Etihad’s Dreamliner Enterprise Class – AirlineReporter : AirlineReporter

Just a few years in the past Etihad Airways got down to streamline itself. After hitting arduous instances and working into fierce competitors, it reduce routes, reduce prices, and invested in a extra fuel-efficient fleet. And earlier this yr Etihad introduced a long-awaited return to profitability. In order that a part of the transformation appears to be working.

What’s higher than one Dreamliner? How about Two? – Picture: Manu Venkat

However did the passenger expertise take successful from the airline’s belt-tightening? We had an opportunity to seek out whereas flying enterprise class on their 787-9 Dreamliner, a staple of their leaner long-haul fleet. Learn on for loads of images, movies, and opinions on the expertise. And on the finish of the story we have now some contemporary information about Etihad’s onboard product.

Arriving at Dulles

Our flight was in enterprise class from Washington D.C. to Abu Dhabi. I really like planespotting at Dulles, particularly from onboard these goofy “cellular lounge” buses.

Etihad’s Verified to Fly program means that you can affirm your COVID vaccine associated documentation upfront, which scores you entry to a separate shorter check-in line. Undoubtedly reap the benefits of when you can — it will possibly imply main time financial savings on the airport.

The Etihad app is straightforward however properly designed and offers loads of helpful options, like a timeline of your journey with info on check-in wait instances.

The airline used to have its personal lounge at Dulles, and you may nonetheless see the doorway from the concourse, nevertheless it isn’t operational now. Premium cabin passengers get to make use of the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse close by.

Dulles’ Virgin Atlantic lounge stoked controversy just lately for providing two tiers of service: solely fundamental self-serve meals for fancy bank card holders and higher made-to-order meals for premium cabin passengers. I used to be within the latter class this time, and had entry to all the great things.

Tomato bisque, grilled cheese, and prosecco

The solar set and it was time to get onboard our Dreamliner, sporting Etihad’s attractive livery.

Meet the Seat

Etihad’s Dreamliner enterprise class seat isn’t the most recent design, nevertheless it holds up properly for its age. There’s a mixture of ahead and rearward-facing seats and everybody has direct aisle entry.

Some, however not all, of Etihad’s 787s even have a first-class cabin. On these Dreamliners there’s two separate enterprise class cabins, a bigger one behind these doorways, and a mini-cabin sandwiched between the primary boarding door and the primary class cabin. I snagged a forward-facing window seat in that mini cabin, which felt particularly non-public and comfortable. The seat in entrance of me was curtained and blocked off, most likely as a crew relaxation area.

Which seats are finest? Should you’re a solo traveler, forward-facing window seats are the clear winner. They’re probably the most non-public and are nearer to the home windows than the rearward-facing window seats.

{Couples} might just like the paired forward-facing seats within the heart part, although when you’re flying solo (or get uninterested in your companion) you’ll be able to elevate a divider that makes these seats extra non-public.

Paired heart seats with the divider down
Middle seats with the divider up

Rearward-facing seats on both facet of the aisle are probably the most uncovered. So until you like the novelty of flying whereas going through the tail they’re finest averted if potential.

Even the forward-facing window seats have a direct line of sight to a number of different seats. Etihad’s latest enterprise class seat on their A350s are suites with doorways, making them the winner for privateness. Nonetheless, the Dreamliner seat holds up properly.

Although Etihad is predicated near Emirates and Qatar, their cabin design kinds couldn’t be extra totally different. Emirates goes for a blingier look, whereas Qatar does darker finishes with a number of gray and burgundy. Etihad affords a extra refined and understated fashion, with lighter earthy tones and a choose few focal design parts, like these seat-side lights.

I obtained settled in with a glass of glowing wine.

There have been two kits ready for me on the seat.

The primary was a “touring properly collectively” bag, focused at inflight well being and COVID security. It included hand sanitizer, wipes, a easy masks, and a fabric ring referred to as a snood that you possibly can use to type of cowl your mouth whereas sleeping.

Then there was the usual amenity package, made by Acqua di Parma. The contents have been easy — just a few lotion, a sleep masks, dental package, and a small pattern of fragrance.

Hitting the Skies

It was a nighttime departure so there wasn’t a complete lot to see out of the window.

