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Review: Etihad A380 Business Class Food

January 3, 2019

I’ve been able to fly Etihad Business Class a couple of times now, so this post is the amalgamation of a few flights all on the same route between London Heathrow and Etihad’s hub Abu Dhabi.

Right up front I’ll say that the Etihad Business Class experience is WAY above that of British Airways (the airline I fly with the most). They’ve removed it now, but at the time of these flights the product included chauffeur to and from Heathrow. The Abu Dhabi lounge is better than any of BAs, the onboard seat is leagues above the BA business class seat (it’s about the same as the BA first class seat), the food is a clear jump ahead of BA and I’d even say the service is significantly better too – being welcomed back by name each time and being asked to reconfirm if I’d like to be called by my first name or as Mr. JellyGoodFood.

The Lounge

The lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3 is actually nothing too amazing. Yes the service is great and the champagne free flowing, but it’s kinda very generic. There’s almost no design to speak of – walls and windows (of which there are no good views of the airport), nothing much to speak of. It’s quiet and relaxing but ultimately boring.

The lounge is directly opposite the gate that the A380 has been parked at each time I flew with Etihad. That meant having the wonderful experience of less than 10 seconds of walking between the lounge and boarding gate. Again, a really nice small touch that I haven’t experienced with other airlines.

Everyone I’ve used the lounge was for a morning flight. This meant champagne, orange juice, coffee and a breakfast buffet. For the prepared meal I’d mostly go for the eggs Benedict.

Onboard

When you board your pre-flight drink and snack are promptly offered. You have a while for the rest of the plane to board – the A380 is a beast! Even at this time of the morning I’m not (too) ashamed to opt for a gin and tonic! The gin served onboard is Caoruun – my favourite of them all – a small batch Scottish gin that technically should be served with apple instead of lemon or lime.

One of the things that really makes Etihad business class stand out compared to some others (cough, I’m looking at you BA, again) is that you can have whatever food from the menu you want, whenever you want to have it. Of course the crew will make a recommendation and that will ensure you can get something soon after takeoff if you’re hungry. But any other time, just call them over or tap your order into the inflight entertainment system, and your food or drink order will be with you in just a few minutes.

The Etihad A380 has an amazing on board bar. Sneaky pic of me here enjoying more space than in your average London bar!

This is situated in-between first class and business class. I’ve seen other people writing about how this space can become really busy at times during flights, but for us it was totally empty the whole time and we enjoyed what felt like exclusive use of a very premium experience in the air.

The wine selection on board is great. One thing I particularly like is the way it’s stored – kept at appropriate temperatures. This is the view from the onboard bar above.

Onboard Food

Breakfast for this flight was poached eggs with hollandaise, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast. And champagne. To be fair the toast for this meal wasn’t great – pretty hard like it had been baked in a very hot oven for a very long time instead of toasted. Nothing better to have with breakfast than champagne.

Another flights breakfast was Bacon and eggs. This was pretty good actually – better than it looks. Served with brioche and a tomato sauce.

In the back of all the meals are the famous Etihad muffins. Chocolate chip, warm all the way though just enough to make the chocolate soft. These are a real delight.

If I remember correctly this smoked salmon bagel was something I ordered at a totally random time because it was what I fancied. I think I’d slept for a while after a crazy week of work in India and awoke with a smoked fish craving! This was really really good – packed with dill – a herb that’s often missed out when serving smoked salmon.

Again, note the chocolate chip muffins in the background. I’m never saying no to one of those.

Watercress soup – this wouldn’t normally be something I’d order anywhere, but I wanted to see how strong the flavour was. Your taste buds change at altitude and I thought this would be a particularly challenging dish to make have a lot of flavour.

Stuffed chicken and white wine with green beans. Don’t remember a huge amount of this dish, but it wasn’t the best food I’ve had on Etihad.

Lemon meringue pie with desert wine. This was great, and really adds to the experience by being able to have that additional glass of wine with desert.

Cheese and biscuits with red wine.

All of the times I’ve flown with Etihad I’ve been connecting at Abu Dhabi for another onward flight. This has given me lounge access there. Now this is a proper lounge!

Summary

I thoroughly loved the Etihad business class product and experience. The staff I had experience with were always amazing and this is still the best business class I’ve flown on.

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