Etihad’s New Business-Class Suites Are Sleek, Private, and Come With Plenty of Perks

Equally impressive is the individual space in each of the 44 business suites, arranged in a 1-2-1 formation. All seats face forward and have direct aisle access, which is increasingly common on business- and first-class cabins (and ideal for passengers like me who love gazing out the window but hate clambering over seatmates to use the restroom).

The new business-class suites come with sliding privacy doors and stylish lighting, which is designed to mimic the shadows cast by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees. The seats themselves are Super Diamond seats by Collins Aerospace—an offering found on several airlines, most recently adopted on the Club Suite class of British Airways—which measure 20 inches wide. They also convert into a fully-flat bed 79 inches in length, which gives even the tall fliers plenty of space to stretch. Rounding out the business-class experience are high-tech touches and thoughtful extras including a wireless charging pad, an 18.5-inch TV screen, and Bluetooth connectivity. Several storage bins are ideal for keeping essentials such as phones or reading material stowed close at hand. Seats are also equipped with noise-canceling headphones (not that there’s much noise to cancel: This was one of the quietest flights I’ve ever experienced, thanks to the A350-1000’s impressive 50 percent noise reduction compared to previous-generation aircraft). Amenity kits feature Aqua di Parma toiletries, and for the inaugural flight, each business-class seat came with a commemorative box of chocolates from Mirzam.

On the dining front, the indulgences continue. The inaugural flight featured a French-inspired breakfast menu, with sophisticated dishes such as lobster eggs Benedict, a French omelet topped with caviar, and a croque monsieur. The all-day menu, available anytime, includes items such as a steak sandwich, quiche, cheese plate, and various snacks. The drinks menu, meanwhile, has several wine selections as well as spirits. During our day flight, Champagne appeared to be the most popular beverage.

My eggs Benedict was tasty, though the English muffin, eggs, and asparagus side were a tad overcooked (a not-uncommon issue, consider the challenges and limitations of onboard kitchens), and breakfast service took well over three hours to complete for the cabin. I would also have loved to have been offered a second food service later in the flight. Minor gripes, though, and ones I’m sure Etihad, which is renowned for its on-board service, will iron out as staff become more familiar with the aircraft.

An ergonomic economy class

The stylish, spacious vibe isn’t just reserved for business class on Etihad’s A350-1000. The economy cabin is configured with 327 ergonomically designed seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement, 45 of which are designated as “Economy Space” with an extra four inches of legroom. All seats come with a 13.3-inch screen—one of the largest I can recall seeing in economy—USB charging, and Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, the airline’s signature supportive headrest features a wing design and adjusts up and down.


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