A blurry take a look at Dulles off our wingtip after takeoff

Quickly we have been properly above the scattered clouds and on our approach to Abu Dhabi. The leisure system’s shifting map had a variety of features, although my interior AvGeek seen that the wings on the airplane icon have been awkwardly disproportionate in contrast with the fuselage.

The dinner service began proper on time and progressed effectively. To assist make that occur, Etihad’s flight attendants take your full meal order whereas nonetheless on the bottom. So be sure to look over the menu as quickly as you get to the seat.

The Arabic mezze possibility felt like one of the best ways to kick issues off.

The meat with couscous was superb.

As was the dessert.

General it was an excellent dinner, and the effectivity of service was simply as spectacular. Tray-based service for the starter and essential course didn’t detract a lot from the expertise, because it helped issues stream extra effectively. And through every course a flight attendant got here by at the very least as soon as to verify every little thing was OK.

With dinner achieved I settled in for the lengthy haul. First I had some enjoyable with the flight map, which confirmed us crossing the border into Canada. For religious Muslims, there’s a display screen that factors out the path of Mecca.

The biz class lavs have been roomy and saved clear, although didn’t have any further facilities. Don’t you like lavs with home windows?

Etihad affords moderately quick inflight wifi for buy.

The inflight leisure library isn’t as expansive as on the opposite main Center Japanese carriers, nevertheless it nonetheless affords a lot to cowl a few long-haul flights.

On a facet word, this flight was such an excellent instance of the highs and lows of Dreamliner home windows. On one hand, what may an AvGeek love greater than the panorama-like views like these?

However once I was making an attempt to sleep, even the darkest window setting let a ton of sunshine via. Although I assume it may very well be a partial profit when you’re making an attempt to get pleasure from window seat views with out flooding the cabin with mild.

The sunshine, it burns!

The seat converts to a fully-flat mattress in just some seconds. Etihad at the moment doesn’t supply mattress pads however that’s about to vary — extra on that on the finish of this story.

Dinner was filling sufficient that I didn’t go for any midflight snacks, although there have been choices accessible to order. Two hours from touchdown the crew got here round with a hearty breakfast service.

The views on strategy into Abu Dhabi have been distinctive, with a sea of desert abruptly turning into Emirati-style speedy growth.

We’ll be writing in regards to the floor expertise in Abu Dhabi individually. Due to the present terminal’s restricted capability, some flights deplane onto distant stands. Which might be annoying for many passengers. Nevertheless it’s superb for AvGeeks. As you’ll be able to see on the finish of the video above, that Dreamliner engine cowling is a magnificence from up shut.

The Verdict

The million-dollar query after Etihad’s cost-cutting years is whether or not the passenger expertise nonetheless holds up. Primarily based on this flight, it positively does. There are just a few options and frills that could be lacking compared with Etihad’s competitors. However the core options of an excellent premium cabin — a tremendous seat, robust mushy product, and nice crewmember service — nonetheless shone vibrant.

Not too long ago the airline has been providing discounted enterprise class fares and enticing award redemption charges, making theirs one of many extra accessible long-haul enterprise class choices within the Center East.

And don’t overlook, Etihad remains to be taking supply of their new A350 fleet that provides the identical wonderful mushy product with a fair higher seat.

A Recent Replace to Etihad’s Enterprise Class

Final month, Etihad introduced a main replace to their enterprise class mushy product. It features a full redesign of tableware for meal companies, with parts designed by Armani/Casa.

Picture: Etihad

Premium cabin passengers can even get an improved turndown service with a mattress pad and redesigned bedding.

Picture: Etihad

Some individuals within the blogosphere thought the announcement was blown a bit out of proportion. However hey, it’s good to see any airline persevering with to put money into their product. We’d like to attempt the Constellation Assortment out on a flight quickly.

Now it’s time to listen to from you. What do you concentrate on the Constellation Assortment and our expertise in Etihad’s Dreamliner enterprise class? Share your ideas within the feedback part under.

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – NEW YORK, NY. Manu obtained his non-public pilot license in highschool, setting the tone for his curiosity in all issues aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical resident in New York Metropolis. He enjoys writing about air journey from a millennial’s perspective.

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