The business-class experience on Etihad Airways is about to get even better.
The Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based carrier unveiled Monday its highly anticipated new cabins that’ll be installed on its new batch of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Specifically, Etihad will outfit the planes in a two-cabin configuration, with 32 all-new, business-class pods and 271 economy seats.
In the forward cabin, flyers will likely be impressed by the Collins Aerospace Elements suite product that Etihad installed. These pods build on the incredibly popular Super Diamond product that Eithad already flies on its Airbus A350-1000 jets, but it adds a bunch of bells and whistles that make this the nicest business-class seat in Etihad’s fleet.
These improvements include a taller privacy door, more storage areas, a 17.3-inch 4K entertainment screen with Bluetooth connectivity and a larger, more spacious bed.
In economy class, travelers can expect an industry-standard 3-3-3 configuration, as well as 13.3-inch 4K entertainment screens with Bluetooth connectivity and a USB charging port.
Another exciting improvement is the installation of Viasat’s Ka-band Wi-Fi, which is known to be among the speediest and more reliable inflight internet systems in the sky.
Though it’s been an open secret for nearly a year, it’s great to see Etihad formally unveil this new business-class product. The news comes just a few days after Starlux Airlines, the Taiwanese luxury airline startup, began flying this product to the U.S.
Starlux was the launch customer for the Elements suite, and it’s already receiving rave reviews from flyers (myself included). I have flown nearly every style of business-class seat on the market, and I’d say this one is of the world’s best — great news for Etihad’s premium passengers.
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However, Etihad’s version of the Elements suite isn’t as spacious or as tech-forward as Starlux’s. Etihad opted not to install an enclosed storage closet (just a drawer); it also didn’t include the touchscreen seat-control panel. Furthermore, Etihad’s 17.3-inch TV screens are much smaller than the 24-inch ones that you’ll find on Starlux.
Unfortunately, Etihad’s new cabins will only be installed on future Dreamliners, three of which are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2023. In total, the airline has orders for 32 more Dreamliners. The carrier didn’t announce a retrofit program for its existing fleet of 39 Dreamliners, which will continue to fly with their legacy, above-average product.
That said, Etihad recently debuted a revamped onboard experience for those sitting in the pointy end of the plane.
This includes tableware and bedding from the renowned Armani/Casa fashion house, along with more affordable Wi-Fi pricing. These upgrades are now available across Etihad’s existing fleet and will be rolled out to the new Dreamliners as they are delivered.