Review: Etihad Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner Business Class

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Thailand (home to my favorite hotel in the world: Soneva Kiri) and the Kingdom of Cambodia. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Etihad Airways Airbus A380 First Class Apartment from Paris to Abu Dhabi
  • Review: Etihad Airways Dreamliner Boeing 787 Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok (today)
  • Review: Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand
  • Review: Phum Baitang by Zannier Hotels, Cambodia
  • Review: A visit to the Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia
  • Review: Alila Villas Koh Russey, Cambodia
  • Review: Shinta Mani Wild by Bensley Collection, Cambodia
  • Review: Cathay Dragon Airbus A320 Business Class from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong
  • Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Boeing 777 from Hong Kong to Frankfurt

Today (6 May, 2020): Etihad Airways Dreamliner Boeing 787 Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok.

I recently flew with Etihad Airways from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (France) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thailand) via a stopover in Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). The flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok – in Business Class – was operated by an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Etihad Airways calls the Business class seat on its Boeing 787 a “Business Studio”, and it’s definitely one of the best Business Class products in the sky. The cabin has a unique dovetail design with forward and rear facing seats that creates a sense of space and freedom, with direct aisle access for all passengers and convenient storage spaces. The same seat & layout is also found on Etihad Airways’ Airbus A380, but unfortunately, the carrier’s A320, A330 and B777 planes feature a less glamorous (albeit still excellent) Business Class product.

Have you ever flown with Etihad Airways? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.

  • Trip: Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Bangkok (BKK)
  • Airline: Etihad Airways
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Aircraft registration number: A6-BLS (delivered to Etihad in 2017)
  • Flight number: EY402
  • On time departure: Yes (10 pm)
  • On time arrival: Yes (6 am; + 1 day)
  • Miles: 3070
  • Flight time: 5 hours
  • Seat: 10A
  • Class: Business Class

In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube clip):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Etihad Airways Business Class lounge at Abu Dhabi Airport
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences (lavatory, crew)
  10. My verdict (score)


1. COST OF MY TICKET

I paid this one-way Business Class ticket from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok with miles & cash: $90 USD + 40,000 miles. The ticket was booked via American Airlines’ frequent flyer program AAdvantage (Etihad is a partner airline of American Airlines). Read my review of AAdvantage (with pros, cons, & tips) here.

ETIHAD AIRWAYS BOEING 787-9 DREAMLINER

2. ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT

Etihad Airways’ flagship Business Class lounge at Abu Dhabi Airport is located in Terminal 3 near gate 35, and operates round the clock. The design of the lounge is in keeping with the airline’s latest branding “Facets of Abu Dhabi”. Echoing the brand’s geometric design concept, the lounge’s chic furniture and soothing color palette of green, orange, brown, and white create an overall effect of 21st century Abu Dhabi modernism.

The large lounge features several seating and dining areas divided by semi-open walls with design motifs. Upholstered in deluxe leathers and fabrics, an assortment of armchairs, sofas, bar stools, dining chairs and executive armchairs adorn the space. That said, despite its massive size and tons of plush armchairs, it can get unpleasantly crowded in the lounge, especially in the evening and morning peak hours when most flights arrive at or depart from Abu Dhabi.

A stylish bar is the lounge’s center piece and offers both walk up service or sit down dining options. There are also three lavish buffet stations located within the lounge, and the food spread is impressive and tastefully presented. There’s a wide variety of food to choose from, including kebabs, pastas, salads, sandwiches, mezze, curries, and an assortments of desserts. Of course, all food & drinks at the lounge are complimentary.

Complimentary WiFi is offered in the lounge. Other facilities at the lounge include a business center, Champagne bar, cigar lounge, children’s play area staffed with qualified nannies, and relaxation areas. There’s also a small Six Senses Spa, offering 15 & 25 minute treatments (not complimentary though).

ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS BUSINESS LOUNGE AT ABU DHABI AIRPORT

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners come in different layouts:

  • Most Boeing 787-9 aircraft feature 28 flat bed seats in one Business Class cabin and have no First Class (the plane that flew me to Bangkok was fitted in this layout)
  • Some of Etihad’s Boeing 787-9 do feature a First Class cabin, with the 28 Business Class seats spread over two cabins: 8 seats in a small front cabin and 20 seats in a larger rear cabin.
  • The carrier’s Boeing 787-10 variants don’t have First Class and are equipped with 32 Business Class seats in one large cabin.

All Business Class seats in Etihad’s Dreamliners are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 layout. Seats in even-numbered rows face forward while those in odd-numbered rows face backward. The seats in the plane’s center section come in pairs: the seats in forward-facing rows are positioned right next to one another (perfect for couples), while backward facing center seats have significant separation and a small divider that adds an extra level of privacy. The single seats on the side also have an alternating pattern: forward-facing window seats are located in their own ‘cocoon’ (with the seat right next to the window and a console between the seat and the aisle) while rear-facing window seats are located closer to the aisle and considerably less private.

The cabin’s most striking feature is its sophisticated, luxurious and refined decor. A neutral color palette of different beige tones is mixed with some gold and copper, reflecting the magnificent desert landscape of the United Arab Emirates.

For a seat map of the Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787-9 that flew me to Bangkok, click here.

ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (MID-FLIGHT)

4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

The Business Class “Studio” onboard Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 is luxurious, comfortable and spacious. The space feels very similar to the layout of Qatar Airways’ QSuite (which I reviewed here) but doesn’t feature a sliding door.

The seat is upholstered in a luxurious brown fabric and has a pitch of 73 inch (185 cm) and a wide of 22 inch (56 cm). One side of the seat features a regular armrest, while the other armrest doubles as a storage compartment, holding a bottle of water and the noise-cancelling headphones.

