[Click above for the video review.]
Airline: Etihad Airways
Flight Number: EY150
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000 XWB
Delivered: May 2020
Flight Duration: 13 Hours 10 Minutes
Distance: 7,276 Miles
Welcome to the skies with Etihad’s Business Class! We were thrilled to get back onboard and see what their long haul product had in store for us, especially with the addition of their new and improved business class seats featuring doors on the Airbus A350. Overall, the flight was fantastic, but as with anything, there’s always room for improvement when compared to competitors like Qatar Airways.
What I liked:
The seats – Etihad’s Business Class offers a comfortable and stylish travel experience with their new Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats on the Airbus A350. The seats feature a sliding door for added privacy and a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, which provides a sense of seclusion. The design is similar to British Airways’ Club Suite seats, with the addition of a wireless charging base. The footwell may be a bit confined for taller individuals, as it is situated under the tray table and IFE monitor, but this does not take away from the overall comfort and privacy of the seat.
The Food – The Food – Etihad did not disappoint in terms of the in-flight cuisine. Our meals were delicious, starting with a tasty Arabic Mezze appetizer. The tuna tataki was also a delightful surprise, visually appealing and mouthwatering. The roast chicken main course was juicy and simply scrumptious. My companion’s Cajun prawns were a hit, perfectly seasoned with a spicy kick. The standout dish was undoubtedly the steak sandwich, with soft bread and a perfectly cooked medium steak. The pre-landing breakfast wasn’t mind-blowing, but still decent, with a cheese omelet with chicken sausage to end the flight.
The IFE – The IFE on Etihad’s Airbus A350 was top-notch! With their eBOX entertainment system, you’ll never run out of options for entertainment during the flight. Whether you want to watch the latest movies, TV shows, listen to music, play games or anything else, the system has it all. And if you need to stay connected, Etihad’s in-flight WIFI is a great option, with decent speeds and reasonable pricing at $29.99 for 24 hours or 350MB (whichever comes first). Etihad provides noise-canceling headphones, but I ended up just using my own wireless headset via bluetooth transmitter.
What I didn’t like:
The Swissport Lounge in Chicago – While Etihad doesn’t have their own lounge at Chicago O’Hare, they utilize the Swissport Lounge as an alternative. It’s worth mentioning that during peak times, the lounge can get quite busy, which may take away from the lounge experience. As for the food and beverage selection, it wasn’t very impressive and could definitely be improved. Unfortunately, the pictures speak for themselves in this instance.
Amenities – Etihad provides a stylish Acqua di Parma amenity kit for business class passengers, complete with a good quality pouch. While the included items were appreciated, such as a sample bottle of cologne, dental kit, and eyeshades and socks, there were no additional items like lotion or lip balm included. The lavatories, while kept clean by the flight crew, were lacking in terms of offering any additional toiletries besides soap and hand sanitizer. A personal protection kit with hand sanitizer, gloves, and face mask was provided to all passengers during the flight. Unfortunately, Etihad no longer offers pajamas for business class passengers. A good size pillow and duvet were waiting at the seat along with bottled water, but sadly no mattress pad was available for the flight.
The cabin temperature – The cabin temperature was a bit of a struggle during the flight, as the warmth made it difficult to get a comfortable rest. Unfortunately, the lack of personal air nozzles only added to the discomfort. I found myself waking up feeling hot and sticky, which was a shame during an otherwise enjoyable flight.
It was OK…I guess:
The onboard service – The flight attendants seemed to be professional in their duties, serving the pre-departure drinks and hot towels promptly. They were also efficient during the meal service, presenting the food and drinks beautifully and being proactive in offering drink refills. However, their demeanor was rather cold, giving off an impression that they may have been going through the motions rather than enjoying their work. Sadly, there was a noticeable lack of smiles, making the experience feel a bit less personal.
Overall, Etihad’s Business Class has some hits and misses. The seats were comfortable, but could be improved with personal air nozzles and a larger footwell. The food was great, but the crew could have shown more warmth and friendliness. The amenities were good, but could be improved with a more comprehensive kit, mattress pad, and improved lavatory amenities. Despite these drawbacks, the experience was still good and I would recommend Etihad to others.
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