Flight Review: Etihad Airways Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH)- Male (MLE)

Flight Review: Etihad Airways Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH)- Male (MLE)

Flight Review: Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

“Wow”. I’m pretty sure that’s what was going through my head on our entire walk to the Etihad Premium lounge.

Coming off of the best flight ever, Jaime and I couldn’t stop gushing about how incredible it really was. This conversation continued to the lounge and honestly I’m still talking about it now 2.5 months later. WOW.

Anyway, that post is behind us and we’ll move on. After getting off the flight we had about a 2.5 hour layover in Abu Dhabi. Should we just sit in the terminal (*cue gasp*)? No, of course not. So we headed to the Etihad Premium Lounge to relax for an hour and a half or so.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Lounge Entrance

Kevin reviewed this lounge during his honeymoon with Katie last May, so I didn’t bother. We sat in the lounge speaking with a wonderful woman from Australia who flew the A380 from Sydney in the Business Studios and was amazed by our trip in the Apartments. Obviously I was still pretty jacked up from the flight, so I talked her ear off. Sorry.

After the quick visit to the lounge it was off to gate 56 for the flight to paradise!

Let’s see where we are so far:

I was excited for this flight as it would be my first opportunity to try Etihad’s Regional business class product. And also because I was looking forward to a quick (2 hour) nap!

Airline: Etihad Airways
Route: EY278 AUH-MLE
Cabin: J (Regional Business Class)
Plane: A320
Seats: 2A and 2C
Flight time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Kevin reviewed this exact same flight during his honeymoon as well, so my report will be brief.

As with most of the regional flights in narrow-bodied planes at AUH, we left from a satellite parking spot. This meant everyone squeezed into the buses and boarding was more or less a free-for-all.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Pulling up to the plane! A look down to a host of other satellite spots – they have quite a few at AUH

After what seems like a mandatory 10 minute wait on the hot bus (happens every single time I use them), we were ready to board!

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Next stop: Paradise!

The flight was initially supposed to push back from the satellite parking spot at 0920 local time, but we had about a 30 minute delay. The crazy part of this is why we had this delay.

If you remember Kevin’s post, he had a 45 minute delay on his AUH-MLE flight because another passenger was having a medical emergency. The exact same thing happened to us on the SAME flight. What are the odds?? An extremely unusual delay on the same flight on the other side of the world? So strange.

We had a passenger who had some type of allergy or allergic reaction and had to be taken off the flight. It was only about a 30 minute delay, but it was pretty hectic with the passenger not wanting to leave and whatnot; a very similar situation to Kev’s flight.

Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get to the [brief] review!

We boarded the plane through the forward door and took a right into the business class cabin. Etihad’s regional business class is similar to a US domestic first class except significantly better. A larger seat pitch, more comfortable seats, better food/drink, and more recline are just a few of the ways it’s better (as if that’s hard to do).

First Impression: The cabin seems new! I don’t know if it actually was, but the seats and the entire cabin had that “fresh out of the box” feel to it.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

The classic “I just walked onto the plane and I’m trying to get a quick picture of the cabin/seats without looking too weird” shot.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

View from my seat looking back at the terminal!

Upon settling in to our seats in 2A & C, the cabin senior purser (Kim) came by to introduce herself and offer us a hot towel and a beverage. We both just took orange juice (see, I don’t drink on every flight) as we were a little groggy from the overnight flight and really just wanted to rest.

The cabin was pretty much empty today, with only 6 of the 16 seats occupied. Two of the other passengers were actually going all the way to the PH Maldives (as we would find out).

As most of the Etihad crews are, we had an eclectic mix of both personalities and nationalities. They spoke Korean, English, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Romanian and Russian.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Back of (empty) seat 1A. Tons of room!

One thing that I’ve never read online but experienced on the flight was the extra recline in the seat. The purser saw that we wanted to sleep, and since no one was behind us, did something special with our seat to make it recline and extra 8-10 inches or so! He basically messed with the mechanics to make the seat lay down about 150 degrees – pretty fantastic. To get the seats back upright they had to manual move the seat up – so this isn’t something you could just do yourself.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Blanket. Jaime told me to take a better photo and that it didn’t look nice like that. I told her this is how they have it on the seat so I’m taking the picture like this. See readers, staying objective! Although I will say it was extremely comfortable!!


They came around before takeoff to take our breakfast orders. Neither of us were very hungry, and all Jaime wanted to do was sleep (which she did the entire flight). However, I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least try the food. The things I do for the readers.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Small menu

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Short and sweet!

For all of you wondering if I left off the other menu pictures because I’m an outspoken opponent of them, I can tell you, I did not. This is it! The menu is really that small. But for a 4 hours-ish regional flight it was more than enough.

I just wanted something small so I went with the scrambled egg option (sorry, no picture). It was actually pretty delicious and it was the perfect pre-nap meal!

The rest of the flight:

I won’t go into a ton of detail in an attempt to not regurgitate what Kevin posted, but here’s a few more happysnaps of the plane:

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Infuriating touch screen. It didn’t want to acknowledge what I was pressing.

The screens fold out and up of the divider in between the seats similar to some domestic FC flights (except the screens were a little bigger and nicer).

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

I always forget where Mecca’s located. So glad Etihad reminds me constantly.

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Jaime took this picture in the 15 minutes she was awake post-pushback 🙂

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

View of the other empty seats in the cabin. There was no one in the row in front of us or on our entire side of the cabin which was pretty nice!

After a few eggs and a glass of OJ, I zonked out for a few hours. With about 35 minutes left we woke up and were asked if we wanted a pre-landing beverage. We both got some coffee and started enjoying the views!

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Excitement level building…

Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE


Etihad Airways Business Class AUH-MLE

Malé in sight? Check! Ready to land in paradise!


This was a solid regional flight. The crew was extremely attentive (maybe due to the fact that there were 10 empty seats…) and professional. They went the extra mile to make sure we had a pleasant flight and apologized profusely for the delay.

If you’re looking to get to the Maldives from the US, there isn’t a much better way to do it than with Etihad!

Have you flown Etihad’s regional business class? What were your first impressions? 

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