Flight Review: Etihad Airways 787-900 Business Studio

Good evening everyone! If you follow me on my Instagram – @qwertyuiopete, you must have seen my recent multi-city European winter escapade in December 2019.

On the way back to Kuala Lumpur, both legs of my journey were upgraded to business  with Etihad Airways and here’s a quick, succinct breakdown of my experience flying on board their 787-900 Business Studio from Brussels to Abu Dhabi.

As a Gold member of the Etihad Guest Loyalty Program, I get to enjoy pre-flight perks including priority check-in, boarding, lounge access, and more! Read more about their reward program by clicking here!

Moving on to the review, shall we?

Etihad Airways utilises The Suite – Brussels Airport new lounge are in Pier B. Offering a minimalistic approach to their interior design, the lounge was comfortable, spacious and offered a generous selection of breakfast foods and beverages.

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My flight was scheduled to depart at 10:05 a.m. from Brussels and the lounge was good enough for a quick breakfast and coffee, away from the rest of the busy airport.

By 10 a.m. I was already at my gate and they were calling for business class passengers, Etihad Gold and Platinum members to come forward for priority boarding. The process was quick, smooth and five minutes later I was already at the door of the plane.

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The Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner
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Seat 6K

Seat:

Etihad Airways’ 787-900 Business Class cabin has a total of 28 seats, providing a bigger sense of privacy and space. Assembled in a 1-2-1 configuration, half of the seats face forward, and the rest facing backwards.

For this leg from Brussels to Abu Dhabi, I managed to select seat 6K. 6K is inarguably one of the best seats on the plane as the seat is positioned next to the window, slightly away from the aisle compared to seat 11H as an example.

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“True” window seat as it the seat is positioned directly next to the windows.

I was very impressed by the seat, both aesthetically and ergonomically. Etihad Airways not only managed to impress me with the seat’s functionality, but also with the cabin’s overall interior design. Aesthetically, the usage of brown, yellow, and gold colours sets a very warm and luxurious ambiance. The lighting fixture next to the seat was a nice additional touch with a fine focus on detail.

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The seat is able to fully recline to a flatbed or to any position you like, controlled by a set of buttons at the seat console.

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Etihad Airways 787-900 Business Studio Seat Console

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Seat in full-recline mode.

As mentioned earlier, the seat fully reclines to a flatbed and has ample foot space in front. Being 5’7 really has its perks sometimes, especially when it comes to flying.

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Compartment counter. Opening it would reveal a larger storage space below. 

Let’s talk about their service.

I can remember distinctly how my first flight with Etihad Airways went in 2018. I was charmed by their cabin crew and the seamless experience I had, from checking-in, boarding, to arrival. Since then, I always had somewhat of a high expectation in Etihad whenever I choose to fly with them.

Anyway,

Food:

After settling down at my seat, a flight attendant greeted me and introduced himself as the crew member who would take care of me for the journey. He asked whether he could get me anything to drink while we are waiting for the rest of the passengers to board, and I requested for a glass of champagne. He even offered some explanation on my seat and helped me familiarise myself with the setting on board their 787-900.

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A few moments later, he arrived with a glass of champagne, a bowl of cocktail nuts and berries, with a warm towel. Since I have skimmed through their menu on their website earlier, I have already decided what I planned on having.

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I ordered the balik style salmon as my starter, and the braised beef cheeks with mash potatoes, green beans, roast carrots, and beef jus as my main with plenty of champagne to wash everything down.

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Balik style salmon with cucumbers, orange, red grapefruit, chive, and horseradish cream.

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Braised beef cheeks, mashed potatoes, green beans, roast carrots & beef jus.

The Balik style salmon was good enough as a basic starter, although I would prefer if the portion could be a little bit bigger. As for the braised beef cheeks, it tasted decent even at cruising altitude. The meat was tender and the sides were more than enough to keep me full for the rest of flight.

One thing that definitely impressed me the most about the meal service was that I can have my meal served at my own preferred time. Having the flexibility to dine on demand granted me the freedom to lounge and enjoy the flight at my own pace – a service I think all airlines’ premium cabins should offer especially on long-haul flights.

IFE:

Lets talk briefly about the inflight entertainment service. Their entertainment service, the E-Box was updated with a selection of recent television shows and films. Generally, I do not use any airlines’ flight entertainment services that much since I much rather prefer reading, or watching pre-downloaded content from Netflix on my iPad. Nevertheless, the options available on their E-Box are more than enough to keep someone entertained for a 6-hour long flight.

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Noise-cancelling headphones, though I still prefer my own Sennheiser.

Amenity Kit:

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The amenity kit provided by Etihad Airways was presented in an Acqua di Parma PU leather pouch. The contents include your basic dental hygiene kit, a sleeping mask, a pair of socks and sample sizes of Acqua di Parma cologne and lotion.

