Etihad reveals A350 business class suites with sliding doors

Etihad Airways’ CEO talks up a ‘business plus’ approach at the pointy end of his new flagship Airbus A350 jets.

By David Flynn, November 15 2021
Etihad reveals A350 business class suites with sliding doors

Etihad Airways is pulling back the curtains on its new Airbus A350-1000 this week, revealing the business class cabin crowned by suites with sliding privacy doors.

However, rather than upgrading the business class seats of its Boeing 787s and now-retired Airbus A380s, Etihad's A350 - being showcased at the Dubai Air Show - sport a customised version of the popular Super Diamond seat from Collins Aerospace, a product most recently adopted by British Airways for its Club Suite class (shown below).

British Airways' Club Suite is also built on Collins' Super Diamond platform.
British Airways' Club Suite is also built on Collins' Super Diamond platform.

This includes sliding doors which turn each seat into a cosy cocoon, and which Etihad hopes will also help level the playing field against a raft of competitors ranging from Emirates and Qatar Airways to the likes of Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

Bespoke touches to Etihad's version of the seat include an eye-catching reading lamp similar to those seen on its Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Business Studio product, while the seats themselves are clad in a dusky brown leather, complemented by a white and gold pillow.

Etihad's Business Studio launched on the Airbus A380 and later appeared on the features on Boeing 777 and 787 jets.
Etihad's Business Studio launched on the Airbus A380 and later appeared on the features on Boeing 777 and 787 jets.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier expects to begin flying the Airbus A350s next year, with CEO Tony Douglas having previously described the seating and cabin as "absolutely incredible, as you would all expect from Etihad."

Etihad spruiks “Business Plus”

More to the point, or at least where the pointy end is concerned, Douglas talked up the prospects of what he calls “business plus” to bring a touch of luxe to the made-leaner airline.

"What you’ll see increasingly on Etihad’s fleet is what I would describe as ‘business plus’, and then an economy product," Douglas remarked earlier this year.

“I think we’ve probably seen (globally) that the trend has continued to see a higher-end business class, diluting the need for what would have been historically a clearly separate product between first and business."

“We’ve looked to simplify and build on the quality of the way in which our offer presents itself.”

The airline continues to eschew premium economy, although the A350 offers several rows of 'extra leg room economy' with 33-34" pitch, compared to 31-32" pitch in standard economy.

Etihad's first class Apartment suite features on just a handful of Boeing 787s.
Etihad's first class Apartment suite features on just a handful of Boeing 787s.

And while these first A350s lack first class, which appears on some Boeing 787s, Douglas has maintained "it's not the end of first class."

“We have a first class product on our 787s as well – not all of them. We have that (first class) scheduled into those marketplaces where pre-COVID, there was a market for selling first class tickets.”

Five A350-1000s were delivered to Etihad Airways across 2019- 2020, but have remained in storage until this week's Dubai Air Show 2021.

Also read: Singapore Airlines signs off on Boeing 777X first, business class

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

It is surprising that they are moving their J class upmarket but continuing to shun the Premium Economy market.  t doesn't sound like they are following the obvious growth in the PE segment.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 223

I agree, when done well, premium economy seems to make a lot of sense. Maybe Etihad just wants to maximise any upsell revenue from economy passengers going straight into business, but I would think that on many routes they would be competing with airlines which have premium economy as that good value 'in between' class like Emirates and SQ.

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 23

Hopefully they bring that to Melbourne and Sydney and offer it all try way over to the UK as they will continue to get my business. EY A350-1000 will probably be the best product to Europe. SQ A380 would be my second choice. 

EY A380 might be gone however this will just be as good. 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 653

With regard to a J class offering to LHR and the like, I don't think any airline beats QR. That said I'd always fly an EY A350 over a horrible QR 777 on an ultra long haul sector to LHR.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Does it have a bar in J-class ?

Jmb
Jmb

20 Sep 2019

Total posts 15

I am halfway SYD LHR and the SYD AUH leg was excellent in the business class of their Dreamliners. EY continues to be an excellent airline with amazing crew and both the First and Business Class Lounges in  AUH are as always outstanding. They continue to be my airline of choice followed by EK and while i have not flown Qatar, i beleive they are also an excellent airline. I dont think you can go wrong with any of these 3 airlines

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 176

Look, I always enjoyed EY. At the start, it was such a game-changer. Loved it. But, towards the last few years, it just wasn't as flash. EY has always been good at talking itself up (but, that's just the way the ME is - EK, EY & QR). 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 223

I still rate Etihad's A380 Apartments as the best first class suites, until SQ did its A380 refresh, and there's still a lot to be said for the old Etihad A380 first experience because the suites were still great, room to get up and move around, plus they had the on board chef etc. And the shower too. Will miss the EY A380s.


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