Having flown with Etihad’s A330 and B777 a couple of times before, the new Etihad Boeing 787 Business Class Studios were pretty high up on my to-do-list. Etihad’s Dreamliner currently serves only Düsseldorf, Zürich and Athens in Europe, but there’s a lot more destinations once you reached Abu Dhabi. I’ve built my routing around that, so I could get two full segments with the 787: Berlin – Zürich – Abu Dhabi – Singapur.
Etihad 787 Business Studios: Trip Report
After a quick flight from Berlin I had two hours to kill in Zürich before boarding the Etihad 787 waiting for me (and all other passengers as well). Etihad uses the Swissport Aspire Lounge in Zürich, that is already located in the satellite terminal. The lounge is pretty standard, but the terrace directly above the gates offers some exceptional views:
Especially during summer you can grab a coffee, work a bit on your laptop and enjoy the smell of fresh kerosine in the morning (which I like to be honest). Even better: Etihad’s Dreamliner A6-BLE (delivery in June 2015) was already getting ready right below me. Straight up beautiful, isn’t it?
Naturally, the way from the lounge to the boarding gate was quite short (just downstairs) and I could board the new Etihad 787 Business Class as one of the last passengers.
Etihad 787 Business Studios: The Cabin
When boarding the plane you’ll immediately see the close resemblance to the “regular” Etihad Business Class: the Studios are built in a 1-2-1 configuration, where only half of the window seats are truly at the window (rows A and K) and the others (C and H) are backwards and rather at the aisle. My favorite seats are the “true” window seats as they offer the maximum privacy.
The middle rows (E and F) in Etihad’s 787 Business Class are perfect for couples though as they feel at least a bit like a private suite, even without being able to close a door.
What I instantly liked in Etihad’s 787 Business Class was the overall design of the cabin: the different beige tones mixed with some gold and copper look really stylish, while not too “bling” like Emirates. The Studios feel like a more modern and spacious cabin compared to the regular Etihad Business Class. The two business cabins are quite small and intimate: there are 20 seats in the larger section, and only 8 in the smaller one at the front.
Etihad 787 Business Studios: The Seat
Even though the seat in the Business Studios looks similar to the ones in the A330 or B777 at first sight, there are plenty of small differences. The Etihad 787 Business Studios feel more spacious and offer more privacy due to the side panels and how the 1-2-1 configuration is laid out. The big table on the side and the additional storage spaces below add more places to put your iPad, passport, champagne and so on.
The leg area is more spacious as well compared to the regular Business Class, and the lie-flat seat feels a bit longer as well.
Here’s a direct comparison of the two: Etihad 777 Business Class on the left, Etihad 787 Business Studio on the right:
The screen is bigger as well, but also locked into its position:
You can control the in-flight entertainment via a small handheld device that is located near your seat. There you’ll also find another touchpad to control all settings for your seat (position, massage, window blinds, lights), similar to Star Trek:
Talking about window blinds: Boeing’s Dreamliner does not have standard window blinds you know from literally any other plane. Instead, Boeing uses an electronic dimming effect you can control with a little button underneath the window. Sounds fancy, but looks even better:
Etihad Boeing 787 Business Class: The Service
Etihad’s service for me is always a bit hit or miss: sometimes you have the best cabin crew in aviation history, and sometimes you have to ask three times to get your lunch. That was also the case with my segments here, but let’s start at the beginning.
After making myself comfortable in seat 9A of Etihad’s 787 Business Studios and activated the massage option, the first champagne arrived – accompanied by a hot towel. The real highlight was the view descending out of Zürich though:
Etihad always has the food and drink menus already prepared at your seat when boarding the plane. Here’s today’s menu:
Etihad has the so-called “Dine Anytime” concept: this means that every guest in Business Class can dine whenever he or she wants. I ordered the full service right after takeoff, and it started out with warm nuts (and more bubble water):
Followed by the excellent prawn appetizer…
…and a neat bread basket:
I then had the Chicken Biryani as my main. Even though it doesn’t look that fancy, it always tastes great:
Afterwards I went for the pretty good cheese plate…
…and closed it all out with a perfect chocolate cake as my dessert.
The food service on this flight was excellent, with the perfect time between each dish. Afterwards I converted 9A into a lie-flat bed and relaxed for the remainder of the flight, before landing at Abu Dhabi Airport…
…and heading to the Etihad First Class Lounge:
The second segment with the same aircraft was pretty standard. As I needed some sleep, I chose to have my “Dine Anytime” dinner an hour before landing. The crew forgot about this though, and I had to ask again – but the quality of the chicken made up for it:
After two great segments in Etihad’s B787 Business Class I landed in Singapore, spotting a rainbow during the descent.
Etihad Boeing 787 Business Class: Conclusion
With the new 787 Business Studios, Etihad was able to even improve their already excellent Business Class product. The new hard product offers an incredible level of space and privacy, paired with the (normally) good Etihad service. Sadly, Etihad only uses the Dreamliner on very few European routes until now – but if you have the chance, Etihad’s B787 Business Class is an outstanding choice.