Airline Review - Spotlight On Etihad Airways

28 August 2015
Read Time: 8.4 mins

Etihad has been flying passengers around the world since 2003 and now provides more than 1,000 flights per week to 120-plus destinations. With an aircraft fleet in excess of 120 planes and close to 200 more to be added in the future, Etihad clearly has plans to cement its position as the UAE's second-largest airline and perhaps even surpass the current leader, Emirates.

With the addition of the Airbus A380, Etihad initiated a new level of luxury while flying. The Residence is the first of its kind; a three-room apartment that includes a bedroom, en suite and lounge/dining area.

The world is excited to see what this innovative carrier can come up with next.

 Etihad is a behemoth in air travel (Image: Etihad Airways)

Cabin Classes


Etihad Airways' Economy Class boasts a range of benefits that make it one of the world's most prestigious airlines. Guests flying in Economy Class can expect spacious and ergonomic seats with a pitch up to 84 centimetres, three choices of high quality meals, complimentary bar service and in-seat power ability to charge personal electronic devices.

 Enjoy extra comfort in Economy with ergonomic seats (Image: Etihad Airways)


Voted the world's best Business Class, the new Etihad Airways' Business Class is taking business to a whole new level. Guests are treated to a 'privacy shell' with a six-foot-long flat bed, complete with in-built massage function, plus an on-demand a la carte menu of 5-star food and wine choices.

Prior to flying, Business Class guests are granted a chauffeur service and lounge access, while in-seat power and USB connectivity on board means you can work or be entertained on your own schedule.

 Eithad's Business Class is a 5-star affair (Image: Etihad Airways)


Upping the ante in extravagance and privacy, the world's most luxurious flying experience debuts on Etihad Airways with the offering of The Residence and a new first-class cabin, First Apartments. The Residence is available exclusively on the airline’s new A380, which is due to fly between Sydney and Abu Dhabi and beyond, including daily flights to London Heathrow.

First Apartment

Upholstered with fine Italian leather by Poltrona Frau, the First Apartment features a living space large enough to walk around with an over-sized armchair, ottoman, wardrobe, 24-inch TV, vanity cabinet, chilled drinks cabinet and room for two people to dine together. If travelling with a companion, wall dividers can be lowered to join rooms. This is undefined luxury in the sky exclusive to the Etihad Airways A380 experience.

 Catch up on some quality sleep in the First Apartment (Image: Etihad Airways)

First Suite

Enjoy a complementary Etihad Chauffeur in over 30 cities before stepping into your First Suite with stylish Poltrona Frau leather seats, exquisite fabric and finishes, and ambient lighting encased behind a closed door inside your own private suite. Each First Suite includes a personal wardrobe, chilled drinks cabinet and enough space to entertain a travelling companion. In-flight chefs will take your a la carte order and couple with the finest wines in the sky.

The Residence

Luxury and privacy are taken to the next level with three suites making up the The Residence. The living room includes a double-seat sofa with ottoman, two dining tables, a chilled drinks cabinet and 32-inch flat-screen TV. The en suite bathroom includes personal bathrobes, exclusive amenities and a private shower. Finally, the bedroom includes a double bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and choice of pillows.

 A double bed with Egyptian cotton awaits those in The Residence (Image: Etihad Airways)

Entertainment Options

Economy Class

Economy Class in-flight entertainment comes standard with a 10.4-inch touch-screen that allows you to be in full control of your viewing. On-demand entertainment courtesy of the E-BOX system delivers the latest movies, TV shows, music and games right to your seat. Economy guests can also charge their personal electronic devices including laptops or phones using the power sockets behind each headrest.

Business Class

Guests travelling in Business Class with Etihad Airways are treated to 15-inch LCD TVs and noise-cancelling headsets to enhance the in-flight entertainment experience. Over 675 hours of hit television shows, classic movies and the latest music from around the world is loaded into the on-demand E-BOX system for your convenience, which can also be accessed using your personal devices.

First Class

In-flight entertainment for First Class guests includes a 23-inch widescreen for personal viewing using theE-BOX system, plus noise cancelling headphones and connectivity to power your personal electronic devices. First Class guests also receive mobile phone and Wi-Fi access on selected routes and aircraft.

New destinations for Etihad. Where In The World Can Etihad Airways Now Take You?

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Etihad Airways' Baggage Allowance


Guests travelling in Economy Class on Etihad Airways may take one carry-on bag weighing up to seven kilograms, while Business and First Class passengers are allowed two bags with a combined weight of 12 kilograms.

