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Etihad Business is easily the worst international C I've ever flown

Etihad Business is easily the worst international C I've ever flown

Old Apr 11, 17, 6:56 am
  #1  
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Etihad Business is easily the worst international C I've ever flown

I recently flew 6 legs on Etihad in C on a pretty long trip that my wife and I took that took us from NYC>CAI>HKT>CAI>NYC (thankfully the longest segments were on Qatar and Turkish in C with only the AUH.CAI, and CAI>HKT and back on EY) and to say that I was underwhelmed and disappointed with Etihad's product and service in business class is an understatement.

I'll start by mentioning that overall what makes a good business class experience for me is firstly, the comfort of the seat as it relates to my ability to either sleep or be productive, and secondly the service.

Let's start with reviewing the product. I flew on an A320 on the CAI>AUH segments and the A330 from AUH>HKT. The A320 was fine overall, nothing special, but not bad either. Perfectly decent for a relatively short flight. The A330 however was really, really bad. I'll start by mentioning that the seats are extremely uncomfortable. I'm 6'1, and sleeping was impossible as they are designed for shorter people. The only way sleep would even be possible would be to have an aisle seat and to assume a fetus position (with my knees obstructing the aisle). Not only is sleeping out of the question, but the chair is quite uncomfortable in a sitting position as well. It's actually a lot worse than the A320 business seat for sitting or partially reclining.

At this point EY is already a big loser in my book, but I would have been lucky if this were all I had to complain about. I'll give the A320 a pass (and chalk it up to CAI being a wild-west type airport) even though there were some issues there during checkin and boarding and the lounge in CAI is also terrible, and focus on the CAI>HKT legs.
1- There are no amenity kits. Yes, on a 6-7 hour business class flight on Etihad, we didn't receive amenity kits. Instead, when they dimmed the lights the flight attendants went around offering up eye masks for sleeping, and you could ask them for a toothbrush as well (although these weren't offered).
Let's contrast this to Qatar, who not only offered amenity kits on my NYC>Doha flight, but on a Doha>AUH as well. Yes, Qatar gave us amenity kits on a 1 hour flint, and Etihad didn't give us any on on a 7 hour flight.
2- On my return from HKT I didn't have my laptop because the checkin agent(manager) forced me to check my laptop and camera. The checkin agent had already checked our bag through and printed our bonding passes when her obnoxious manager jumped in and started with some nonsense about checking electronics. I told her calmly that we will gate check it in Istanbul. Her response was that's impossible, and we have to do it now. I calmly explained that we will pass through additional security in IST, that I need my laptop to be productive, and that it really isn't EY's concern as they aren't flying me to the US, TK is. She started yelling that she won't let us check our other bag if we don't check our electronics. I told her that this is no way to treat C-class pax, and at this point even one of her co-workers explained to her that I can check the electronics later. She wouldn't budge however, and we were forced to check our electronics. Once this became apparent I asked about their safe handling to which her reply was "you're responsible, and that we shouldn't check electronics...". This was particularly annoying not only because of her attitude, but also due to TK's policy of gate checking electronics, meticulously bubble wrapping each one and carrying them in their own hard case luggages to ensure safe transport. EY on the other hand didn't even put a "fragile" tag on the bag until I insisted on it.
3- Since I didn't have my laptop and couldn't sleep I used the IFE for the entire HKT>AUH flight. I will say that it's quite bad compared to other carriers. There are excessively long commercials and ads, the headphones were much worse than what other carriers give you in C, and even though we had selected english and no subtitled most films or shows still had arabic subtitled.
4-6 These are more minor gripes, but nonetheless important to mention. The EY C lounges are nothing special. I assumed the lounges in AUH would be quite nice, but instead they were below average (and didn't even serve food at all hours). We originally wanted to do a stop-over in AUH, but my wife is a Green Card holder with Ukrainian citizenship. This led to a fiasco with EY's visa service asking for follow up documents 3 times (with us providing everything asked for each time) before we just gave up on the idea and scratched it (to the tune of a $400 loss in changing the itinerary, non refundable hotels, etc). Finally, the main food choices were limited, and nothing was of note. The only saving grace here was the anytime snacks and their wine list (which was quite good).

