Review: Etihad Boeing 777 business class: Abu Dhabi-Sydney

Overall Rating

By Chris C., September 7 2015
Etihad Boeing 777 business class: Abu Dhabi-Sydney

Abu Dhabi - Sydney

Aircraft Type

Boeing 777-300ER


Etihad Airways


EY454 / VA7092

Cabin Class




The Good
  • Fully-flat beds with direct aisle access
  • Dine when it suits your schedule
  • Window seats are rather private
The Bad
  • A little less personal space per seat than on Etihad's A380s
  • Free pre-flight spa treatments


While many Sydneysiders will naturally gravitate to Etihad's newer Airbus A380s, the airline continues to fly its twin-aisle Boeing 777s on selected Sydney flights, and on all services to Melbourne which now run double-daily.

Granted, Etihad's new A380 and Boeing 787 Business Studios are notch above the business class seats you'll get on the Boeing 777s, but that didn't preclude us from enjoying the inflight meals and getting a good night's sleep between Abu Dhabi and Sydney.


  • Frequent flyer program: Etihad Guest. Aussie travellers can also earn Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points and status credits when flying with Etihad.
  • Chauffeured transfers: Complimentary for business class passengers at either end of the journey if booked at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Priority check-in: Private terminal entrance and check-in area in Abu Dhabi for business and first class passengers and Gold/Platinum frequent flyers.
  • Priority boarding: Dedicated lanes for business and first class guests plus Gold and Platinum frequent flyers.
  • Checked baggage allowance: 2x32kg bags, plus 1x32kg bag for Gold and Platinum frequent flyers and 1x23kg bag for Silver-grade travellers.
  • Carry-on baggage allowance: 2x111cm bags at a combined total weight of up to 12kg.
  • Priority security screening, passport control (Abu Dhabi): Yes, dedicated checkpoints following the private check-in area.
  • Priority processing on returning to Australia: Yes, via Express Path in Sydney (invitations provided before landing).


Business class passengers can stop by the Etihad Premium Lounge in Abu Dhabi, located after passport control and initial security screening.

Inside you'll find all-day dining facilities, the obligatory AC and USB power points, and of course, a well-stocked bar:

Business class passengers may also enjoy a complimentary 15-minute treatment or massage at the in-lounge Six Senses Spa, and can access barber and nail salon services at an extra fee.

In either case, make that your first stop to secure a suitable appointment time before enjoying the lounge's other amenities.


Similar to what you'd find aboard Etihad's Airbus A330s, its Boeing 777s also offer direct aisle access to every business class guest and fully-flat beds stretching to 185cms long and just under 51cm wide...

... which come in an alternating layout, in that one row of window seats is positioned closer towards the window itself while the next row is closer to the aisle – or in the centre, alternating between the middle and the aisle – to make room for each passenger's legs while the seats are in 'bed mode'.

There's a sturdy tray table that doubles as a working and entertainment space – perfect to support a laptop during the day or a tablet with movies after turning in for the evening...

... an ottoman that can be utilised during take-off and landing, later forming the tail end of your fully-flat bed...

... a side pocket with space for your supplied amenity kit and a USB port for easy charging of your smartphone, plus connectors allowing you to output your own device to the aircraft's entertainment system...

... a second USB power outlet and also a multi-country AC slot that accepts Aussie-style pins without an adapter, adjacent to the literature pocket...

... and of course, a remote control for the screen and a control panel to adjust the seat position and built-in massager.

As to exactly where you sit, our top picks are 7A and 7K – these seats are at the front of the main business class cabin and are directly behind a bulkhead wall, giving you a little bench space on which to plonk your bag when retrieving your items or packing things away...

... and while there's a galley on the other side of that wall, this author was able to sleep for roughly seven hours – and could have easily made that eight.

That said, there's also a business class mini-cabin of just two rows nestled directly behind first class that's often a little quieter, and may be a better fit for light sleepers.

Otherwise, hunt down any of the A or K seats (such as 9A): these are on their lonesome and are positioned closer towards the window, which means you can't be bumped by people in the aisle as can happen in the C, D, G and H seats.

You can also use the large table as an improvised privacy screen, folding it out (but not down) to obscure more of your seat from the aisle.


Even with a late evening departure, passengers can enjoy a full dinner after take-off or can opt for a quick dessert, a nightcap or can head straight to sleep.

