Etihad Airways A330-300 Pearl Business

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  • Anonymous


    I recently travelled FRA/AUH/BKK/AUH/BRU in C.

    Boarding – handled very well on the FRA/AUH and AUH/BKK sectors. Boarding started nice and early and the flight was ready to depart well before the scheduled time. At BKK there was the usual incompetent ground staff (no matter which airline, I always find the ground staff at BKK to be hopeless). The queue to have boarding cards checked before entering the holding lounge went up all the way up the ramp to the upper level, and this was after boarding had actually started. Turns out there was only one person checking boarding cards and no premium line at all. On the AUH/BRU sector the flight left from Gate 6. What a horrible area – it really detracts from the quality EY experience.

    Seat – this is where EY falls behind much of the competition. On 3 of the 4 sectors I, thankfully, got the “old style” new seats. On the FRA/AUH sector on a 333 I had the new seats, which I thought were positively dangerous. There is a huge hinge for the tray table sticking out precisely at knee level and within a few centimetres of my knee. Any sudden bump of turbulence and I was in danger of smashing my kneecap. Whoever at EY approved this design should be transferred to honey wagon duties.

    The tray tables on the older style seats were much better in that there were no exposed hinges and they could be left open above the footrest area, allowing easy access to the seat. This is all the more important given the total lack of storage space. Do the seat designers never fly themselves? I always use an Ipad and my own noise cancelling headphones. The only place these could be stored was on the footrest. Drinks glasses had to be placed on the open tray table as the glass tray in the armrest was too small and invited knocking over of the glass with the slightest movement.

    The Emirates C class seat on the A380 is basically the same as the EY seat (in terms of style and layout) yet EK can manage to provide plenty of storage and shelf space. EY could also look at the new LX business class seat to see how much better the seats can be on A330s and A340s.

    Cabin crew – this is where EY shine. On each sector the crew were, without exception, friendly, helpful and efficient. On 3 of the 4 sectors, business class was completely full but this did not affect the service in any way, as it can often do on other airlines.

    My only slightly negative observation on the crew is that the dine anytime system tends to make the crew more reactive rather than proactive as it is up to the passenger to request what he or she wants and when. Also, without the structure of set meal services, there is constant coming and going from the galley with the curtains being constantly drawn open with the result that bright light floods the darkened cabin. Also it means that the cabin crew are walking up and down the aisles for a substantial proportion of the flight, potentially disturbing those who are trying to sleep.

    My comments in the previous paragraph are simply observations on how the dining system can cause unwanted problems. My experience was that the crews did their very best to minimise the disturbance to other passengers.

    Food and drink – I found the food to be of a high quality and the portions were a reasonable size. I do miss having a cheese and dessert trolley as whether or not I have anything after the main course often depends on what looks good on the trolley.

    The wine choices were of a high standard but the spirit selection was somewhat basic. At least EY use decent size glasses to serve drinks in unlike the thimbles TG uses.

    Summary – overall an excellent airline with a great soft product. However, the hard product is too far behind the competition. If it weren’t for the dreadful (and potentially dangerous) seats and lack of storage, I would happily transfer most of my flights to the Gulf, Asia and Australia to EY. As it is, I may use EY again if the price is right but, unfortunately, it will be far from my first choice.

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