Overall this was the worst C experience I've ever had. On the short flight EY only felt marginally better than the extremely weak C experiences you'd have on an intra-europe LH flight, much below your average TK short haul or our QR Doha-AUH flight. As for the long haul, well that was an absolute disaster. At least for the short haul flight we weren't expecting much, but the long haul literally competes with the old UA mileage runs from ORD>HNL in C/F where the sears were really bad recliners and there was no IFE other than the overhead monitors which were playing cartoons for the 10 hour flight. At least UA flight attendants address you by name though (as do TK), whereas EY C class is completely impersonal and offers what is easily the worst lie-flat seat I've ever experienced coupled with service that would be considered bad in Economy Plus on most airlines.
I'm honestly left wondering why so many people rave about EY. Is it just their First Class that's decent? Or is EY paying a lot of money to various publications for positive reviews? Whatever it may be, I can confidently say that I have no intention of ever flying EY again.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 7:08 am
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I suspect that some of your laptop issues resulted from confusion about the new rules.
But as for Etihad service - I've only flown it once (AUH/JFK) and will never do it again. To call the service in J poor is a misnomer. It was simply non-existent, once the first meal was served. A 14 hour flight and not one FA even made eye contact with me after the first service. Maybe I had a bad crew but, with so many better options, I'm not going to roll the dice again.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:05 am
  #3  
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Sad to hear. You flew two of Etihad's worst J products, this doesn't make it ok, but the seats on those two planes are a lot worse than the A380 and even the 777s for that matter.

What makes EY better than QR in my eyes, even if I get one of their bad planes?
- AUH is smaller and more efficient than DOH.
- AUH is close to Dubai, a world city, which Doha isn't yet.
- Chauffer service.

QR have some great seats and food, and to this end they are undoubtedly better than Etihad, I'm not so sure Turkish is as good as Etihad but you may have had a different experience to me.

As a point of comparison the EY 380 J seat is much more comfortable than the EK J seat to me. I also prefer the decor and the food.

Compare either to BA and BA's signature service and you will know what I'm talking about.

I've had my share of issues with Etihad, from surly service in F, to an unnanouced aircraft change (787 to 777 from SIN), to damaging my suitcase and not responding.... I still rank them higher than any other airline, I'm based in London so mostly fly the 380 and that's probably why. When I go onwards from Abu Dhabi on a 340/777 I inevitably wonder why I didn't choose another airline, then I look back to my 380 flight and feel ok about it.
So in a nutshell, when they're good there the best, when they're bad I think they're ok but in your experience very bad (perhaps amplified because you're tall and I'm not).
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by akalra1187 View Post
but the seats on those two planes are a lot worse than the A380 and even the 777s for that matter
The A330 and B777 have identical seats.

I find the seat on the A320 very uncomfortable, yet the OP preferred this to the one on the A330, so each to their own.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 9:01 am
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Originally Posted by Speedbird676 View Post
The A330 and B777 have identical seats.

I find the seat on the A320 very uncomfortable, yet the OP preferred this to the one on the A330, so each to their own.
Not exactly, although some 777s do have the same seats, these are the two variants:

https://www.businesstraveller.com/fi...T-Business.gif

And

https://traveluxblog.files.wordpress...5/02/seats.jpg

Links quoted from your own post on another thread...

This, I believe is the short haul J seat (A320)

http://i2.wp.com/www.pointsmd.com/wp...1059810135.jpg

Last edited by akalra1187; Apr 11, 17 at 9:10 am
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Old Apr 11, 17, 9:31 am
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Well, I'm taller than the OP, have about 40-60 legs on EY a year and have no problems to sleep on every single flight. I also get an amenity kit on every single flight.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by akalra1187 View Post
Sad to hear. You flew two of Etihad's worst J products, this doesn't make it ok, but the seats on those two planes are a lot worse than the A380 and even the 777s for that matter.

What makes EY better than QR in my eyes, even if I get one of their bad planes?
- AUH is smaller and more efficient than DOH.
- AUH is close to Dubai, a world city, which Doha isn't yet.
- Chauffer service.

QR have some great seats and food, and to this end they are undoubtedly better than Etihad, I'm not so sure Turkish is as good as Etihad but you may have had a different experience to me.

As a point of comparison the EY 380 J seat is much more comfortable than the EK J seat to me. I also prefer the decor and the food.

Compare either to BA and BA's signature service and you will know what I'm talking about.

