Image Source: Courtesy of Business Traveler
In an era where we are all couped up in our homes, with no immediate prospect of a return to normalcy anytime soon, all we can do is reminisce about the beautiful days gone by, when we could pack our bags and take to the skies. Etihad has always offered a luxurious travel experience by providing one of the best business class services with an extravagant ambiance. Etihad curates the space that you can customize according to your needs during travel and make it all worthwhile.
Etihad A380 business class has attained the stature of one of the world’s most stunning and revolutionary first class with best cabins. As we have heard many admirations related to it’s newly launched A380 business class, so we decided to take a trip to Abu Dhabi from New York (JFK) and it was a great opportunity to personally experience this much hyped up business class. We arrived at the Terminal 4 at JFK New York in time and waited for our check-in in the lounges. We have gotten our check-in within 20 minutes besides a long queue at the counters. After picking up our boarding passes, we proceeded through security and headed directly to the Etihad Airways Lounge, where we would be spending the next two hours.
Let’s analyze the experience we had when we traveled from New York (Jfk) to Abu Dhabi;
The lounge of New York (JFK) was quite amazing, luscious and imbued with amenities to gear you up for your long flight. Walking further into the lounge, we have spotted chairs aligned in a perfect manner. It also serves up specular views of the apron for those who love to see planes. It offers an extensive buffet for the passengers including Mediterranean food and scrumptious cuisines to fulfil our appetite before the flight. Moreover, there were a fair amount of beverage choices, including various types of coffee, tea, pop, beer and wine. Also, they got A la carte if you are not up for buffet with 2-seater dining tables to enjoy. From lounge styling to delectable food items, it’s one of the finest lounges in the US. We went for the boarding and as we boarded, we were completely astonished by their business class seats referred to as business studios.
Business Class Cabins & Amenities:
There are two smaller cabins further back in the plane. All seats are staggered and have direct aisle access as they are laid out in a 1-2-1 seating configuration. If you are traveling with your partner, we would recommend to opt for F section as you can lower the middle barrier. It was all so spacious and well-organized that you can easily get in and out of the seat.
Furthermore, they do have space for storage and a large screen for entertainment with the selection of movies, TV shows and games right in front of you. Above the main side table, you can find the IFE to control the lighting and your seat and 18 inch screen and along the bottom of the side tables were seat controllers that includes finer control of the seat position, cushion firmness, as well as control the seat massage feature, the seat lighting, and the window shades.
Two storage portions were also there right at the side of the seats where you can dump your belongings and utilize them when you need. Alongside your seat, there are several magazines, a duty-free catalog, safety card, sickness bag, as well as the WiFi connectivity information. The prices are worth the services as connectivity was perfect and we can do our work without internet disconnection.
Food & Beverages:
The most pivotal thing in airlines is surely food, if you are served with great food and beverages, your travel is luscious for sure. Etihad offers Dine on Demand service which is great, considering we had stocked unpin the lounge and were quite full and were just looking for a bit of shuteye. When we did decide to order we weren’t disappointed. The service was polite and efficient, although that spark, the genuine warmth that you feel with the crew of Singapore airlines or other Gulf carriers was definitely missing. We were offered different beverages and most of us opted for mocktails. We started off our meal with an Arabic Mezze that did not disappointed us in terms of taste and flavors. For the main I tried the beef fillet which was ok for the most part but was a bit dry, before concluding the meal with some fruit. Like we have experienced in most of the business class flights, the beef tends to except a few rare exceptions be overcooked or dry and Etihad too did not buck this trend.
The washrooms on other hand were quite upscale featuring gloss black surfaces and a tiled back-splash. when its sleep time you are provided with soft cushions and warm blankets as well as pajamas on takeoff, you can flatten your seat to convert it into bed leaving plenty of space for fidget around and stretch out. We are also served with amenity kit including a pair of socks, hand cream, toothbrush and a small bottle of cologne.
The spaciousness and extravagant services left us spell bounded and impressed us absolutely. The vibe exuded by the business studio is in stark contrast to its UAE neighbor and rival. Whilst Emirates goes for an over the top blingy look, Etihad opts for darker and more restrained tones, that in our experience we have found to be classier and easier on the eye. Whilst we do love the Etihad experience, it is currently in the midst of undergoing significant change, downsizing to a “mid-size carrier” and is trimming its offering in premium classes which threaten to put it at a competitive disadvantage relative to its Gulf competitors.