Etihad Sydney to Abu Dhabi Business Class review

This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, winter 2019, issue 111

Flight number: EY454

Route:Sydney to Abu Dhabi

Aircraft:Airbus A380-800


Seat: 14A

Duration: 13 hours and 30 minutes

The cabin

Business class has a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration of ‘business studios’ throughout 11 rows. Window seats are both rear and forward-facing. Singular window seats are designed as their own ‘pods’ (business studios), while the central aisle 2 x seats sit side-by-side and can be separated by a collapsible screen for privacy. All seats have direct aisle access.

The seat

The business studios are very well designed, with contemporary finishings. My window seat was incredibly private – I barely saw other passengers except for when moving throughout the cabin. Fully lie-flat beds are operated by an inset control panel about the size of a mobile phone, with one-touch seat presets for takeoff, dining, relaxing and sleep. Other functions operational from the control panel include a mix of lighting (mood, table, reading and side light); cushion firmness (adjusting the softness or firmness of your seat); a massage function; seat recline and seat forward functions; and the window shades to two windows (buttons also on the windows themselves). There are plenty of stowage compartments, two USB chargers and a coat hook.  


The large screen E Box is operated by another retractable remote closer to your seat (you can also operate by touching the screen itself). The remote operates like a touch screen, swiping to move between the modes of Movies (new, favourites, family, Arabic, Indian, European and Asian); Albums, Food & Beverage, TV, Live TV, Games, News & Weather, Communications and Flight Path. There are adjustable language settings and subtitle options. The flight was equipped with Etihad Wi-Fly (for an additional fee) from which you can make and receive calls, send and receive texts and emails etc. International roaming rates apply. The noise-cancelling headphones were very good quality and best of all, the jack has a magnetic function that easily connects to the console – no fiddling around trying to get the right prongs into earphone hole sockets! A communal ‘Lobby’ lounge area includes leather lounges for meetings, socialising or watching a widescreen TV.


Service was sleek and professional. I received a drink and warm refresher towel before take-off. Staff introduced themselves by name. My table was prepared by staff before each meal and empty dishes were promptly cleared away. Toilets were also very clean on each visit.  

Food + Drink

My flight was a late evening flight so I began with dinner not long after take-off. After a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut and some accompanying nuts, I enjoyed a Thai coconut and basil soup with rice noodle, with just the right amount of spice. For main, I had the sweet and sour chicken served with steamed jasmine rice, carrot and bok choy – served alongside a glass of 2017 Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay from Margaret River, WesternAustralia. Upon waking from a sleep in the flat bed, I ordered a glass of Morocan Mint Tea which came with fresh mint, sugar cubes and biscuits – it was the perfect wake-up, as was a refreshing lemon and mint juice. Breakfast was also available to order, choosing from cereals, pasties, yoghurts, steak sandwich, asparagus and a brie omelette.


Business class passengers are provided with an Aqua di Parma amenity kit containing socks, eye mask, toothbrush and paste, Aqua di Parma cologne and hand cream. I put my socks on before take-off (with non-slip rubber soles) and stowed away my own socks and boots which I only slipped on again upon touching down.

Etihad: Sydney to Abu Dhabi Business Class review


Maximum of 40kg (with no one baggage item to exceed 32kg).  

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