Review: Etihad First Class Boeing 787 (IAD-AUH)

Review: Etihad First Class Boeing 787 (IAD-AUH)

FROM: IAD
TO: AUH
CABIN: First
DATE: May 2023
REVIEW RATING:
SEAT MAP: 787-9 V.2
BEN SAYS: Etihad's Boeing 787 first class features comfortable seats, excellent service, tasty food, great entertainment, and nice amenities. However, there are definitely some more over-the-top first class experiences out there, if that's what you're after.
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To kick off our round the world trip, my dad and I flew Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787-9 first class from Washington to Abu Dhabi. After an exceptional recent flight in Etihad’s Airbus A350 business class, I was curious to see how Etihad’s first class product is nowadays.

I have to say, the experience was exactly what I expected, but in a good way. Not a whole lot has changed about Etihad first class compared to years ago, and this flight had tasty food, friendly service, comfortable seats, excellent entertainment, free Wi-Fi, and nice amenities.

However, given some of the amazing first class products out there, I can’t help but feel like the product lacks pizzaz. There are no double beds, or showers, or bars, on the Etihad 787 (though you will find some of those amenities on Etihad’s A380s, which are making a comeback!).

With that out of the way, let’s get into the review…

How I booked our Etihad first class tickets

I booked our Etihad first class tickets using American AAdvantage miles. Specifically, I booked the following for 115,000 American AAdvantage miles plus $18.55 in taxes and fees per person, which is a fantastic value:

5/18 EY130 Washington to Abu Dhabi departing 9:15PM arriving 6:15PM (+1 day)
5/20 QR1055 Abu Dhabi to Doha departing 1:50AM arriving 1:55AM

For what it’s worth, my dad was originating in Tampa, while I was originating in Miami. So we were able to include the flights from our home airports to Washington National (DCA) on the same award tickets. We met up there, took an Uber to Washington Dulles, and started our exciting journey together!

Etihad first class lounge & boarding

We arrived at Washington Dulles a little over two hours before departure. The check-in process was efficient, and we were checked in within minutes. We were directed to use the Turkish Airlines Lounge. There is actually an Etihad Airways Lounge at Washington Dulles, but it has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

I’ve heard rumors that it might reopen later this year, but I haven’t seen any firm announcement yet. I won’t be reviewing the Turkish Airlines Lounge this time around, as it was packed (since it’s also open to Priority Pass, not to mention Turkish’s flight leaves around the same time).

Boarding was scheduled for 8:30PM, 45 minutes before departure. While standard boarding was from gate A16, premium boarding was from gate A14, so it’s nice how the airline separates boarding out in that way, to make the process more efficient. Boarding started right on time, with first class being invited to board first.

Etihad 787 first class cabin & seats

We boarded through the second set of doors, where we were greeted by the lovely cabin manager, and escorted to our seats in first class. I first quickly glanced at the business class cabin, which looked great. While Etihad’s 787s don’t yet have the carrier’s newest business class, this is still an excellent product.

Etihad business class cabin Boeing 787

When you walk to first class, you pass two rows of business class, which is a nice private mini-cabin.

Etihad business class cabin Boeing 787

Then we found ourselves in the first class cabin. Etihad’s Boeing 787s feature a total of eight first class seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While there are first class products with more frills, Etihad’s first class seats are comfortable and practically designed.

As you’ll see, there are no overhead bins, which gives the cabin a more spacious feeling. There are some closets at the front of the cabin where you can store any carry-on bags, in addition to a personal wardrobe. I know some people don’t like the lack of overhead bins, though I find it makes a big difference in terms of the feel of the cabin.

Etihad’s first class seats alternate between being forward and rear facing. I’m not sure I understand the logic for this, as it doesn’t seem like this saves any space?

Etihad first class cabin Boeing 787
Etihad first class cabin Boeing 787

If you’re traveling alone, I’d recommend picking one of the window seats. The window seats in row one are rear facing, while the window seats in row two are forward facing. I kind of like rear facing seats, but I’d recommend the seats in row two, as they have more spacing from the galley and bathrooms. Below are some pictures of seat 2A, both with the door open and closed.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

And then below is a picture of seat 1A. As you can see, the seats have different color patterns.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

If you’re traveling with someone, I’d recommend picking the pair of seats in the center. The forward and rear pattern is different from what you’ll find at the window seats. The center seats in row one are forward facing, while the center seats in row two are rear facing. I assigned us seats 2D and 2G, the two center seats in the second row. These would be my preferred seats, as you have a ton of privacy facing the bulkhead, and you’re away from the galley and lavatories.

