Etihad unveils new seats

4 May 2014 by Tom Otley

Etihad Airways has unveiled the seating for its forthcoming A380 and B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

On the A380, the upper deck is all-premium, with 70 business class seats and nine first "apartments" as well as a three-room “residence”.

Between the two cabins is a lobby with a lounge and bar area with leather sofas, marquetry table, and a large-screen television for both first and business class passengers.

Etihad First Class A380

First class 'seats' come in two types — on the A380 they are termed as first "apartments", on the B787 they are first "suites". To see a seat map, click here.

Six of the nine apartments on the A380 have connecting doors for couples. There is also a three-room suite called the "residence" with an ensuite bathroom and a dedicated butler trained by the Savoy Academy.

Etihad First Class A380

Each apartment has a reclining lounge chair and an ottoman which converts to become a separate 80.5in-long fully-flat bed. Some 3.62 sqm in size, each offers 74 per cent more space than Etihad's existing First suite.

For the first class product, the pricing was quoted in the press conference as $20,000 US dollar for a round trip from Abu Dhabi to London.

Etihad CEO James Hogan said this was priced against the private jet which would cost $100,000-$160,000 on the same route.

He said: "The product is far superior to a private jet. We have 50 per cent load factor in first year-round, and in the peak season we are full, so we are confident that there is a market there not only for the residence but also the apartments."

Hogan also said that when designing the first class product, Etihad had started with the benchmark of Singapore Airlines, then considered where carriers such as Singapore and Emirates would take their product offering over the next period, and had sought to ensure that the new Etihad seats would surpass even that.

On both the A380 and the B787, Etihad claims its new business class will have 20 per cent more personal space than the its current business class seat. On the A380, 70 business seats will be located on the upper deck, while the B787 will have 28 business seats.

On both aircraft, the forward and backward facing business class seats will be configured 1-2-1 and will have aisle access. The seat converts into a fully-flat bed that is 22in wide and, when combined with a separate ottomon, is 80.5in-long with a 79in seat pitch.

The space around the seat has been increased, allowing for a laptop to be placed on the side table, for instance, while a meal is served on the main table.

As reported in March (see news, March 4), Etihad will debut the A380 on its Abu Dhabi to London route and then to New York, Sydney and Melbourne. The Heathrow flights start on December 27.

Etihad First Class A380 Residence

On the B787-9 there will be eight first class suites, 28 business studios and 199 economy smart seats.

Etihad is also due to receive its first Boeing 787-9 in the fourth quarter of this year. The 40 B787-9s that Etihad has on order will come in two-class and three-class configurations.

It has an additional 30 B787-10s on Boeing's books, with the first scheduled to arrive in 2018.

Etihad's new economy "smart" seat has a ergonomic fixed-wing headrest, a lumbar support feature, allowing guests to adjust their seat comfort, and an 11 inch personal monitor screen, with all the IFE peripherals conveniently set into the seatback in front.

The latest Panasonic eX3 personal entertainment system, of which Etihad Airways is a launch customer, is installed across all cabins

Tom Otley

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