We were supposed to be flying First Class on board an Etihad A340 before Etihad downgraded our plane to an A330 with no First Class cabin. I was a bit disappointed to say the least. The good news is that this Business Class product was unlike any I have flown before! The seats are in a 1-2-1 arrangement. The rows of middle seats alternate from being right next to one another to having a divider in between you.
I wanted to be in two of the middle seats close to each other, but not too close to the front galley. I chose seats 7E and 7F, which is the third row of middle seats.
The cabin looks a bit dated. I did not particularly like the color scheme of the cabin. I preferred the darker tones in the Etihad A380 First Class cabin.
The seats recline to be fully flat, although we did not use that feature on the short flight from Abu Dhabi to Cairo. I don’t know if I would have fit in the seat in bed mode; I thought the seat felt very cramped. I am a big dude at 6’9″ and I felt like I was on top of Brittany the whole flight (sorry).
Each seat had a personal monitor for entertainment. I found the selection of movies to be better than what we had when we flew First Class with Etihad on the A380. That was odd. I would have assumed they would have the same selection, if not a better selection in First Class. The screen was a bit dated and was not as large as some other business class products I have flown. They also had the weirdest setup for a tray table that I have ever seen. The tray table spun out from the center console in front of you. I don’t know how to explain it so I’ll give a picture.
There is one thing I could not figure out on this flight. Each seat had a light on it that had the seat number. You can see them in a few of my pictures. It seemed to me like these would light up and turn off randomly for different seats the entire flight. I initially thought it lit up when someone clicked the flight attendant call button. I realized my light was on and I had never pressed that button. Out goes that theory. If anyone can clear up my confusion about these, lights please do!
What Seat to Pick
If you’re traveling alone, I would go with one of the seats on the side of the cabin or one of the seats in the middle that are separated by a barrier. I would say seats 7A and 7K are the best seats for solo travelers. They are both far from the galleys, are alone on the side of the plane, and have the added privacy of a barrier between you and the aisle. If you are traveling with somebody and you both are tiny-to-medium people, I would pick one of the center rows with seats right next to one another. You will be able to talk easily. If you are traveling with someone and you are both bigger, I would go with the center seats that have a barrier between them or two seats one in front of the other on either side of the plane. Talking won’t be as easy, but still should be possible.
The cabin was completely full and service on this flight was still excellent. As soon as we were seated, we were given a hot towel and asked if we would like something to drink before takeoff. After takeoff, the flight attendants promptly came by to provide more drinks and to give some warm nuts. Everything I’ve come to expect when flying in Business.
The meal service was efficient and good. It would have been better if I had not just stuffed myself on our Etihad First Class flight and then again in the First Class lounge afterwards. I forget what I ate, but Brit had the pancakes with dark cherry compote and they were pretty good.
This is not my favorite layout for a business class cabin, but it is still perfectly suitable for a long haul flight. It does have the best Business Class seats I have seen for being able to talk to your travel companion (if you are willing to be super close to one another). I have become a huge fan of Etihad and the service they provide and look forward to my next flight with them. That being said, I would still look at other carriers if this was the plane I would be taking for the majority of my journey. If I was just connecting on this plane for a short flight, just like we did, I would have no problem flying in this Business Class product again.
Have you flown Etihad Business Class before? What did you think?