Most international routes were still suspended or reduced when I was in China last year. Fortunately Etihad had already resumed weekly flights from Shanghai and Guangzhou, which connects perfectly with my layover in Dubai. I redeemed 60,000 Aeroplan points for a business class ticket from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi.
Passenger volume is very low at Shanghai Pudong, despite it being one of the largest airports in China.
Etihad uses China Eastern’s No 77 First Class Lounge, which also welcomes American Platinum cardholders.
Etihad’s China routes are all operated by Boeing 787 at the moment, with the two-class setup. In business class, you’ll find the four staggered Business Studios in each row.
Forward-facing window seats are semi-enclosed thus more preferred, whereas the rear-facing ones are less private.
Forward-facing middle seats are quite intimate, as it’s very easy talking to each other.
Boeing 787 makes up the majority of Etihad’s current fleet. Business Studio also features on their Boeing 777 and Airbus 380 aircrafts. On Airbus 350 however, they’ve got the reverse herringbone seats.
I’m not sure about your preference, but I LOVE Etihad’s Business Studio! I always find angled seats a bit awkward no matter how big the room is, and it’s refreshing to see a straight seat instead.
The screen is fixed in front of you, so that you can enjoy the programs while take-off and landing. The tray is hidden on the side, and you can easily pull it out by a gentle tap. I love both designs.
There’s a small storage cabinet next to the seat.
The amenity bag is made by Acqua di Parma, and it looks pretty.
The IFE has six live channels. I watched Vengeance and really liked it.
I used to fly with Etihad once, in economy class, but that was many years ago. I was really impressed by their catering and still remember the fruit plate was very tasty. This is today’s menu:
The Arabic Mezze is good:
The spiced beef is really impressive! To be honest I’m not sure it’s a real Chinese dish, but the way of cooking and seasoning are truly authentic. The quality is great especially for plane food.
Dim sums are nice too.
Even the coffee is presented with a classy tray and cutlery.
The seat in flat mode:
The seat is not very wide, and there’s no arm support. I’m more on the slim end but still find it slightly uncomfortable, which could be a concern.
My only major complaint is about their wifi packages. The whole-flight package (24 hours) costs $30, which is a bit steep, but more importantly limited to 350MB data only. Seriously what can 350MB of data do? Remember that an image nowadays could easily be a few megabytes in size.
Invitation for fast track immigration is handed out before landing. There is an arrival lounge for business class passengers at the arrival hall – if you are on a revenue ticket, you can wait here until your complimentary chauffeur service is ready.
I am genuinely impressed by Etihad’s Business Studio. They could have been more generous on wifi but otherwise it’s one of the best business class products I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Etihad’s First Apartments is also set to return to the sky soon, and I can’t wait to try it out!