If you're taking Duty Free shopping on board the aircraft, don't open the secure tamper-evident bag until you reach your final destination.

Carry On Baggage


Economy Class guests are allowed 30 kilograms of checked luggage which can be dispersed across several bags, so long as no item's dimensions exceed 45cm x 72cm x 90cm.

Business Class passengers may take 40 kilograms of checked baggage and First Class travellers receive a baggage allowance of 50 kilograms. Each item of luggage must not exceed the aforementioned measurements.

Etihad Guest members receive increased checked luggage allowance dependent on their class of travel. For example, Etihad Guest Silver members travelling in Economy are allowed 40 kilograms of checked baggage, 50 kilograms when travelling in Business and 60 kilograms in First.

Checked baggage allowances for US, Canada and Brazil

Guests travelling with Etihad Airways to or from the United States, Canada or Brazil have different checked baggage specifications.

Economy Class guests travelling to the US or Canada may take two 23-kilogram bags, while Business and First Class travellers may take two checked bags weighing up to 32 kilograms each. Business and First guests travelling to the US or Canada also receive an increased carry-on allowance of two bags with a combined weight of 12 kilograms.

Economy Class passengers travelling to or from Brazil may take two checked bags weighing up to 32 kilograms each, while Business and First Class guests are allowed three checked bags up to 32 kilograms each. Carry-on limits are increased for Business and First passengers as well, with the ability to take two bags adding up to 12 kilograms in the cabin.

Excess baggage fees can be steep, so try to weigh your luggage at home or the hotel before you leave for the airport.

Checked Baggage

Bulky items

Certain items such as sporting gear, musical instruments and film equipment can be taken as checked baggage provided they don't exceed the weight and size dimensions set by Etihad Airways. If the items are over the checked weight limit, they will be charged as excess baggage.

Bulky items that are accepted as checked baggage include snow skiing equipment, wind surfer kites, bicycles, golf clubs and saddles. Canoes, kayaks and vaulting poles are able to be taken as cargo and will need to be arranged separately to checked baggage.

You can purchase an extra seat in the cabin if you have a larger musical instrument you would like to carry with you.

Bulky Items

Infant baggage

Adults travelling with infants in any cabin class are able to take one extra handbag up to five kilograms and one collapsible stroller or carry-cot as carry-on baggage in the cabin (provided there is space) or as checked baggage. Etihad Airways have a 'Flying Nanny' service on all long-haul flights: a dedicated childcare assistance program available both on board and on the ground.

Before you fly, check with the airline to reserve an infant bassinet. Bassinets are made to suit infants up to 10 kilograms or 10 months old.

Restricted or dangerous goods

There are several items that are strictly prohibited from being taken as either carry-on or checked baggage. These items include explosives, imitation explosive devices, aerosol spray paint, paint thinner, alcoholic beverages exceeding 70% by volume and any fireworks, flares or pyrotechnics (including party poppers and sparklers).

Certain objects are unable to be taken in the aircraft cabin but are allowed as checked baggage. This includes baseball/cricket bats, skateboards, tools with pointed or sharp edges, ice skates and fishing rods. For a full list of restricted items, please refer to the Etihad Airways website or contact your travel consultant.

Buy small padlocks to lock the zips on your checked baggage for extra security.


Check-in online, in the city or at the airport

Online check-in

Etihad Airways gives their guests the option of checking in online from 24 hours up to two hours before departure. Using your booking reference or Etihad Guest number on the Etihad Airways website, you can choose your seat and print your boarding pass at home to save time at the airport. Please note that online check-in is not available for codeshares.

City check-in

If you're flying with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi or Dubai, you can check in at one of the city check-in facilities. City check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure and is located at Abu Dhabi's City Terminal, directly opposite the Abu Dhabi Mall, and the Etihad Travel Mall on Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai.

Airport check-in

At the Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways travellers can check in from three hours up to 60 minutes before departure time. Guests departing from the Abu Dhabi International Airport can also check in at the Al Ain Airport anytime from 24 hours to six hours prior to their flight.

International check-in guide

At home

  • Know what time you need to leave the house to get to the airport
  • Pack your things, check out our baggage guide
  • Have your flight itinerary ready
  • Ensure you have your valid passport ready

Getting there

  • Be at the airport at least 120 minutes prior to scheduled departure time

At the airport

  • Proceed to check-in counter with passport and itinerary ready
  • Go through security
  • Continue through customs
  • Check the gate number and flight status
  • Sit down and get comfy!