If you do happen to be traveling alone and are seated in the center section, don’t worry, as there’s a privacy partition that can be extended to basically give you full privacy.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

Etihad’s first class seats are super comfortable — they’re well padded and also pretty elegant, in my opinion. I like both the reading light and individual air nozzle to the side of the seat.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

Each seat then has a large ottoman (which can double as a buddy seat, if you want to dine face-to-face), as well as a large wall-mounted television.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

There’s also a small wardrobe compartment to the side of the seat, where you can hang any clothes, or even store shoes.

Etihad first class seat Boeing 787

Along the center armrest of the seat is a shallow storage compartment, as well as a small minibar, which had a couple of soda cans, as well as a couple of packaged snacks.

Etihad first class seat minibar Boeing 787

The opposite armrest then has the entertainment controller, the seat controls, the headphone jack, and two USB outlets.

Etihad first class seat controls Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat storage Boeing 787
Etihad first class entertainment controls Boeing 787
Etihad first class seat controls Boeing 787

The seat’s tray table extends from the center section, and is both massive and heavy.

Etihad first class tray table Boeing 787

The AC power outlet and an additional USB outlet are located past the tray table storage area. Personally I find this area to be hard to reach when seated, so I think that could have been better located, but it’s hardly a big deal.

Etihad first class power outlets Boeing 787

All-in-all, I found Etihad’s first class cabin to be super comfortable, even more than I remember. There are more exciting first class seats out there, but you’ll have absolutely no issues getting cozy here.

Etihad first class amenities

As far as amenities go, waiting at each seat upon boarding was an Acqua Di Parma amenity kit. This featured a dental kit, socks, eyeshades, sanitizing wipes, lotion. lip balm, body lotion, perfume, and hand sanitizer.

Etihad first class amenity kit

There were also a pillow and blanket waiting at my seat. Both the pillow and blanket were great, though I was surprised that these hadn’t been updated. Etihad recently introduced a partnership with Armani / Casa, though it seems that this only covers business class amenities, and not first class amenities.

Etihad first class pillow & blanket

There were also a pair of noise canceling headphones at my seat, which were pretty good quality. Unfortunately unlike Etihad’s newer A350s, there’s no bluetooth audio in first class, so you can’t use your own headphones with the entertainment.

Etihad first class headphones

Upon settling in, the two fabulous flight attendant, Julianna and Florentina, introduced themselves, and offered us pre-departure drinks. My dad and I both ordered champagne, and in this case it was the 2002 Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Grand Cru on offer, which was lovely. While perhaps not as well known as Dom Perignon or Krug, it isn’t cheap!

I’ve long been a fan of the trays on which Etihad serves pre-departure drinks, as we were also offered Arabic coffee, dates, and a warm towel. We were offered a couple of drink refills throughout the (extended) boarding process.

Etihad first class pre-departure drink

The crew then distributed pajamas and slippers. Etihad’s first class pajamas are from “A Friend Of Mine,” an Emirati fashion brand. The sleepwear is breathable and soft, and I appreciate how Etihad highlights a local brand.

Etihad first class pajamas
Etihad first class slippers

The crew also passed out vouchers for complimentary Wi-Fi — it’s always nice when airlines offer free Wi-Fi in first class!

Etihad first class Wi-Fi voucher

We were also brought the menu and wine list for the flight, with a reminder that Etihad has a dine on demand concept, so we could eat and drink whenever we wanted.

Etihad first class menu & wine list

Etihad 787 first class entertainment & Wi-Fi

Etihad has a top notch entertainment selection on its Boeing 787s. This includes seemingly endless movies, TV shows (including live TV), music, games, and more. No matter how long a flight is, you definitely won’t be bored with the number of entertainment options you have access to.

Etihad first class entertainment system Boeing 787
Etihad first class entertainment system Boeing 787
Etihad first class entertainment system Boeing 787

As an aviation geek, my favorite thing to do is to simply watch the map, as that never gets old. Etihad has an excellent map feature that’s highly customizable and easy to use, so I liked how you could zoom in and out as you wanted.

Etihad first class entertainment system Boeing 787
Etihad first class entertainment system Boeing 787

Etihad’s Boeing 787s feature reasonably priced Wi-Fi. With Etihad’s new Wi-Fi pricing, you can buy a texting plan for the entire flight for $4.99, and can buy a surf plan (with no data limits) for $19.99. Furthermore, all Etihad Guest members receive free messaging.

Etihad Wi-Fi system Boeing 787
Etihad Wi-Fi system Boeing 787
Etihad Wi-Fi system Boeing 787

As a first class passenger, I could take advantage of free Wi-Fi for the entire flight by entering the voucher code I was given. I found the Wi-Fi speeds to be very good, and it worked consistently throughout the flight.

