Etihad First Class takes luxury to new heights as the airline redefines the flying experience and reminds passengers that flying doesn’t have to be blasé. etihad s first class cabin instills glamor back into an industry that’s crying for revival and actually makes me want to fly! On this trip I was flying Etihad Airways First Class on the brand new 787-900, just a couple of days after the first Etihad 787 flight between Abu Dhabi and Washington, D.C. Needless to say, I was excited to fly this new product and new aircraft.
Etihad First Class Boarding & Pre-flight
After a wonderful stay at the Washington DC Etihad Lounge, my brother and I boarded the aircraft and were quickly greeted by a flight attendant who escorted us to our first class seats. Once seated, the Flight attendant showed me where I could store my luggage and pointed out the features of my Seat. She then smiled and told me someone else would be right with me to provide me with a pre-departure beverage.
The Etihad first class suite was stunning! Everything is carefully laid out and placed in the ideal spot–minus the powerport! Initial reaction—mind blown! Once seated, I quickly found out that my Samsonite carryon would not fit below the ottoman and I would need to store it elsewhere. As many other guests in First were having the same issue, a male flight attendant came to the rescue and started storing luggage in the overhead bins in the business class cabin.
Moments later a female FA introduced herself and offered me a pre-flight drink and she highly suggested the champagne, later to find out she was a bit of a champagne connoisseur!
She brought me a tray with a hot towel, a champagne flute, and figs as another FA followed the first one with the champagne! It was a two person process! She presented me with the bottle and then poured me a glass after my approval. Knowing nothing about champagne, I will say the 199 Billecart-Salmon Brut was delicious. Not as smooth as Krug or Dom, but at nearly $100 a bottle, it was quite tasty!
The first class experience was starting out perfectly, Hello from seat 1a. Life is perfect even if there isn’t an upper deck 😀
preflight champagne & figs
As my brother and I sipped the champagne, another FA brought us dinner menus, acqua di parma amenity kits, and pajamas. The wonderful inflight Chef Yurny returned to take orders, make recommendations and suggest wine pairings. The chef, Yurny, was fantastic!
He developed a dinner menu for both my brother and me from the list of appetizers, a la carte, main, and side dish options (sorry I left my menu on board and didn’t take any photos)! Then shortly later, he returned to each suite to ensure every passenger understood how to use the seat controls and to ensure everything was just perfect before takeoff.
Meanwhile, every time our glass was nearly empty, an FA would appear with the champagne and refill our flutes! Due to a ground delay of nearly an hour and a half, which they kept referring to as a “medical clearance” but due to security reasons luggage had to be removed from the hull and each bag on the aircraft had to be identified and claimed (even our bags which the FA took and stored for us), my brother and I finished two bottles before even taking off!
Etihad First Class Inflight
Life at 30,000 feet could not be any better than what it was on Etihad. About 15 minutes after wheels up, the FA brought first class passengers our first round of drinks that we had ordered while on the ground. A Manhattan for me, clearly made on board and not premixed!
Then about 30 minutes later dinner service began with FA setting up our table settings, filling full size wine glasses and Yurny surprised us with a Salmon tartar in Watermelon juice which was not on the menu. The deep flavor profile was unlike any tartare and both my brother and I savored the appetizer in glee!
inflight Manhattan + olives and nuts
table set up (above) Salmon Tartare and pita bread (below)
Arabic mezze platter (above) Lemon sorbet palate cleanser
Halibut Biryani (above) Chocolate ice cream (Below)
Dinner service continued and by the time we were done, both my brother and I had eaten and drank so much we weren’t sure who would burst first! The gastronomic delights were the best dining experience for a flight. By far the best food I’ve ever eaten while flying and compared to some of the best dinners I’ve ever had in my life! The food was better than Singapore airlines.
At one point my 24 year old brother turned and looked at me and said, “I never thought an airline could teach me what fine dining is!”
Service throughout the flight continued to be spot on and I loved how proactive the flight attendants were! They would quietly do cabin scans and offer passengers who were awake drink refills and snacks. Never once was my Johnnie Walker Blue or water glass empty or did I feel the need to use my call light. The two times I did use my call light, once on accident, an FA responded within seconds. Service was impeccable and I couldn’t rave more about the attention to detail and friendliness of the flight attendants.
About four hours into the flight when I was ready to turn in for the night, Yurny noticed that I had left my suite with my toothbrush in hand. He quickly seized the opportunity to provide turndown service and then he transformed my seat into a bed with an additional pillow, blanket, and mattress pad while I freshened up in the bathroom.
He presented me with my bed and brought me a fresh bottle of water and asked me if he could get me anything else before I turned in for the night. He closed my suite doors and wished me a pleasant sleep.
