What it’s like to fly Sydney to Abu Dhabi with an Etihad Business Class flight review plus a peek into Eithad First Class.

As you twist and turn trying to find the sweet spot, it’s easy to think of airline seats as instruments of torture.

So nothing could have surprised me more than to find an airline seat I like so much I want to take it home.

Looks like Nicole Kidman, who is the face for Etihad’s Flying Reimagined brand campaign and featured often the ads shown while I was flying, enjoyed it too!

Thank you, Etihad for combining your business class seats with a massage chair. Oh, the joy of those little pulsing vibrations during a long haul flight.   It’s a long way from a ‘Harry met Sally’ moment, but it certainly takes the edge of 14 hours in a plane.


Nicole Kidman likes her Etihad Airline flat bed

There much more to like about Etihad’s Business Class service. Even though there are plenty of people around, the space is designed to feel very personal, with direct aisle access and lots of storage space for your flying essentials. The turndown service includes a mattress and pajamas with slippers in a bag.

There’s a colourful little bag full of nifty things to make the flight more comfortable including eye shades, ear plugs and some rather nice cosmetics.  Also included is a Lux travel guide with a different destination for each journey leg.

If you’ve always wondered, like I have, what it’s like to be on the other side of the First Class curtain, here’s a little tour of what your seat could be like.


I also had a chat to the chef who is ‘on demand’ for First Class passengers so they can have their favourite food.  Even though chef Emilio is Spanish, don’t ask him for paella. He can cook it but the restrictions of cooking on a flight mean he can’t get quite enough heat for a perfect result.

In business class you can dine anytime, working your way through the large range of options.  Think pulled barbecue beef sandwiches, carrot and coriander soup or even ice cream. For the sweet tooths, there’s Arabic baklava or cookies and madeleines.This works very well if you are not ready to eat at set times, but it’s wise to choose your breakfast at the beginning other wise they may run out of the most popular choices.

The menu is inspired by the many destinations to which Etihad flies.  I was tempted by the Arabic mezzo which was a combo of middle eastern hot and cold appetizers but it’s the trout confit that won the day. It came with grated daikon, pickled cucumber and tomato. There was lovely attention to detail with the bi-colored soft, warm bread roll that came with a generous pat of butter.

Etihad Business Class lunch - Orecchiette pasta with fresh cherry tomato ragout and melted bocconcini char grilled asparagus.
Etihad Business Class lunch - Orecchiette pasta with fresh cherry tomato ragout and melted bocconcini char grilled asparagus.
Etihad's Banoffee pie.


When the time came for a little shut eye, it was all too easy to hit the buttons and push out the chair till it became a flatbed.


Etihad's Business Class offers plenty of room.

What didn’t I like about flying Business Class with Etihad? My only suggestion would be that they change the colour of the pajamas. Brown and beige are so not my colours!

Which planes did I fly on?  Embraer Emb E90, Boeing 777-300 ER, Airbus A332 and A333.

More about Etihad’s Business Class service.

Here are some tips from seasoned travel writers on what to wear on your next flight.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK received complimentary Business Class upgrades from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and onward to Frankfurt.  Also from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane.

*The television commercial with Nicole Kidman was shot on an Airbus A380.