We opted for the full dining experience, beginning the meal with a cream of mushroom soup topped with herb sour cream aside country-style bread with butter, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The bread was fresh and the soup tasty and light – a perfect course to follow a heavier dinner on the ground if you're peckish, while other choices included a traditional Arabic mezze and a seafood dish – and if you like garlic bread, you won't be disappointed.

That's followed by a choice of four mains. We opted for the Arabic spiced and braised lamb with roasted vegetables, cracked wheat, nuts and a yoghurt sauce...

... which was tender, well-complemented to the sides and sauces and went down a treat.

To pair with your meals are three white wines, three red wines and a Champagne (on our flight: Besserat de Bellefon 'Grande Tradition' Brut NV). We opted for a glass of the 2007 Château le Castelot Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, a dry but velvety Bordeaux wine with smoky tones and hints of cherry, raspberry and figs.

Dessert provides options such as pudding, parfait, fresh fruit and ice cream, although a cheese plate (with crackers on the side) was more than sufficient.

As you'd expect following an overnight flight, breakfast is available after you wake – but with the time difference between cities and the flight's arrival time in Sydney of around 6pm local time, you have two options.

There's the 'standard' breakfast menu offering pastries, smoothies, yoghurt and eggs, or heartier choices such as a pulled barbecue beef sandwich if you woke earlier in the flight.

We opted for that simple yoghurt and granola with no complaints, and a latte...

... actually, make that two lattes with treats – you'll just need to stir them first as they come layered but not blended.

Cookies, Arabic baklava and other snacks are available throughout the flight, as are the breakfast and sandwich options if you wake early or are still living in a different time zone.

Entertainment & Service

Business class guests can enjoy over 100 movies, 300 TV shows, 16 radio channels, live satellite television including CNN and Sport24 and a selection of games and audio CDs via E-BOX: Etihad's entertainment system.

Served up via a 15-inch LCD screen, you can touch the screen to navigate or can use the more traditional remote control, which we found easier when the tray table was deployed.

This particular aircraft also had Etihad's Wi-Fly Internet service available, allowing business travellers to send time-critical emails or keep in touch with the office while in the air.

Read our full review: Etihad inflight Internet

Cabin crew addressed passengers by name and promptly arrived whenever the call bell was pressed, delivering pyjamas, slippers and laying a soft mattress over the bed for a good night's sleep.

All that's missing from the experience is an inflight bar – known as The Lobby on Etihad's larger A380 aircraft, which also fly to Sydney – but if your inflight schedule centres around dining and a proper sleep, you'll be more than satisfied.

Also read: Etihad Boeing 777 first class review: Sydney-Abu Dhabi

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

Nice, if I had the choice I would go the 380 though!

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 273

Not a bad alternative if you can't catch th A380, but yea agreed. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Sep 2015

Total posts 20

totally agree with you Tom

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

Thanks for the review.

Although flying SYD-AUH-LHR next month on EY's A380, return flight from AUH-SYD is on the 777 and for my wife & I we're seated in 13E & 13F

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

We're going to Europe (from BNE) with Etihad on Sunday.  It's 777 to AHU and then A380 to LHR.  Really looking forward to this.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2438

If you're flying straight out of Brisbane you'll have the newer Boeing 787..? Or are you flying via Sydney/Melbourne? :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

Flying straight out of Brisbane, and yeah, it's the dreamliner!  

Dreamliner first leg, then A380.  Very excited to say the least :)

We're flying business too of course :D

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

When did you book it? If you are flying direct from BNE you will have the new Dreamliner :)

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 77

Any news when MEL gets the A 380 ? Or the new lounge ? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

Not too sure if they will get the A380 it would be hard to tackle Emirates/Qantas on that route, I also doubt they will get the 380 as they are going to be increasing the Melbourne service to 2x daily. Unless the new flight is packed to the rafters they won't need it, as the flexibility on the time of the departures would suit more than 1 daily flight.


The new lounge should come along if their second flight does well in terms of J and F travellers

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

Thought I'd share my recent Etihad 777 experience with ausbt...give Chris's excellent review the extra photographic oomph :)

But give me A380 or 787 over the 777 Etihad business class anytime 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

So you're telling me that's on a 777??? imagine the A380 and how good that would be...

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Etihad Boeing 777 business class: Abu Dhabi-Sydney