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This is part of the Around the World 2015 Mega Trip
- 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
Review: Etihad A330 Pearl Business Class AUH-JNB
The flight from AUH-JNB is a Jet Airways configured A330 outfitted with Pearl Business Class. I was kind of wondering/hoping it would be the classic style, THE OG of Etihad business if you will, and not a Jet airways product. Having had a flawless experience on their new Business Studio Miles was verrrrrrry keen on seeing what the Pearl Business Class was all about.
We boarded through the main gate and turned LEFT, YESSSSS turning left is the greatest feeling!!!! And BOOM! Etihad Pearl Business awaited us. =) Cha-Ching
Originally we were supposed to fly on this flight June 21st. However, we took advantage of the ability that Aadvantage permits you to change the date of your flight and the cabin of service without incurring any change fees or redeposit fees ( which for other American tickets would be $150/ticket )
We ended up changing our flight while sitting at the Burj Al Arab having High Tea, as ya do. Side-note, the Burj staff is incredible, as is the whole experience of the hotel, but for our purposes it was the Free Wi-Fi and Skype that made it possible to move our flight up a day.
- When: June 20th, 2015
- Route: AUH-JNB
- Duration: 09:30 – 16:05 ( 8hr 35min )
- Plane: A330
- Class: Pearl Business Class
- Seat: 5E
- Program: AAdvantage 45000 miles + ~$28
- Value: Roughly $0.065/mile
As was mentioned in the post regarding booking Etihad flights with AA miles you need to find guest business availability.
Hold on Miles! We have to show the people the product first!!!! Jeez.
At check-in, we had requested two seats, in the middle, next to one another.
As it turned out, when we changed the tickets over the phone with AA we had lost our seat assignments. I’d also been up for roughly 30 hours at that point, and when I had gotten the Etihad Record Locator and called them on the phone to change our Chauffeur service (for the price of: ON THE HOUSE), I’d forgotten to pick seats. HOWEVER, the rep at the check-in counter was awesome, loved Miles (obv) and hooked us up. First row (which I love for the extra storage) and in two seats that a butte one another.
Not gonna lie, would be ‘super awk’ if I didn’t know Dave beeeeeecause we were RIGHT next to one another.
Champagne before I sit, please.
The seat was very comfortable. However, it’s not even fair to try and compare this to the Business Studio. One, we’re on an A330 in a MUCH smaller cabin, and Two, the plane is considerably older. With that being said…I was very pleased. Our Purser, Samantha, was absolutely excellent. In fact, I think we had much more interaction with her than we did any of the other flight attendants. She had a certain passion for her job. The plane had been sitting on the tarmac for quite some time and as a result was piping hot. I mean, we were all a bit damp. It is Abu Dhabi after all and there was some issue with getting the air conditioner on. The funny thing was, I heard Samantha talking to the cabin crew (which the Purser oversees\) and telling them to assure passengers that the aircon would be on ASAP. This was my opportunity
Ummm, excuse me, Samantha? Is there any way we could get the heat on…it’s a bit chilly in here.
The look on her face was priceless. She was literally speechless. It was so flipping hot in there and she HAD JUST had that convo with her staff and here I was in the first row complaining of it being too cold! HAHAHA Needless to say, I started chuckling and told her I was just kidding and just wanted to give her a hard time. She’s British and had a very clever come back. I think it cemented our relationship for the duration of the flight cause she was ON THE BALL with service. I think, far too often, people in premium cabins can be high maintenance, so after exhibiting a little playfulness, she wanted to make it nice for us.
Right before take-off we had the entire cabin sprayed. I mean some sort of aerosol was sprayed over the entire cabin. I’ve never had this done before until leaving Zambia for South Africa. My assumption was disease protection, but I felt like Tom Cruise in MI-5 holding my breath.
Same Amenity kit as our flight from IAD-AUH
Would you like another glass of Champagne? “How bout a mimosa?” SURE!
The service was impeccable.
Some other features of the seat…
The massage function on this seat was “spa-like” I almost needed to Ice afterwards.
Dave, at 6’2″, looked en-utero while sleeping.
I had read a lot about the seats before taking this flight. The biggest complaint I read was about the footwell not being large enough to accommodate someone over 6′ tall. Well I wear a 12 shoe and it was certainly tall enough. However, once the seat was laid flat…I suffered the same complaint as so many: it was a little short.
Meal service was quick. I chose to eat while Dave chose to sleep. Which he did for 5 hours. Must not have been too uncomfy.
It worked in Dave’s favor, but I did find it odd that they blacked out the cabin. We left at 9:30 am. This wasn’t an overnight flight. Still not sure why the cabin was completely blacked out, although many passengers did sleep…so there ya go. I, however, ATE.
Teriffic Arabic Mezze
The Um Ali ice cream was UH-MAZING! So glad I was talked into trying it.
Another thing that I really like about taking foreign carriers is that they have so many foods native to the country they’re based in. This ice cream will be something I track down in Los Angeles. It was incredible.
Now, with some champagne and port in my belly, as well as a huge meal, it was time, sweet time, for bed. BED?! What are you crazy? It’s like noon…
It was time to lay down like I was on my sofa on a Sunday and watch movies
I ended up watching 2.5 movies on the 8 hour flight. It literally “flew” by. When Dave awoke, one of the flight attendants noticed and brought him his meal. He had the chicken which ultimately was a wiser decision than my fish.
We arrived right on time into JNB.
If you look closely you can tell which lettering on the middle seats would suit you best. If it’s 5E and 5F for instance it would suit you well as a couple or friends. However, if alone and in the middle, having the extra space would be great and you should chose a row like 6C and 6D, which are technically aisle seats with the armrest to the center.
It’s interesting that these pods aren’t angled to the aisle at all ( they’re square to the cabin front). My personal preference is the Herringbone configuration (head in, feet out) as it feels the most private. Having said that – I never felt exposed in these seats… which I would attribute to the specific seats we occupied as they had armrests to the outside which shielded us from aisle activity. I’d pick these again, or a window seat with armrest between the seat and aisle.
Fly the Business Studio if you can – they’re on the 787 and A380, but if you can’t…Etihad’s standard Pearl business class will certainly make you smile.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.