Etihad's new economy class seats for Airbus A380, Boeing 787

By Chris Chamberlin, May 4 2014
Etihad's new economy class seats for Airbus A380, Boeing 787

Etihad Airways' new economy seats for the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 won't enjoy the attention being lavished on the new first class suites and business class seats, but more passengers will experience these 'back of the bus' benches than their premium siblings.

So what's in store for Etihad flyers on a budget?

Etihad's new international Economy Smart Seats come with a 'fixed wing' headrest, touted as offering greater comfort and privacy.

Upholstered in locally-sourced camel leather, the new headrest is designed to provide a firm surface for guests to lean on while sleeping.

On the A380, the economy seats will be nearly 19 inches wide and arranged in a 3-4-3 fashion with a 31-32 inch pitch.

The Boeing 787 will be a slightly tighter squeeze at just 17.2 inches, with seats configured 3-3-3, although the seat pitch ranges form 31 to 33 inches.

Each Economy Smart Seat reclines 6 inches and has adjustable lumbar support.

There's a fleece blanket and pillow on every seat, along with convenient entertainment and a connectivity hub in the seatback in front, with all services at easy reach.

Etihad says the 11.1 inch touchscreen monitors will serve up more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment through noise-cancelling headsets – a creature comfort usually reserved for the pointy end of the plane.

Compare this to Etihad's current economy seats (below) and you can see there's quite a difference...

Continuing from its existing economy offering is a selection of three main courses at meal times, along with a café service featuring hot chocolates and cappuccinos.

In addition, guests will benefit from the airline’s dedicated family travel program, including the popular Flying Nanny service on board long-haul flights.

Identified by bright orange aprons, each Flying Nanny has been trained by the world renowned Norland College and is on board to provide a ‘helping hand’ to families and unaccompanied minors.

For the airline’s Muslim guests, Etihad has developed prayer areas which can be curtained off for privacy and are equipped with a real-time electronic Qibla-finder showing the exact direction of Mecca based on the aircraft’s geographical position.

The new international economy seats will first appear on Etihad's Airbus A380 superjumbos and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, but expect to also see them on future Airbus and Boeing aircraft joining the fleet such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X.

Australian Business Traveller is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Cappuccinos in Y interesting...I wonder how the cabin crew will manage the service for that...

I sincerely hope its not those Nescafe instant cappuccinos *shudder*

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