The content was solid, and I can see myself using the pouch as a small, handheld pouch for everyday use.

Pajamas and slippers were not offered in this flight.

Flying Experience:

I spent the remainder of my time reading before I had a quick one hour nap. By the time I woke up, there was a couple of hours left before we start our descent to Abu Dhabi International Airport. My flight attendant came to ask me about my rest and if I wanted anything and naturally, I asked for more champagne.

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At 19:30 Abu Dhabi time, we arrived in Terminal 3 of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Summary:

I was pleasantly satisfied with my experience flying with Etihad Airways on their 787-900 in Business Studio. Their hard product seems to be one of the best I have tried so far both in business and economy, and their services have been excellent since the first time I flew with them back in 2018.

Though, I have seen numerous complaints by passengers on Twitter about their service, thankfully I have yet to encounter any major issues so far that would upset me.

Would I recommend Etihad Airways? It is a solid yes. From pre departure to arrival, to lounge access and their loyalty program, my experience has been seamless and service both from ground crew and cabin crew was spot on.

“Choose Well” – Etihad Airways, and indeed I have.

Stay hydrated,
Peter.

All photos taken on iPhone X.

 


 

Flight Details:

EY58
Brussels (BRU) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Aircraft Type: 787-900
Depart: 10:05
Arrival: 19:30
Duration: 6h 25m
Cabin: Business Studio
Seat: 6K

Flight Review: Malaysia Airlines B737-800 Business Class Review KUL-DPS

Good afternoon everyone! I managed to book a business class seat with Malaysia Airlines on their 737-800 fleet from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar, Bali on the 15th of May 2019 and here’s a brief review of my experience. Read on!

At the present moment, I am writing this review on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 851 en route to Denpasar, Bali from Kuala Lumpur, but by the time this post is published, I would probably be lounging in the pool overlooking the rice paddy fields in Ubud.

I took the KLIA Express from KL Air Terminal as it’s the fastest mode of transportation (and most economical) for a single-person journey to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. KLIA Express boasts about its punctuality, and I have yet to experience any issues with its timing.

Airport

28 minutes later, I arrived at the airport and immediately went straight to the business class check-in to retrieve my boarding pass. Security and passport clearance were a breeze as usual with KLIA’s biometric passport gate checks.

Malaysia Airlines Regional Golden Lounge

Without further ado, I went to Malaysia Airlines Regional Golden Lounge and without a minute to spare, I ordered my go-to hot latte and a glass of sparkling wine on the side. The one gripe that I had with the regional lounge is that they do not have champagne available which their international business and first-class lounge carry. So, if you’re thinking of quenching your thirst with champagne, you will not get it in the regional lounge for Malaysia Airlines.

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Coffee and tea bar. 
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Flight information board in the Malaysia Airlines Regional Golden Lounge. Please note that announcements will not be made in the lounge so it’s the passengers responsibilities to keep themselves updated regarding their flights.
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The view of the runway from the Golden Lounge is impressive. 
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Hot latte featuring my passport.

I only had 20 minutes to spend in the lounge before my gate was open and thankfully, it was just a five minutes’ walk away from the lounge.

Pre-Boarding

Priority boarding is one of the best privileges when you’re flying premium and with my Enrich Silver Status, I get to board at the same time premium class passengers do, regardless of my travel class. Find out more about their Enrich Program here!

I selected seat 1F (window seat, first row) and there were only 3 other passengers in the business class cabin on this flight – perfect. While waiting for the rest of the passengers to board, I was already comfy in my seat and was served a glass of guava juice and a cold towel to refresh myself. I thought a warm towel would do the job better but nonetheless it was a hot day and I needed to cool myself down.

Food

Ten minutes into boarding, my flight attendant came with the menu and of course, I asked whether they would serve alcohol on this flight – lo and behold, they do and I, of course, ordered champagne to kick start this holiday. I was slightly bummed they did not carry the brands of champagne they normally do on their wide-bodied aircrafts but hey – I’ll take what I’ll get.

Here’s a shot of the menu:

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Business Class menu.

I ordered the roast chicken which came with a basic garden salad as the entrée, and coconut lychee mousse as dessert. Roast chicken was slightly salty but cooked through and was not dry. I wish I opted for the beef rendang instead, though.

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Roast chicken, bread, garden salad, and coconut lychee mousse.

My lovely flight attendant was attentive to my drinking habit, as I never noticed that my glass was ever empty.

In Flight Entertainment:

Malaysia Airlines in-flight entertainment system’s catalogue is not as extensive as it should be but for a three-hour flight, I think it would be enough for any traveller to stay entertained for a decent amount of time. I skimmed through the movies catalogue and I was not attracted to any of the titles that were available, so I ended up listening to their jazz music library and spent the bulk of my time reading and catching up on some work.