Etihad Wi-Fi system Boeing 787

Etihad 787 departure from Washington

At first boarding was pretty efficient, and we seemed to mostly be boarded within around 30 minutes or so. During boarding I loved listening to Etihad’s boarding music.

At 9:10PM, five minutes before the scheduled departure time, the captain made his welcome aboard announcement (or more accurately, one of the three captains — there were three captains and one first officer, which is odd rostering). He informed us of our flight time of 13 hours, and our expected cruising altitude of 33,000 to 39,000 feet.

While it seemed like we’d be ready to go, the captain finished his announcement by explaining that we were waiting for a few more passengers, and it would be around 30 minutes. As I wrote about in a separate post, we had some VIP guests who ended up filling up the first class cabin, which made for an interesting flight.

By 9:30PM boarding was complete, at which point the safety video was screened. I quite like Etihad’s Abu Dhabi-themed safety video.

We started our pushback at 9:35PM, and our taxi at 9:40PM. It took us about 15 minutes to taxi to our departure runway, and we were cleared for takeoff at 9:55PM.

The sensation of having a rear facing seat is always fun during takeoff and landing, and it was my dad’s first time being in such a seat. He got quite a kick out of it.

We had a smooth climb out, and then the seatbelt sign was turned off about five minutes after takeoff.

Etihad first class dinner service

After takeoff, the crew quickly began their inflight service, recognizing that many people wanted to sleep ASAP. You can find the full dine on demand menu below. I’m impressed that even though Etihad eliminated its inflight chefs, the first class menu remains unchanged, including the “lounge and grill” concept (where you can combine your choice of proteins, sides, and sauces).

Etihad first class menu
Etihad first class menu
Etihad first class menu
Etihad first class menu

Below you can find the drink menu for the flight, including wine, liquor, soft drinks, coffee, and more.

Etihad first class wine list
Etihad first class wine list
Etihad first class drink list
Etihad first class drink list

My dad and I both decided to stick to champagne after takeoff, so we had another glass of that. This was served with a trio of snacks, including smoked almonds, olives, and wasabi peas. Yum. I appreciate the speed at which this was brought out, as the drinks were served within 15 minutes of takeoff.

Etihad first class dinner — drinks & snacks

After that, dinner was served at a leisurely pace, with the table being set about 50 minutes after takeoff. We were offered a selection of bread, and I chose pretzel bread and a white roll.

Etihad first class dinner — table setting

To start, my dad and I both had the Oscietra caviar with the traditional garnishes.

Etihad first class dinner — caviar

Next up, I ordered the Arabic mezze, consisting of three dips, two hot options, and two pieces of pita. My dad skipped ordering an appetizer.

Etihad first class dinner — starter

For the main course, I had the mahi mahi, described as being served with tomato, chickpeas, cauliflower, kale, and lemon vinaigrette. I’m pretty sure I was served the potato and cheese gratin rather than the chickpeas, but I sure didn’t mind, as they were tasty.

Etihad first class dinner — main course

My dad went with the lounge and grill option, allowing him to select his own main course. He chose the beef fillet with pommes frites.

Etihad first class dinner — main course

After the main course, we were served a lemon sorbet palate cleanser.

Etihad first class dinner — palate cleanser

To finish off the meal, I ordered the lemon cheesecake, while my dad ordered the cheese selection.

Etihad first class dinner — dessert
Etihad first class dinner — cheese course

Our entire meal service was done around 2.5 hours after takeoff. The food quality was very good, and I’m happy to see that Etihad still lets you customize your meals in first class, just like back in the day.

While the food was delicious, I do have a couple of thoughts:

  • I’m surprised Etihad doesn’t have the Armani / Casa service items that you’ll find in business class; I’d argue that the business class plates, glasses, and cutlery, are now nicer than what you’ll find in first class
  • There’s simply no denying that Etihad’s first class food is a bit dialed back compared to what you’d find on airlines like Emirates; for example, Emirates has a much more impressive caviar presentation (never mind that Emirates offers unlimited caviar), and Emirates also has a much more substantial Arabic mezze

Etihad 787 first class lavatories

At the conclusion of the meal I asked the crew to make my bed, and in the meantime checked out the lavatories. Etihad has a fantastic lavatory setup on the 787, as there are two large first class lavatories. Best of all, they’re between the galley and cabin, so you don’t even have to pass through the galley. There’s even a nice area where you can wait, without getting in the way of the crew.

