On my recent trip to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, I decided to try something new. I booked business class tickets for myself and Baby J for our onward tickets from Thailand – the others were heading back to Australia.
We were flying Phuket – Muscat (via Abu Dhabi) – Abu Dhabi – Bangkok. The tickets were only about twice the price of economy so for once business seemed like a real bargain, especially since I am used to paying for four tickets.
I have always wanted to try flying business class and this seemed like the perfect chance especially as we would be flying Etihad which is meant to have one of the best business classes in the world. I read many Etihad Airways reviews for business class and I finally decided to take the plunge!
I booked Etihad Airways Pearl business class tickets for myself and Baby J (4 months old at the time). I was so excited for the lie flat seats, the sparkling wine on boarding and lounge access.
What I didn’t realise is that business class on Etihad is so much more than this. In fact, the bigger seats and sparkling wine is actually less of a bonus that the amazing SERVICE. I have never experienced anything like it and I was extra thankful for it since I was travelling with a baby alone.
From the moment I checked in at Phuket Airport, I was in love. I didn’t line up anywhere! I walked straight up to a counter at check in then we were escorted to a special counter where we were whisked through immigration and customs.
This was priceless with a baby, especially as my escort was able to hold Baby J while I put the stroller through.
Below, you will find my full Etihad Airways business class review on all four of my flights. We flew Etihad A330-200 business class, Etihad 777-300ER (77W), A319 and A320.
This route started very well with us being escorted from the check in counter all the way through immigration to the Coral Executive Lounge at Phuket Airport.
It’s a comfortable lounge with windows looking into the terminal. There’s food, drinks and wifi access including lots of little, good looking desserts!
I didn’t board the plane straight away. As soon as we walked up to the gate and flashed the business class Etihad Airways boarding passes, my stroller was taken off me, and I was straight on board.
The service was even better when I walked on the plane. We were escorted to our seat and I was told what would happen with the bassinet. They helped me with my bags and Baby J until we were both comfortable and asked if I wanted anything.
Not long after I boarded, the flight nanny came to visit to see if I had any questions or needed anything. She checked back a couple of more times but since I had whatever help I needed from the regular flight attendants, I didn’t need her help.
The seat areas themselves are unreal. They are pods with a foot rest, big seat, big screen for in-flight entertainment, some magazines, a toiletry bag (with toiletries), a tray table that folded up as well as a small table for drinks (and a baby bottle in my case) next to me.
My headset was there and I could already start watching the entertainment program. There was a menu of food choices and a wine list.
I was very happy with the Etihad business class A330-200.
Once we took off and were in the air, the service became even better. The flight attendant returned to set up the bassinet. Unfortunately, there was a fair bit of turbulence during the flight so Baby J had to keep going in and out of the bassinet (infants aren’t allowed in bassinets during turbulence).
Anytime, the seatbelt sign went off, though, the flight attendant magically appeared to help me. She also would ask the pilot what turbulence was coming up and let me know if it was worth lying him down again.
My only gripe with my whole experience flying business class on Etihad Airways is to do with the bassinet actually. It’s located in front of the seat and it’s not possible to see the baby in there when sitting down. This is the case in Etihad 77W business class as well.
It didn’t feel unsafe – not at all – but I was so nervous that I wouldn’t hear him if he needed me that I struggled to sleep. It’s also a downside of the noise cancelling headphones which are provided for the entertainment system.
In the picture below, the bassinet is on the top left where the striped cover is (J is sleeping in there).
The other downside is that in Etihad A330-200 business class, the bassinet was only available in the middle of the plane, meaning I had to directly sit next to someone. Baby J was well behaved so this wasn’t an issue, but I’m sure that man was not very impressed when he saw us sit right next to him!
I was very happy with everything else and thought it was worth every dollar. The service was just magical. They seemed to notice and attend to any little thing. Like the attendant noticed me struggling to eat my cheese platter with J sleeping on me so she chopped up the cheese. They also remembered both our names.
The food was great and I could have whatever choices I wanted whenever. I would have actually thought this was normal in business class, but I have since flown Thai business class and this was not the case at all.
The seat is amazing. I loved all the options of how I could move the seat to make it perfectly comfortable for me. It is a fully flat seat and also has a massage function.
On arrival, I was asked for any feedback and thanked for flying with them. I was also given a special card from the in-flight nanny and a card with my next gate number on it (since I was transferring to a Muscat flight).
My whole experience was very positive. I would have loved business class in Etihad Airways if I was flying alone but with a baby, it just made the whole experience so easy with all the extra assistance. Baby J mostly behaved (He cried twice on this flight, not at all on the others), so I didn’t feel like I was putting anyone out.
After getting off my flight from Phuket, I was in transit in Abu Dhabi before transferring to my flight to Muscat on an A319.
The Etihad Abu Dhabi business lounge at the airport was good – and very big – but I didn’t find it to be anything special. Although I have not had much experience with flying business class, I have been a Qantas Club member and used many Qantas, American Airlines and British Airways lounges.
The lounge was basically what I expected – food, drinks, many chairs and tables, showers etc.
There is a kids’ room but I didn’t use it at this point. What I didn’t realise until the return journey is that there are nannies in the kids’ room that will look after your kids! This would have been priceless after my long flight had I known.
The flight on to Oman left at 2am and was great. It was on an A319 which is a much smaller plane so didn’t have the fabulous pod areas like on the A330. I had always thought that business class would be a waste on a smaller plane and a short flight but the service aspect was awesome again and made it a special experience.
