Last year I wrote about my very first trip on an A380 with Etihad in economy,check it out here http://wp.me/p4AB93-y8
After that, it was love at first sight for me and the A380 , instead of dreading flying , I actually began to look forward to the flight, as much as the actual trip.
So I was particularly excited, when I finally got the the opportunity to climb the stairs to plane heaven, and not just to sneak a peek either.
This is my Etihad A380 Business Class experience, travelling from Adu Dhabi which is their hub city to London Heathrow.
When travelling business class, there’s none of this dragging in the main entrance with the rest of the world. You pull up to your own dedicated business class, kerb side check in area. Your bags are magically whisked inside, and your escorted to the carpeted check in desks, and after the most pleasurable of check in experiences , there’s a dedicated business class security area, where every lanes a fast track and your through security in less than 5 minutes.
Heading for the plane , I had not one, but two Etihad escorts to guide me to the gate, I felt like a total rock star , as they cleared a path through the crowds to the gate. At the time, it felt like a total extravagance, but in hindsight, as someone who regularly gets lost in airports, it was helpful when your cutting things a bit fine.
Taking the gangway straight to the top deck upon boarding , I noted apart from the Residence and Nine First Class cabins right at the very front of the plane , that the Business Class cabin takes up literally the whole of the top deck . The Business Class cabin has 70 seats and is split into front and rear cabins in a 1-2-1 formation. On this flight the cabin was totally full.
The center two adjoinining seats are perfect for couples and friends travelling together while the solo traveller would be suited to the single window seats. Its also worth noting that seats face both forward and rearwards . I was assigned a rear facing seat which I can confirm was a very strange experience upon take off and landing , but when your in the air it doesn’t make any real difference.
This is where where Etihad earns their 5 star airline status in my opinion. The Business Class seat aka on the A380 “Business Studio”, is 6ft 8inches long when flat, and 22 inches wide. The seat is tan cloth, with a signature Poltrona Frau leather headrest, and an Etihad branded pillow. There’s lots of concealed personal storage space to store your stuff, and plenty of space for your handbag under the foot rest.
The seat is totally lay flat with a great vibrating massage feature, and now you can even get to choose how firm or soft you would like your seat, and all controls are within reach of your finger tips.
I found the headphones extremely fiddly to connect up to the console , so much so I had to get a crew member to connect them up, but after that they were fine, and they even managed to drown out the engine noise.
I have a thing about airline blankets , most offerings are way too thin , so much so when I’m travelling on a night flight, sometimes I bring my own. The Etihad blanket was lovely and thick like duvet, with cosy fleecy lining ,and I found it very comfy.
I loved the new LUXE of London city themed amenity kits , ( this one pictured is the AbuDhabi one) which contained mini travel guide along Scaramouche and Fandango products ,including a lip balm, hand cream, toothbrush , toothpaste, ear plugs, a sleeping mask
The tv screen is a massive 15 inches in Business Class , you can control it by touching the actual screen or by using the remote control handset .
There’s more than plenty to watch from the latest blockbusters to tv series to Bollywood more than enough to keep me entertained on a relatively short 7 hour flight.
So once your settled in your seat the food and beverage manager comes round to discuss the menu , theres two menus to choose from one a la carte and the other is a casual anytime menu if you don’t feel like a full meal. There’s also a very good wine list. As I was driving when I got to back to Heathrow, sadly I was unable to indulge.
After eating a full breakfast before boarding, I wasn’t particularly hungry , but I was determined to put Etihad’s in flight chef to the test. Usually reserved for the requests of First class passengers, Our chef Valad gracefully agreed to show me how he manages to cook from scratch, with just an aircraft oven. I decided to keep it simple with a couple of fried eggs
Later on I was also a bit peckish so went for a steak sandwich from the all day menu which was delicious.
And the staff bought me almost hourly refills of tea & cake to keep me going.
The Lobby, is the hotel inspired hang out area on the on the top deck of the A380. Located between the rear of the First Class cabin, and the front of the Business Class cabin, for all top deck passengers.
I doubted if people would actually leave their seat and use it, but I was proved wrong, it was positively buzzing with people hanging out, and sharing a glass of champers with their fellow passenger.
In My Opinion …
Contrary to belief , I’m not a regular in Business Class , and it’s a real treat to fly up front. With a round trip Business Class ticket between London & Abu Dhabi normally costing in the region of £3,000, with a saver Business Class fare booked well in advance it can be as low as £800.00 each way.
I feel the A380 definitely gives you more wow for your buck in Business Class. The separate deck , the newer seats , The Lobby area which is not not on the 777.
For overnight flight, flying, Business Class allows you to have a shower before you board in the lounge , even having a full meal, so the moment you get onboard you can go straight to sleep . It definitely beats squashed up in economy where’s it impossible to get any sleep unless the cabins half empty.
If you can get a saver fare , it’s definitely worth considering mixing and matching cabins getting a business seat on a night flight and bearing economy on a day flight.
For more fare information and booking check out Etihad’s App or go to http://www.etihad.com
Please note I was travelling as a guest of Etihad Airways , but my opinion as usual are my own.