Etihad first class lavatory Boeing 787
Etihad first class lavatory Boeing 787
Etihad first class lavatory Boeing 787

The lavatories were elegant, and spotlessly clean throughout the journey. Even 12 hours after takeoff, you’d find that a sheet was placed on the toilet seat after each use, and that the toilet paper would be folded into a perfect triangle. This crew was on top of things.

Etihad 787 first class bed

At this point it was well after 12AM on the East Coast, over four hours after my normal bedtime, so I was exhausted. I found the Etihad 787 first class bed to be extremely comfortable — I love how there are three pillows, and the seat feels quite spacious and private.

Etihad first class bed Boeing 787
Etihad first class bed Boeing 787
Etihad first class suite privacy Boeing 787

It’s also cute how Etihad puts a “sweet dreams” bookmark (or something) on the pillow with turndown service, with a quote from Dr. Seuss that reads “you know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Super adorable sentiment, but I must not be in love, because I fall asleep exceedingly easily every night, at least at home. 😉

Etihad first class bed Boeing 787

I’m usually a horrible airplane sleeper, but I got some amazing rest on this flight. I slept for over six hours, and woke up as we were just past Italy, with around 4.5 hours remaining to Abu Dhabi.

Etihad map feature enroute to Abu Dhabi

For what it’s worth, my dad slept for a similar amount of time. However, he absolutely refuses to recline his seat when flying, and claims to sleep better sitting up. He did that that on every segment of this trip, and I feel like the crews were in constant shock. “You don’t want to sleep in… a bed? You’d rather sleep sitting up? Are you sure?”

Etihad first class breakfast service

Upon waking up, it was morning on the East Coast of the US, so it was time to get some work done. I opened up my laptop and ordered a cappuccino. Why yes, I would like 800 calories worth of sweets to go along with my morning cappuccino. 😉

Etihad first class coffee & sweets

I worked for a couple of hours, and then just around two hours before arrival, while starting our journey across Saudi Arabia, I decided to order breakfast.

Etihad map feature enroute to Abu Dhabi

For breakfast, I ordered an iced latte, a fruit plate, and the shakshuka. The shakshuka was untraditional but tasty.

Etihad first class breakfast

At the conclusion of the meal, the crew distributed warm towels and little boxes of chocolate.

Etihad first class chocolates & warm towel

Breakfast fully wrapped up with around an hour remaining to Abu Dhabi.

Etihad map feature enroute to Abu Dhabi

Etihad first class service

The crew on this Etihad flight couldn’t have been better. The cabin manager (from Romania) and the two first class flight attendants were stellar (from Colombia and Romania). They were charming, attentive, and even proactive.

From keeping the lavatories spotlessly clean, to proactively offering refills, to somehow making my bed while I briefly got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom for a minute, the crew was simply flawless.

Their performance was especially impressive when you consider that all eight first class seats were taken, so the crew had to hustle.

Etihad 787 arrival in Abu Dhabi

At 6:05PM Abu Dhabi time, the captain announced that we were at 41,000 feet, and would be landing in about 40 minutes. Moments later, we began our descent toward the UAE. About 20 minutes into our descent, the seatbelt sign was turned on.

Etihad map feature enroute to Abu Dhabi

We had a smooth approach to Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately due to my lack of a window seat plus the 787 not having a tail camera, I didn’t have much of a view of the approach, as I do always enjoy the views of Abu Dhabi.

We touched down in Abu Dhabi at 6:45PM, and then had a roughly 15 minute taxi to our arrival stand, where we pulled in at around 7PM. Unfortunately we were around 45 minutes late, due to a combination of the longer than usual flight time, plus our VIP guests, who arrived late. Fortunately we had a long connection, so that wasn’t an issue for us. Upon deplaning we headed straight for the Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi.

Bottom line

I had an excellent flight in Etihad’s Boeing 787 first class, with very friendly service, good food, comfortable seats, nice amenities, and impressive entertainment and Wi-Fi. I even managed to sleep for roughly half the flight, which is as good as it gets for me.

Honestly, this flight was as good as it possibly could have been, and Etihad first class is even better than I remember it. My only real feedback is that there are more over-the-top first class products out there, both in terms of hard and soft product.

In terms of the competitive landscape in their respective classes, I’d say Etihad’s A350 business class is better than Etihad’s 787 first class (which is to say that the A350 has one of the best business class products in the world, while the 787 offers a solid but perhaps unmemorable first class experience).

What’s your take on Etihad’s Boeing 787 first class?

Conversations (58)
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  1. tim Guest

    If you had a choice between:

    1) Qatar Q-SUITES BUSINESS from AUH-IAD (DOH plane change) for 70K AA miles, or

    2) Etihad FIRST, but on a 787, from AUH-IAD nonstop for 115K AA miles

    which would you choose?

