The long haul to Europe is the ideal opportunity to take advantage of Etihad Business Class. I was thrilled to start my trip in the comfort of a flight that ensured I arrived well rested and ready for my European adventure. As an experienced travel industry professional, I've sampled many premium air offerings, and Etihad has a few standout features that ensure that I'm more than happy to recommend the Business Class experience to my clients.
Route: Melbourne - Abu Dhabi
Flight duration: 14 hours 10 mins
Checked baggage: Two pieces up to 32kg
Class: Business Class
Not having to queue at the airport is one of my favourite business class benefits, and the check in for Etihad Business Class was the quickest I have ever experienced. I went straight to the business counter, and within a few moments I had my boarding pass and was ready to go. The lady at the desk was absolutely lovely, and the luggage allowance of two pieces at 32 kilograms was a welcomed bonus.
The Etihad lounge at Melbourne airport is the newest in Australia, and as well as being visually beautiful it is impressively thoughtful. The service was exceptional; - the staff was expecting our group and prepared a platter, which they presented as soon as we were seated. Our group of six enjoyed gourmet cheese, fine wine and hot dishes with a Middle Eastern flair.
While platters may not be the norm, guests can enjoy the same food from a self-serve buffet, order a la carte, and enjoy the liberal pourings of top shelf wines and liquors.
It was such a beautiful way to start the trip and a fantastic introduction to Etihad Business Class. It’s a comparatively quiet lounge, as there are not an abundance of Etihad departures from Melbourne. Rather than the high traffic of some corporate lounges, you are generally only sharing with those who will be on your flight.
The Business Class seating configuration aboard the A380 is one-two-one, providing every seat with aisle access and a gratifying amount of privacy.
Known as Studios, the seats are easily transformed into a completely flat bed, which extends to well over six feet. The cosy comforter is the icing on top of an inviting bed, which made for a very good rest.
I was a little stressed before the flight, as I had to rush from work to the airport. After breezing through check in, relaxing in the beautiful lounge and then arriving at my divinely comfortable seat I felt completely relaxed and ready to enjoy the journey.
My 15-inch screen offered a good selection of entertainment, from the latest movies to current TV show episodes.
The selection of mainstream viewing had something for all age groups, and there was more than enough to entertain you throughout the journey. Another Business Class benefit was the noise-cancelling headphones, a perk that added to that feeling of blissful privacy.
Service was excellent from the moment I arrived at the check in desk and continued to be consistently brilliant until the moment I left the airport at the end of my trip. The staff were very well presented with not a hair out of place, and the assistance was speedy and gracious.
As soon as I was seated on the plane I was served a glass of champagne and some warm, spiced cashews - a little luxury touch which I now try to recreate at home! There were multiple points of service before we took off, from the presentation of the beautiful Scaramouche + Fandango amenities kit to the chat about my dining preferences.
Food & Beverage
While you’re waiting for the flight to depart, the staff members ask whether you’d like the regular meal service, which occurs an hour or so after take-off, or if you’d prefer to eat at a different time.
There is a 24-hour menu of snack foods and treats, but also a full range of light and full meals that you can order whenever is convenient for you. My meals were delicious; contemporary dining with Middle Eastern influences served on beautiful dinner ware - China, crystal and linen all the way. The coffee was great, which doesn’t usually happen on flights! It helped that the coffee was always served with a luxury treat.
The A380 also boasts a common bar area, which was very elegant and alluring but remained mostly unused - probably because we were all so comfortable in our seats.
What really made Etihad stand out was that the service created an experience that was all-encompassing, from the moment of check-in to the last wave goodbye. The staff had a constant touch, and the level of service was continuously excellent. I am more than happy to recommend Etihad Business Class to my clients, and many of them are pleased to hear that they are linked to Virgin, so they can use and accrue Velocity points.