Recently, I was invited by Etihad Airways to take a tour around their new A380 aircraft when it came into London Heathrow Terminal 4. This was a great opportunity to find out more about the airline, the lounge facilities and the cabins on board.
My journey to London Heathrow began with the speedy, 15 minute Heathrow Express service from London Paddington. I would expect most Business or First Class passengers to take advantage of Etihad airport transfers by private limousine, which are available to/from most airports. If you travel in First Class, you’ll experience the full ‘meet and greet’ service with personalised check-in and porterage from the moment you step out of your limo.
Passengers in Business or First Class have access to the fantastic lounge which is located airside, right across from the Terminal 4 boarding gates. After you’ve sped through the Fast Track security lane you can explore the shops (or indeed get one of the Heathrow Personal Shoppers to do it for you!) and head to the lounge to unwind before your flight.
Our greeting here was lovely and the service was excellent. The Etihad lounge is well-designed, with a restaurant and café area with extensive hot and cold buffet options, a business area with computers, printers and laptop charging stations as well as a fully-stocked bar with friendly bar staff. If you’re looking to relax, you can watch TV, and there’s an excellent (soundproofed!) kids area, with soft toys for the young ones, plus a fully set up PlayStation and X-Box for anyone to use.
For a real treat, you can take advantage of the Six Senses Spa treatment rooms which are located inside the lounge. There is a range of 15-25 minute treatments on offer from a small charge of £15 for a 15 minute treatment - First Class passengers are treated to one complimentary 15 minute treatment. I would suggest booking your session as soon as you get to the lounge as this service is proving to be popular. Obviously I had to test out the service! I can confirm it is a lovely, relaxing start to your flight.
Anyone fortunate enough to be travelling in Etihad’s beyond-first-class cabin ‘The Residence’ will have access to their own private lounge, completed secluded from other passengers. This lounge is actually an entire studio flat and comes with a full butler service. It has its own private lounge area, dining table and chairs and a full bathroom to let allow you to freshen up.
I was really interested to learn that Etihad can fully board the aircraft in around 20 minutes because of the clever design of the air-bridges and boarding sequence. Business and First Class passengers can board at their leisure and a welcome drink will be served to you within minutes.
The Business Class ‘studios’ are situated to the middle and rear of the aircraft on the upper deck of the plane. There are 70 flatbed seats in total and the cabin is divided into small sections which makes it seem more small-scale, personalised and less busy.
All Business Class seats can become fully flat which is ideal for sleeping but they can also recline to any angle for perfect comfort. Every seat has some form of direct aisle access meaning you don’t have to disturb anyone if you choose one of the window seats. The perfect seats for single travellers would be seats A, C, H or K, however if you’re travelling with a companion I would suggest booking seats E & F. These seats are the only ones beside each other, so you’ll have the opportunity to eat and chat together without disturbing others or being disturbed.
First Class is situated on the upper deck towards the front of the plane. It’s pretty secluded as the onboard bar and the galley area separates the two cabins.
In this cabin you’ll find 9 private suites with doors that close completely of more privacy if you wish. Each suite has an armchair for a seat and a sofa area in front of you that can fold out to become a full size bed with a duvet and pillows.
To the side is a vanity area with mirror and toiletries, meaning you can get yourself ready for bed, but not before making use of the bathroom with shower facilities first! Most of the suites have a retractable side meaning you can still sleep with your partner next to you if desired.
This 3-room cabin is unique to Etihad, and can be used by one or two passengers. It incorporates the same seats as First Class (two together side by side), but also has a private suite attached with private double bedroom, private bathroom and galley area, with full butler service throughout the flight.
The central bar/galley area is delightful, with a bar and table area where you can have a drink and chat with friends or make new acquaintances. There’s a fully stocked bar and a self-service galley if you fancy a snack. The comfortable sofa has seatbelts in case of unexpected turbulence, so there’s no need to dash back to your seat.
This area is a lovely perk, but I can see it might be a little disturbing for anyone sat in row 9, so I would avoid booking these seats if possible and go for something slightly further back.
On arrival into your destination airport, any First Class passengers will have their luggage waiting for them after customs, and then full porterage to your limo waiting outside.
If you liked the sound of this Etihad Business Class review and would like to book a trip – we can arrange every aspect from flights to hotels, car hire to tours. For more reasons to fly with Etihad, see our Review of Etihad Airways.
To book your trip, simply contact our Business Class team on 01273 224 535 or request a Business Class quote by email.