  2. Charlie Diamond

    Ben, you said there’s an additional USB outlet past the tray table but the photo shows an HDMI port. Which would allow you to plug in your device and watch your own entertainment (or work on your laptop) on the seat’s display.
    Few airlines have this but when the seat has a nice big display it’s a good feature

  3. Mary Guest

    We are on this flight in a few hours! We can’t wait! Thank you for this extensive review.

  4. johndeere19 Guest

    @Ben, regarding you comment about the alternating forward/rear facing eats, I didn't notice this before but in one of your photos, it appears that the aisle seems to curve a little. I checked Aerolopa - https://www.aerolopa.com/ey-789-3cl - and what they did looks brilliant. The seats aren't a perfect rectangle, they're actually wider at the seat than at the footwell. By alternating, they create more space for the seating area and the result appears that they...

    @Ben, regarding you comment about the alternating forward/rear facing eats, I didn't notice this before but in one of your photos, it appears that the aisle seems to curve a little. I checked Aerolopa - https://www.aerolopa.com/ey-789-3cl - and what they did looks brilliant. The seats aren't a perfect rectangle, they're actually wider at the seat than at the footwell. By alternating, they create more space for the seating area and the result appears that they actually have a curved aisle. Very cool if I'm right!

  5. Julia Guest

    "I can’t help but feel like the product lacks pizzaz. There are no double beds, or showers, or bars, on the Etihad 787"

    Is it really fair to ding them for this though? You won't find any of this in the first class products of Lufthansa, Swiss, JAL, ANA, Air France, Qantas, Asiana, Korean Air non-A380s, Emirates on the 777, Singapore non-A380s...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Julia --I don't view it as dinging them. My approach to reviews isn't like Uber ratings, where you give the driver five stars just for getting you to your destination safely. And you're right on a lot of those points -- I wouldn't give Lufthansa, SWISS, Qantas, Korean Air, etc., five stars either, for their standard first class products.

      I do think Air France having floor-to-ceiling curtains is a major feature, though, since there's...

      @ Julia --I don't view it as dinging them. My approach to reviews isn't like Uber ratings, where you give the driver five stars just for getting you to your destination safely. And you're right on a lot of those points -- I wouldn't give Lufthansa, SWISS, Qantas, Korean Air, etc., five stars either, for their standard first class products.

      I do think Air France having floor-to-ceiling curtains is a major feature, though, since there's only one other first class product in the world with full privacy.

  6. Frog Guest

    Disappointing wine list. Would have expected better in Etihad First.

  7. LD Guest

    To be very honest; this site is getting so staid. Reviews that are 90% similar to the ones you did before. Nothing new nor exciting. (Eithad.. yes.. No overhead bins...yes. More spacious...etc..Caviar....Mezze..etc.) Zzzz.
    Same prose. Same formulaic writing with similar expected responses/reactions.
    Same airlines. Same hotel chains.
    (Only thing that makes this site interesting, are the unexpected dramas; like Ford's recent multiple flight delays/cancellations)

  8. Sam Guest

    I often see people mention that some of the Ottomans can be used for buddy dining, but rarely see this in action (a lot of flight reviewers seem to fly solo). Have you ever utilized that function? How was/is it?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sam -- I have used it before, though not on this flight, since we could sit next to one another. We would have definitely used it if we both chose window seats, so that we could still dine together. This is one of the better buddy seat setups, as the ottoman is spacious, and the tray table is huge. Much better than the setups on British Airways and Cathay Pacific, for example.

  9. Brian Guest

    Ben, I'm amazed that you always seem to use points for your flights. How do you manage to get so many points when you're flying using those points? If it's from credit card points, how far ahead of being able to make a points booking do you transfer them to the airline? Thanks.

    1. Randy Diamond

      Remember Ben (and Gary + others) donated $30K to the charity when Simplymiles started and they had a promo with something like 45x $. Plus there was another promo stacked on that. Bottom line they spend $30K and got 7 million miles.

      Gary posted that he did it - since he could get about four J round trips to SYD for his family of 4. That was based on AA's mileage of 175K for a...

      Remember Ben (and Gary + others) donated $30K to the charity when Simplymiles started and they had a promo with something like 45x $. Plus there was another promo stacked on that. Bottom line they spend $30K and got 7 million miles.

      Gary posted that he did it - since he could get about four J round trips to SYD for his family of 4. That was based on AA's mileage of 175K for a one-way ticket to Australia. Of course now AA charges 450K miles for a one way ticket or 900K RT. So that is 3.6M miles for a family of four to Fly RT to Austraila. Now his 7M miles is shy of what is needed for 2 total RTs.

