Flight review: Etihad Airways A380-800 Business Studio
Flyer Cara Wagstaff
Class Business Studio
Route London to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Sydney
Codes EY18 and EY450
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Creature comforts abound on Etihad’s next-generation Business Studio: not only do flyers now have 20 per cent more personal space but they also recline on seats upholstered in fine leather by Poltrona Frau, which convert into a fully flat – and exceptionally comfortable – 204-centimetre bed. I’m particularly fond of the built-in massage feature (and adjustable seat firmness), and bonus points go to the well-designed layout with ample personal stowage.
As I settle into my studio with a glass of Billecart-Salmon Champagne, my personal food and beverage manager comes over to note my preferred dining times and suggest wines for each course. But that’s just the beginning. Etihad is also the only commercial airline to employ nannies on board through a partnership with Norland College, the United Kingdom’s premier childcare training institution (whose graduates have worked for the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). Flying Nannies, with their distinctive orange pinafores, are on board all mid-to-long flights to help entertain the kids.
Etihad’s bistro-style Dine Anytime menu is perfect for resetting my body clock to local Sydney time. I opt for an Arabic Mezze plate and a Mediterranean tart. My meal comes with a stylised steel bread basket and salt and pepper shakers inspired by the traditional design and architecture of Abu Dhabi.
An 18-inch flatscreen touch TV offers Etihad E-BOX entertainment and seven channels of live news and sport. If you plan on getting some work done, you’ll appreciate the Wi-Fi connectivity, laptop power supply and USB ports at every seat.
At Abu Dhabi Airport, the Etihad Premium Lounge offers a buffet selection, shower facilities, shave or spa treatments, and you can have clothes pressed while you wait.
The glam factor
As well as the complimentary chauffeur service, priority check-in at Abu Dhabi airport makes for a smooth, streamlined transition to the Premium Lounge. If you’re heading to the US, you can now pre-clear US immigration before you board your flight.
The inflight bar
If you’re feeling social, head to The Lobby, a bar area that separates business and first class. The circular tables are large enough to fit up to six people and there are ample options for an inflight tipple on the spirit, wine and champagne lists.
This article appeared in volume 30 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.
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