I've had my share of issues with Etihad, from surly service in F, to an unnanouced aircraft change (787 to 777 from SIN), to damaging my suitcase and not responding.... I still rank them higher than any other airline, I'm based in London so mostly fly the 380 and that's probably why. When I go onwards from Abu Dhabi on a 340/777 I inevitably wonder why I didn't choose another airline, then I look back to my 380 flight and feel ok about it.
So in a nutshell, when they're good there the best, when they're bad I think they're ok but in your experience very bad (perhaps amplified because you're tall and I'm not).
It's certainly possible that the plane/seat will make a difference, but almost everything that could of wrong on EY went wrong, so I'm just past a point of giving them the benefit of the doubt.
I will note however that I've flown a lot of airlines in business, and new planes don't always mean a good experience for me. For example my QR flight was on the A350 and while the plane was fantastic and I definitely noticed the extra humidity I can't say I loved the seat or the food. The plane itself coupled with the very good service was what impressed me most even though they had above average food and a good seat. Another example of a new plane that I really disliked in C is LH's a380. I flew it twice after it had just launched and it was really bad. They had way too big of a C cabin, bad service, a really dissappointing seat that I couldn't sleep in, and even ran out of food. The F on that plane is fantastic, but in C I felt as though I was in Y. The cabin was just way too crowded and the hard product was very dissappointing.

The flip side is something like TK C. I fly TK a couple times a year, almost always between NYC>OTP, and it's always a great experience. I've never had a bad crew on TK (even though I've heard about it), and quite like the 777 C seat. Not all seats have direct aisle access, but as mentioned I always get good service on TK, the lounge in IST is great (even offering suites if you have a 4-7 hour connection), and I quite like the seat. It's very comfortable for working on my laptop and I can even get a good nights sleep on it (even though it's not a perfect 180 degree recline). On the IST>JFK flight I had dinner, took and ambient and slept for approx 8 hours. To top things off the crew didn't even jump all over us to wake us up until only 30 minutes before landing (while most airlines will wake you up 1 hour out). TK also has what I would consider the best short haul C in europe. Not good enough to go way out of my way for it, but for pretty much any city that I can't fly direct into I'd chose TK (even something like NYC>PRG via IST over a shorter connection in western europe). If there's any knock on TK it's just their wine list which is always subpar.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by akalra1187 View Post
You flew two of Etihad's worst J products, this doesn't make it ok, but the seats on those two planes are a lot worse than the A380 and even the 777s for that matter.
All A330s (333 and 332) are fitted with the 2nd gen fully flat seats, whereas 2-class 77W are fitted with the 1st gen fully flat seats. So the OP actually flew equal or better seats on the A330 than those fitted on 77W.
Originally Posted by Speedbird676 View Post
The A330 and B777 have identical seats.
In my experience, the current seat situation is as follows:

A320: Recliners
A330-200 and A330-300: Always 2nd generation beds
A340-600: Mixture of 1st and 2nd generation beds
B777-200LR: Always 2nd generation beds
B777-300ER: 2nd generation beds in 3-class configs, 1st generation beds in 2-class configs
B787-9: Always Business Studio
A380: Always Business Studio
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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by kmzandrew View Post
I recently flew 6 legs on Etihad in C on a pretty long trip that my wife and I took that took us from NYC>CAI>HKT>CAI>NYC (thankfully the longest segments were on Qatar and Turkish in C with only the AUH.CAI, and CAI>HKT and back on EY) and to say that I was underwhelmed and disappointed with Etihad's product and service in business class is an understatement.
If the seat was the biggest gripe, then make sure you avoid the other airlines which have chosen to adopt the same seat (AZ, OZ, NH, GA, TG, VN, and others) or a similar seat design (NH, EK). For what it's worth, plenty of people like the seat for the direct aisle access and privacy in non-aisle seats, although I'm quite indifferent.

The rest of your complaints sound thoroughly frustrating, and the cumulative effect of small annoyances are often greater than the sum of its parts, but I haven't seen anything in your post (other than the seat, which is very much a personal thing, and staff nightmares, which can and does happen on every airline) which sounds like the "worst international C". The majority of AF's fleet still has angled flat seats in J, for context.

Last edited by stargold; Apr 11, 17 at 10:33 am
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Old Apr 11, 17, 11:45 am
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The seat is rarely the problem.

However, it is always the minimally-staffed J cabin crew running around in a scatter-gun panic trying to deliver "dine-on-demand" without sufficient resources that proves the downfall. They are stretched beyond thier capacity and borderline incompetent...