Etihad Lounges

Everything you could want or need prior to flying is yours on the house at the Etihad Lounge. First Class, Business Class and Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Gold Elite members are granted access to Etihad Airways' luxurious lounge at their hub in Abu Dhabi, as well as at a selection of other locations and partner lounges around the globe.

First Class lounge

Designed as the ultimate space to work or unwind before you take to the skies, Etihad Airways' First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi International Airport's Terminal 1 incorporates luxury in every detail. The Six Senses Spa offers a range of 15-minute treatments such as facials, foot scrubs and scalp massages, while the Champagne bar boasts the world's finest bubbly and a selection of top-shelf wines.

If you're travelling for business, you can make good use of the Apple Mac computers with free high-speed internet, or enjoy the entertainment on offer with Bang & Olufsen flat screens and individual head sets. The first-class service doesn't stop there, with a well-stocked cigar lounge and a la carte 5-star restaurant, where meals are accompanied by wines hand-selected by experienced sommeliers.

Business Class lounge

Etihad Airways' Business Lounge in Terminal 3 at the Abu Dhabi International Airport is all about comfort and convenience. Refresh before your flight with a shower as your shoes are polished and clothes neatly pressed, or pop into the Six Senses Spa for a therapeutic 15-minute treatment.

5-star dining is on the menu with an international buffet and large range of wines from some of the best vineyards around the world, while the dedicated Family Room will keep the little ones entertained as you work or unwind in peace. Get down to business on the Apple Mac computers, with fax, telephone and printing facilities available to ensure you don't miss any deadlines.

Worldwide lounges

Outside of Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways' Business and First Class lounges are found at a handful of global destinations including Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Paris and Washington.

Etihad Guest members are also granted access to a number of partner lounges thanks to Etihad Airways' codeshares. The list includes the likes of the Royal Orchid Lounge in Bangkok, Wingtips Lounge in New York and the Air New Zealand lounges in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

 Gourmet food is served in Etihad's lounges (Image: Etihad Airways)

Etihad Guest Loyalty Program

The Etihad Guest frequent flyer program has four unique tiers, each designed to reward loyal patronage and enhance your journey from start to finish. Moving up through the tiers is calculated by your mileage travelled as well as cabin class.

Etihad Guest

From your very first flight you can enjoy immediate rewards by signing up to the Etihad Guest program. The Etihad Guest membership gives you access to the online Reward Shop where you can redeem Etihad Guest Miles for things such as holidays, fashion and more. You can also upgrade your flights using your miles, pool your points with family members and earn extra miles when you shop, stay or drive with Etihad Airways' partner businesses.

Etihad Guest Silver

To be upgraded to the Silver tier of the Etihad Guest program, 25,000 miles need to be accrued over a 12-month period. Silver tier membership gives you access to the Reward Shop, as well as waitlist priority for busy routes and a guaranteed Economy seat even on sold-out flights if you book with 48 hours notice.

Silver members are also able to upgrade to a higher cabin using their miles, receive an excess baggage allowance of 10 kilograms and have access to the Business Class Lounge. To maintain Silver status, you need to accrue 20,000 miles in the following year, which is made a little easier with 25 per cent bonus miles for every Etihad Airways flight you book.

Etihad Guest Gold

Etihad Guest Silver members automatically achieve Gold status when they clock up 50,000 miles over 12 months. To keep Gold status, 40,000 miles need to be travelled, but a 50 per cent bonus on miles makes that even more achievable. Gold guests are given an extra 15-kilogram baggage limit plus a guaranteed Economy seat if booked with 24 hours notice.

Gold members receive all the benefits of Guest and Silver levels as well as priority check-in and boarding, fast-track immigration and a chauffeur service taking you door-to-door when you travel in Business or First Class.

Etihad Guest Gold Elite

The top tier of the Etihad Guest program is reached after 125,000 miles are accrued over a 12 month period. Exclusive benefits include all of those awarded for Guest, Silver and Gold levels, plus access to the prestigious First Class Lounge, an extra 20-kilogram baggage allowance, first-class check-in and a guaranteed Business Class seat if booked with 48 hours notice.

To keep Gold Elite status, 100,000 miles must be earned in the following year but there is a 75 per cent bonus on miles to help keep you on track. A member of your family also receives complimentary Silver status.

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