Behind the scenes with CTM: Etihad Business Class Review

Etihad Airways connects over 100 passenger and cargo destinations in more than 55 countries around the world. As the gateway to European and American business, Etihad serves Australia and New Zealand business travellers with the highest level of service you would expect from one the world’s most sophisticated airlines.

The airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner product has been flying to Australia since 2015, offering a superior flying experience across three cabin classes. Currently flying on the Brisbane and Perth to Abu Dhabi routes, the Dreamliner’s unique Business Studios are one of the best products on the market.

To find out what all the rage was about, CTM went behind-the-scenes to explore the critically acclaimed Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.



Etihad’s complimentary chauffeur service is available to eligible Business Class passengers in the UAE, meaning passengers can take advantage of this premium service on their flight home to Australia and New Zealand. The airline recently suspended its free chauffeur services in Australia, however, paid airport transfers are still available in all other cities, with Etihad Guest members earning three EYG Miles for every $1 USD spent on Paid Airport Transfers.


Check-in/ Baggage Drop

Times: 3 hours (outside UAE) / 4 hours (within the UAE) – 45 minutes prior to departure.

Dedicated check-in and baggage drop facilities are available at Etihad’s home airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport. In airports across Australia and New Zealand, business class passengers can also enjoy a speedier check-in experience with a dedicated lane for check-in and baggage drop.

Mobile check-in is not yet available across Australia and New Zealand, but can be found at most major cities across the United States, Europe and Asia.


Baggage Allowance

  • Carry-on (12kgs per item)

2 x 115cm bags = 50cm x 40cm x 25cm, + 1 foldable garment bag

  • Checked (40kg total weight)

Each bag must not exceed: 207cm = 45cm x 72cm x 90cm


Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounges can be found at Sydney and Melbourne Airports, featuring and international buffet, shower room, relaxation area, business centre and free Wi-Fi. Brisbane and Perth-based business class passengers can still enjoy the comfort of lounge access, thanks to Etihad’s partner lounges, the Air New Zealand Lounge at BNE and Qantas Business Lounge at PER.


When arriving in Abu-Dhabi, business class guests can freshen up between flights at the airline’s signature spa centre, Six Senses Spa. Choose from a wide range of express treatments including a choice of massages and facials.


On-board experience

Dreamliners truly take the full flying experience to new heights, with cabin pressure set at 6,000 feet providing more oxygen in the cabin than the usual 8,000 feet pressure, resulting in a 5-6% reduction of respiratory issues experienced by passengers. A higher than normal level of humidity, mimicking that of ground conditions, ensures that dehydration is reduced and the effects of flying fatigue are much less pertinent for guests – an important factor for business travellers with tight schedules.

The lighting on the aircraft has been configured to reflect the natural lighting outside. For example, a slightly orange ‘crack of dawn’ setting fades in over a 30-minute period, softly waking passengers and contributing to a better flying experience.

The missing piece on the Dreamliner is Etihad’s signature hotel-inspired meeting place, The Lobby, found exclusively on the upper deck of the A380.



Size –  A fully-flat bed of up to 6 feet and 8 inches (200cm), makes for a comfortable night’s sleep, which Brisbane-based business travellers can look forward to with a daily late-night departure time.

Configuration – Etihad’s business cabin has been uniquely designed with 5 rows of 1-2-1 layout with forward and rear facing seats for more personal space. The last row is often used for pilots when they are off-duty.

Features – Seat and aisle dividers for privacy, each seat has aisle access, in-seat massage functionality and personal lighting.

Storage – Convenient storage both in-seat and overhead, including a meal table and a separate side table for laptops and other personal items during meal times.


IFE – Over 140 movies with the latest blockbusters including Darkest Hour

& The Shape of Water. More than 350 popular TV Shows with 7 Live TV channels for the latest news and sport.

Wi-Fi – In-flight Wi-Fi can be purchased via credit card, vouchers, or can be connected using an existing Wi-Fi roaming account. Internet price plans start from as low as $4.95.




A new initiative taken on board by Etihad and airlines of the like is the trolley-free dining service. To reduce aisle congestion and passenger interruptions, all meals served in Business Class are brought to each passenger on a seat-by-seat basis, rather than the traditional meal trolley that stops at each seat. All meals are prepared by the cabin crew in-flight, and are served with the finest cutlery. The menus rotate based on seasonal foods and offer two or three options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not familiar with the food and boutique wine list? A dedicated food and beverage manager can provide recommendations and assist with any dietary requirements. The current Dreamliner offers a dine-anytime service, offering the following meals:

All day dining

-          A selection of breads and pastries, natural yoghurt with apricot compote, a range of breakfast cereals full cream or low-fat milk, steak sandwich, Vietnamese shrimp, scrambled egg.

On the side

-          Potato chips, baked cookies and madeleines, Arabic baklava.


-          Arabic mezze, dill poached prawn, tomato and lemongrass soup.


-          Beef tenderloin, Malabar grouper, chicken mansaf, Mediterranean vegetable tart.


-          Sticky toffee pudding, lemon meringue pie, seasonal fresh fruit, a selection of ice-cream flavours.


Overall, it’s not surprising that Etihad’s Business Studio is ranking as one of the best business class products on the market. The spacious seats in conjunction with the innovative Dreamliner concept make this flying experience one to remember. Over the past year, Etihad has been rolling out changes to its Etihad Guest Frequent Flyer program. With better lounge access for Etihad Guest Gold frequent flyers, new competitive Etihad Guest redemption rates and more miles earned on more expensive fares, there’s no better time to book your business travel with Etihad Airways.




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