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Etihad Airways Reviews


Etihad Airways Reviews Overview

Etihad Airways Reviews
Frequent Flyer Scheme
  Etihad Guest
Fleet: 70 (53 long haul)
Seat Pitch Economy: 31"
  Business: 88" First: 92"
Food Full service
Drink Full service
Lounges Pearl Lounges
First Class
Rated 7 out of 10
Business Class
Rated 5 out of 10
Rated 6 out of 10
Etihad Airways Fleet, Seats, Lounges, Food
NEWS: Etihad Airways has ordered a fleet of forty one Boeing 787s, with which it will replace much of the large A330 fleet.

If ever there was an airline that has come from nowhere to be a significant force in world aviation, that airline is Etihad Airways. Only a decade ago it was just a mere blip on the ideas board at the United Arab Emirates. Now it operates 70 aircraft, flying to 85 destinations around the globe, carrying 8.3 million passengers a year. It's a biggie.

That's really why I started by blog - back in 2003, I tried Etihad for the first time, and although they didn't fly anywhere near the UK at the time, I thought I would describe how the airline is for any of the other airline enthusiasts like me who might like to try a very obscure middle east airline. It was - and still is - part of a project I have to fly on and review every airline and every airline lounge in the world. It's a big task, but my passion and my hobby. Of course, since 2006 Etihad has been flying to the UK, and indeed now is something of an aviation giant.

Resolutely full service, high quality airline planes are new, they run (mostly) on time, and there is a comprehensive timetable which means you can transit via the hub in AbuDhabi and get to most parts of the globe.

With Etihad, it is impossible to avoid comparisons with Emirates, a similar but older airline based in the Gulf. I prefer Etihad's seats in economy which are however better on Etihad, however in Business they lack the showers of Emirates. Equally, because so many of the crew are so new, it can be a variable experience. This is particularly noticeable up the front of the plane.

Etihad Airways reviews often comment on the 'age of the plane', which is frequently brand new, and straight out of the workshops in Toulouse. A large part of this comes from having bottomless pockets, and indeed in 2008 Etihad announced what was the largest commercial aircraft order for 205 new aircraft. It's rather as if the Royal family were playing a game of 'airline millionares' and went around Farnborough going 'well have 20 of those, and 40 of those...' and indeed, that's pretty much what happened.

Etihad Airways economy seat
Etihad Airways A340 economy seats.

Because Etihad airline reviews show the planes are so new, they also have some of the most up to date inflight entertainment systems. Etihad brand this system as the 'E-box', which is full AVOD, so you can play and stop video at will, and it packed with far more films and TV shows than most other airlines. Alas, again, being a new out of the box system, glitches are common, and worse the designers looked more at the technical specs of the system than the content – and while there are lots of sunk-without-trace US shows, there isn't much you might actually want to watch.

And that is a problem – because Etihad Airlines routes are often long – very long. Etihad – just as Emirates have done – have made much of the 'kangaroo' route between the UK and Australia, and between Asia and the US. Getting from the UK to Abu Dhabi is a decentish flight of 7 hours or so: just enough time for a good lunch and dinner. It is the onward stretch to Australia that can go on for upwards of 15 hours. On that flight you need decent IFE – and three good meal services come to that. Which in economy you don't get. Add in a hub that is bursting at the seams and a so-so terminal, and it really isn't the best.

The name Etihad is a simple generic name and means "union" in Arabic, and is an attempt to show that the UAE can be very much a world player. The actual, registered name is Etihad Airways, run by the Etihad Aviation Group. As a small, private, blog, of course I make no repesentation that I have anything to do with the airline other than being a regular passenger and a Gold member of Etihad guest.

In 2010 Etihad adopted the slogan from From Abu Dhabi to the World, and as such the crew on your Etihad flight will be very much international, but with a strong Australian/UK bent, and leaning on the younger side too. This is not always a good thing: service in the premium cabins can frequently be decidedly lacking, with the passengers sometimes having to tell the crew what they should be doing.

Etihad Airways inflight food
Etihad Airways Some meals can have an Arabian twist

Which is a shame, as the meals onboard in all three classes are often very good indeed. In Business there is a lighter "kitchen anytime" menu available at any point in the flight, and the arab-inspired meals are distinct highlights. In economy there are two hot meals – and an inflight snack – on the ultra long 15 hour treks to Australia and the US.

And yes, I did say three classes, not four. Etihad Premium Economy has been avoided by the airline: apparently in the Arabian market those up front like to know they are a long way from those down the back, and a middle class doesn't sell well.

So is Etihad any good? A reserved yes; provided you end up on one of the decent planes, and you get a good crew: in economy it is certainly better than Emirates. Etihad Business Class can be so-so, with the rammed pearl lounge at Abu Dhabi, and lack-lustre crew. However the way the fares are so much cheaper than some other airlines can be a distinct bonus. All in all, it isn't too bad a way to fly.

Next Page: Etihad Airways aircraft cabin & seat reviews
Etihad Airways Airbus A340 July 2012
Etihad Airways An Etihad Airbus A340 lands at New York JFK
All reviews and opinions on Etihad Airways food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Frequent Flyer scheme are given as a personal opinion. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice. This is not an official Etihad site, and is run as a hobby blog by a non-trading UK individual. If you want the offical Etihad Airways site, go to There is no intention to transfer any business or trade away from the company Etihad Airways.
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