Etihad A380-800 Business Class!

I will not talk much about the airline since I already did that previously on reviewing the B787-9 flight from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf. After about four weeks in Germany, France, and the UK; it was time for me to head back home. For the return I was booked on an Etihad Airways flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi operated by their flagship A380-800 Superjumbo.

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With nine examples in the feet, the Etihad A380 presently flies three times a day to London Heathrow, twice a day (2nd daily from June 1st) to New York JFK, and daily flights to Mumbai, Melbourne, Sydney, and Paris; between June 1st and October 28th.

Etihad operates from Heathrow’s terminal 4 which is fairly nice. Etihad’s check-in counters are located on the left side of the terminal. There was one counter for first class passengers and another two for business class passengers. The guy working the counter we checked in at was rude and it was almost 15 minutes before we got boarding passes. After checking in, all I wanted to do is go to the view deck and spot since Heathrow is just a plane spotter’s heaven. I’ll try to post them on the blog soon, but I managed to catch the A380 taking me to Abu Dhabi arriving from Abu Dhabi.

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A6-APF, with New York Fashion Week logos on the engines.

Etihad Airways 20.
London Heathrow (LHR) – Abu Dhabi (AUH).
Departing at 2:05PM and Arriving at 1:20AM.
Duration: Seven hours and fifteen minutes.
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800

Boarding was scheduled at 1:25PM, forty minutes before the 2:05PM scheduled departure time.  Economy Class passengers board through the two jetways leading to the main deck; however, business class, first class, and the residence passengers board through the jetway leading to the upper deck.

All Etihad Airways A380s are configured with 415 economy smart seats, 70 business studios, nine first apartments, and the residence which two passengers can fly in.

At the door, I was greeted by the Cabin Manager Edward and one of the business class attendants. On the left is the gorgeous first class cabin and the residence.

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Then on the right are the business class cabins and the lobby. The seventy business studios are spread across three cabins. First there is a massive cabin with 42 seats.

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Then there is a smaller cabin with 22 seats.

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And finally a mini cabin with only six seats.

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For the flight, I selected seat 12K which is window seat closer to the window. I’ll explain the seating arrangement because almost everyone was unhappy with their reverse facing seat. So, even numbered seats ending in either “A” or “K” are forward facing window seats with great privacy. Odd numbered window seats ending in either “C” or “H” are rear facing window seats closer to the aisle which lack privacy.  Into the center seats, even numbered center seats ending in either “E” or “F” are extremely close to each other and are perfect for people traveling together. Now, the seats to avoid are odd numbered ones ending in either “D” or “G” since they are in the center, far apart from each other, closer to the aisle, and lack privacy.

After settling in one of the business class flight attendants came by to my seat to introduce himself and offered me a drink, either lemon or orange juice, I went with the latter.

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At 1:55PM, Captain Robert came on the PA to welcome us onboard the six hour thirty minute journey to Abu Dhabi, he also informed us that we will be departing from runway 27L and that we would be cruising at the altitude of 39,000 feet. Etihad offers an amenity kit in business class which is fairly nice.

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At 2:00PM sharp, the doors were closed and five minutes later we pushed back. The Residence was unoccupied, the first class cabin had five passengers, and both the business and economy class cabins were full. I enjoyed the views of the Kuwait Airways B777-300ER that just arrived from Kuwait City.

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We started our short taxi to runway 27L, during which the crew came around to take the meal orders. It was only a 10 minute taxi, but we had to wait for a few minutes before taxiing into the runway. Finally at 2:25PM, we began our 50 second roll down the runway.

During the climb, there were some nice views of Heathrow’s terminal 5.

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We had a bit of a chop on the climb out, and the seatbelt sign was turned off 10 minutes later. About 50 minutes after departure, the crew finally began the service starting with tablecloths, the bread basket, olive oil, and butter. Annoyingly, the appetizers and drinks were served 45 minutes later.

To start, I had the Arabic Mezze, which was okay. I still think that Emirates serves the best Arabic Mezze. The mezze consisted of a small portion of tabouleh, hummus, vine leaves, and a cheese pastry.

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For the main course, I had the Authentic Gulf Chicken Biryani. It was spectacular.

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After the main course, the trays were cleared and it was time for dessert, I asked for chocolate ice cream. Unfortunately, a strawberry ice cream was served instead.

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After the meal service,I connected to the inflight wifi that Etihad offers. The flight pass costs only 21$, and the wifi was fast.

I tried to nap for a bit, but I woke up only 45 minutes later. I decided to check the lavatory located between the business class cabins, it was pretty basic.

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Ninety minutes before arrival, I decided to order a snack. I went for the Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich and the Arabic Baklava on the side. The sandwich was flavorful and tasty.

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About 45 minutes before arrival, the first officer came on the PA updating us that we’ll be landing at 12:50AM and that the weather in Abu Dhabi is 23 degrees celsius, he also thanked us for flying Etihad.

15 minutes before arrival, the cabin manager distributed fast track cards for passengers having Abu Dhabi as their final destination.

At 12:50AM, we had a smooth touch down on Abu Dhabi’s runway 31L, from there it was a five minute taxi to the gate.

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Aircraft Information: Etihad Airways A6-APF, 1.5 years old.

Flight Information: EY20, London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi.

Load: 98% full.

I finally got to try the Etihad A380 business class. In my opinion, is it better than the Emirates A380 business class? No, the seats are literally identical with the exception of the finishes and having reverse seats. Emirates has a much better meal service, a nicer bar with more seats (Etihad has only 4 seats).

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