounge at Sydney, as, it seems, do a lot of airlines! Strange that Etihad doesn’t get a mention on the boards outside the lounge.
The snacks etc in Air New Zealand lounge were fine, but not a patch on offerings either in Abu Dhabi or Heathrow.
On the other hand, I counted 35 bottles of chardonnay, so was quite happy!
Bathroom at SYD was nice
So, had the new generation Pearl Zone seat on way home too. I think it’s great.
Another view of seat
Gin and Tonic and another great amuse-bouche!
Just remembering here, what a bloody long way to go!
An extraordinarily good starter – I’d been proud to serve this at home.
This veal might not look like much, but it really did just melt in the mouth –outclassed anything I had on Emirates First Class!
And the cheesecake was good too!
And a great light breakfast.
A shot on take off which I suspect would be of more interest to brother in law than me!
I’ve read a lot of criticism about the J lounge at AUH, and I agree with some of it, but I can’t fault them for their food selection.
I was in lounge for 8 hours, but quite happy
Airbag seatbelt and storage space.
Flew from LHR via Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. The new business and first class lounge at Heathrow is fantastic with an a la carte restaurant, buffet, drinks service and the opportunity for a 15 minute spa treatment from Six Senses.
Seats in business appear a little narrow at first but are certainly adequate and very comfortable. These recline into a fully flat bed which are surprisingly comfortable. Seats also have a massage option which are highly recommended if you start getting back ache!
Service was extremely good - some slightly strange food (being a middle eastern airline) that may not appeal to some Western tastes but as there was a big selection to choose from, you can always the "exotic" ones! Excellent choice of drinks and you can make full use of the "anytime kitchen" if you get peckish at any time of the flight.
I would recommend window seats for those travelling alone as they are very private indeed and STRONGLY advise NOT to take any seat just behind the galley as you will have to put up with a lot of noise and people traffic.
Service was very good. Flights all arrived well on time.
Abu Dhabi-Beijing. Seat No 8C, window, spacious, private and excellent flat bed.Great for people travelling on their own. Should one want to seat together with a companion - choice of middle seats available and should be requested upon check In .
Dammam - Manchester via Abu Dhabi - Great seat, Great food even on a 1 hour hop from Saudi to Abu Dhabi. Only issue - Boarding at Abu Dhabi can be chaotic to say the least !! Excellent product and service on board - attentive not obtrusive
Great seats during night and day. Superb service on our 15 hour flight to Sydney
Recently flew MAN-AUH-SYD return in Etihad's Pearl Business Class. Most private seats are indeed those at the window which have nevertheless direct access to the aisle. The EF seats which are very together have no privacy, and unless you are a couple travelling together are to be avoided. These are however the only seats that allow you to have a conversation with a travellling companion. Yes the seats are a little narrow.
IFE was great. A la Carte meal service was on the whole good, but on 3 of the 4 legs we were unable to get our first choice of main course for the principal meal service as the cabin crew had already run out by the time they reached us.
There aren't many seats in Etihad's business- only 22 in the A330 and 28 in the A340, so the cabin does have an exclusive feel to it, unlike on BA's 777 aircraft.
Cabin crew were attentive but not overbearing. All in all a very good product.