Airline Review: Etihad Airways (long haul Economy)

When we flew from Abu Dhabi to Zurich, we got the chance to review the Etihad Airways (EY) Economy Class. Before, we only flew Business Class with Etihad, which was a great experience. However, even the Economy Class was very good. On the short night flight, the catering was very solid. The crew did a good job and the amenity kit was a nice touch. All in all, a really good experience.

In the past, we were lucky enough to review Etihad Airways’ premium class service when flying from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta and the other way round. However, not all our flights are in Business Class, so this time we review the Economy Class of Etihad Airways in an Airbus A330-300 jet with a three class configuration and a 2-4-2 arrangement (2-3-2 in the last rows) in Economy Class.

  • Airplane: Airbus A330-300
  • Cabin Class: Economy
  • Daytime: Night
  • Food: Snack Box / Breakfast
  • Seat Pitch: 32 Inch (84 Centimeter)
  • Seat Width: 17.5 Inch (44 Centimeter)

We went for one window and one aisle seat which made flying pretty comfortable as we did not have to take care of others sitting in the same row. That’s especially nice at a nighttime flight like ours from Abu Dhabi to Zurich.

Comfortable and clean seats

The seats in Economy Class aboard the Etihad Airways A330-300 are pretty comfortable. They have a nice color arrangement and look pretty decent.

Arragenement in the Etihad Airways A330-300

Arragenement in the Etihad Airways A330-300

Also, the seat width is pretty fine with 17.5 Inch (~ 44 Centimeter). The Seat pitch with an average of 32 Inch (~ 81 Centimeter) is okay, but worse than with other airlines we already reviewed like Malaysia Airlines. However, seating itself is comfortable as the seats are neither too soft nor too hard.

Economy Class seats in the Etihad Airways airplane

Economy Class seats in the Etihad Airways airplane

The leather headrest is adjustable and makes a good night sleep possible. Another nice touch is the special pillow that may be used as a normal one as well as like a neck pillow. Moreover, the blanket that you’ll get in Economy Class when flying with Etihad Airways is pretty good as well.

Even though we did not have the time to watch a movie as we wanted to catch some sleep, the In-Flight-Entertainment aboard the Etihad Airways A330-300 is pretty decent as well. The screen is modern and large, the choice of films, music and shows is very good – the best one we ever had in Economy Class in our flight reviews so far.

Express food and a good breakfast

I was a little surprised that Etihad decided to offer two meals on a flight with a duration of less than seven hours, especially considering it was a nighttime service.

The Express Snack is a great idea for short nighttime flights

The Express Snack is a great idea for short nighttime flights

However, I really liked the idea to serve a so-called “Express Snack” including a sandwich, nuts, apples, a little biscuit and a bottle of water. You may also choose another drink before sleeping. Something similar was offered when we reviewed Malaysia Airlines. A little more than one hour before landing, the second food service started.

Breakfast tray in the Etihad Airways Economy Class

Breakfast tray in the Etihad Airways Economy Class

As nighttime flights from Abu Dhabi to Europe land early in the morning, we were offered breakfast. You may choose your main dish from a menu (that’s not very common for Economy Class) when flying Etihad Airways. We tried the Omelet and the Calzone with Orange.

The former was a little boring, while the sweet Calzone was surprisingly good. We also liked the appetizers. Over the flight, the crew of Etihad served drinks twice. Each time you had a free choice of cold and warm drinks including alcoholic beverages.

The special treats when flying Etihad

Good seating, a friendly and helpful crew and very good catering for Economy Class. Is there anything more Etihad Airways could do to make a nighttime service more enjoyable?

A special treat: Noise cancelling headphones

A special treat: Noise cancelling headphones

Well, at least they tried. A very nice treat are the noise cancelling headphones for example. They are not comparable to the ones in Business Class, but the sound quality is at least decent. Moreover, the amenity kit offered includes a tooth brush, earplugs and socks. Not quite Business Class quality, but absolutely sufficient.

All this together made us really enjoy our time aboard the Etihad Airways flight. Sure, Business Class is an even better experience with fully flat beds, but considering the price, the Economy Class of Etihad Airways is a very good choice as well.


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39 Comments on “Airline Review: Etihad Airways (long haul Economy)”

  1. Pingback: Airline Rating: Etihad Airways (long haul Economy) | travelux

  2. I just flew Etihad to and from JFK and AUH. Our plane there was the same as you flew but on the way back it was a little less updated – no plugs to charge phones and no extra amenities like the noise canceling headphones. Did your flight leave on time? We were delayed by several hours each way. 4 hours on the way there and 3 on the way back. I read somewhere else they had the same issue. Was wondering what your experience was?

