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Review: Etihad 787 Business Studio IAD-AUH
The Etihad 787 Business Studio is simply a stunning, rockstar status product at 35k feet that is far too fancy to just be called a business class. Studios are where art is created, minds expanded, and dreams put to paper. Etihad has captured the “experience” of premium travel with the Business Studio. Starting with the way you board the aircraft.
No matter how incredible a business or first class lounge is, inevitably, you have to leave the cocoon of luxury and migrate through the hub-bub of the airport, right?!
Wrong! Etihad has taken it up a notch. At IAD, through their small but fabulous lounge, they provide the ability to board the aircraft directly through the Business/First gate-side lounge. It was the easiest, clearest, and most luxurious plane entry I’ve had to date. People pay a lot of money for these flights ( I didn’t, I spent about $35 for LAX-IAD-AUH-JNB in first and business plus 112,500 AAadvantage miles) and unlike most other lounges, this made the experience of boarding exclusive. Last time I checked, this flight was going for a one way cost of around $7000. Without further adieu…
-sidenote- this is part of a bigger Around the World trip from LAX-IAD-AUH-JNG-HKG-NRT-HND-LAX.
- When: June 16th, 2015
- Route: IAD-AUH
- Duration: 22:30 – 19:45 +1 ( In actuality it was roughly 12 hours)
- Plane: Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Class: Business Studio
- Seat: 8H ( facing backwards)
- Program: Aadvantage 67,500 miles + ~$7
- Value: Roughly 0.11/mile
Upon boarding the plane you know you are in for a treat. The lights are dimmed for the evening flight and the distinct Etihad boarding music is playing. I really dug it. I was traveling with my best friend and both of us were grinning from ear to ear. The vertical ambient lights really distinguish the overall feel of the plane.
Seat 8H. Fly backwards at least once in your life? Check.
As you can see in the photo, I had champagne before I could even sit down. Hells to the yes. H/T to @onemileatatime for the new found obsession with champagne aboard an aircraft. Usually in my life, I haven’t been too fond of champagne outside of celebrations, but sitting in a luxurious seat and paying next to nothing for it, is a celebration in and of itself. Right?
One thing I loved was the storage. United GlobalFirst has ridiculous amounts, almost to the point that you’d forget something onboard. But that’s First class and this is business. Not only do you get the personal and customary overhead bin-space, but compared to Cathay Pacific, which is often heralded as one of the best in the sky, Etihad Business Studio rocks it’s socks. It was in the perfect location: where-abouts you could store your valuables and they were in a spot where you could only reach them, even while sleeping.
The amenity kit had all the essentials, but I really liked the artisan design. The lotions and creams were actually quite hydrating, which is clutch on a 12+ flight.
People also complained that the old product, which I experienced from AUH to JNB, seats weren’t long enough. That isn’t a problem on the Business Studio. My best bud Dave is 6’2 and had no problem completely stretching
out. He also had no problem wearing sunglasses while on a plane. Move over Jack Nicholson.
I always ask for pajamas before the flight leaves. I still wear the bottoms at home.
Most flights in biz don’t have pajamas, but the business studio provides them. I wanted to be in complete and utter pamper mode once we disembarked, and as such, pjs were in full effect. Loved the bottoms…top was a little odd with the zipper. Wait, did I just complain about free Pjs onboard? Shhhh.
Loved the IFE.
I really liked that the IFE had both a remote and on screen touch features. It made using the system so much easier and both worked without fail. Kudos, Etihad.
I’m gonna go overboard and show all the Suite controls…cause they’re ridics.
Having a bad back…the massage and lumbar options were crucial
The window shades were the only part I wasn’t in love with.
Ok, it is beyond cool that the windows just dim. Hit a button, and Boom! they literally shade or brighten. It’s like Vegas on an airplane. Except…and here’s where I stopped being a fan and started complaining in a $7000 seat. They didn’t go all the way black! I woke up at one point – I had to pee… TMI or TMC ( too much champagne 😉 ?)? All joking aside, I’m a light sleeper, wasn’t wearing an eyemask, but did because of the below picture, and somehow ended up longing for a plastic slider to block out all the sun as we burned our way into Abu Dhabi. Miles sleeps through anything, and the champagne goes right to his head…so, he was fine. As was my best friend who didn’t wake til breakfast served. I’m sure I’m just nitpicking.
K, enough IFE and Suite controls. On to the Food and Service. ( The Soft Product)
We had Isabella. She was awesome. Literally felt like I was at a Michelin starred restaurant with service. Drinks barely reached the bottom of the glass before another was poured and she was super friendly and offered me, Miles, and Dave advice on touring the UAE as well as assistance with various wines and spirits.
Before dinner things got a little nuts 😉
I literally stuffed this meal in.
Dave and I had met up with a old friend and eaten at the Marriott by the airport. I’d highly recommend the food in the lobby bar. Then we also ate in the Lounge prior to boarding. If I had it to over again I would have taken the advice of the menu…Dine ANYTIME. I would have had Izabella make up the bed and slept straight after take off and eaten after waking up. But, dammit, I was excited and wanted to try everything out like it was a new car and I was 16. Every bell rung and every whistle…whistled.
All in all, the food was pretty good. My starter and dessert were very nice and the main was just ok. It was almost like they just added some gnocchi to a bowl of seeds and freshly shaved parmesan. But, we are at 35k feet and I was literally stuffed starting the meal. The food in the lounge, by the way, was incredible. The only reason I didn’t have an arabic mezze in flight was because of the lounge. It was delicious.
Ding, ding. Bed, please.
The bed is quite comfy.
I rang for Isabella to make my bed and made my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I got back there was a bottle of water waiting. Score! I shoved Miles aside and snuggled in and soon realized that my fave biz class bed, thus far, is still the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class bed. I think there is something about it folding forward that eliminates any chance of feeling the pieces of the seat. However, I did sleep for about 4 hours straight before waking. For me, that’s great, especially after taking full advantage of the free flowing champers. The seat comes with a thin mattress pad ( which is like a heavy blanket), duvet, and one pillow. And of course an eye mask, cause of this bad boy
After another 3 hours of tossing, turning, and sleeping…I was up.
Breakfast was now being served and the smell of brewing coffee and the blue tinge of the windows was enough to start getting excited about what was next to come.
The muesli was very good! I’m all about them serving it on planes. Eggs are never good. Quiche? Are you serious? No. Thanks. Gimme my yogurt, fruit, and granola. As you can see, Miles felt the same way. He was also marveling at the light pouring in now. He popped the headphones on after breakfast and put the IFE into flight simulator. Yes, flight simulator.
Some more shots in the daylight.
I couldn’t get over how beautiful the hard product was. Stunning!
I can not rave about this experience enough. The next time I wanna do it 1st class just to see what the difference is, but honestly, I’m not sure I need a whole lot more. It was so damn good that the rest of the trip around the world, Dave and I, were left longing for this flight again. From the service, to the suite… Ohhhh, the suite… we loved everything.
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Washington DC
- Etihad Business Studio – IAD to AUH
- Review: Etihad Arrivals lounge and Etihad Chauffeur experience
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi, AUH
- Etihad Pearl Business Class – AUH to JNB
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
- Blue Train Johannesburg to Cape Town
- Queen Victoria Cape Town
- Chitwa Chitwa Sabi Sands Luxury Game Reserve Kruger National Park
- Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge – Victoria Falls
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport
- Review: S(h)ongololo Lounge JNB
- Cathay Pacific Business Class – JNB to HKG to HND
- Ritz Carlton Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo, NRT
- American Air Flagship First Class – NRT to LAX