Review: Etihad Business Studio A380 Abu Dhabi to London

a stuffed animal on a chair

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as and CardRatings. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Review: Etihad Business Studio A380 Abu Dhabi to London

If you’re just tuning in…welcome! You’re amidst the journey of a lifetime, one that is taking my family around the world on a surprise trip for my mom’s 75th birthday.  We had a great time in Abu Dhabi and we were very fortunate to all end up on the same flight to London. Up until a couple of days before we left we were spread out over two flights. If you’re interested in learning more about how I put us all on one flight read this. Both of my parents ended up in Apartments and I snagged a seat right next to the bar/lounge in a business studio.

My mom was very surprised that we were headed to London, but mainly because we’ve been many times, and in fact, we were just there last fall for a colts game – so I think she was kind of wondering what we’d be doing. What she didn’t know was that we weren’t actually headed to London, but instead, we were going to the South of France and just routing ourselves through London! BYAH!

First Impression:

The entire upstairs is dedicated to premium cabins: Business Studio, Apartments, Residence. I’d flown the business studio on the 787 a couple of years ago and was really impressed with the product so I was excited to try it again on Etihad’s A380. There are two Business Studio Cabins with bathrooms in between each cabin. I do think that the Etihad has a gorgeous cabin and if you take a “true window” seat you have an incredible amount of privacy.

an airplane with rows of seats and a man standing in the back

a row of seats on an airplane

The Deets:

  • When: April: 2017
  • Where: Abu Dhabi to London
  • Loyalty: American Airlines Aadvantage
  • Cost: 40k + $90
  • Class: Business Studio
  • Seat: 9D

The Bar:

For most of the flight there were two people in it, and that means it’s at capacity unless you want to be really awkward and bump knees, elbows, and toes.  In other words…it’s small. While it’s “cool” to have a bar/lounge in flight…it’s not really very practical, but hey…I’m not complaining. It was cool to kick it there for a while.

The Seat: 9D

You can see in this in photo that in the middle section of the 9th row, the seat faces backwards and RIGHT behind it you can see the bar peeking through. There is a screen that pulls shut, but I’ve read where many people don’t like the proximity to the bar and the galley because it can get noisy. I didn’t mind it much, but any time I made a move to go into the bar area when it wasn’t occupied it was almost as if I was irritating the crew who were still doing the meal service.

a stuffed animal on a chair

The seat is pimped and I’d say one of the most handsome business class seats out there. The odd thing is the lack of quality headphones. AA provides Bose and they’re great…sort of odd that Etihad reps a great product, but then a mediocre headphone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Service:

As soon as I was seated champagne was poured.

a hand holding a bottle of champagne and a glass of champagne

I was tended to by the Food and Beverage manager and he was excellent. I had great service when I flew the Business Studio to Abu Dhabi in 2015 from IAD, and I thought he was even better. Took pride in his job, and it was a kind of a surprise when the flight attendant from the Apartment came to get me when my mom requested for me to have a drink with her in the Apartment. She seemed irritated. She was also the one that I would happen to encounter when I went to the bar later in the flight to hang out and take some pics. A stark contrast to the service I’d had in 2015 and to the F&B manager serving the Business Studio cabin, and a disappointment after I spoke to my parents after the flight as they found her stuck-up and snooty.

I honestly think the attitude she presented is why people may feel nervous towards flying in a premium cabin if they aren’t rich, dressed up, or look like they shop at Prada. It’s ridiculous, and the difference between her and every other flight we took around the world was night and day.

The Food:

I tried quite a few things on the flight. They have a standard food service plus an on demand menu. In all…I thought the food was just ok. Comparing this offering to EVA, AA, or Swiss, I’d put them last. The presentation makes up for the taste.

The menu:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I didn’t purchase any, but it is available.


The business studio is a great business class product, and my service was very good as well. It’s unfortunate my parents had a bit of snootiness up in first, but I would still recommend this to anyone who has the it as an option for travel. I do think that the reverse herringbone seat found on airlines like EVA, AA, China Airlines, Cathay, etc would be more desirable, but this is a great product.

You don’t have to stop here. Check out how we paid $5k and took a $125k Surprise trip Around The World to celebrate my Mom’s 75th

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Afternoon Tea


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

a blue credit card with blue lines and white text

Learn More

Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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 including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 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℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

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. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.