Having expeirenced both First and Economy class on Etihad,It was now time to try Business class Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Having experienced both first and economy class on Etihad, it was now time to try business                             Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter


Airline: Etihad Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Departed: Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Arrived: Amsterdam (AMS)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business class
Seat: 7A
Length: About 7.5 hours

Cheers: New business cabin layout, very private feel, direct aisle access for each seat, in-flight internet access (for a fee)
Jeers: Slightly narrow seat width for my liking
Overall: Etihad continues to be one of the market leaders in their premium cabin product

Boarding via stairs is always fun for an #Avgeek Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Boarding via stairs is always fun for an AvGeek – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter


Having been fortunate enough to have experienced the Etihad Diamond First Class product, and perhaps less fortunate to experience their Coral Economy Class, I finally had a chance to test out their Pearl Business Class cabin.

Having arrived in Abu Dhabi the previous night from Sydney, I now had a 10+ hour layover. Luckily, I booked a room at the recently opened Premier Inn Abu Dhabi airport, which saved me the 30-minute trip to the city hotels. As sleep was more important to me at the time (I had a bad head cold) I decided to skip the business class lounge the next day and head straight to the gate.

As the flight was departing during the morning rush hour, our aircraft was parked on a remote stand, which required us to ride the bus to the aircraft.

Etihad Airways has begun upgrading their business class cabins on all wide-body aircraft. Today’s flight was operated by an aircraft with the new cabin. The new cabin has a very smart-looking layout, with the use of coffee creams and browns creating for a very soothing and enjoyable experience.

Prior to departure, amenity kits, menus, and welcome drinks were distributed. One of the drinks available was freshly squeezed lemon and mint juice. This is one of my favorite drinks; sadly it is only available on flight originating in Abu Dhabi.

The signature Etihad Drink, Fresh Lemon, Mint Juice Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The signature Etihad drink; fresh lemon and mint juice                              Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

After departure, the inflight internet service was made available. I have covered this service previously in the economy class review. As with first class, Etihad operates an “anytime dining” option in its business class cabins. The catering is, in my opinion, the highest point of the whole experience with Etihad; there is always an abundant choice of dishes to suit any taste.

The catering never disappoints on Etihad  Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The catering never disappoints on Etihad – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

For the appetizer, I selected the Arabic mezze which never disappoints. This was followed by a perfectly cooked steak. For dessert there were many appetizing options, but I chose to stick with the classics and had the chocolate brownie with ice cream.

Dessert, Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream Photo:  Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Dessert: chocolate brownie with ice cream – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Not only is the selection and quality of the food truly a first rate experience but also the presentation of the dishes. As I later found out from the crew, they have an instruction manual on board to assist with plating of all dishes, as well as the food and beverage manager who overlooks the presentation of each dish.

The upgraded business class seat on-board the A330-200 Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The upgraded business class seat on board the A330-200 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

After the meal service, I decided to explore my seat and its many functions. The seat converts into a 180-degree flat bed. While the bed is sufficiently long enough, even for taller guests, my biggest gripe is the width. It would be nice to have a slightly wider bed; I found it somewhat difficult to find a comfortable  position to sleep in. The seat is also equipped with numerous massage functions.

All seats in the business cabin have direct aisle access; however, the aisle seats seemed to lack a bit of privacy, whereas the window seats offer lots of privacy due to the position of the seat, as well as the staggered layout of the cabin.

Seat Pitch is good but the width could be better, especially in lie-flat mode  Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Seat pitch is good, but the width could be better, especially in lie-flat mode Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Getting closer to Amsterdam, I decided to order something light from Etihads “Kitchen Anytime” menu. As I was still full from the previous meal, I decided to go with a fresh fruit platter.

Fruit Platter, a perfect light snakc before landing  Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Fruit platter, a perfect light snack before landing – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Landing in Amsterdam was carried out on the notorious Polderbaan runway; this resulted in a 20 minute taxi to the gate. After arrival, disembarkation was pretty quick, as two jet bridges were used (something I have not come across on previous Etihad flights).

As I was transiting onto another flight I could not rate the baggage delivery service, nor the chauffeur service which is available complimentary to all Etihad First and Business class guests.

The prefect take-home gift, The very stylish mens business class amenity kit  Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The perfect take-home gift, the (very stylish) men’s business class amenity kit                                     Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

As Etihad CEO James Hogan mentioned at the launch of the airline’s A380 and B787 cabins, Etihad is striving to be the best airline in the world… not the biggest. This statement is made clearly by their product innovations onboard and on the ground, but also with their staff. Unlike other major Middle Eastern carriers, Etihad staff continuously strives to deliver a high level of service across their whole network.


SENIOR CORRESPONDENT - PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC A native of Australia, Jacobâ€s interest in aviation first came about as a child going on a long-haul flight between Australia and Europe to visit relatives. In addition to being a pilot himself, he has worked in operations for a charter airline, been on-the-ramp handling aircraft, worked as a slot coordinator for major airports, and currently works as an aircraft charter broker for corporate and VIP clients throughout Eastern Europe. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys photography, plane spotting, and travel. Email: jacob@airlinereporter.com.

Freshly Painted Qatar Airways Airbus A350
Boby Martins

Great review of a great airline, good work 🙂

Oh! It’s great to hear about the pearl business class of ETIHAD AIRWAYS. I have traveled to Abu Dhabi for some business purpose in 2012 by ETIHAD AIRWAYS and really impressed with their quality customer services, food qualities, luxury seats etc..in one word awesome. I would love to enjoy their pearl business class services if I get another chance….:)

Nice review. Finally got to experience Pearl Business Class (DUB-AUH-KUL) but not before experiencing Etihad on a Jet Airways aircraft. Enjoy: http://www.withhusbandintow.com/etihad-airways-business-class-on-a-jet-airways-aircraft/

I have to give Etihad inflight customer service top ratings, but certainly not the Customer Service after the flight.

Philomena Walsh

Looking forward to my October flight Dublin to Sydney and savouring once again the comfort and hospitality of Pearl Business, a great experience.

Peter Schubert

The one VERY bad thing, is the extreme narrowness of the seats. For me, the reason never to fly again with Etihad.

rona nageles

Helpful ideas . I was fascinated by the information , Does someone know if I could obtain a blank OH ODT IT 3 document to fill out ?

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