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

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.

When I Was 7 Days in Down Under

Spoiler alert : the wildlife in Australia are not upside down, much to my disappointment.

I have yet to get over the post-holiday blues from my recent getaway in Brisbane during late spring this year. Fun fact; for the people living in the Northern Hemisphere, did you know that the seasons are switched for those in the Southern Hemisphere ?

I could have not visited Brisbane at a better time, for I had 6 out of 7 days where the Sun was blessing us with warmth and shine, pure bliss for a boy who has difficulties acclimatizing to cold temperatures. 7 days were not enough to truly bask in the wonders and marvels this city has to offer, so I made the most out of this reasonably short trip and here’s what I did:


Kookaburra Showboat Lunch Cruise

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The lunch cruise I went on was the highlight of my first day in Brisbane. I believe the ticket price was $AU60, per adult. I was delighted by the service of my French waitress, who managed to keep my glass of prosecco full at all times.

Their food menu was great and they even cater to people with specific dietary requirements. My favorite was definitely the braised pork belly & the potato salad. The ambiance on board this wooden boat was truly unique. If you are into rustic, antique & aesthetically-pleasing interior designing, don’t miss out on this cruise! They even had a jazz trio on board, serenading the passengers with some heartwarming classics.

The view along the Brisbane River was remarkable. Contemporary and classic Victorian houses dot the riverbank and hillside, contrasting well against the city’s modern skyline. The cruise lasted for 4 hours and by the time we got back to the jetty – the sky was clear and the air was crisp.


Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

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Visiting Brisbane would not be complete if you did not scoot over to catch some koalas and kangaroos frolicking around. I took the Miramar Cruise from the Cultural Pontoon and the journey took about 2 hours before we arrived at Lone Pine. The skipper gave us some insight on a little bit of the city’s history during the cruise and it made the 2 hour ride interesting.

I spent about 2 hours in the sanctuary, walking around at my own pace seeing and admiring the endemic Australian wildlife. I patted a kangaroo on its head and I never knew they were so docile (but I heard they could get quite aggressive when taunted). I had the opportunity to see living koala bears too, and that was scratched off of my bucket  list. I was not brave enough to cuddle one, although you can because I heard you could catch chlamydia from them. Yikes!


Moreton Island Day Trip

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While planning my Brisbane itinerary, I stumbled upon a video in my recommendation list in YouTube (Google Ads analytic does work hard) and it was about Moreton Island. At first, for a boy who has lived 99% of his life on a tropical island; non-tropical islands hardly ever impress me. Why? The waters are usually too cold for me to even dip my foot in it.

I am glad I did the exact opposite and booked a cruise to Moreton Island because I was in awe the whole time. I spent my morning drinking wine and had a decent lunch in one of the restaurants, then for the rest of the day I just laid down on the sand and soaked in the sun. Occasionally, I would sit in the water just along the coast, because the seawater was still too cold to my liking but apart from that – it was truly paradise.


Surfers’ Paradise, Gold Coast

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Surfers’ Paradise

On my second last day, I took a 2 hour train ride from Roma St. Station, which was just in front of my hotel in Brisbane, all the way down to Gold Coast.

I have to admit, Gold Coast was a beautiful city but it is very much designed to cater to tourists and the busyness of the city was too much for me to bear. I decided to lodge in a bar just along the avenue and spent the next few hours, drinking and people watching.


I had an amazing week in Brisbane, and met a lot of interesting individuals for coffee, sharing our travel & life experiences. Traveling at the age of 21 can be daunting and intimidating because it is true. You are basing your expectations off of reviews and experiences you managed to find on the net, so it is natural that we all have our worries and doubts.

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But trust me, one of the best things you could do in your 20s is to actually get out there and experience the world, first hand. I have a tight-knit circle of friends who are currently doing the same, and they are telling me the same thing – traveling changes your perspective. You see things differently as you experience different cultures.

You do it your way, be it budget-friendly or ludicrously luxurious – it is up to you ! I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a little bit more for extra comfort during my travels but that does not mean you get to skimp on yours just because you are on a budget.

Just remember, never cut back on the planning process. Better plans lead to better times, no matter how spontaneous your trips are.

Stay hydrated and blessed !
Peter.

All photos shot on iPhone X.