If you’re seated at the first row in business class on their 737 fleet, it requires a little bit of work to set up your IFE. It’s located in between the two seats and you have to detach the screen by pushing it inwards, triggering the mechanical spring which would then push the IFE out of its compartment. It needs a little bit of oiling, though.

Seat:

You would expect a great amount of comfort with your seat in their business class cabin. It has a 42” pitch, more than enough for a regional product. The seat’s reclining system is manually operated however, so don’t expect your seat to recline automatically. Business class passengers would receive a small pillow and a blanket, but no amenity kit which I do not think was a big of a deal considering the flight duration.

Flight Attendants:

Malaysia Airlines takes prides in its warm hospitality and friendliness, and I can attest to this statement. There was only one flight attendant for the four of us passengers in the business class cabin but she was attentive to all our needs. I felt comfortable and happy with her friendly and warm service.

Landing:

30 minutes before landing, the co-pilot announced our current flight’s status and the approximate time for touchdown which was approximately around 3:30p.m. At around 3:35p.m, we touched down at Denpasar-Bali Airport, and the landing was smooth and effortless.

Overall:

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I was generally impressed with my experience with flying business class on Malaysia Airlines for the third time in the span of less than 4 months and needless to say, my expectations were always met.

However, the only issue I had with the flight was the food. It was quite underwhelming, but it was not terrible. It’s not something I would eat unless I was really hungry.

They make up for it with their excellent service and it definitely left a good impression on me and I would definitely suggest their regional business class product if you are curious.

Til then, stay hydrated!

Much love,

Peter

All photos taken on iPhone X

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class Review ( Kuala Lumpur – Brisbane )

On my recent trip to Brisbane last month, I had the opportunity to try out Malaysia Airlines reinvigorated business class seats, debuting their fully-flat beds on all their A330 fleet from Kuala Lumpur to Australia. I was on MH135 en route to Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and MH134 on the return flight back to Malaysia.

On both legs of the journey, I selected seat 5D which had direct aisle access. Seats 2K, 4K & 7K do not have direct aisle access, so do keep that in mind if you’re thinking of flying on their A330 Business Class fleet.

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Seats

Seat 5D, with my trusted Herschel travel backpack !

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Direct aisle access from my seat, 5D.

Ample leg room to shift around in your seat. The seat fully reclines into a flat-bed, conjoining with an ottoman that’s situated right under the in-flight-entertainment screen. The seat can be adjusted with a simple control setting on the side panel, and including buttons to control the mood lighting & massage feature.

On the same side area, you’re able to find a USB power outlets, in flight entertainment remote, and a small pocket for storage – enough to fit a standard sized smart phone.


Food & Beverages

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On the flight to Brisbane, I selected the fruits meal and a glass of smoothie as it was a morning flight, and I knew beforehand I was going to have a big breakfast in the Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge so I was not going to gorge on more food on board the flight. Fruits were fresh and had enough variety to keep me happy and satisfied.

My kind flight attendant even offered to give me an extra plate as he thought growing teens need to eat more fruits these days. I happily obliged, and my tummy sang in unison.

I was served a generous amount of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2005 throughout the whole flight, although I did not take any pictures of me partaking in hedonistic pleasures – rest assured, I was very happy and amused.

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Of course, it would not be a complete flight without the legendary Malaysia Airlines chicken & beef satay, downed with another glass of champagne. I unashamedly asked for refills, twice. 


Amenity Kit & Entertainment

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The amenity kit came in with basic toiletries from Aigner, eyeshade & a pair of stockings. No pajamas, though – which I found lacking for a long haul flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. The Aigner bag itself was sturdy & minimalistic; fitting my current aesthetic.

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The Good Place on Netflix.

I skimmed through their in-flight entertainment, and it was updated with recently released films & up to date shows, however I came in prepared with my own entertainment – my iPad with pre-downloaded shows on Netflix. The display was responsive, although not as responsive as the ones on the A380 & A350. However, the screen size made up for the lack in receptivity which made my brief experience in the IFE satisfying. Most of the times, I used the IFE to check our plane’s current status in the air.

My next door neighbor seemed to enjoy his in flight entertainment service – I can’t help but laugh myself when I heard him laugh from watching a show on the IFE.

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Overall

I had a great & memorable experience.

All in all, my experience was memorable and comfortable. The service I was given the moment I checked in at the counter, to the times when I was chilling in the Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge until I disembarked from the plane 8 hours later, was  indeed pleasant and enjoyable.

The Malaysia Airlines Business Class experience that I had, left a nice imprint in me and it signified an improvement in the direction it is heading, albeit a few improvements could be added for a better overall experience for business travelers.

I am a leisure traveler, hence my experience was gauged and assessed mostly in terms of comfort and flexibility.

Stay hydrated & blessed !
Peter.

All photos were shot on iPhone X.