    • Well, Etihad does have some older airplanes in the fleet. Getting on of these is pretty unlucky though. However, our flights were on time, but I know about the issues with delays. This usually occurs due to the weather conditions at Abu Dhabi Airport (sand storms). I was lucky enough to never be affected, but sometimes this delays flights heavily 🙂

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  4. I am looking at different airlines to travel from Sydney to Europe early next year. Have flown the route with SQ/TG/EK and CX but this review was helpful. They don’t have premium economy yet, do they…!?

    • Great to hear! Etihad offers a very good product indeed. However, I’d personally prefer Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific due to the “better” length of the flights. From Abu Dhabi to Europe, you usually only have six hours to catch some sleep. That’s not perfect in my opinion.

      Sadly, they don’t. However, the normal Economy is better than some Premium Economy products I’ve seen so far…

  5. All very helpful. We’re thinking of changing airlines travelling from London to bangkok. We usually travel with Eva Air. Does anyone know what Eithiad are like with young children. We’re looking for night time flights to and fro bangkok because it makes it bit easier as our little girl is only 4. She is normally quite good but does get fed up on the day time flights. Regards.

    • What I’ve seen so far, Etihad does a great job when it comes to accomodating children. They serve special meals and pay special attention to the needs of children. There’s also a night time flight from London via Abu Dhabi to Bangkok, so that may be a good alternative for you 🙂

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  7. miserable airways , not recommended
    my family suffered cold and hunger most of the flight time , the unfriendly crew members told us there was no blankets enough left !!! and that food run out !!! they kept on feeding us the cra**y sweet pop corn till we all became kind of sick
    crew is super not friendly , harsh and rude
    I would never recommend this shaggy airlines to anyone I care for

    • Thanks for sharing your impression of Etihad Airways. Actually, I never heard such a bad story about EY so far. Also, I never had an unfriendly crew or a lack of food/blankets on any of my flights. Yet, sometimes even the best airlines can fail miserably. It’s always great to hear other experiences, so thank you very much for commenting!

      • I have a worst story that I will tell you when I draft it. No food, rude staff, unfair treatelment at flight transfer desk for non Arabs, lost luggage 2 days and upon receiving it was all broken and ripped. On top of that I’m still dealing with my claim for 4 weeks. Never recommend it, unfortunately emirates was full so I had no other option but avoid at all costs

      • Hey Massod, Thank you for your comment. As far, I personally didn’t have any bad experiences of this sort on my Etihad flights. I hope that everything will be sorted out and you will be compensated accordingly 🙂

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    • Thanks 🙂 Etihad is a very good airline, but not everything is perfect! We’ll have another review coming up in just a short time for another airplane. Stay tuned! 🙂

  9. I can confirm everything you wrote, and more. I flew Etihad Economy from Chicago to Abu Dhabi and despite the fact that this is a very, very long flight, and very full, I was comfortable the whole time. The film selection was great (watched two movies and a couple documentaries, plus some news), the earphones way better than most in economy. I also managed to sleep several hours, which was an added bonus. We were given two hot meals, snacks, and a very nice sandwich somewhere in between. The crew was efficient and patient with kids and grownups alike 🙂
    Just a word of warning for vegetarians: if at all possible, do state your meal preferences at booking time. Although there were vegetarian choices in the hot meals, the elderly Indian couple sitting in front of me were unable to get an alternative for the turkey meat sandwich…

    • Thank you very much for sharing your impressions! The Etihad Airways Econoym Class definitely is among the best products on the market. Talking about Vegetarian food, Etihad is definitely not top-notch. I always find the Vegetarian options somewhat dull. Maybe there’ll be improvement in this regard some time soon 🙂

  10. Pingback: Airline Review: Etihad Airways (long haul Economy) | travelux

  11. I flew EY 473 to Abu Dhabi from Singapore with transit on EY 651 to Cairo on 22 April 2016. They lost my luggage. The trouble is that the Abu Dhabi Airport is so massive and their ground crew not up to it. If you transit through Abu Dhabi, you have a high chance of losing your luggage. And if your destination is Cairo, good luck to you if you are not Arabic speaking. No one there cares.

    • Thanks a lot for sharing your impressions! I’ll be flying to Cairo in December and will release an airport guide afterwards. Hopefully, travellers will have an easier time with this one. I hope you got your luggage back and you’ll enjoy more relaxed journeys in the future! 🙂

  12. The Worst service and worst experience. I ask everyone not to fly with Eithad Airways ever. The national airline of UAE and they can not provide you a single spare plane if something goes wrong with plane while you are in Abu dhabi . I cane see there are some other big new plane sitting there but we have to delay almost 12 hrs. And 2 and half hours inside the plane with no air. Very rude crew. No one have knowledge whats going on. On the ground crew have no idea , some of them can’t even speak English. No compensation for the flight delayed just one meal voucher worth $10.00. No money back from for the ticket. No free voucher for future flight. worst in customer service. And the biggest monopoly is that no other airline can is there in Abudahbi so you have any other choice.So i suggest everyone not to fly with Eithad Airways.

