Etihad Airways review: Sydney to Manchester (via Abu Dhabi)
We took the 5-star carrier for a spin to see if it's earned it's ranking.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Heading over to the UK and Ireland for a combination of working remotely, a road trip and a friend's wedding, I was keen to give one of the big three Middle Eastern carriers a try, so I booked myself onto Etihad flights into Manchester and out of Dublin.
Between Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, I found these fares to be the most reasonable and had the most favourable flight times, departing late in the afternoon on a Friday and arriving early enough into Sydney on the day of my return that I didn't need to take an extra day of annual leave.
That said, how did I actually find the flights?
Etihad Airways details
Route: Sydney to Manchester (via Abu Dhabi) / Dublin to Sydney (via Abu Dhabi)
Duration: 21h outgoing / 21h 15m incoming
Flight Number(s): EY451 and EY15 / EY48 and EY450
Aircraft Type: Airbus A380-800, Boeing 777 300, Airbus A330-200
Dates Travelled: 28 September 2018 to 21 October 2018
Frequent Flyer Program: Velocity
Points earned: 5,556 points, 140 status credits
Alex's Etihad rating
- Favourable flight times
- Decent entertainment options
- Newer planes
- Bland food
- Limited leg room
What did I like?
- Entertainment: There was a decent enough selection of movies, TV shows and games available that I didn't need to watch my back-up downloaded Netflix content on my phone.
- New outgoing planes: The A380-800 I flew in from Sydney to Abu Dhabi seemed to be quite new, with some of the nicest looking airplane bathrooms I've come across. (Unfortunately, the planes on my return flight seemed to show a bit more aging.)
- Flight times: I don't like using up annual leave days when I don't have to and these flights departed Sydney in the late afternoon (allowing me to get almost a full day's work in), depart the day after my friend's wedding in the evening (allowing enough post-party recovery time) and arrive into Sydney early enough in the morning that I could go home, shower and still be in the office for 9am. The stopover times were also minimal, with just two hours on the way there and three hours on the way back.
What didn't I like?
- Limited leg room: I'm rather short and felt my return flight had very limited leg room (pictured). I'd imagine anyone who's above average height would struggle in these seats.
- Bland food: Now I know airplane food isn't exactly fine dining, but I was expecting more from Etihad. I found the food to be bland and flavourless to the point I didn't finish any meal and wish I had snacks with me.
- Check-in process: I don't believe I've ever come across a slower check-in process for a flight. While I understand there are more people boarding a A330 and a Boeing737, the pace at which the line moved was barely even a crawl. I stood in line for an hour and a half.
Would I use Etihad Airways again?
If Etihad was much cheaper than either Emirates or Qatar, then yes. However, if they were similarly priced, I'd likely go with another carrier.
Etihad flight deals and sales:
Popular Flights coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|2 Dec 2020||Up to 10% off international flights with code||MAS****|
|1 Dec 2020||Up to 10% off flights + extra checked baggage||STU****|
|16 Oct 2020||Up to 12% off international flights||PAY****|
|3 Dec 2020||Australia-wide flights from $75 each way||********|
|2 Dec 2020||Australia flights from $53 each way||********|
More guides on Finder
Etihad kicks off Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week with a special eco-flight
Passengers on a Brussels flight were treated to brand new sustainable features.
Enjoy flights to South Africa from $976 with this Etihad sale
EXPIRED: Etihad Airways is putting Johannesburg at your fingertips.
Cebu Pacific flight review: Sydney to Cebu (via Manila)
We took Cebu Pacific for another spin between Australia and the Philippines, this time doing some island hopping with the budget carrier.
Qantas flight review: New York to Sydney via LAX, economy
While the world eagerly awaits the launch of Qantas's direct New York to Sydney flights, we check out how the current New York-Los Angeles-Sydney run pans out.
Emirates flight review: Sydney to London via Dubai
At 23 hours and 25 minutes, the journey from Sydney to London is no easy feat. Does Emirates make it painful or pleasant? We took the trip to see.
Take off with this global sale from $973 return with Etihad Airways
EXPIRED: 5-star flights to Europe and the Middle East on the cheap. Consider this the perfect cure for FOMO.
Qatar Airways QSuites Business Class Singapore to Doha Review
Qatar Airways’ motto “Fly first in business” rings true for QSuites, Mehron finds.
Escape to Europe from just $1,065 return with latest Etihad flight sale
EXPIRED: Score sale fares on 5-star flights to Dublin, Athens, London, Barcelona and more, plus get a free stopover in Abu Dhabi if you book before 20 September.
Air Canada review | Toronto to Sydney (via Vancouver)
Just how comfortable is this 22-hour slog in the same seat?
United Airlines review: Sydney to Los Angeles – Boeing 787, Economy Plus
A free upgrade almost made up for the change in itinerary on our trip to the USA. Plus, the vegan meals were surprisingly good.
Ask an Expert