Etihad 787 Business Studio In 10 Pictures

Hello from Abu Dhabi! On Tuesday night I flew Etihad business class on the 13 hour flight from Washington Dulles to Abu Dhabi. The flight was operated by their 787-9, which features their new Business Studio product, also available on their A380s.

I was keen to try this product, given that it’s a type of seat I haven’t yet flown. I recently reviewed Emirates’ A380 business class product between Dubai and Los Angeles, so was curious to see how Etihad’s flagship business class product compared. While I’ve flown Etihad’s business class before, this was my first time trying their new product.

Etihad’s 787-9 business class cabin is intimate, and has just 28 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are two rows in the forward business class cabin, and then five rows in the rear cabin. The cabin is stunning in terms of the design, though that’s tough to capture, given that they kept the cabin dark, and had bright screens.

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Etihad’s Business Studio is in a staggered configuration, so seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and being closer to the window. In many ways the product is similar to the staggered configuration they have on other planes, except this product is much more advanced. Furthermore, in this cabin seats alternate between being forward facing and rear facing, in order to maximize the efficiency of the configuration.

I was lucky enough to snag a “true” window seat, which had an incredible amount of privacy.

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I was really impressed by the seat’s design — there was plenty of storage, all the controls were conveniently placed, and most importantly, the footwell was large. My biggest complaint with some staggered configurations is that there’s not much room for your feet in bed mode, but that wasn’t an issue here. I’d say this is one of the world’s three best business class seats, so very well done, Etihad.

Etihad-787-Footwell

My one complaint about the seat quality is that I found the seat to be really hard — I wish it had better padding.

In terms of amenities, there was a solid amenity kit with earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, hand cream, etc.

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There were also pajamas and slippers, which was a pleasant surprise.

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The pillow and blanket were fine, though somewhat disappointing. I wish Etihad had proper bedding. While the blanket was comfortable, the pillow was firm and fairly small. United continues to have the best bedding of any airline in the world in business class.

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I was very impressed by the meal service. For one, they didn’t run out of food, which I often find to be a problem on Etihad. Everything I ordered was available on demand. Emirates doesn’t offer dine on demand in business class, while Etihad does, so that’s an area where they have an edge

The food quality was good, though I wouldn’t say it was a memorable meal. To start I had the mezze.

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For the main course I had the Indian vegetarian dish, consisting of aloo gobi masala.

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Then I had a cheese course.

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Then finally a delicious dark chocolate mousse cake for dessert.

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My biggest complaint about Etihad is typically the inconsistency of their crews. They have some great crews and also some pretty disappointing crews. I find that service is more variable than on just about any other airline.

Well, I won the crew lottery on this flight for sure, because I had an incredible Korean flight attendant taking care of me. Joo was sweet, attentive, and hilarious. I received better service on this flight in business class than I usually receive on Etihad in first class.

The issue is that you can’t plan for great service on Etihad, because I could have just as easily had a sub-par crew. Joo was so good, however, that I sent an email to customer service during the flight thanking her for the great service. What a gem.

In terms of entertainment, Etihad has an extensive on demand selection with lots of great movies, TV shows, etc. More importantly, Etihad’s 787s offer wifi for just $21 for the entire flight, which is a great deal. The wifi was fairly fast as well. Fortunately since I was flying from the US to the Middle East (rather than the other way around), I could use my laptop during the flight.

Etihad Business Studio bottom line

I was very impressed by Etihad’s Business Studio experience. Their hard product is top notch, and if you can snag a “true” window seat, it’s a pretty unbeatable experience.

I also liked the food, how well the dine on demand menu was executed, and the exceptional flight attendant that I had taking care of me.

If this experience were typical of Etihad, I’d say their business class blows away Emirates’ business class and is among the best in the world. However, do keep in mind that Etihad crews are inconsistent, and the dine on demand menu doesn’t always work out this well, as they do often run out of food.

If you’ve flown Etihad’s new Business Studio, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. There is a turndown serveice on EY’s Studio where you also get a matress pad which makes the seat much more comfortable for sleeping.

  2. I have flown it on a number of occasions now and jt truely is one of the best seats out there, lots of storage, privacy, a beautiful deisgn, but for sleeping i will say seats like the Apex suite win because they dont have annoying footwells.

