Etihad has set itself the ambitious goal of turning airplanes into luxury hotels. Since the A380 joined its fleet, that goal has gotten a lot closer.
Complimentary limousine transfers are included with most tickets and you can get an express card at the Business Class check-in to speed through security and immigration.
Business Class passengers can also access the Etihad lounge areas, found in Sydney and Melbourne. You can also take advantage of partner lounges in other Australian airports, including the Air New Zealand lounge in Brisbane and the Qantas lounge at Perth international. The Etihad lounge delivers the full levels of service you’d expect. Head to the bar, graze on the snacks or tuck into the three-course á la carte menu ahead of your flight.
Like many other airlines, Etihad lets passengers bid for upgrades ahead of flights, to first class, Business Class from economy, or for empty neighbouring seats.
Frequent flyer perks
You can also redeem upgrades after accruing enough Guest Miles in your Etihad account. You’ll gather them faster in Business Class, at 115% to 175% depending on your booking, as well as with a higher Etihad Guest Frequent Flyer rank.
One of the main benefits of the Etihad frequent flyer program is that it can be very directly turned into upgrades, letting you enjoy some of the best seats in the sky, in business and first class.
At any rank you can also pool miles earned by your family, to multiply your Guest Miles.
The earn rate perks you can expect from the different tiers include:
- Etihad Guest. Base rank, without any special requirements. Lets you pool miles and access the online guest services.
- Etihad Guest Silver. Earn 25% extra miles, and get Business Class benefits like lounge access and chauffeuring even while travelling in economy.
- Etihad Guest Gold. Earn 50% extra miles
- Etihad Guest Platinum. Earn 75% extra miles. Receive the ability to nominate other members for Gold status, and nominate a third party to access and manage your account on your behalf, to help keep earning miles and let others travel in more luxury on your behalf.
Enjoy even more opulence in The Residence
At the front of an Etihad A380 plane you’ll find The Residence. That’s a private suite with a separate living room, bedroom and ensuite bathroom with a shower. Travellers here also get their own personal butler for the flight.
Behind that you have first class, where “seats” are also private rooms, some with enough space for a full-size bed, armchair, wardrobe and vanity. The shared first class bathroom is full size, including a shower.
And behind that you have Business Class. It’s not in the same league as first class, but it’s still much more than just a plane seat.
Space and seating
On the A380, Etihad offers Business Class seats in the form of the Business Studio, arranged in a 1-2-1 layout. All seats offer direct aisle access and lay fully flat at over two metres long. The centre two can be separated with motorised privacy dividers, while the window seats are more naturally secluded. One of its most distinctive features is the combination of forward- and rear-facing seats, to help maximise the available space while giving everyone more room of their own.
Each seat has its own 47cm entertainment screen and separate control panel, which can be used to adjust your seat’s angle, in-seat massage features, cushion firmness and lighting controls. Rather than the usual overhead lighting, each nook gets its own minutely adjustable lamp.
Business Class passengers can also access The Lobby, a space between first and Business Class. It offers room for up to six people with its own seatbelts, power supply and connectivity ports. Opposite The Lobby you’ll find the bar and bartender.
Forward-facing seats get additional compartments, while available overhead storage can also vary depending on the seats.
You’ll be welcomed with a full-size plush comforter, specially designed to be as comfortable as possible for the temperatures aboard the A380. The same goes for the complimentary pyjamas. You also get a Scaramouche + Fandango amenity kit, including socks, toothbrush, earplugs and eye mask.
Noise-cancelling headphones are also available for all passengers, to get the most out of your in-flight entertainment.
Take your pick of the latest blockbusters or timeless classics, the most current top-rated TV shows, live sports and news updates, and a range of Android games. In-flight Wi-Fi is available at extra cost, or you can just use your phone with roaming for internet as usual.
Business Class seats include multiple USB chargers and power outlets, so you’ll be able to get full use of your own devices.
Dining and refreshments
The Etihad mission of redesigning flying has also touched on in-flight meal services. Instead of waiting for set food service, you can just order from the in-flight menu as desired.
Expect a wide range of options, an extensive wine list and an onboard cafe, all serviced by experienced bartenders and food and beverage managers. Order what you want when you want, and ask for some advice from the onboard experts if you want to make the most of it.
Where can I fly?
Many consider Etihad’s A380 Business Class seats to be the most spacious, luxurious and well appointed in the world right now.
The seats themselves are exceptionally well designed to provide more space and privacy than you’ll find on any other airline, with the two-metre-long flat beds being some of the more spacious ones around. Meanwhile, the anytime dining service is a clear point of difference that likewise puts Etihad ahead of the competition.
The in-flight lobby and lounge area is similar to what you’ll find on other airlines’ A380s, but the staffed bar probably makes it a more convivial area than you’ll find elsewhere.
Frequent flyers who are lucky enough to travel along Etihad’s usual routes can probably get a lot more out of their journeys on Etihad’s A380s, especially if they can see themselves turning their Guest Miles into a first class ticket at some point.
Pictures: Etihad and ShutterstockBack to top
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