Chauffeur + Washington Dulles Airport
Dulles to Abu Dhabi Etihad Diamond First
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge
Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business
Conrad Lounge & Seaplane
Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class
W Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class
Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge
Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class
Etihad’s narrow-body business class is in a 2-2 style similar to a domestic first class, but with a little more leg room and recline, plus an automatic leg rest. It’s no flat bed, but it’s more than adequate for a ~4 hour flight.
Despite having originally picked seats in the second row, at check-in, we didn’t have seats assigned, so we picked the only two seats together which were in row 1–usually my least favorite row of a narrow-body first class cabin.
Pre-departure beverages were offered from a tray and included orange juice, water and a tropical juice blend. I went with orange juice and Cara went with the tropical blend which were placed on a pull out mini-tray from the center arm rest.
Boarding was fairly quick given that everyone arrived on the busses together, and shortly we were airborne.
After take off, hot towels were offered and drink orders were taken.
We both ordered champagne which was served with mixed nuts.
At this point orders were taken from the food menu, which, while fairly limited, wasn’t too exotic, so most anybody should be able to find something to eat.
The starter was served first, and I selected the Arabic Mezze which was, as you might expect, pretty good.
And for the main, I chose the prawn dish, which was just OK. It wasn’t inedible, but it’s not something I’m in a hurry to eat again.
The flight attendants did an excellent job of serving food at the proper pace, and it seemed everybody in the cabin was served appropriately (i.e. main courses served after they finished starters without waiting too long), so kudos to them there. Lots of airlines, even in long haul business class, have a fairly assembly-line-like food service, and I’m impressed that they paced it individually for a regional flight.
The in flight entertainment was fairly limited, so I just kept mine on the map feature while enjoying some self-catered entertainment (iPad). Landing cards were also given out about halfway through the flight, which as it turned out saved us TONS of time. We arrived at nearly the exact same time as Emirates, Qatar and BA, though it seemed we were the only ones who had been given landing cards as the passengers from the other flights weren’t able to proceed directly to immigration and we were.
Our approach to MLE had some pretty spectacular views of Maldivian islands and resorts.
Immigration was a breeze, though we heard the opposite from nearly everyone else we talked to during our stay, and if we’d been at the end of the line with the mid-day rush, I can’t imagine it would’ve been pleasant. Thank you, Etihad, for handing out those landing cards on board!
Overall our experience with Etihad was very good. The first class hard product was excellent, and the chauffeur service for both first and business class–including regional business class–is an outstanding benefit. The only area where I could see substantial improvement is in the lounges. They’re simply not big enough, and the first class lounge lacked any wow factor for me.