Review: Etihad Airways' Airbus A380 Lobby lounge

By David Flynn, February 10 2016

Passengers on the upper deck of Etihad Airways' Airbus A380 don't need to feel confined to their business class seat or first class suite, thanks to a unique social space called The Lobby.

Located between the first and business class cabins, the concept and design of The Lobby was inspired by the Arabian concept of the Majlis, which is a room where guests to a home are met and entertained.

As a result, it's markedly different in character to the superjumbo bars of middle-eastern neighbours Emirates...

... and Qatar Airways.

For starters, the focal point of The Lobby is the passengers themselves rather than a bar.

There's seating for six passengers – three on either side of the semi-circular leather sofa, with a marquetry table in the middle.

This works well if the only people in The Lobby are yourself and a partner, colleague or friend; or if The Lobby is fully occupied and everyone's enjoying some chit-chat back and forth.

The layout of The Lobby actually encourages this. As a result, The Lobby offers the social qualities of a bar without looking like a bar.

And when it comes to looks, Etihad's designers were careful to include the dappled lighting pattern seen in first class for an added touch of elegance.

Wide armrests between each seat double as a place to stow your drink and snacks, with AC (and USB) power sockets built into a recess directly above.

One wall of The Lobby sports a 32 inch TV screen with live TV channels, which we're sure would make this the place to be during many UK and European football matches.

In addition to drinks you can enjoy a selection of light snacks and sweet treats and even order selected dishes from the standard business class inflight menu.

But The Lobby isn't just for mixing and mingling during your flight.

I noticed that upon boarding the plane, some business class passengers (obviously regulars on Etihad's A380 ) would drop their carry-on bag onto or above their seat and then make a beeline for The Lobby and settle in for a preflight drink or two, chatting with fellow travellers for the next 20 minutes until the economy passengers downstairs had completed boarding, the doors were closed and the flight was ready for departure.

It's a wonderfully civilised way to begin any journey.

David Flynn travelled as a guest of Etihad Airways

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David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Joshb

Joshb

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

Love the idea of pre-departure drinks in The Lobby as opposed to your designated seat, excellent service innovation

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 743

After having been wined and dinned in the Etihad airport lounge for a few hours don't you think that once onboad it's time to actually settle down in your Business, First or Residence for departure rather than more drinks in The Lobby. Emirates responsibly open theirs when inflight and the seat belt sign is turned off. I think thats a much more elegant way of doing things rather than all rushing back to the Bar. I think a pre departure drink should be had in your seat so that you can sip it at your leisure, before, during and after blastoff.

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 743

Wonderful review of Etihads central A380 Lobby Lounge.

All looks and sounds fantastic.

I'm a rusted on Emirates flyer, and still like the individual Business Class Lounge down the back, and the First Class Lounge up the front. Do we think the First Class passengers will resent the hoi polloi in Business Class eating and drinking their food and beverages. Emirates served different drinks in First and Business, looks like the snacks and booze will be going up label or two for Business on Etihad.

Just thought for two classes, that one location could become cramped, with only seating for 6, there would wanna be heaps of standing room.

Ben84

Ben84

Etihad

23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

Actually, the class distinction is maintained in the Lobby. If you're in First and you order an alcoholic beverage or coffee you get served with the nicer glasses or crockery. The alcohol distinction is also maintained. 

Peterozzy

Peterozzy

18 Jan 2016

Total posts 1

I just flew back from London on an Etihad flight with this set up. Didn't seem to get much use during the flight and no-one using it pre-flight. That was despite a reasonably long delay on the ground.

I had a drink in there which was a nice break from the seat. IT seemed to get used mostly by a young couple with twin boys .

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 743

Was there a bar tender there all the time?

Ben84

Ben84

Etihad

23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

I enjoyed using it to read the newspapers and have a coffee or two. For almost the entire time I used the space on 4 x 13 hour + journeys I was the only one in there.

It's not a social space like on Emirates and I quite liked that to some extent. It provides a nice break from the seat or apartment. 

ptcruiser

ptcruiser

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 29

I recently flew on the Etihad A380 upstairs and I have to say that the business class studio is so good that I didn't really think I'd need to leave it, however during a period when I wanted to stretch my legs and have a change of scenery the Lobby was the perfect space to do that, not a bar as such, but much like the space on the Qantas A380, it's another area to go to and have a cup of tea or bite to eat and really just to break up the monotomy of the journey. I think I was served by the waiter/steward from the Residence, and  you really appreciate the fact that you can leave your seat and experience the spaciousness of that wonderful airplane.

auspointer

auspointer

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 18

Hey David

Any chance of a trip report / review of travelling business on the Etihad A380?  There are loads of F reports on the web but next to nothing on business... Be great to hear what you think.

Cheers

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

It's on the list.


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