Etihad Airways has a new flagship jet in its fleet – the ‘Sustainability50’ Airbus A350. The A350 took to the skies for the first time, flying from Abu Dhabi to Paris on the 31st of March, kitted out with a slick new business class which, we reckon, will make that dreaded stopover you usually have to do when flying to Europe that little bit more worth bearing.
The A350 aircraft is home to Etihad’s latest cabin interior, which is inspired by Abu Dhabi and is both more efficient and sustainable in design than previous iterations (there’s no $27,000 ‘The Residence,’ for one).
Getting down to business, Etihad’s A350s have 44 Business Studios, each with sliding doors that provide a good sense of privacy (although it’s not total, with people walking past able to peer over and in).
Every new Etihad business class seat faces forward with direct aisle access – a big improvement on the older ‘forward-backwards’ design which came out in 2018 on Etihad’s Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s.
The seats are reminiscent of British Airways’ Club Suite business class, but are designed with Etihad’s classic colour palette and design flourishes.
The Business class seat has a width of over 20”, converts into a fully-flat bed of 79” in length, and has loads of storage.
It also boasts noise-cancelling headphones and an 18.5” TV. And let’s not forget the built-in wireless charging dock and Bluetooth headphone pairing capability.
Etihad business class guests can choose from a fancy à la carte menu, and guests on longer flights are treated to Etihad’s signature ‘dine anytime’ service.
There is no first-class in Etihad’s new flagship jet – and it’s easy to see why. These business class suites offer such privacy, and luxury, it really would be surplus to requirements.
Etihad says the new A350-1000s will be deployed on “a number of short to mid-range routes in Q2, including Mumbai and Delhi, before being introduced on ultra-long-haul operations to Chicago and New York from July.”
As for those of us Down Under, Executive Traveller reports: “A range of other destinations in Europe Asia and Australia are also the map, but will rely on deliveries of the next seven jets from Etihad’s initial firm order of 12.”
“Getting the A350 fleet to that even dozen will depend entirely on Etihad’s availability to fill its seats,” Executive Traveller adds.
There you do: something to look forward to.