Last edited by Work-Shy; Sep 3, 17 at 1:05 am Reason: Spelling
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Old Apr 11, 17, 12:14 pm
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Having flown Etihad long-haul (US-AUH and back) on two occasions, I agree the major problem is the service- or lack of it. Once the first meal is done, the crew disappear. Using the call button produces a prompt but unfriendly response with non-verbal cues to discourage further use. The seat was fine, probably better than some of the other long-hauls I have flown recently.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Work-Shy View Post
The seat is rarely the problem.

However, it is always the minimally-staffed J cabin crew running around in a scatter-gun panic trying to deliver "dine-on-demand" without sufficient recources that proves the downfall. They are stretched beyond thier capacity and borderline incompetent...
I suppose it is inconsistency, good or bad that sets Etihad apart. Everyone seems to have different issues.

I've never seen the crew overworked in EY J, especially not due to people dining at different times. I've dined with the majority and also at totally different times, and the problem has (luckily) never been logistical, I've only experienced an attitude problem, and while saying that in general it is less prevalent than on Emirates.

The lack of amenity kit which the OP comments on seems to be a new implementation, and personally while I never have much need for the kit, if other airlines are offering it, it will bug me that EY don't.

The seat can be a factor as can several other things. Personally, if you compare Business Studio (787/380) with a decent crew (does't have to be exemplary) with EK, BA, or many other airlines, EY is going to impress you. I'd even go so far as to say if you compare it to CX (food has become very average and EY colour scheme is more aesthetically pleasing), SQ (the seat may be wide but its a very awkward angle to sleep at on the 777, and the 380 seats look really worn out, also the food is a bit monotonous if you fly SQ a fair bit. Again the colour scheme as well, the 777 purple colour scheme on the to me looks garish next to EY's gold and beige on the 380/777.)

Couple a Business Studio seat with chauffeurs at every point, visit to the arrivals lounge with free wet shave, a free Abu Dhabi stopover including breakfast at a 5* hotel, reasonably good value millage program and tier benefits, and a semi decent crew, and I can bet the OP would have a different opinion of Etihad Business class.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by akalra1187 View Post
I suppose it is inconsistency, good or bad that sets Etihad apart. Everyone seems to have different issues...../.....

Couple a Business Studio seat with chauffeurs at every point, visit to the arrivals lounge with free wet shave, a free Abu Dhabi stopover including breakfast at a 5* hotel, reasonably good value millage program and tier benefits, and a semi decent crew, and I can bet the OP would have a different opinion of Etihad Business class.
This is the Etihad I keep returning to for J class trips from europe to Australia once or twice a year. Best business class in the sky in my view.

In fact my biggest gripe is with their backoffice staff. I try to avoid overnight sectors on the older seats (a330 etc) as I find them a bit hard, but then again ...the price has been right. Also it was a bit weird that they went for about 2 years without a first class lounge at their home base. Haven't done the sectors the OP has so I can't comment on that....
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Old Apr 11, 17, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by akalra1187 View Post
Couple a Business Studio seat with chauffeurs at every point, visit to the arrivals lounge with free wet shave, a free Abu Dhabi stopover including breakfast at a 5* hotel, reasonably good value millage program and tier benefits, and a semi decent crew, and I can bet the OP would have a different opinion of Etihad Business class.
To be perfectly frank there's really no reason for me to connect in AUH in the future, being that I'm US based, and I would certainly do everything possible to avoid it.
The more I think about it, the more upset I am by the ground staff forcing us to check our electronics. Not only was the woman extremely rude and condescending, but she was 100% wrong. I mean, seriously, what the hell is she paid for if she doesn't even know how to do her job? When I'm paying thousands to fly in C or F I expect to deal with a helpful, competent, moderately intelligent human being. Instead I was treated to service that you'd expect on a low cost carrier such as Ryanair.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by kmzandrew View Post
To be perfectly frank there's really no reason for me to connect in AUH in the future, being that I'm US based, and I would certainly do everything possible to avoid it.
The more I think about it, the more upset I am by the ground staff forcing us to check our electronics. Not only was the woman extremely rude and condescending, but she was 100% wrong. I mean, seriously, what the hell is she paid for if she doesn't even know how to do her job? When I'm paying thousands to fly in C or F I expect to deal with a helpful, competent, moderately intelligent human being. Instead I was treated to service that you'd expect on a low cost carrier such as Ryanair.
Not telling you to go back to Etihad if you don't want to, but your problem here was Thailand and the lack of education there, not Etihad. It could have happened on any airline departing from that airport. I know it's not PC to say this, but Phuket is nothing more than a rural area with some nice resorts.
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