Etihad Boeing 787 goes non-stop on Brisbane-Abu Dhabi flights

By Chris Chamberlin, June 2 2015

Virgin Australia partner Etihad Airways today begins flying its new Boeing 787-9 between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi, dropping the route's previous Singapore stopover to become a time-saving non-stop service.

Rounding out the trifecta, the Dreamliner also brings first class to the Sunshine State – an upgrade from the two-class A330 which came with business class and economy.

Guests at the pointiest of pointy ends enjoy a fully private suite with closing doors...

... which come in a 1-2-1 layout, allowing business colleagues or couples to chat across the middle seats, or to raise a privacy divider when flying on their lonesome.

Photos: Etihad's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner first class suites

Sample the new first class experience from start to finish with this two-minute video:

Not quite that cashed up? Etihad's Boeing 787 also boasts the impressive new Business Studio business class cabin...

Etihad's Business Studios, flying to Brisbane on the Boeing 787-9

... featuring fully-flat beds up to 200cm in length, direct aisle access for every passenger and up to 20% more breathing space than their predecessors on the A330.

Read: Inside Etihad's Boeing 787 Business Studio business class

Travellers stuck in economy aren't forgotten, with new economy smart seats offering a 'fixed wing' headrest that maximises your space without including your seatmate's shoulder in the equation.

"We can now offer guests the convenience of shorter travel times and two-way connectivity to more than 30 destinations in the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe," said James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer.

"From a guest experience perspective, the unique features of the Dreamliner aircraft have enabled us to customise it with the most innovative and sophisticated cabins. Brisbane travellers will be among the first in the world to experience the unparalleled comfort and luxury of this ground-breaking aircraft."

As a direct flight, the daily EY485 service departs Brisbane at 9:50pm to reach Abu Dhabi at 6am the following morning.

On the return leg as EY484, travellers are wheels-up from Abu Dhabi at 10pm and arrive into Brisbane at 5:50pm the next evening – with the first arrival from June 2, greeted by a water cannon salute.

Singapore slung

Etihad previously flew from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi via Singapore, which admittedly gave Queensland passengers a chance to enjoy a Lion City stopover when flying to onwards to the Middle East and Europe.

That Brisbane-Singapore leg could also be sold separately for road warriors bound solely for Asia, but has been axed in favour of the non-stop Brisbane-Abu Dhabi journey on the Dreamliner.

While less than ideal for Asia-bound jetsetters, the direct flight is a marked improvement for business travellers flying Etihad from Brisbane to the airline's web of European destinations such as London, Frankfurt and Zurich.

Yesterday also saw the introduction of Etihad's flagship Airbus A380 on selected flights between Sydney and Abu Dhabi, with Melbourne-Abu Dhabi to get its own superjumbo service at a later date.

Further, Perth is earmarked for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2016 or 2017, but a firm date hasn't been set.

Virgin Australia partnership

From Brisbane, Etihad has codeshare arrangements with Virgin Australia extending onwards to 13 towns and cities throughout Queensland.

Members of Etihad Guest can earn tier miles when flying with VA, with reciprocal arrangements for Virgin Australia Velocity members on board Etihad who can earn points and status credits.

With the loss of the Brisbane-Singapore flight, Velocity members can make use of partner Singapore Airlines to continue earning points and status credits on flights to Singapore whether booked on the Virgin Australia (VA) or Singapore Airlines (SQ) flight code.

Qantas and Emirates also serve between Brisbane and Singapore, which continues to provide flight and award options for customers of Qantas Frequent Flyer and Emirates Skywards.

Also read: 10 things you should know about Etihad’s A380

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ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

PunditShafton

PunditShafton

12 Jun 2014

Total posts 68

Looking forward to this route, great product EY. 

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

Economy is the tight 3-3-3 config that seems to be the norm on the B787 - one def reason why I'm not a fan of this aircraft 

JPMasters

JPMasters

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 38

Be interesting to get peoples views on the backward facing J seats.  I experienced them on BA, better than expected.

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

It's actually safer to sit facing backwards and all seats on a plane should adopt this backwards facing position, IF safety was the paramount concern. 

The reason we don't have backwards facing seating as the norm, is because it was felt in the early days of aviation that people wouldn't like it and it would scare them off flying.

Most military transport aircraft adopt the backwards facing layout for all seats because it's safer. AND have you noticed that all cabin crew jump seats are normally backwards facing (which they hate as they try avoiding eye contact with passengers in the cabin during taxing and take off).

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 336

Bit of a mixed feeling. In a way I'm glad that there is first class offering and also arguably the best J ex-BNE, the loss of SIN is a bit of a shame. EY's J to SIN on 330 is one of the only 2 full lie flat ex-BNE to Asia. Now we are left with only CX. 

But I can understand EY's decision to drop it. The competition is too big, with 3x SQ, QF and EK each day, plus scoot from OOL, the market is saturated. Although it would be nice if EY would consider using another Asian port like KUL or CGK then to BNE, while maintaining the direct BNE-AUH flight, like EK. 

travelislife

travelislife

03 Jun 2014

Total posts 27

TG also has full flat fron BNE to BKK, but has been known to have aircraft substitutions.

Dan22

Dan22

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 54

Flying in first end of the month from BNE! Then connecting on A380 to London! Can't wait to experience :)

Mrwitter

Mrwitter

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

I'm flying business on EY495 this Sunday, but it has the metal listed as a 773 - however my return flight on the 18th is listed a 789. - looking forward to the studio on the way back, not sure about the 777-300 offering on the way out. Onward flights to FRA from AUH are also a mixed bag, one an A332, the other an A346.. 

Mrwitter

Mrwitter

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

I'm flying business on EY495 this Sunday, but it has the metal listed as a 773 - however my return flight on the 18th is listed a 789. - looking forward to the studio on the way back, not sure about the 777-300 offering on the way out. Onward flights to FRA from AUH are also a mixed bag, one an A332, the other an A346.. 

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

If the B777-300 is Etihad metal you will still get a staggered 1-2-1 layout which is fully flat and direct aisle access. 

Could also possibly be a Jet Airways B777 which also has fully flat Biz seats, but in a herringbone layout along the lines of Air New Zealand / Virgin Atlantic / Delta and Air Canada. Still direct aisle access for all so not a bad seat.

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 225

*EY485... For the first few days of operation the 77W is flying on some days due to lack of available aircraft. A6-BLE should be delivered in the coming days.

 

Shame you couldn't have flown to DUS instead of FRA as DUS gets the 789 too!

 

The current EY J is great though, try for a window seat or middle middle seat (if the seat next to you will be empty).

bunya

bunya

04 Jun 2015

Total posts 2

Recently flew EY BNE to CDG on J. A340 into CDG was a bit tired and bed length a bit restricted compared to A330. Apart from that, experience was good but would never route through Abu Dhuabi again, airport is a complete dog, planes parked kilometres from the terminal, terminal size and facilities are woeful.  Also find Dubai terminal can be chaotic.  There is a lot be said for The calm of Singapore Changi.

Mrwitter

Mrwitter

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

So, Eagerly watching hoping that EY485 changes from the scheduled 773 to a 789 in time for my Sunday flight, and we might be in for a win - Seatguru have just changed the inbound flight to a 789, but still list the outbound as a 773. Any ideas what might be happening here? I'd love to get a double taste of the 787...


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