Route: Sydney to Abu Dhabi | Seat: 23C | Flight time: 14 hours 45 minutes | Passenger: Richard Bunting
Etihad’s unique Business Studio layout offers forward and rear facing flatbed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, giving all passengers direct aisle access. If you prefer to face forward, it may be worth requesting this when booking or at check-in. Located between First and Business Class, the Lobby gives ample room for those who wish to move about and sit elsewhere during the flight.
The Italian-designed leather seats have been carefully considered allowing everything you need to be within arm’s reach. There is ample storage space including two tables, providing plenty of room to spread out your reading material and other odds and sods. All seats have side-screens for privacy from the aisle or your neighbor when required. My seat, 23C, was rear facing, which initially felt odd, but after making myself at home it mattered little. Seats are fully adjustable and boast an inbuilt massage feature – a lovely, not to mention relaxing, surprise. When I was ready to sleep, the crew supplied a mattress, which made a big difference.
The crew made what is a long flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi that much more bearable. The service was impeccable; I wanted for nothing and there was always someone to help you when need be. The cabin manager took the time to chat with each passenger.
Food is something close to my heart and I have always enjoyed in-flight dining. Etihad offers all-day dining and the food journey begins once you have settled into your seat. Prior to take off, the hostess took my dinner order, to be delivered at a time of my choosing. The menu offered a wide variety of options matched with wines from all over the globe. I couldn’t go past starting with the pea and mint soup served with a very crusty bread roll, which came promptly at the five-hour mark, as requested. It was delicious and just the right size. My main meal of beef was cooked to perfection and complemented with polenta chips and salad. So delicious was my dessert, my tastebuds must have overpowered my memory because I’ve forgotten exactly what I ordered. But I know it was chocolate, and I know it was incredible. The café menu, available throughout the entire flight, also offers great variation.
Each seat is fitted with a 15.4-inch screen with a crisp picture. The remote has a small built-in screen allowing you to look through view ing options while watching the main screen. The Etihad entertainment system, known as E-Box, offers the latest movies, TV shows, documentaries, music and games. There’s also a small selection of live TV channels. It’s certainly enough to keep you entertained until you nod off to sleep.
For me, service can make or break a flight, and the level of service I experienced made this trip. The crew genuinely wanted to look after me and ensure my needs were met with a smile.