FACT’s Hayley Alexander takes to the skies for a luxurious Business Class flight aboard Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 jet.
Etihad Airlines, one of the top aviation providers in the Middle East, is renowned for its thoughtful design details, providing a high standard of comfort, privacy and exceptional customer service throughout its business class service.
The excitement of flying business class for the first time with Etihad was high. So let’s get straight to the point – it was the most blissful seven hours we have encountered, flying from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow on the Boeing 787-10 jet. From the moment we were ushered into the private business class check-in room at Abu Dhabi International Airport to landing at London Heathrow Airport, the process was a seamless experience.
Suppose you live in Dubai and need to get to Abu Dhabi. In that case, Etihad runs a free shuttle bus service from the Business Bay area, which takes approximately two hours to reach Abu Dhabi International Airport. Please plan ahead and allow enough time to ensure a stress-free journey.
The baggage allowance is very generous, 40kg for checked-in luggage and 12kg for hand luggage. However, heading to colder climates requires a whole different wardrobe to summer in the UAE, so the extra kilograms were welcomed.
Flying business class offers several perks before you’ve even set foot on the plane – the lounge access and priority boarding are just two examples. In the lounge, you can tuck into the Middle Eastern and Asian buffet whilst ordering hot or cold beverages of your choice – all complimentary. Business-class passengers are also treated to priority boarding of the plane.
Sat comfortably in row five in a lovely window seat, we didn’t realise how spacious the business class pods are. Greeted with a cold glass of bubbles and a smiley and informative flight attendant, we immediately felt relaxed and welcomed. We were presented with an all-day menu and a curated a la carte menu, from which you can order whatever you want, whenever you want! Yes, you can choose what time to have your meals – which is great for adjusting to your preferred meal times and ultimately does not throw you out of sync.
As expected, there were various options, including home comforts such as a steak sandwich or chicken and leek pie. We were pleasantly surprised because the pastry was crumbly and the inside was piping hot – just how we like it! We also opted for the prawn salad (fennel, orange, asparagus with a redcurrant & tarragon dressing), braised beef cheeks (celeriac mash, sautéed mushroom, grilled carrots and peppercorn sauce) and, for dessert (yes, we had space) apple crumble served with crème anglaise. We ate it all. It was hands down the best aeroplane food we’ve ever had.
Sturdy tray tables neatly tucked away expand out towards the seat, offering plenty of space to dine. With trays expanded, crisp white table cloths are carefully placed over the tray table, followed by silverware and a grape glass by the forever smiling flight attendant.
Not just a spacious table to dine, it’s also perfect for getting some work done, and each pod has a socket to charge your laptop, a USB station to charge your phone, and a well-connected WiFi facility.
As a person who loves details, I was taken aback by how thoughtful the design elements were put together. Etihad’s signature lighting design, carefully placed by each seat, is inspired by the shadow cast by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees. The cabin lighting provides a natural ambient light and is designed to enhance the guest’s experience. There is also a new dark box inflight entertainment system. Plus the elements to ensure the utmost comfort, where each seat comes with a pillow and soft duvet. The seats recline from upright into a fully flat bed mode.
When it comes to the bathrooms, expect fully stocked comfort products; face mist, Eau de cologne, lotion and hand sanitiser. All business class pods are equipped with Acqua di Parma toiletries too!
As well as being a brilliant aircraft, Etihad Airline are also taking an active part in committing to net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. In April 2022, Etihad welcomed their latest aircraft named, Sustainability50. The new jet is set to become a significant part of Etihad’s long haul fleet as it continues to phase out the larger, double-decker A380 superjumbo jets.
Overall, the experience was a solid ten. The on-the-ground staff and flight attendants contributed to this shining ten, going above and beyond to deliver a memorable experience. For this reason alone, I will be flying with Etihad Airways again.
GO: Visit https://www.etihad.com for reservations and more information.