Suite in bed mode complete with duvet, extra blanket, full size pillow & mattress pad (above) My brother sleeping (below)
View of the door from the inside my suite with the doors closed (below) Not a double bed, but comfortable
I slept for a solid 6 hours before waking up. I honestly do not think I slept long enough, but as I was so enthusiastic about the Etihad First experience and suite, I didn’t want to sleep the entire flight away. I laid in bed and watched part of a movie and then when I left the enclosed suite the other FA noticed my movements and offered to make up my bed. She also offered to bring me a snack or something from the menu, and brought me more water without even needing to ask.
keep drinks cold with the inseat cooler. It came stocked with a pepsi, sprite, sparkling water and still water
I was still full from dinner. I continued to enjoy my movie and rehydrate with water. As we inched closer to Abu Dhabi I was offered breakfast, as we were about 90 minutes out and if I wanted to eat the flight attendants suggested I order breakfast soon.
I opted for a fresh fruit platter over a full meal/cooked to order eggs and champagne; and so I savored a large platter of sweet berries and melon with the bubbly I could never afford to buy myself! The FA served both my Brother and I the same breakfast option and popped the cork on a new bottle. Between my brother and I we finished another bottle before landing and it was just as delicious this time as the first!
Morning coffee with chocolate muffin (Above) and Fruit plate and champagne (Below)
Etihad First Class Suite
Etihad Airways First Class Suite takes the boutique hotel concept and brings it onboard as each first class suite is well thought out and the color scheme differs slight.
My brother and I were in the center two seats of row 1, seats 1D & 1G. The seats were forward facing and completely enclosed and shared a partial wall. For privacy, the middle wall slid completely shut or could be left ajar for a more spacious feel. On Etihad First Class the window seats of row 1 and center aisle seats of row two are rear facing.
Sadly I was forward facing in row 1. I selected them as per the seat map and couldn’t tell how well the first and business class cabins were divided. It turns out there is a bulkhead wall between first and business class along with thick curtains. Therefore row two may actually be a better option as the seats are further away from the galley.
The large suite is absolutely stunning with a different color schemes and wood finishes. The 26 inch wide Poltrona Frau leather recliner comes a comfortable 80.5 inch bed. The huge 24 inch High Definition TV makes you feel as though you’re watching TV at home and the Etihad E-BOX entertainment system has among the most extensive selection of entertainment options I’ve ever experience.
The suite features tons of storage space, but is space restrictive due to the dimensions. There is a larger storage space under the ottoman with a latching door, a small closet to hang clothing in, and multiple storage compartments under the arm rests. The underarm compartments are perfect or storing books or a passports, and other smaller items whereas the under ottoman storage is more appropriate for a backpack, or small carryon item. The closet is also very small, and is only appropriate for a jacket or clothing after changing into pajamas.
first class suite closet + under ottoman storage
The bed on the 787 is 6 feet 6 Inches and nearly 2.5 feet wide. With the large mattress pad and oversized pillow and blanket, I quickly forgot I was on an airplane. The 787 is extremely quiet and with the suite door shut, it felt more like a small Tokyo hotel room verse an airplane seat! the suite is decked out with multiple lights which allows customization of the suite’s ambiance, including lights under the TV, an adjustable reading light, and in suite wall light. Each light has multiple brightness settings and can be turned on or off individually.
Finally the seat controls are easy to use and have hundreds of settings which allows for customization of lumbar support, massage function, and seat angel. The seat moves forward to allow customers to be closer to the oversize 23″ x 20″ dining table and ottoman. The seat reminded me of a 22-way adjustable BMW driver seat, with more options then I could ever use!
touch screen seat and suite controls. Manage everything from lighting, to seat firmness to position on the mini touch screen
psp like controller for Etihad 787 first class E-Box Panasonic eX3
Amenity kit + contents
sporting the Etihad Pajamas
Amenities in the seat are fantastic. Featuring Etihad cotton pajamas, a stylish amenity kit, and in seat mini fridge. Making every Etihad guest happy.
Etihad Airways First Class Summary
Although I have only flown several first class flights, I would say Etihad does EVERYTHING right when it comes to first class travel and is among my favorite products in the world! From the onboard chief, the hard and soft products, everything was perfect!
Food options were plentiful, amenities were nice and well thought out, and the suite was stunning! Traveling first class on Etihad is suited for a King and will not leave anyone disappointed!
More From This Series
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- Etihad Airways B787 First Class Washington Dulles (IAD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
- Etihad Airways Arrival Lounge Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge Terminal 3 Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Airways A320 Regional Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Cairo (CAI)
- Qatar Airways A320 Regional Business Class Luxor (LXR) to Doha (DOH)
- Qatar Airways Stopover Hotel and Program Doha
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge Doha
- Qatar Airways A380 Business Class Doha (DOH) to Paris (CDG)
- American Airlines Admirals Club Paris (CDG)
- American Airlines B767-300 retrofit Business Class Paris (CDG) to New York