  3. This hard product has been around for a few years. Whats the cutoff for it to not be considered new?

  4. Hi Lucky,

    If I’m not mistaken these seats are fitted with the Lantal Pneumatic system which allows you to adjust the firmness of the seat, was this not the case, or was even the softest setting pretty hard?

  5. My EY 787 J flight was better than my EY A380 F flight. Fantastic hard product (by fat the longest J seat I’ve ever laid in) and if you get a good crew it’s hard to beat.

  6. @trup – it’s the newest of the various Etihad business class products one might encounter, so in that sense it is their “new” business class, even if it has been around for a couple years.

  7. @David – If I recall Lucky said he was flying out of Cairo because that’s where he could get the Residence to price out the best. I believe his Twitter said he was doing a direct turn in Cairo, so it’s possible he was back in Abu Dhabi when he wrote this post.

  8. Just flew the 787 AUD to IAD in first on EY. Seat was relatively narrow and the crew was just OK. Overall a solid experience, but nowhere near the top.

  9. I love that This IAD-AUH flight let’s you watch the sunrise and sunset

    Enjoy the Residence!

  10. Did they serve you dried out bread basket? The bread baskets that I have been served on all my EY flights have been dried and somewhat stale.

  11. Has someone recently compiled a comparison chart on the airlines’ different business classes. They all have their pluses and minuses so being able to compare would be very convenient.

  12. Would this be a good second leg on a trip from SFO to SYD or MEL? If so, how many points would be required, and what’s the best way to book it?

  13. Etihad’s mattress pad in Business is nothing more than the equivalent of a thin poly/cotton mattress protector. Rarely do crews offer it, and you’ll be disappointed if you ask for it. It’ll make minuscule change to seat comfort.

    Footwell is fine if sleeping on your side, but generally won’t be big enough if on your back.

    I preferred Emirates’ A380 Business seat to Etihad’s A380 Business Seat.

    I’d wouldn’t agree it’s the third best Business seat in the world – it’s decent enough, but not amazing.

  14. And, what was the purpose of telling us that Joo is Korean?

    Exactly how is the nationality of the flight attendant relevant to this story?

    Will you be telling us Joo’s sexual preferences?

    Is Joo missing any fingers?

  15. That entrance to seat 11a looks pretty narrow. How would you compare it to the JAL window Apex seat entrance?

  16. Yeah the Korean comment made me think Korean Airlines flight attendants were on your flight.

  17. How can Etihad’s business product be better than Emirates? Theres no personal mini bar on Etihad’s like Emirates has, and also food is better at Emirates, no?

    On another note, loving your Instagram stories! Just try making videos explaining seats, lounge, hotel rooms, etc, so its more interactive! Just a thought. I know youre shy but it’d be an awesome way to follow your travels.

  18. I’m curious about the nationality of the U.A.E. airlines crew. I want to know where they recruit staff. I know no one will be a native of U.A.E., because natives don’t need to work.

  19. wfb- there are many locals working for their national airline in a variety of roles, including a few cabin crew.

  20. Flew JNB-AUH in November, 7 months old B787 looked brand new. Really liked both the cabin and service. Travelling two persons was great as you can sit together in some of the middle rows.

  21. In regards to noting that Lucky had a Korean Cabin crew member is key. I’ve experienced a 40/60 rate of excellent crew on a few sectors with EY. Firstly, Eastern European crew members present themselves differently, they aren’t friendly and get the job done. They certainly have not, made any of my EY flights enjoyable. Australian crew are excellent and hospitable. I can say the same with Chinese crew I’ve experienced on EY, too I’ve had Middle Eastern/Lebonese or Arabic crew and they were excellent. I would in my review or feed back from EY note and say deferent nationalities are better than others in an experience when flying with EY in J.

  22. If you really like Joo’s service I think you can request her to be on your residence flight as a crew.

  23. @MattJ…

    You can slather as much lipstick on that pig that you want. You ain’t persuasive….

  24. @WilliamC
    Perhaps Mattj wasn’t attempting to persuade you. You raised a question in a public forum, expect some occasional feedback. I personally thought the reference to individual background made the article more interesting. Use the info, or don’t. No one cares..

  25. “How can Etihad’s business product be better than Emirates? Theres no personal mini bar on Etihad’s like Emirates has, and also food is better at Emirates, no?”

    You only get the personal mini-bar in business class on Emirates if you fly the A380. None of their other planes have that, so it is a valid comparison.

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