Review: Etihad Business Studio A380 Abu Dhabi to London

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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.

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.

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.

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The Service:

As soon as I was seated champagne was poured.

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:

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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

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Afternoon Tea


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