    • Thank you for sharing your impression. I must admit that Etihad handled all my delays and other problems very well so far. Even though the airline is not known for an exceptional service, it is also not half bad. I hope you’ll have better experiences in the future!

  13. Of all the Economy, non-budget flights I have been on, we were able to choose the main dish, usually it being 1 dish from location of departure and the other being a dish from destination. Most of them also serve a snack other than the meal regardless of length, though I have to say that the snack served here is much better, as the others usually only provide some nuts. However, I recall a flight(either Emirates or British Airways) serving a Turkey Ham Sandwich as the snack, which is comparable.

    Between Emirates and Etihad, which do you think is better btw?

    • Absolutely, Etihad is superior especially when it comes to quality and also the quantity of the second snack (at most times a sandwich). Turkish Airlines for example is another airline with very good catering. That said, I can’t really compare Emirates and Etihad as I never flew with Emirates (somewhat weird after flying over 100 airlines, but I somewhat never had the chance to :D)

  14. While making my booking I had requested for Vegetarian meal for Amd-Abu dhabi-sfo. In both the flights initially they did not served me veg. Meal. They told I had not requested hence, when I told I had already requested at the time of booking then they told me that you must have chNged your seat no. I told no it is not then finally they arranged for veg. Meal. It happened in both the flights.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! So far, I didn’t have any problems with my meal preferance on Etihad flights, but mistakes seem to happen from time to time. I hope your next experience will be better 🙂

  15. Hey Moritz,
    Thanks for the review. And also could you please specify how are the seats in A330-300. I heard that they have cradle styled seats with very less recline

    • Hey Sagnik, personally I didn’t see any difference in the seats or recline in the 330-200 / 330-300 / 340 or 777. It’s pretty much all the same seat, which is reasonably comfortable. Only the 787 and 380 have a better Economy Class!

  16. ETIHAD Airways Senior Management are in the Business of Unprofessional conduct & Deliberate deception whom provides Inaccurate online Web flight details; Deceptive flight changes Without notifying already booked passengers; Distorts False aircraft details on their booking Website & Misleads clients & passengers with False advice/expectations…..
    ETIHAD gives the airline industry an Untruthful image & brings their own Airline into Disrepute…..
    Recent Obvious Cost Cutting (Without prior Notification to already Booked passengers) including removal of Top shelf drinks & Food menu from Inflight catering/Lounges and removal of Emirates Palace tasting menu from the Lounges = has already Resulted in Passengers changing their Loyalties to another airline such as Qatar, Singapore & Emirates….
    Recommend Avoid ETIHAD – as this Airline are only interested in Quantity/Turnover where Clients are Only treated as another Number & have absolutely No interest in Quality nor your Repeat business…..
    If you want to save yourself from much Heartache – for your future Travels recommend you find an Airline whom actually treat you as a Person; are Quality driven in terms of customer service; and genuinely Care about their Clients return as a Repeat Customer…..
    Etihad is nowhere near the HIGH STANDARD of other more COMPETITIVE airlines.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. Was on a recent trip from JFK-AUH and back. Worst food and very inconsiderate air hostesses. Definitely part of cost cutting measures. AVOID!

  17. Great airline
    I flew with them from Melbourne to Dusseldorf via Abu DhabI and it was a great flight.
    The only downside was the 2 hour layover in Abu Dhabi because when we landed we had to taxi around for 20 minutes (due to huge construction) I was wondering if the pilot knew where he was going. As soon as we got out of the plane we had to get into a bus which took 20 mins to get to the terminal in the terminal we had to walk for 30 minsurance beffort getting into another bus which took 20 minstrel to get to our con nesting flight to Dusseldorf.
    Melbourne to Abu Dhabi was in a B777-300er (a very loud aeroplane) flight time was 14 hours and 5 mintestinal.
    Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf wa as in a B787-9 (very quiet so we didn’t recognize the flight time) flight time from Abu Dhabi to dusseldorf wa as 7 hours.
    Would I recommend Etihad airways?
    Yes I would.

    • Hey David, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’d say that in-flight, Etihad is really recommendable, while the airport experience (especially the long taxiways) in Abu Dhabi leaves a lot to be desired…

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