Review – Etihad 787 First Class Washington To Abu Dhabi

As you could probably tell by now, I am a huge Etihad Airways fan, so when deciding how I was going to get home from Washington, I immediately looked at availability out of IAD. As luck would have it, there were first seats available which I immediately booked with 115,000 AAdvantage miles. I also found first available to Brisbane and used AA miles again. This would mean I would be spending 26 hours in these seats, Awesome!

I arrived in Washington from New York with a short connection so I couldn’t visit the lounge for long. Etihad starts boarding an hour before departure, so I boarded close to when I arrived.

For this flight, I selected 2A which is a forward facing seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat feels very spacious and very private at the same time. The seats are an upgraded and modernized version of the suites on the 777, A340 and A330.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat has an ottoman which can also be used a seat for another passenger dining with you.

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

I absolutely love the first blankets!

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

The seat is 26 inches wide which is great for sleeping and lounging on.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

On the right side of the seat, there is a storage area, lighting controls, and the IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

This side is also where you’ll find the panel for more light settings and IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Control Panel

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

This is where you’ll find the various reading materials and headphones.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

On the left side of the seat, this is where you’ll find your chilled minibar and storage space.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

I love that Etihad’s in-seat minibar is chilled, something their opposition doesn’t do.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

As I settled in I was brought a welcome tray that consists of water still or sparkling, a welcome letter signed by the cabin service manager (very nice touch), a hot towel and some dates.

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Menus were also brought to the seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Menu's

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

This was my second time on the Etihad 787 but first time in first, so I started to look around and discover the aircraft.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

The in-seat hangar is a great feature on the seat especially when you’re wearing shirts and coats that crease easily.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

The 787 cabin only has eight suites making it very private and exclusive. The two window seats are backward facing while the aisle is forward and row 2 is the opposite.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The middle seats have a divider which is great for couples traveling together or if you’re solo and want added privacy.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Pyjamas and an amenity kit were brought to the seat as I sat back down. I was excited to find that the kits feature the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The new Omorovicza products are quite nice, but I had a huge soft spot for the previous Bergamotte 22 products.

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad has two lavatories in the first class cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The lavatories were always kept clean when I visited.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The bathroom also housed the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

I went back to my seat, and we started taxiing shortly after.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

You can tell Etihad are very happy with their recent awards, they definitely do deserve it.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

We quickly took off and reached our cruise altitude of 39,000 feet, pretty impressive! The crew brought a tray which had a coke, olives and warmed nuts. I decided to watch the election live which was more interesting in the air.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Sadly I didn’t get photo’s of the menu but here are the meals I had.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

For the starter, I had the duck.

Duck Starter

Duck Starter

Sorbet to cleanse the pallet for the main.

Sorbet

Sorbet

For the main, I had an Authentic Gulf Lamb Biryani.

Gulf Lamb Biryani

Gulf Lamb Biryani

And for dessert, I had Strawberry, Coffee, and Chocolate Ice cream.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

After the brilliant meals, I decided to get some sleep as I would need it!

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

I had around 6 hours of comfortable and deep sleep which proved to be vital for the long journey.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

They call them suites for a reason, closed doors 😉

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

The cabin was dark, but this was a long exposure of the cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

After waking up from my sleep, I was feeling pretty hungry, so I decided just to have some light pastries and water. You can really feel the difference flying on the 787, waking up to no dry mouth and throat is fantastic.

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Shortly after having the pastries we started our descent into Abu Dhabi. I love waking up to mood lighting, and this felt great.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Bottom Line

I still think Etihad are an incredible airline and they improve every time I fly them, the service and quality are always top notch and I always have amazing flights while onboard their aircraft.

Australia To Abu Dhabi On Sale In Business And Economy

As you might have seen by my latest post Cheap San Fransisco Flights the Australian dollar hasn’t been performing well especially for traveling to the USA, However it’s the opposite situation for travel to Europe, Asia and the Middle east.

Etihad is currently having a sale for travel to Abu Dhabi in both Business and Economy.

Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne/Perth – Abu Dhabi for $AUD 999 Roundtrip

Sydney/Melbourne – Abu Dhabi for $4999 Roundtrip

All fares must be booked by August 14th and you can travel any dates from August 2nd till the 23rd of May 2017.

Fine Print courtesy of the Etihad website:

1. The fares mentioned above are ‘starting from’ fares and are valid for booking between 1 August – 14 August 2016.
2. The fare levels quoted above are all-inclusive Economy Class and Business Class fares from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth to Abu Dhabi. These are special fares and are subject to availability.
3. Fares are inclusive of applicable taxes, the break down will be shown during the online booking process. Fares are correct at the time of publication; however, the levels may vary based on fluctuations in the tax amount.
4. Valid visas and travel documents are the responsibility of our guests.
5. Please check the individual fare rules for detailed terms and conditions.
6. Blackout dates for inbound travel are from 16 – 23 December, 2016 and 02 – 27 January, 2017.
7. The airport taxes are subject to change without prior notice and will be confirmed at the time of booking.
8. Weekend surcharges may apply.
9. A380 services will incur an additional surcharge.
10. Other terms and conditions apply.

All flights are operated by older 777-300ER aircraft which feature Etihad’s older business product. I recently flew it to Melbourne and found it comfortable but the A380 is miles ahead.

I would also recommend to fly out of Melbourne instead of Sydney to utilise the brand new lounge which is very impressive.

Etihad 777-300ER

Etihad 777-300ER

Summary 

This is a fantastic deal for people wanting to travel to the middle east, Etihad have some fantastic connections all around the world so this is great if you’re wanting to also visit Europe.

Virgin Australia Will Resume Sydney – Abu Dhabi Flights From September 1

Virgin Australia has today announced it will resume its Sydney to Abu Dhabi flights from September 1.

Virgin stopped these flights at the end of last year due to getting their 777 fleet reconfigured with their new business class suites. They originally only flew the Sydney – Los Angeles flights but have now put the newer suites onto the Brisbane flight. The airlines currently have 4 777’s configured which is quite impressive speed wise.

Virgin Australia New Business Class Suites

VA29 will depart from Sydney at 2:35pm and arrive into Abu Dhabi at 11:05pm.

Premium/Business

The flights will operate from Sydney every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Every day that VA don’t operate Etihad operate their own flight (EY451/450) which currently operates everyday. This flight also has a first class cabin which VA do not have.

VA30 leaves Abu Dhabi at 10:40am and arrives into Sydney at 6:30am the next day.

As this flight is being brought back I was hopeful that some award seats would pop up but that is very minimal unfortunately. However premium economy seats are quite common for the flight. Etihad do not currently offer premium economy so it’s a nice addiction to the route for people wanting a nicer flight without paying for business. Lately VA have been opening business class award seats last minute, usually 24-48 hours out from departure.

Virgin charge the following amount for redemptions:

  • Business Class (oneway) 95,000
  • Premium Economy (oneway) 71,700
  • Economy (oneway) 44,800

All business class guests, and Gold card holders of Etihad Guest and Velocity will be able to use the Etihad Premium lounges in both Sydney and Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Premium Lounge Entry

Etihad Premium Lounge Entry

However ’The Club’,Etihad ‘Exclusive’ and Platinum card holders can take advantage of the brand new Etihad first class lounge and spa in Abu Dhabi, a review can be found here: Review: Etihad First Class Lounge. Although the Etihad website states Velocity members cannot access the first class lounge many people have reported back to me that they have been successful getting in and I myself got access being Platinum with VA.

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

Summery

I’m very happy to see VA bring back the route quite soon and I think this is a great route for the airline. The opportunity of having a Premium economy cabin will be fantastic for passengers. Currently no middle eastern airline operate a premium economy cabin. Also VA have a fantastic business class product which is much better to what Etihad operate on their 777 aircraft which is in a staggered configuration.

I hope to review this route quite soon as I just missed out on the suites during my time in Los Angeles a few months ago.