      I suspect Ben is looking to use many of those 7M miles on partner airlines while you still get value with partner rewards.

    2. Mick Guest

      I did simply miles for about 1.5m miles. Wish I had done 10x but so be it. Today I just booked Sydney to dfw on Qantas on American for august. Tons of days in the next month where you can fly almost anywhere in the USA for 78k on American biz which I think is very nice. I’ve also flown quite a few Sydney to asia flights for 40k america and unfort had to cancel...

      I did simply miles for about 1.5m miles. Wish I had done 10x but so be it. Today I just booked Sydney to dfw on Qantas on American for august. Tons of days in the next month where you can fly almost anywhere in the USA for 78k on American biz which I think is very nice. I’ve also flown quite a few Sydney to asia flights for 40k america and unfort had to cancel a Qatar f redemption this week for 100k. 15hrs to Doha. Point is that to and from australia there is tons of value in aa.

    3. Mick Guest

      Sorry *on American miles is what I meant. My wife and I are flying Qantas for 80k american miles syd to dfw. It’s rare but with expert flyer it exists. I also flew Qantas in June from Tokyo to syd in Qantas biz for 40k American miles. And plenty of close in availability right now for biz and first on American to the USA from australia.

    4. Julia Guest

      Good to know they both had $30K lying around to invest in this lol

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Brian -- In the case of AAdvantage miles, I earned most of those through a promotion, as others have noticed, where I could acquire them at a low cost. For transferable points currencies, I only transfer those shortly before I'm ready to make a booking.

  10. Theonlywaytofly Guest

    "In terms of the competitive landscape, I’d say Etihad’s A350 business class is better than Etihad’s 787 first class (which is to say that the A350 has one of the best business class products in the world, while the 787 offers a solid but perhaps unmemorable experience)."

    -A350 J > 787 F?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Theonlywaytofly -- I clarified that part of the review to hopefully make it clearer. My point is that I think Etihad's A350 business class compares more favorably to other business class products than Etihad's 787 first class compares to other first class products.

  11. Tigris Guest

    @Lucky, does Etihad allow 1st class passengers to invite business class passengers to dine with them?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tigris -- I could be mistaken, but I don't believe so.

  12. AlsoBen Guest

    How did you book a through itinerary EY>QR? Did you have to call AAdvantage? I can build a multicity itinerary like that but it doesn't price as a single award.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AlsoBen -- The space showed on aa.com, but if it's not available online, it should be bookable by phone.

  13. Bill n DC Diamond

    Another Good detailed review I’ve flown this route once back when lounge was open which was better than Lufthansa. Ive flown AUH IAD a few times and really enjoy this plane. The reverse seats are I believe to provide more shoulder room and maintain the width of the aisle. Space efficient and sitting back in 1A or 1K the view is of the beautiful wing
    I love the passage way between the bathrooms
    ...

    Another Good detailed review I’ve flown this route once back when lounge was open which was better than Lufthansa. Ive flown AUH IAD a few times and really enjoy this plane. The reverse seats are I believe to provide more shoulder room and maintain the width of the aisle. Space efficient and sitting back in 1A or 1K the view is of the beautiful wing
    I love the passage way between the bathrooms
    I’ll be flying this next March.
    Looking forward to more details of you father son adventures

  14. Anthony Guest

    Very impressive. We have just flown Qatar 1st Doha -Sydney on A380, and apart from the doors ( which, personally I don't miss) the products are very similar. Even the menu! As for the almost ubiquitous comparison to Emirates, sorry but if I wanted that much glitz and gold I'd live in a Versace mansion!
    Thanks for the review.

  15. Randy Diamond

    Interesting the route you took. You dipped below Israel, as not to fly over it, then over the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
    Time I went - we flew over over the border between Iraq and Iran. But looking at the map, that likely required us to fly over Urkraine as well.

    A few months ago - I flew Swiss from ZRH to SIN. That route was over Turkey, Syria, Iran - and...

    Interesting the route you took. You dipped below Israel, as not to fly over it, then over the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
    Time I went - we flew over over the border between Iraq and Iran. But looking at the map, that likely required us to fly over Urkraine as well.

    A few months ago - I flew Swiss from ZRH to SIN. That route was over Turkey, Syria, Iran - and directly over Tehran - then Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and down to SIN. A little concerning if we had to make an emergency landing. I guess Swiss is not excluded by any countries for fly over.

  16. Randy Diamond

    Have flown it - nice product. To answer you questions:
    1. There are no overhead bins -- this is because crew rest area is above. CX is the same in FC.