There were 5 rows of business class seats and only three people (plus Baby J) in business. J slept the whole time. There was a bassinet available but it wasn’t worth using for such a short flight.
Food and drinks were offered but I only wanted water so I am not sure what was available.
The seat was comfortable and had a good recline. There is a ton of space in front and the foot rest is great. My only complaint is that the lights stayed on. It would have been nice if they were dimmed for a flight in the middle of the night.
On arrival, business class people were off first and we had our own bus to immigration so I avoided lining up again.
On my departure, the Muscat lounge was nice, quiet and peaceful. There were plenty of breakfast foods for my morning flight and drinks. There is also a bar.
The flight back to Abu Dhabi a few days later was on an A320 and it was all very similar. This time I did have a drink and something to eat which was a delicious platter of fruit and pastries including a brie and tomato croissant. I think every flight attendant came up and fussed over Baby J before we even left.
The service was great and I was given a pass to fast track me through immigration. I was out of the airport about ten minutes after I walked off the plane and that includes immigration!
Once I reached the curb, I was straight into one of the Etihad business class chauffeur service cars. It was all super smooth and I was driving through Abu Dhabi to my hotel in no time.
I always thought it would be a waste to fly business class on short flight, but it just makes everything so smooth and easy. I arrived in Abu Dhabi feeling as fresh as when I walked out of my hotel in Muscat.
My final flight was an Etihad 777 business class from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok.
This experience started perfectly when I was picked up at my hotel on time by the included chauffeur service. On arrival at the airport – at the special first and business class terminal – I didn’t even need to touch my bags. They were collected and I was escorted to the first class check in counters because I had Baby J and I could sit down at those counters.
As always, the service was fabulous. I got the seat I wanted and then it was straight to immigration which was only a few steps away. It only took about 5 minutes from when I got out of the car until I was airside in the terminal.
I headed straight to the lounge and this time enjoyed it a lot more. It was nowhere near as busy as when I had visited it on my way to Oman. The best part was that one of the nannies from the kids’ room came over to me and offered to watch Baby J while I ate some breakfast.
I took them up on it! I ate my breakfast without a baby attached which was nice. I then relaxed in the kids’ room while Baby J was thoroughly entertained by the two nannies. They let me know when it was time to head to my boarding gate.
This made such a difference to both mine and Baby J’s mood when we boarded the flight. He was so happy and relaxed compared to being a bit stressed when we boarded the plane in Phuket. He was happy and laughing and charming everyone. It really illustrated to me how much my own mood can impact on my baby.
Etihad business class 777 was much like the way over on the A320. There were less business class seats and I was happy to find that I had a side seat this time with a bassinet. It was a lot less stressful for me not being directly next to someone.
You can see my seating area here:
And the view from my seat…
This was a day flight so I was able to fully lap up the business luxury. I ate so many different things, tried many different drinks, watched some good shows and played with Baby J.
I liked how the cabin lights were always dimmed so it was easy to sleep if I wanted to whenever I wanted and there was no worries about a food trolley getting in my way.
I did not find the service in Etihad Airways 777 business class quite as good as the way over in Etihad A330 business class, but it was still the best I would have had in my life apart from that flight. The attendants just weren’t quite as attentive and I didn’t get a thank you card when I left or anyone coming around at the end to ask for feedback.
On arrival in Thailand, we were given express passes for immigration and we were soon on our way to checking in to our Thai Airways flight home. I seem to already be ruined by my business experience as I upgraded to business on that flight! It did not compare to these Etihad flights AT ALL. But it should did beat economy – particularly as they wouldn’t give me the bassinet seat I had reserved or even an aisle seat!
As you have probably gathered from throughout this Etihad Airlines business class review, I absolutely loved flying business class with Etihad. I am not only ruined for economy but probably many other airlines’ business classes as well!
I flew Thai Airways business class on the way back to Australia from Bangkok (after these Etihad flights) and it did not compare at all.
I expected the bigger seats, lounge access etc. what I didn’t realise was just how much better their service would be. I was given so much assistance, the service was really like none I have ever experienced before, especially in the A330-200.
One of the best parts was not having to line up basically at all. It makes flying so much more pleasant when everything is so smooth and easy.
I did love the seats, lounges, food, drinks, but the service is what has me wanting to do it again the most.
I also found flying Etihad business class with a baby to be a pleasure. When I mentioned to friends without kids that I was going to be flying business class with a baby, they looked at me like I was evil. I hate this attitude!
Although I completely understand how frustrating it would be to pay for business class to be next to a loud kid, the fact is that Baby J was not like that at all and I think kids are likely to be far better behaved when everyone is more relaxed – which you certainly are in business class.
So 10/10 from me in this business class Etihad review. I am a huge fan of Etihad Airlines business class and I will be more than happy to pay the money to fly them again.
Please forgive my bad photos and film. It is hard to take photos when travelling with a baby alone!
Disclaimer: Just to be very clear, this journey was not sponsored in any way. I was more than happy to pay for this fabulous trip myself and Etihad did not know I was a travel blogger. Nothing on this site is sponsored unless I state it in a disclaimer on the post.
I hate that I have to write it but these types of posts often get me a ton of comments about sponsorship. I rarely do any sponsored travel as I would rather pay and be sure to get the same treatment as any of you would get reading this. This post does, however, contain and affiliate link to Etihad. If you make a purchase after clicking on this link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our site 🙂