Although I've flown Etihad First Class apartment on their A380 twice in the past few months, I have never flew their Business Studio on their A380 so this time I chose to fly in Business Class instead, definitely a hard decision!!
The check-in in Sydney is super organised, Etihad have come a long way since their humble start in Australia.
At Sydney Airport there are 2 separate check-in areas across Rows A/B for guests travelling in different classes.
First and Business Class Guests are invited to use the "Express Path" to clear immigration and pass through security.
For departing passengers, the immigration is getting automated kiosk soon!
After passing through security check, I walked through the huge duty free and shopping area. Etihad Premium Lounge is located at the Western pier of the International Terminal near R.M. Williams shop.
I was warmly welcomed by the lovely staff there offering Arabic Coffee and dates.
To see more of the Etihad premium lounge in Sydney, please visit here.Boarding is called at gate 61, about 50 mins prior to our departure time, 20:45.
It was all very orderly.
My seat is 8K, the first window seat in the forward right hand side of Business Class Cabin. Just behind the on-board Bar area.
Tonight's flight to Abu Dhabi is on an Airbus A380-861, A6-APD, with about 350 passengers on-board.
The seat feels excellent in terms of privacy especially at the window seat. It is also bigger than the existing Etihad Business Class Seat on their A330/B777 main fleet.
Extra side storage in the bin next to wall on A380.
Electronic control located next to the seat.
I was warmly greeted by a lovely British staff member named Michelle and then chose a glass of champagne to settle in for the long flight.
The 2 controls you need for the flight!
Seating, cushion firmness, massage function, window and lighting all in one control.
The seating control can adjust the seat cushion firmness (softness) by inflating/deflating the seat cushion! Very impressive.
Main Menu of the IFE on-board The Etihad A380.
Tonight's flying time from Sydney to Abu Dhabi is 14h 35mins. The total route is displayed below in the flight map. We will fly over Central and Western Australia, Broome, then Southwest of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Southern part of Kerala, India before reaching Abu Dhabi.
Since I have already been fed with a full 3 course dinner, I opted for some sweet before heading to bed.
It is a Banana Toffee pie.
The beautiful bed was setup by the excellent crew member, Michelle.
Etihad also provide a good quality pyjama set in Business Class and an appropriate amenity kit for the overnight flight.
After about 5 hours sleep, I wake up and head to the on-board lounge for a chill out while most of the other passengers are still sleeping.
The lounge is an excellent feature on-board and mostly very quiet. There is a selection of books available and there is a large TV Screen displaying the latest news. (CNN)
It is not a self-service bar; you must get a cabin crew member to serve you.
Then, for late supper, I ordered the salmon. This was quite disappointing; it was dry and tasted off.
More time was spent watching 2 movies and a little bit more sleep.
One hour before landing, I have a beef pie and mash potato. Etihad don't serve a full breakfast in Business Class on this 14+ hour segment. Passengers have a choice of a frittata or various snacks for breakfast. Cost cutting is definitely in full swing.
Overall, the catering is quite poor and I found it hard to believe that this is the case from Australia, where normally I am served good food. The a la carte menu has a few proper meal choices with a lot of snacks (cookies, desserts, fruit plate) on offer.
We landed on time in Abu Dhabi at 5:40am. The temperature was already soaring to 32°C.
Overall, Etihad Business Studio on The A380 is very comfortable, private and spacious. The brand new aircraft interior has definitely been a highlight. It is a much improved version from their main fleet Business Class. The window seats are probably the most private, without any disturbance and there are extra side bins for personal belongings. Many aisles seats are rearward facing, so be aware of them. My best pick of the seats in Business Class is any window, if you must have an aisle; I would suggest 23A or 23K, as these are very private in the 2nd smaller cabin.
In terms of food on this particular Etihad flight it is rather disappointing. Cost cutting is very evident on this 14+ hour flight.
Cabin crew are excellent, especially Michelle who looked after my area.
Above is my first-hand experience on-board The Business Studio of Etihad. I hope that you will be able to try the experience for yourself and share in the enjoyment I have experienced.
For more experiences on Etihad, please see my dedicated Etihad Airways page.