    2. Etihad’s first class seats alternate between being forward and rear facing. I’m not sure I understand the logic for this. -- This is because they can make the seat wider and the foot rest a little narrower. Note the curvature of the...

    Have flown it - nice product. To answer you questions:
    1. There are no overhead bins -- this is because crew rest area is above. CX is the same in FC.

    2. Etihad’s first class seats alternate between being forward and rear facing. I’m not sure I understand the logic for this. -- This is because they can make the seat wider and the foot rest a little narrower. Note the curvature of the aisle. The window seats have the seat against the ends of the cabin. The middle seats are back to back where the aisle bows out.

  17. Michael Guest

    Ben

    How do you add on the domestic leg? If you find IAH outbound tickets, how can you fly into DCA? What’s the process? Do you call AA and ask to tack on the domestic leg to national?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Michael -- Since IAD and DCA are co-terminals, they can be added on the same awards. Yes, I first booked the awards out of IAD on EY, and then I called to add the domestic legs, as there was saver award space available.

    2. Leon Guest

      The Etihad lounge at IAD will not be reopening. Chase is taking over that space for their lounge.

  18. kev Guest

    Returning to IAD from a trip to Singapore next Spring, paid first class. We can connect in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but I’m on the fence for which one to select. Emirates (on the A380) has the bling factor, but the flight leaves at 2:30AM and gets into Dulles at 8:30AM. Etihad departs at a much more civilized 10:30AM, and is a daytime flight all the way. EK is actually a little cheaper, as...

    Returning to IAD from a trip to Singapore next Spring, paid first class. We can connect in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but I’m on the fence for which one to select. Emirates (on the A380) has the bling factor, but the flight leaves at 2:30AM and gets into Dulles at 8:30AM. Etihad departs at a much more civilized 10:30AM, and is a daytime flight all the way. EK is actually a little cheaper, as well. If the schedule was similar I’d almost certainly choose EK, but that middle of the night departure makes me think that we won’t get the most out of the experience (who wants to eat caviar at 4 in the morning?). Any thoughts?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ kev -- One major consideration would be that I don't think Etihad operates F to SIN? I only see two class 787s rostered for those flights. So I would probably choose EK simply since more of your journey would be in first class. Agree with you about the flight times, though, I'm not a fan of middle of the night departures.

    2. kev Guest

      No, it would be J class SIN-AUH. We are doing a stopover on the way back, so really two separate flights.

    3. kv Guest

      No, it would be J class SIN-AUH. We are doing a stopover on the way back, so really two separate flights.

    4. SBS Gold

      Do you like to drink cognac onboard? Etihad serves $90 Tesseron Lot 90, Emirates serve $1200 Hennessy Paradis...

    5. glenn t Diamond

      Take the EK flight. Dead of night flights are horrible as you don't feel like a full meal (or 2) and can't appreciate a potentially outstanding drinks menu.
      Also the crew are pretty keen to get the meal service done, and lights out to encourage you to sleep ASAP and free up their down time.

  19. Airfarer Diamond

    I have yet to fly on Etihad. I turned on your boarding music link as I read your review and found it faded into the background as I read. I didn't realize how much I was enjoying it until I closed the link and it turned off.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Airfarer -- Hah, I'm not kidding when I say that I listen to airline boarding music all day while working. People are often confused why I rate different boarding music options, but I spend hours a day listening to it, so...

    2. Catriona Guest

      I’m imagining your son falling asleep to air like boarding music as his “white noise”!

  20. Mike O. Guest

    Just some suggestions: 1) Include the variant of the aircraft (787-9, A350-1000, etc.) 2) List the flight details including departure and arrival dates and times at the top and maybe in bold as well. And 3) Take note of the aircraft registration if you can.

  21. Brian Guest

    Ben: You seem to always snag first class award seats (often for two pax) on transcontinental flights. How soon in advance did you book these flights? It would be interesting if you included in the introductory summary of your trip reviews a statement of how far in advance you booked award seats. Thanks.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Brian -- That's a great idea, thanks, I'll try to do that going forward. In this case I booked the outbound four days before departure, and at the time the cabin was otherwise totally empty. I had actually booked the rest of the journey before I booked the outbound (since there were a few options I was deciding between).

    2. Roundtree Member

      I had the same thought as Brian and am so glad you’ll be considering this for future reviews.

    3. Daniel B. Guest

      How do you cope with the anxiety when you are waiting for availability to show up 4 days before departure? I would not be able to do that because of immense anxiety it would cause for me.
      What would you have done had no availability showed up?

