Eti­had A380 Busi­ness Class Lon­don-Abu Dhabi

A380 Busi­ness Class

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

CHECK-IN Eti­had un­veiled its all-new cabin prod­ucts for its A380 and 787 last year. These in­clude the Res­i­dence and First Apart­ments on the A380, First Suites on the 787, and Busi­ness Stu­dios and Econ­omy Smart seats on both.

I used Eti­had’s free busi­ness class chauf­feur pick-up ser­vice and ar­rived at Heathrow’s T4 at 6:30 AM for my 9:15 AM de­par­ture on EY12. There was no queue at ei­ther check-in or fast-track se­cu­rity, and I was in the Eti­had lounge op­po­site Gate 10 within ten min­utes.

BOARD­ING There was a sep­a­rate jet­way to the all­premium up­per deck. Once I got aboard I was wel­comed warmly.

THE SEAT The Busi­ness Stu­dios are in a dove-tailed 1-2-1 lay­out, with seats la­beled A-C, D-E-F-G, H-K (A,E, F and K face for­ward and the rest back­ward). Each of the semi-pri­vate cu­bi­cles has di­rect ac­cess to the aisle.

From my van­tage point, I was struck by the gen­er­ous space – my neigh­bor was about five feet away and while there was no screen be­tween us, we each had a large ta­ble sur­face and an arm­rest more than 15 inches wide to sep­a­rate us. A slid­ing panel of­fered some pri­vacy from the aisle. A sec­ond fold-down ta­ble made it easy to work and eat at the same time. There was a large shelf un­der the ot­toman in front of me and fur­ther open space to the side.

The 18-inch touch­screen was sharp, and there were two USB ports and a uni­ver­sal plug socket. The bed was com­fort­able with am­ple room to stretch out, although the curved footwell narrows to­wards the end. An amenity kit is pro­vided, with slip­pers, sleep suits, com­forters and turn­down ser­vice added on“ul­tra long-haul”routes.

Win­dow seats A and K feel slightly more pri­vate. Cen­tral seats E and F are good for cou­ples as they are close to­gether, with a di­vid­ing screen if you’re on your own. C and H have a win­dow, but, like D and G, are nearer the aisle. Since the up­per deck has only 70 busi­ness stu­dios, nine first apart­ments and the Res­i­dence, it doesn’t seem to get hec­tic, even on an al­most full flight such as this one.

THE FLIGHT Af­ter take­off, I was told I could pre-or­der my meal and choose when to eat later. Be­fore that I had a break­fast snack. Around lunchtime, I asked for my meal to be served. It took about 30 min­utes. I had yel­low pep­per and lemon­grass soup (tasty) and pan-seared lamb loin – nicely cooked and ten­der. Ser­vice was ex­cel­lent – friendly and help­ful – but with 70 seats in busi­ness, it’s not as in­stan­ta­neous as in smaller busi­ness class cab­ins.

Log­ging on to the WiFi was a bit of a pro­ce­dure, but crew mem­bers were on hand to help. I found it worked well for a while but seemed to stop op­er­at­ing dur­ing the sec­ond half of the flight. The lobby lounge has cir­cu­lar so­fas around a cof­fee ta­ble, seat­ing about six. Drinks are served but it didn’t get busy, and it’s a good spot to sit and chat.

AR­RIVAL We dis­em­barked through the up­per-deck jet­way and used the fast-track immigration lane.

VER­DICT An im­pres­sive prod­uct and ser­vice, with a clever lay­out to cre­ate a feel­ing of space. The all- pre­mium up­per deck feels tran­quil, even when it’s nearly full. Good food and drink, ease of work­ing, comfy beds and ex­cel­lent ser­vice make it an en­joy­able, user-friendly ex­pe­ri­ence. BT

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