The most striking aspect of the business class cabin on Etihad’s Boeing 777-300 to London, is the vast amount of personal space around the seat.
It’s actually less of a seat and more of a personal cubby hole, with plenty of surfaces and shelves allowing the long-haul traveller to stash a laptop, book, tablet and other travelling accessories – and all within easy reach, without having to stuff things under your feet. Plus the three-pin and USB sockets mean you can charge several of your gizmos simultaneously.
For the harried executive who needs to send and receive multiple emails (or those who feel compelled to live tweet throughout the flight), Etihad’s Wi-Fly service is there to meet your connectivity needs. Internet access can be purchased for two hours (Dh43), four hours (Dh65) or the entire flight (Dh80), although I was unable to get online after a couple of attempts and decided to read my book instead.
The cabin crew were attentive without being constantly in your face. From the fresh orange juice when I boarded, to the very tasty braised beef lunch and the mid- afternoon chicken sandwich, peppered with the occasional coffee break, I arrived in London well fed and watered.
The bathroom was a little more spacious than a standard economy offering, with a few extra bottles of cologne thrown in for good measure, while the complimentary sponge bag offers some fancy hand cream and lip balm beyond the standard tooth brush and earplugs.
The in-flight entertainment was the same as the (very decent) E-Box on demand services offered in economy, albeit with noise-cancelling headphones. Those partial to a classic movie may feel a little let down, but beyond that there’s plenty to keep you entertained (see Top five).
Yet the comfort of the seat and the sheer amount of space it gives you is what the Etihad business class experience is all about. This traveller at least was certainly not disappointed; I will certainly be begging for an upgrade the next time I fly.