    4. Mick Guest

      Fly somewhere else I’m guessing! As Ben mentions you get the flexibility with american as no cancelation fees. Personally I’ll book something decent and keep checking each day for better and better flights. We’re flying to the USA in aug and I have flights on American booked but just changed to dfw on Qantas for the Sunday (have a commitment in Sydney on the Saturday). I’m an anxious person but I enjoy the thrill of...

      Fly somewhere else I’m guessing! As Ben mentions you get the flexibility with american as no cancelation fees. Personally I’ll book something decent and keep checking each day for better and better flights. We’re flying to the USA in aug and I have flights on American booked but just changed to dfw on Qantas for the Sunday (have a commitment in Sydney on the Saturday). I’m an anxious person but I enjoy the thrill of the search and waiting for things to open up closer to the date. No flight from Dubai to Hanoi? Let’s fly to Saigon instead and travel the country in the opposite direction. I don’t find that hotel prices change much closer to the date. I prioritize (prob stupidly) my flights.

    5. Catriona Guest

      Tiffany wrote a really great article many years ago about how she booked her family a trip to Thailand over New Year. It sounded stressful but she managed!

  22. 9A Guest

    I always find it bizarre when the foreign airlines put so much into their first class experience and then serve Woodford Reserve, a bourbon served on AA in domestic first class ‍♂️

  23. D3kingg Guest

    Holy smokes a grand cru 2002 ? And a 2014 Pinot Noir ? Life is good. 4.5 stars is a pro rating. If a critic gave 5 stars all the time it then it wouldn’t really be 5 stars.

  24. Jon Guest

    The reason for the forward-backward configuration seems to be the curvature of the “suite” so there can be more seat/shoulder room with a narrower foot area.

    1. Bill n DC Diamond

      I’d add that the aisle width benefits noticeable in the bow of the aisle

  25. T- Guest

    Etihad still has the best livery. It certainly fits the country. I agree with you fully. I do really look forward to their latest seat. Also, I can't imagine sitting backwards on a plane. Thrilling I bet. I still love the first class pillows. They sort of match the outside. Good read thanks.

  26. @hanchicago Guest

    I appreciated the comparisons for dining in Etihad first vs. Emirates first. Now I really want to try Etihad business class on the A351 after your reading the conclusion.

    How does this 789 Etihad first compare with the 789 Oman Air first class? Are the doors higher in Oman F? These two first class products look pretty similar.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ hanchicago -- They are indeed somewhat similar, or at least probably the most comparable 787 first class products. Oman Air seats are all forward facing, while Etihad has the mixed configuration. I'd say Oman Air probably has the edge in terms of meal service, while I think Etihad has more consistently good service, and perhaps better amenities. Both are great products. Sorry you missed Oman Air first class on your recent trip!

    2. hanchicago New Member

      Thank you for the detailed review and this reply, Ben. I'll get on Oman Air first class one day? ;)

  27. Nelson Diamond

    Great review! Im also amazed that your dad sleep seated when you can have a bed... I travel about the same as your average (for about 25+ years) and must tell that I never ever saw someone sleeping seated while you have a bed, I'm not talking to have a nap. I'm afraid I will only see it once I'm on the same flight as your dad. ;-)
    It's not an Etihad-only thing but...

    Great review! Im also amazed that your dad sleep seated when you can have a bed... I travel about the same as your average (for about 25+ years) and must tell that I never ever saw someone sleeping seated while you have a bed, I'm not talking to have a nap. I'm afraid I will only see it once I'm on the same flight as your dad. ;-)
    It's not an Etihad-only thing but I always wonder why the heck there's always a choice of Heineken when this is without a doubt the worst "beer" you can have if you apreciate beer (note; I'm a Belgian). Sorry for the Dutch people out there but the only thing they have is Marketing.
    Ben, off topic, but you are nearing the 5mio mark of travelled miles. Any surprise in mind for your loyal readers when reaching that number? ;-)

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Nelson -- Hah, that's something to think about, thanks. And all good points you make.

  28. Omar Guest

    I had a similar experience on this flight recently. I could not complain about any one aspect but still it felt like it fell short slightly.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Brian -- That's a great idea, thanks, I'll try to do that going forward. In this case I booked the outbound four days before departure, and at the time the cabin was otherwise totally empty. I had actually booked the rest of the journey before I booked the outbound (since there were a few options I was deciding between).

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ AlsoBen -- The space showed on aa.com, but if it's not available online, it should be bookable by phone.

1
Julia Guest

Good to know they both had $30K lying around to invest in this lol

1
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  • March 21, 2020
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Etihad Airways Grounds A380 Fleet