A is for A380. Etihad has 10 in their fleet and if you’re getting the EY 455 flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi you can expect to be on the jumbo jet. The EY 451 from Sydney is on the Boeing 777.
B is for bar. Think of a mini hotel lobby bar but on a plane. Business Studio passengers on the A380 and those in the First Apartments and The Residence have access to the on-board bar and lounge. Think designer leather seats, fresh flowers, big screen TV and room to stretch out.
C is for comfy. The seats are 20 per cent bigger than your average business offering. Basically like a designer lounge chair with a built-in massage system engineered to relieve stress. Storage on the A380 is colossal, with window bins, space under the ottoman, and a cabinet for hanging clothes. There’s a tray table and sizeable drop-down table to bring the proper restaurant vibes come meal time.
The 100% cotton doona on both the A380 and 777 is of a decent size and the cushion is nice and firm. I pinched a second pillow from the empty seat in front of me for extra comfort.
D is for drink. We start with French champaign. A glass of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Champagne at boarding time and a glass as soon as we’re in the air. Our host Bradley recommends a Shiraz next – a rich Barossa Valley drop. Bradley suggests to stick with a bigger red while flying as the lighter wines tend to lose their body in a pressurised cabin. He’s not wrong – my Shiraz manages to be full bodied with peppery notes at 35,000 feet.
E is for Eight, the number of hours you can sleep. The flat-lay experience means a proper rest. On a 14-hour flight, the sun goes down after the first four hours so you can easily get an eight-hour deep sleep during the journey and there’s still time to lap up the luxury of Business Class.
F is for food. Departing at 4.50pm on the EY 451 means you can take full advantage of the dining service – guilt free! You can choose when you want to eat but you’ll most likely chow down at the dinner service times anyhow.
Arabic Mezze plate with fresh tabouli, hummus, falafel and marinated bell peppers was my pick for a starter. There’s a serious a la carte menu to choose from including Aussie braised beef, roast Brussels sprouts, carrots, with pumpkin puree and jus. Dessert? Freshly baked bread and butter pudding. For real.
Ordering a midnight snack is a must. Etihad is known for its steak sandwich with melted cheese, and caramalised onion.
G is for granola (made from quinoa) and fresh fruit. And the rest of the all-day breakfast items on the menu, including fresh smoothies, full hot spread of eggs, chicken sausages, and sautéed mushrooms.
H is for The House. The name of the lounge at Sydney airport. Shared with Virgin Australia, and very close to the departure gate to Abu Dhabi, The House boasts showers, a bar and restaurant (we had a solid cheese platter prior to take off.) FYI the lounge at Abu Dhabi airport has three buffets.
I in for in-flight entertainment. A good range of new movies, think A Star Is Born and Ocean’s 8, but it wasn’t a massive selection. There could have been more TV shows but perhaps I am spoilt from my four subscriptions to various streaming services at home. The screen is a sharp and bursting with brightness at 39cm wide.
J is for jet lag. Or lack of. While jet lag is more about you crossing time zones quicker than your body can handle, business class certainly helps. More room to exercise, stretch out, sleep and better meals paired with showers on the ground mean a better chance than most of dodging jet lag.
K is for kilos. You get plenty – 40kgs of check-in to be exact. Plus two carry-on pieces weighing 12kgs in total.
L is for lighting. Once the sun goes down, the 777 and the A380 set the mood with a constellation of stars lighting up the roof of the aircraft. There’s something special about laying in a flatbed, soaring over the Arabian Sea, and staring up at a faux galaxy of twinkling stars.
M is for mini cabin. The secret two rows of Business Class compartments behind First Class on the Boeing 777. An ideal spot for lighter sleepers and those you want to feel that tad more secluded.
N is for noise-cancelling headphones. The best headphones on an airline I’ve ever tried, although they are more noise reducing than cancelling.
O is for opulence. From check-in to meal time and everything in between, the journey is an opulent experience worth splurging on at least once in your life.
P is for Poltrona Frau leather. The prestigious Italian design house had the task to beautifully upholster the Business Studio seats on the A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner and, yes, that’s the same supplier that fits out Ferrari’s interiors. Business Class flat beds on the 777 jet are also fitted with soft Poltrona Frau leather.
Q is for queue jump. Express check-in, jumping the line at security and immigration makes you feel all kind of important.
R is for ‘relax’ – one of 10 settings on your seat. Lean back as much as you like, even when you’re eating a 3am hot snack.
S is for seat. The seats on the 777 are more like compartments and are nice and spacious at 185cm long and nearly 51cm wide. In Etihad’s first dovetail configuration, the A380 Business Suites chair is 56cm wide with matching ottoman to create a fully flat bed spanning 204.5cm in length (that’s longer than your average.) The jigsaw design means some pods face backwards and those lucky enough to have a back-facing window seat can have up to three windows to themselves.
The twin-aisle ‘middle’ seats face the front and all have aisle access, these are perfect for couples or parents travelling with kids. Plus there’s a retractable privacy screen so you can retire and feel secluded.
T is for toiletries. Italian luxury skincare brand Acqua di Parma provides guests with 1.5ml of their signature fragrance Colonia and 10ml of hand cream in a fancy leather pouch. There’s also socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and an eye patch in the kit and guests can request extra items like shaving kits, comb and earplugs as they need.
U is for uniform. The striking outfits are designed by Italian haute couture fashion house Ettore Bilotta. The chocolate brown and purple threads look incredible when cabin crew are gliding across a terminal and it’s hard to miss those signature leather gloves.
V is for valet. Etihad offers a Chauffeur service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to anywhere in the UAE and vice versa.
W is for Wifi. Etihad has full mobile and Wi-Fly connectivity to keep up with emails and Instagram your meal while in the air – just be prepared to pay a small fee for it.
X is for extra. Business Class is all about the extras. Extra room, extra comfort, extra fancy food, and extra premium service. But if you’re keen for the extra leg room but don’t quite want to pay the business fare, Etihad’s ‘in between’ product is perfect. Economy Space is a cabin behind the last row of Business Class with a seat pitch of 91.44cm long. That’s more than 12cm more space than Etihad’s Economy seats.
Y is for yummy desserts on the ever-changing menu. Creme caramel with almond brittle, sticky toffee pudding and lemon tart with caramelised orange and chocolate ganache – to name a few.
Z is for zillionaire. You’ll feel like one when you fly with Etihad but you don’t have to be one to fly Business Class. Check out flights on sale here.
Want a free stopover holiday in Abu Dhabi? Etihad Airways is offering two free nights of hotel accommodation in Abu Dhabi for all guests booking flights to and from all Etihad destinations via Abu Dhabi. You must fly from 21 April and 15 July 2019.
Carly was a guest of Etihad Airways.
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