[Click above for the video review.]
Airline: Etihad Airways
Flight Number: EY279
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Delivered: December 2018
Flight Duration: 4 Hours 25 Minutes
Distance: 1,876 Miles
After a relaxing time in the Maldives, it was time to head back home. Our flight from Male to Abu Dhabi was operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with Etihad’s current generation Business Studio seats, which we really enjoyed. Despite not having a door, we found the seats to be spacious and comfortable, even more so than Etihad’s next-generation reverse herringbone Super Diamond Seats.
The crew on this flight provided adequate service, though we noticed that they seemed a bit disgruntled. Pre-departure beverages were offered, and the crew efficiently completed the meal service. However, we did not receive any smiles from the crew. On the positive side, we found the catering to be very good. The Arabic mezze and caprese salad were both delicious, and the beef fillet for the main course was excellent and cooked to perfection. The ice cream and pineapple tart served for dessert were both decadent and provided a great end to the meal.
Although we had a pleasant flight experience, we were slightly disappointed by the limited amenities on this shorter flight. We found it unfortunate that there was no amenity kit available, and like our previous flights on Etihad, the lavatories were not stocked with toiletries. Though we did appreciate the personal protection kit provided, which included masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
What I liked:
The Seats – The seats on the flight were definitely a highlight, as the Etihad Business Studio provided ample comfort and space for a truly relaxing flight experience. Although it was slightly less private compared to other options, I found the seat to be incredibly comfortable and welcoming, allowing me to easily settle in and unwind. In fact, I was even able to catch a quick nap after finishing my meal, which was a great way to recharge during the flight.
The Food – The dining experience on our Etihad flight departing from Male was definitely a highlight, as the catering was very good. The Caprese Salad and Arabic Mezze starters were not only delectable, but also presented with great attention to detail. The beef fillet that we ordered for our main course was cooked to perfection and served with great care. Finally, the ice cream and pineapple tart that we enjoyed for dessert were both indulgent and a wonderful way to conclude the meal. Overall, the catering on this flight was exceptional and added to our overall satisfaction with the flight.
The IFE – The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system on our Etihad flight was a notable feature. The eBOX system was user-friendly and responsive, offering a variety of movies, TV shows, music, games, and more to keep passengers entertained during the flight. In-flight WIFI was available for purchase, at a cost of $29.99 for 24 hours or 350MB, providing sufficient speed for web browsing, email, and social media. As business class passengers, we were provided with noise-canceling headphones for our viewing enjoyment. Overall, the IFE system was a good aspect of the flight that helped to pass the time more easily.
The cabin Temperature – Despite the lack of individual air nozzles, the cabin temperature on this flight was consistently cool, creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for passengers to rest and unwind.
What I didn’t Like:
Business Class Amenities – Unfortunately, there were no amenity kits provided on this Etihad flight. However, personal protection items such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer were provided to all passengers, including those in economy class. Business class passengers were given additional comforts like a pillow and duvet, as well as a bottle of water. It’s worth noting that there was no mattress pad available on this flight. The lavatories in business class were kept clean and tidy by the crew, but just like our previous flight, they only had hand soap and sanitizer available.
The Leeli Lounge in Male – The Leeli Lounge at Velana International Airport in Male is the only premium lounge available. While it offers adequate seating, the decor is lackluster. The food and beverage selection is limited and does not include any alcoholic drinks. Overall, it’s a decent spot to grab a quick bite, but not particularly noteworthy or worth spending extra time at.
It was OK:
The in-flight Service – The onboard service was just okay for our medium-haul flight. While the crew efficiently did their job, we couldn’t help but feel that they were a bit unhappy to be there. They did serve pre-departure drinks and our meals on time, but the smiles were missing. Throughout the flight, they made sure we were comfortable and checked in on us, but it felt like they were just going through the motions without any real enthusiasm. Overall, the service was decent, but it could have been better if the crew had shown a little more warmth and friendliness.
In conclusion, while there were some areas for improvement, such as the in-flight service and amenities, overall, Etihad’s Business Class on this route offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience. The seats and in-flight catering were highlights of the journey, and the in-flight entertainment system was a great way to pass the time. Despite some minor issues, the flight was a positive experience overall, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a premium travel experience.