First flight in business class with Etihad – and first flight of any kind with this airline – flown in June 2012.
It's true to say that this very new airline (less than 10 years old) doesn't do things by halves when it comes to keeping its guests happy.
You get special service from the check-in desk to the lounge, meaning passport control and security checks are very rapid.
The lounge used by Etihad at the time was the American Airline's one, which was good but no more than that.
Priority boarding via a dedicated lane – which is commendable – then the welcome into the cabin, where the impression was one of WoW! The cabin on-board the Airbus A340 looked brand new: sober colours, spacious and airy cabin (no overhead lockers above the middle seats), 1-2-1 layout, seats that transform into flat beds, widescreen IFE available throughout the flight and efficient soundproofing. The music played as you board is also very pleasant and relaxing.
You've barely settled into your seat when a hostess introduces herself, asking what you'd like to drink after take-off at the same time.
All service is provided on request (what you want, when you want) and after the tablecloth and first food tray have been brought, the essentials (cutlery, salt, pepper, bread, butter, etc.) included, courses are served one at a time.
The amenity kits contain a pen (which is unusual, it has to be said) and a very high quality sleeping mask (I take my Etihad one with me on all my flights).
As it was a night flight, the hostess offered to take the order for breakfast to allow for sleeping right up to the last second.
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