Etihad upgrades business and first class dining, sleep service

By Chris Chamberlin, December 5 2014

Etihad's premium passengers now enjoy improved inflight meals and an upgraded sleep service in both business and first class as the airline continues to 'reinvent' its inflight experience to be more closely aligned to a boutique hotel than a metal tube in the sky.

Up the very front in Diamond First Class, the service takes on elements of a five-star hotel with a “silver-tray reception service" featuring a personalised welcome letter from the Cabin Service Manager, a fragrant hot towel, traditional Arabic dates and a beverage of your choosing.

Once you're in the air, canapés, a pre-dessert course and more are served by your personal chef on Japanese-made Nikko bone chinaware, accompanied by Studio William ‘Royal Oak’ cutlery and stemmed Lucaris crystal wine glasses (not pictured).

That's followed by a ‘café gourmand’ arrangement of coffee or tea aside mini cookies, macarons, cakes and pastries, and a signature XO Cognac in new glasses by Norman of Copenhagen.

Inspired by the colour palette of Etihad's new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner interiors, new cabin dressings, a luxurious throw and a matching cushion now appear across the Etihad fleet, with other small touches such as an evening 'sweet dreams' card when the crew make the bed.

Pearl Business Class gets a noticeable upgrade on longer flights – including those to and from Australia – thanks to a new mattress service with a plush doona and a full-size pillow for a great night's sleep, plus loungewear and slippers to match.

The airline's popular ‘dine anytime’ option has also been expanded to include an all-day menu, presented with on a contemporary table setting using new chinaware, cutlery and stemmed wine classes (not pictured)...

... along with a hammered metal side dish inspired by the airline’s Facets of Abu Dhabi livery found on its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner:

Coral Economy passengers aren’t forgotten, with new menu cards, tableware and meal trays, a new convertible pillow that can be used traditionally or as a shaped neck pillow, a cotton drawstring amenity kit and a reversible eye-mask with ‘do not disturb’ and ‘wake me for meals’ printed on either side:

There’s also a ‘cabin tidy bag’ that houses the blanket at each seat, which can then be used for your shoes or other goodies throughout the flight to reduce clutter and improve your personal space.

The on-board improvements follow the recent opening of a premium Etihad Arrivals Lounge in Abu Dhabi and come just weeks before the debut of The Residence – a three-room suite to rival the private jet experience on the airline's new A380 fleet.

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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 with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

Fantastic, going to Europe in busines next year, looking forward to the changes!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Etihad certainly are pushing the standard of air travel ahead (particularly in the premium classes). What's great is that fares are still decent too (although as the new A380 and 787 cabins fill the sky, it may not last that long). Nice one.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

29 Dec 2012

Total posts 22

This is enough to make me give Etihad another shot. Let's hope the FA service standards also improve!

I like how Etihad has been able to incorporate elements of its Middle Eastern vibe without going all Yo Mama! on their decor.

VA Platinum

26 Mar 2014

Total posts 117

I know airline blankets are rarely cleaned as it is, but not sure how much I like the idea of people sticking their filthy shoes and god knows what else into re-useable bags (if they are re-usable) that will then be repacked with blankets for the next flight!

Other than that little thought the changes look amazing!

30 May 2011

Total posts 6

Love the new service and products - very elegant! The "hammered metal side dish" in business class is actually a ceramic item, well done Etihad.

It's indeed metal – it can be seen in the picture, and is referred to by the airline as "a hammered metal side dish".

30 May 2011

Total posts 6

Hi Chris, you will have to trust me that both the side plate and the tray under bakery basket/cruet set are fine china items with a unique "metallic" surface finish. Even the cruet set is fine china with metallic finish. Etihad should be commended for specifying designs beyond conventional product manufacturing in this upgrade. And we can all feel proud because there is an aussie company behind this innovative J class chinaware :-)

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

>Coral Economy passengers aren’t forgotten, with new menu cards, tableware and meal trays,

Woohoo! Just what I've always wanted. Those new menu cards will surely make a 24-hour ride in a ten-abreast 777 much more bearable!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1137

Have J meals always been served on trays? Or is it being introduced with this revamp?


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