Updated on October 27, 2015
Etihad First Class IAD-AUH
After a great time in the Etihad Lounge it was time to board our flight to Abu Dhabi!! I had been excited about this flight for a while but there was just a slight touch of disappointment when we first saw the plane and noticed it had Etihad’s old livery. The reason this was important is that this flight was suppose to be on their new Boeing 787 and sadly I knew immediately when seeing that livery that they had switched the plane. It turns out it was changed to a 777-300ER due to them needing a larger capacity for that weekend. Regardless it was still a great flight! Here we go!
Park Hyatt Honeymoon Trip Report:
As I mentioned in our Etihad Lounge Review, you can board the plane directly from the lounge, so when it was time for boarding, the wonderful ladies in the lounge came around and told us boarding had started and we were welcome to board whenever we were ready.
After going down the jetway we entered to the plane near seat 6C and turned left through a small separate business class area and into first class (the majority of the business class seats are to your right when entering this door).
(CLICK PICS TO ENLARGE)
Airline: Etihad Airways
Route: EY130 IAD-AUH
Seats: 1D and 1G
Flight time: 13 hours
We were seated in row 1, seats D and G which are the middle two seats on this 777-300ER. The first class cabin is set up as two rows of a 1-2-1 layout for a total of 8 First Class seats. Unlike the other first class flights I have been on, this cabin had all 8 seats full. This did not come as much of a surprise to me since I knew Etihad was very aggressive at getting people to pay for upgrades at check in time and frequently have fairly full premium cabins by the time of departure.
Immediately upon sitting in our seats we were given glasses of champagne, dates, a welcome letter and a warm, refreshing towel.
After we had relaxed with our warm towel and champagne, the pajamas, Bose noise canceling headphones, slippers and amenity kits were distributed. The pajamas were good but not great, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines are certainly better. The slippers were really pretty uncomfortable.
The seats on Etihad first class are very wide at 29.5 inches and have a foot rest/visitor seat at the opposite end. Your carry on bag can easily be placed under this ottoman. The best part of the seat of course is that it reclines into a fully flat bed with sheets and a blanket being added by the Etihad staff when ready.
The one extra special thing about First Class on Etihad is that the seat has a door and therefore can become an enclosed suite. If you are at a window seat you can have your own little room or if you are in one of the middle seats you and your partner can have your own BIG room or you can put the divider up for more privacy if traveling alone.
Exploring around the seat we find a large center divider which can be used for drinks and snacks and holds the fold out table. The suite control panel which controls the seat, lights and has a massage function is found right next to you as well as a magazine storage area, power outlets and your controller for your entertainment system.
There is also a little mini bar at the far end of the suite near the TV screen and a small closet. The mini bar is nice to have but not super useful since it is not refrigerated so the drinks are warm. Now to the closet. When I say “small closet,” I mean, REALLY small. It was so narrow that I had to really push to squeeze in my clothes which I had placed on the hanger and all I had on it was a polo shirt and a pair of khaki pants!
Finally, the ambiance around sleeping in this seat was great because of the soothing lighting and the starry night sky above (Katie and I loved the stars). We had no problem sleeping 6 hours on this flight and I honestly could have slept even more but I wanted to get up and keep trying new things on the flight! (And we were getting there at night and could just go to bed again at the hotel)
Now that we have talked about the awesome seat/suite let’s discuss what to do (besides sleeping and eating). The entertainment system on this plane is really top notch, with a lot to choose from between movies, TV, games, music, etc. It also has map functions and cameras to outside of the plane. To go along with that the screen is really large (it almost needs to be because it is so far from you in the big suite), I didn’t measure it but it has to be over 20 inches.
Also, there is paid WiFi offered on-board which could be really nice on a long flight during the day. Since we were leaving at 10pm I knew that I would be sleeping half the flight and not make use of it. You can see the prices below and it seems like the Flight Pass would certainly be the best deal if you were planning to use the WiFi a lot on the flight.
One of the reasons that Katie and I did not eat a lot in the lounge before we left is because I wanted to try as much food as I could on the flight!
Etihad has an “Inflight Chef” that will make you anything on the menu whenever you want which is awesome. They have general courses that you can choose items from like other airlines but they will also make you anything on-demand! Here is a link that has what the chefs need to qualify for the position. After boarding the chef came to our seat to get our dinner order and introduce himself. He was very friendly and helped us pick out the best wines to go with our meals.
We started out by trying the different champagnes they offered, which were really good (but I preferred the Krug on the way home 😉 ). We then moved on to wine and snacks before starting our four course meal!
I have to say I really like the new plates and bowls used by Etihad now. This was changed several months ago and they just looks really classy. Anyway, for my dinner I started off with the Arabic Mezze, then a watermelon juice tuna dish, followed by a Beef Tenderloin and finally a dessert taster! I would post the rest of the menu here as well but apparently I forgot to take pictures of it…oops.
The Arabic Mezze was OK but actually a bit disappointing. I know that it used to be very good but they have changed it over the last year and it is not the same. Following that we had a watermelon juice tuna which sounds strange but actually really works and was delicious. Next, I had a great beef tenderloin (better than the one I would have later on Cathay Pacific) and Katie had chicken which she really liked. Finally, we had the dessert taster which I can’t remember exactly, but there was cheesecake and a raspberry dessert and all 3 were good.
After this big meal I watched a movie and fell asleep. When I awoke it was time to try more food! We both ordered a smoothie and I ordered a Steak sandwich that was DELICIOUS and Katie ordered some breakfast pastries. The staff then brought us a special dessert that wasn’t on the menu to celebrate our honeymoon which was great! I followed all that up with a cappuccino (I love when planes have espresso machines on them).
I had heard in the past that the service on Etihad was good but not as good as some of the other airlines like Singapore, Cathay Pacific, etc. where they are just always there the moment you need something. At the start of this flight it appeared that what I had heard was correct. About 20 min after sitting down, I really wanted a glass of water and kept waiting and waiting for someone to come by. I finally had to hit the call light (which I hate doing) to finally get a glass. Then after changing into my pajamas there was no help offered with hanging my things or getting them in the closet (which was a struggle). I was a bit worried this was a harbinger of things to come, but thankfully I was wrong.
The problem appeared to be that there were 2-3 passenger that brought the equivalent of 3 suitcases (EACH) worth of duty free items on board and the attendants were trying to figure out where they would put all that stuff! Thankfully, after that was resolved and we were in the air, our service was excellent. Our purser, Brigitta, was fantastic and really made us feel special during the flight, especially with the dessert they made for us. It may not be the best First Class service I have had (Japan Airlines was SO GOOD), but it was close.
And now, here are random pictures of the First Class bathroom:
This was a great flight! Was the service and attention to detail the best I have had? No. Was the food and champagne the best I have had? No. Was it the best seat? Maybe, the seat is great and door makes a difference.
Although I don’t think they were the best in any single area, they excelled in ALL of them and there were no real let downs (except the slippers of course, those things were terrible haha). We had a FANTASTIC flight and I hope I get a chance to fly this cabin again in the future!!
NEXT UP: ETIHAD ABU DHABI ARRIVALS LOUNGE!!