Etihad Airways business class is one of the better flight options available compared to the average business class flight experience. This is especially true for Etihad’s newer 787 configuration which improves the privacy, comfort, and entertainment options over Etihad’s older business class configuration. Being able to use American Airlines miles for points redemptions along with easy flight connections at AUH, Etihad is one of my preferred airlines for long haul flights.
For Etihad Airlines business class flights from Europe to the Middle East/India, the amount of American Airlines miles required for award redemption is 42,500 miles. When I booked this flight earlier this year, I still received a 10% mileage rebate, however after May 1st, 2019, the 10% rebate was eliminated for AA credit card holders.
This flight was part of my overall flight itinerary of FRA-AUH-MLE. Flying in business class from Frankfurt to the Maldives for 42,500 miles is a great deal considering the journey is about 13 hours.
Gone are they days of searching the Etihad Guest website for availability and then calling AA agents to book. Thankfully, it is now possible to book directly on AA.com
Etihad Airways 1 Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Frankfurt (FRA) Cabin: Business Class Seat: 10E Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Flight Time: 6h 35m
The Etihad business class lounges are a bit above average compared to most airlines, however the free lounges at AUH using Priority Pass are just about as good. Plenty of seating areas and food options are available, but compared to Qatar Airways business class in Doha, this lounge feels busy and cramped.
Cabin Atmosphere (5/5)
While not a spacious feeling as an A350, the Etihad 787 business class looked very classy with its tan and brown color scheme. The seats were in a 1-2-1 configuration with every other seat facing the rear of the plane. This setup provided much more privacy with the seats feeling a bit more compartmentalized.
If traveling as a couple be sure to pick the center seats that are next to each other since some center seats are spaced further apart.
I often have a pet peeve about flights being too warm, especially when there are not ventilation nozzles available. Luckily, on this flight the plane was well cooled.
The seats on this flight were some of the best business class seats I’ve flown on due to the width, large foot well, small storage areas, and high-end entertainment system. Aside from the seats being wide, there was a large compartment area to store all sorts of small items along with an interesting small table area.
The blankets provided are my favorite airline blanket since they are large and fluffy while not being too hot.
If you are flying solo and end up with a center seat next to a stranger, a giant motorized wall can be raised to give you complete privacy from your neighbor.
My most common complaints about some business class seats are the small foot well or not enough leg room when sleeping. This was totally not the case with the Etihad business class seats since there was plenty of legroom and space for my feet without feeling cramped.
The amount of seating and lighting control options was the most I’ve ever seen on a flight and was pretty impressive. Also, you can control the firmness of the seats along with some seat massage options.
The entertainment system had plenty of movies, TV shows, and live TV options on a beautiful large LCD screen. One cool thing was you could watch one TV show on the remote and a different TV show on the TV. Pretty fancy.
While the food was pretty tasty, there could have been more options available to choose from. My “go to” dish is usually the steak sandwich, however this time it was pretty chewy and underwhelming. I suppose since this flight was only 6 hours long and in the middle of the night, the food service was reduced a bit.
I’ve flown with Etihad Airways business class many times and I have to say the service is consistently great and I’ve never had any complaints. The crew is always friendly, attentive, and efficient with their service.
The amenity kits are sub par compared to Qatar or Turkish Airways business class, but still better than most airlines. I like amenity kits that I can reuse, but the only function I could see with these kits are holding slices of pizza I guess. Best best amenity kit I ever got was from Lufthansa, which doubled at a wristwatch holder.
In conclusion, Etihad has above average business class cabins, seats, and service with some great AA award redemptions on certain routes. While not as good as Qatar Airways, Etihad seems to have a lot more award availability, at least from Frankfurt. As far as improvements are concerned, Etihad could improve its food and airport connection process.