Next to the seat is a large console with side table. This console is either located on the aisle side of the seat (creating more privacy) or away from the aisle (in which case the seat is located directly along the aisle and considerably less private). The console holds a panel for the seat controls and the handset for the inflight entertainment. There’s another electronic control panel below the table, with both panels controlling the seat recline, cushion firmness, dimming of the windows, and lighting within the studio. A sturdy tray table is stored inside the console and ejected by pulling a lever at the bottom of the tray.

In front of the seat is a 18.5-inch touchscreen TV. Below this TV is a spacious footrest with a small storage compartment underneath (to stow away shoes or a small bag). At the push of a button, the seat reclines into a fully flat bed of 190 cm (75 inches) long; the seat is quite comfortable in bed mode since the enclosed footwall under the TV is large enough to move around your legs and feet.

What are the best seats on Etihad’s B787-9s? Click here for a seat map.

  • The paired center seats in forward-facing rows are positioned right next to one another and perfect for couples.
  • Solo travelers should choose one of the forward-facing window seats, which are located in their own private cocoon.

What are the worst seats on Etihad’s B787-9s? Click here for a seat map.

  • All rear-facing seats are located closer to the aisle and considerably less private.
  • The rear facing window seats in row 9 (9C & 9H) are missing a window and thus not recommended.
  • Seats in the first and last row of the cabin are located closer the galley with some occasional noise disturbance.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (AFTER ARRIVAL)
ETIHAD AIRWAYS B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (AFTER ARRIVAL)

5. AMENITIES

Business Class passengers on one of Etihad Airways’ medium-haul flights receive the following amenities:

  • A Business Class amenity kit, designed by Italian luxury brand Acqua Di Parma. The kit is a presented as a stylish yellow zipper pouch and contains socks, eyeshades, dental care products, and a Colonia sampler & hand cream from Acqua Di Parma
  • Noise-cancelling headphones, for effectively suppressing cabin noise and engine drone. The headphones can only be powered within an aircraft and cannot be taken home.
  • Sleeping amenities, which comprise a stylish blanket and a rather small pillow (unfortunately, a quilted mattress for enhanced sleeping comfort is not provided).
AMENITY KIT
AMENITY KIT
AMENITY KIT
BLANKET
PILLOW
NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

6. MEALS

On this 5-hour flight, a full course dinner was offered shortly after takeoff:

  • Aperitif, served with mixed nuts
  • Starter: chilli & coriander prawns, served with quinoa salad and basil dressing
  • Main course: sea bram tahtah, served with aromatic rice and dakous sauce
  • Dessert: mango mousse cake on dark chocolate biscuit

Food taste and presentation were great on this flight. Prior to arrival, a light meal was served upon request. I ordered a glass of orange juice and a fresh fruit platter.

HOT TOWEL
DINNER
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU
MENU

DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
PRE-ARRIVAL SNACK
PRE-ARRIVAL SNACK

7. ENTERTAINMENT

Each Business Class “Studio” has a 18.5-inch touchscreen TV. The inflight entertainment (IFE) has an easy-to-use interface, that is controlled by touchscreen or handheld device. It features hundreds of hours of on-demand entertainment, with more than 300 TV shows as well as more than 100 movies, ranging from blockbusters to timeless classics and representing all corners from the world (Hollywood, Arabic, European, Indian and Asian Cinemas). Etihad Airways’ inflight entertainment system also features live TV channels (e.g. BBC, CNN).

INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

All of Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787s are equipped with WiFi. A variety of plans are on offer, catering to both light browsing and more intense work.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

# CREW: The international cabin crew on this flight was professional and friendly, albeit a little cold. All requests were dealt with promptly and cordially.

# CREW UNIFORM: Etihad Airways’ cabin crew wears very stylish uniforms by Italian designer Ettore Bilotta. The chocolate-brown, purple and orange colors reflect the brand of Etihad Airways, which is headed by Australian James Hogan.

# LAVATORY: Etihad Airways’ Business Class cabin on the B787 has two lavatories in the front, located directly behind the cockpit.

LAVATORY
LAVATORY
LAVATORY

10. MY VERDICT
  • Etihad Airways Class lounge at Abu Dhabi: 8/10
  • Cabin design: 9/10
  • Seat comfort (upright position): 9/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
  • Food (quality):  8/10
  • Food (quantity): 8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 9/10
  • WiFi:  9/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,5/10

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3 Comments

  1. Hi our dear The Great Luxury Travel Expert ! Hi dear Fans ! Your suggestion to be the first to comment on Your phenomenal flight review with Etihad Airways is not only pleasant for me, but it is also a great honor and responsibility! Thank You for this opportunity ! I always like Your review very much : everything is meticulous, accurate and to the smallest detail! Your unique review, Your experience and Etihad Airways together with You leave the most pleasant and better experience for deciding in choosing a carrier for the flight to the place of intended vacation ! After reading Your review, everything is not only very clear, but involuntarily there is a desire to make the planned flight with your pleasantly convincing recommendations ! I’m immensely grateful for Your very important and noble Mission for us ! GOD bless You ! God bless everyone Fans !

  2. Great review, I ‘m your fans, Etihad airways business class seat layout and design are so luxurious and refined decor. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ridicules showing Etihad luxury, when we are stuck in Sydney and we can’t get a flight out to Frankfurt which was paid for 5 month ago ! Our flight was cancelled 20/4 because of Corona new flight was offered by Etihad 17/5 and
    Cancelled again . We can’t get in touch with anyone at Etihad all phones are of
    Can anyone help us with our Problem!!! We feel ourselves abandoned bei Etihad Airways!!! HELP

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