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Etihad's new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft come with a new breed of business class – the 'Business Studio', which gives discerning travellers more privacy, personal space and comfort at 35,000 feet.
Australian Business Traveller stepped aboard both aircraft to experience the Business Studio before it debuts on flights to Europe, and from June 2015, to both Sydney and Brisbane as well.
At first glance, Etihad's new business class ticks all of the boxes – with direct aisle access from every seat and fully-flat beds for a good night's sleep.
But that's just the beginning.
Couples and colleagues travelling together can choose the centre pair of seats in alternating rows for easy chit-chat...
... but if you wind up here and are flying solo, you can raise a motorised privacy divider to keep to yourself.
Otherwise, the centre pairs of seats that are nearest the aisle have a privacy wall already built-in.
With a 1-2-1 layout across the cabin on both aircraft types, the window seats are even more secluded.
An additional privacy panel appears in many – but not all – of the window and centre seats to obscure your face from passengers passing by.
Rather than sitting eyes-front like you would on any ordinary flight, many of the studios face towards the rear of the aircraft...
... so if you're after something a little 'different' on your first Business Studio flight, select a backward-facing seat!
All business class passengers get a nook for storing a water bottle and their reading material...
... plus a side table for your laptop, smartphone and other paraphernalia...
... a coat hook for your jacket (although the crew offer to hang them during the flight)...
... and plenty of storage with room beneath the ottoman for your shoes, plus a generous top-loading cupboard for headphones, iPads, Kindles and the like.
Along with a standard reading lamp and mood lighting, there's an elegant side lamp to illuminate the studio with various dimmer settings.
When it's time to wind down for the day, the seat transforms into a fully-flat bed of up to 2.04 metres – although the end of the suite still curves in on one side in a similar fashion to Etihad's existing business class seat.
Business class passengers on flights of 10 hours or more also receive complimentary loungewear and slippers, plus a mattress to make the seat more bed-like.
Travellers of the Muslim faith can also find a Prayer Mat at the emergency exit, with a screen above the crew seat displaying the aircraft's location and the current direction towards Mecca.
Want to see more of Etihad's new Dreamliner? Here's a 2.5-minute virtual walk-through:
Exclusively on the Airbus A380 is The Lobby lounge and bar, accessible to business and first class passengers and found in between the two cabins.
The armrests fold down to reveal AC and USB power ports – which you'll also find in every Business Studio – plus headphone connections for listening to radio channels.
Behind the social area is a red wine cellar, a selection of spirits...
... and chilled bottles of white wine.
If you'd rather stand, there's plenty of bench space on which to rest your cold drink or Arabic tea, and to check the progress of the flight.
Etihad's Business Studios make their debut on December 27 to London Heathrow on the Airbus A380 and on February 1 to Dusseldorf on the Boeing 787 before touching down in Sydney and Brisbane from June 1 2015.
- Sneak peek: The Residence by Etihad private A380 VIP suite
- Up close with Etihad's new Airbus A380 first class apartments
- Photo tour: Etihad's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner first class suites
- Etihad reveals striking new uniforms
Chris Chamberlin is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.
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