Etihad Airways Business Class
THE FLIGHT: Flight EY20 from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Abu Dhabi – an afternoon departure, arriving shortly after 1am. The flight was operated by an Airbus A380. Etihad flies three times a day from London to its Abu Dhabi hub.
PRE-BOARDING: Terminal 4 was serenely quiet and there was no queue at check-in nor fast-track security. Etihad's lounge – for both first and business class passengers – is located beneath the SkyTeam lounge. There was a bar, dining area (a buffet and an à la carte menu were available), various seating options, waiter service, work stations, plenty of power points and a Six Senses spa with complimentary treatments.
THE SEAT: I was in rear-facing centre seat 21G on the A380's upper deck which is reserved for first class and business passengers. The business class cabin comprises 70 'Studios' in a dovetailed 1-2-1 configuration that gives all passengers direct aisle access and plenty of space. Seats are 22 inches wide and convert to fully flat beds of up to 80 inches. Four buttons control the seat position and lighting (which included a reading light, mood light, table light and decorative light behind my shoulder) and a handheld unit with LCD screen is used to screen TV/films on the ample screen. There was also a power point and two USB sockets.
THE SERVICE: Blankets, pillows, noise-cancelling headphones, menus and amenity kits (one of a series of collectible city-inspired kits complete with LUXE city guide) were all laid out on my seat. My jacket was taken and hung up and drinks and hot towels were swiftly handed out. The fl ight took off around 45 minutes late after taxiing for an age, and dinner orders were taken soon afterwards from a choice of three starters, four mains – I chose the chicken biryani – and four desserts. A number of light bites were available for the duration of the fl ight. Wifi access was available, from $11.95 for two hours to $21.95 for the whole fl ight.
THE VERDICT: TThis is a really smart, spacious and comfortable business class product that could benefit only from an extra privacy screen. A cool lounge area between the first and business class cabins is a nice touch
THE DETAILS: Etihad Airways flies three times a day from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. Return fares in business class start from £1,750. etihad.com .
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2017)