After spending the entire day in New York City with friends, I took the subway from Brooklyn to Howard Beach AirTrain station to JFK Terminal 4. I arrived at the airport about 2 hours before the scheduled departure.
Flight Number: EY100
Route: New York (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Schedule: 22:55 – 20:00(+1)
Aircraft Type: Airbus A380
Cabin: Business Class
Date: July 12, 2019
The check-in process went smoothly. There was a separate check-in desk for First Class, Business Class, and Economy passengers. Within minutes, my boarding passes were issued along with the lounge pass. The TSA line at JFK could be a hit or miss depending on the time of day, but the line that night was not too bad, especially with my TSA Pre-Check.
The Etihad Lounge at JFK is located on the left side of the terminal, down the hall after the security. Etihad does not provide a separate lounge, instead all premium passengers – The Residence, First Class and business class use the same lounge. As soon as I arrived, the lounge staff promptly scanned my boarding pass and welcomed me.
The lounge is spacious, but it was fairly crowded due to the number of premium seats that Etihad Airbus A380 can accommodate. The bar area has a nice decoration – the iconic sea of sand, similar to other Etihad lounges around the world.
This lounge offers buffet spread as well as Restaurant Style A la Carte dining. After exploring the city all day, I was quite hungry, so I decided to order Manhattan from the bar. I sat down at the dining area and ordered seared salmon off the menu.
After a few minutes, my order arrived. I have to say the salmon was excellent. It was moist and flaky. Shortly after dinner, the boarding announcement was made. I promptly headed to the gate. The distance between the longe at the gate was a good 10-minute walk.
The boarding process began. It started with The Residence and First Class passengers, followed by Business Class and Economy passengers. It was the first time for me to fly Etihad Business Class – They marketed the cabin as Business Studio, which is available on Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.
My first impression was great. The cabin and seating area felt more spacious than I had anticipated. I didn’t get the true window seat as they were all taken when I booked the flight. Instead, I assigned myself seat 21H, on the right side of the plane, facing backward. This window seat is closer to the aisle. One thing I noticed was that the wall partition can be extended – I wasn’t aware of this.
The flight attendant introduced herself and took my pre-departure beverage order and handed out a dinner menu. I asked for a glass of Champagne. The amenity kit is Acqua Di Parma. There are two colors: black and yellow – I got the black one. The content is basic. It has an eye mask, socks, moisturizer, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a small cologne.
The crew came around and ask if I would like to join for dinner. Since I was still a bit hungry, I decided to order scallop for the appetizer, beef steak for the main course and a glass of Bellini.
Boarding door closed right on time and we began pushback shortly after. The take-off and initial climb were uneventful. The captain switched off the seatbelt sign within 10 minutes after take-off and the dinner service started 45 minutes after take-off.
The scallops were big, tasty, and beautifully presented. The beef was on the overcooked side, though it was still flavorful. After dinner, I ordered some warm bread pudding with vanilla sauce – it was good, but nothing memorable.
Overall, the meal was good. The service was completed within 2 hours after take-off. At this point, I was full. I went to the lavatory to change and brush my teeth. Shortly after the dinner service, the light was dimmed, I reclined and fell asleep for about 6 hours.
When I woke up, was not feeling very hungry. I decided to watch a movie and hang out around the lounge area. Etihad’s onboard lounge was not staffed, instead, you can order drinks or some light snacks from the crews working in the galley. The lounge was empty, though I kind of like the design, which reminds me of the same design pattern at the airport lounge.
About an hour and a half before landing, I ordered breakfast off the menu, but they ran out of my first choice. Instead, I ordered some steak sandwich and Arabic Mezze.
The sandwich was quite good. After breakfast, window blinds were partially raised. We started to descend and the crews started the preparation for landing. We touched down ahead of schedule around 7 PM local time.
I enjoyed this flight – it was better than I had anticipated. The seat is comfortable and spacious. Airbus A380 is phenomenal, it is very quiet and smooth compared to other types of aircraft.
The service was good. The flight attendants working in Business Class cabin were professional, but not over the top. The food is generally good.
If I were to compare the overall soft product between Etihad Business Class and First Class, I would say First Class is marginally better if not on par.
For 75,000 AAdvantage Miles and some change, I will not hesitate to fly Etihad Business Class again. Although the AAdvantage charges 115,000 miles for First Class redemption, which is kind of steep in my opinion. But depending on your valuation, it may be worth redeeming it for First Class, especially the Apartment on A380.