Review: Etihad Business Class 777-300 (AUH-LHR)

Etihad Business Class 777-300

This is the seventh and last post in an Etihad to Abu Dhabi trip report.


After a relaxing time in the Etihad Premium Lounge it was time to try out my second Etihad Business Class product of the trip – this time on their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

I arrived at the gate after boarding had already commenced but there was no line for priority boarding so I was soon on the jet bridge looking at the aircraft that I was about to board.

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 013Etihad Boeing 777-300ER

The line on the jet bridge was short and moved very quickly ( I know a few airlines that could learn from whatever it is Etihad do to keep things moving) so it wasn’t long before I was inside the Etihad Business Class cabin.

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 1.1Etihad Business Class 777-300 Abu Dhabi to London

Cabin/ Seat

The Etihad Business Class cabin on the 777-300ER is laid out in a 1-2-1 formation similar to that found on their Airbus A380 aircraft which I reviewed last week.

etihad-business-class-777-seat-map

I had seat 9K which meant that I had a seat close to the window and with a table area acting as a buffer between me and the aircraft aisle:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 1Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 2Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

The seat was comfortable and felt private without being claustrophobic and I managed to get a seat with 3 full windows to look out of:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 3Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

The table looks a bit like an afterthought in the way it’s stowed….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 15

….but, when it’s down, it’s definitely sturdy and doesn’t flap around and bend like tables I’ve had in a number of other Business Class cabins. It’s a good size too with comfortably enough room for an 11″ MacBook Air with room left over should you need to use a mouse:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 16

There were, however, a few issues:

  • When the seat was in bed mode it was just about long enough for me (6ft tall) but, I suspect, anyone taller would find it a bit cramped – it definitely felt like there was less space than on the A380.
  • The foot-stool is a fixed piece of furniture and, because the distance between this and the seat isn’t that great, it limits where you can place your feet when the seat isn’t in bed mode.

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 4Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

Etihad have attempted to make up for this by placing a foot rest under the foot-stool….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 5

…and, while this does work to a good degree, this isn’t the most elegant of solutions.

  • The biggest issue with the seat area is the lack of storage space. Unlike on the A380 there are no storage bins by the windows, so you’re left to use the gaps between the furniture and the fuselage to store your items:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 14Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 13Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

I’m pretty sure this isn’t ideal for take-off and landing but all the other storage areas are way too small and are all labeled “no stowage during taxi, take-off and landing“:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 11Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 12Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

Quite simply, if you don’t use the floor there doesn’t appear to be anywhere you can store anything at all – and that’s very poor for a Business Class cabin.

There are other issues too but, just like on Etihad’s A380, they are dependant on the row you find yourself in.

Just like on the A380 it’s important that you choose your Business Class seats carefully on Etihad’s 777-300. The window seats in the odd-numbered rows are like the one I had: close to the window and protected from the aircraft aisle by a table area. But the even-numbered rows are different.

The window seats in the even-numbered rows have their table area between the seat and the window leaving the seat (and the passenger in it) exposed to the aisle….like in British Airways Club World:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 6Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 7Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seat

These seats are nowhere near as private as the window seats in the odd-numbered rows and are far less desirable.

It’s just as important to be careful which seats you select when it comes to the 2 seats in the centre of the Business Class cabin.

If you’re traveling as a couple it’s the odd-numbered rows that have the more desirable seats – they’re closer together and have table areas separating them from the aircraft aisle….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 10Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seats

….while the seats in the even-numbered rows have the table areas in between them and are considerably more exposed to the aisle:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 9Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seats

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 8Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Seats

Clearly, in the grand scheme of things, these are all first word problems and comparatively insignificant but, if you’re paying good money (or good miles) for your seat you may as well pick a good one.

Entertainment & Connectivity

The entertainment system on the Etihad 777-300s is a little different to the offering on their A380 but seems equally good.

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 17.1Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Entertainment

There were a good number of movies, TV shows and albums to choose from and there’s an option to connect your own media devices to your personal screen:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 17.2Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Entertainment

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 20Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Connectivity

The remote control is stowed next to the seat controls at the side of the seat……

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 19Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Entertainment

….and it comes in particularly useful when using the search function that comes with the onboard entertainment software:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 22Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Entertainment

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 18Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Entertainment

The seat comes with a multi-country power port, a USB port and, what I think may be an ethernet port but I can’t be sure:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 21Etihad Business Class 777-300ER – Power and USB ports

The Etihad 777-300ER comes fully equipped with over-water WiFi and costs between $11.95 and $21.95 depending on how long you’d like access to the internet.

Etihad Business Class A380

On this flight the internet was decidedly better than what I has on the A380 flying into Abu Dhabi and I even managed to pay via PayPal (something which proved impossible on my previous flight).

The connection didn’t drop and the speeds, while not great, were good enough for getting some blogging done and for catching up on emails.

Food/Drinks

Before departure the cabin crew came around with a choice of Champagne, water or orange juice and, shortly after that, took meal orders and orders for post-take off drinks.

Etihad-business-class-777-menu-1Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Menu

Etihad-business-class-777-menu-2

Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Menu

I chose the white crab and avocado starter which was very nice indeed….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 129Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Starter

…followed by the Fillet Steak for my main course:

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 134Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Main Course

The steak was tender and cooked just about as well as you can expect on an aircraft. It wasn’t anywhere approaching medium – medium/rare as I would normally have it but I knew in advance what to expect so I wasn’t disappointed.

To finish off the meal I had an espresso, a glass of dessert wine and the “Um Ali”….which I chose purely because I wanted to find out what it was…..

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 144Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Dessert

It turns out it’s a creamier version of bread and butter pudding and wasn’t bad at all.

Amenities

An amenity kit was waiting for me at my seat when I got on the plane and was similar in all but color to the one I received on my A380 flight on the way out (and this kit had a Luxe guide to Hong Kong instead of London)….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 153Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Amenity Kit

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 154Etihad Business Class 777-300 – Amenity Kit

If those are too hard to read, here’s a list of contents:

  • Sleep pack – socks and eyeshades
  • Dental pack – toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Care pack – cotton pads, ear buds and emery board
  • Skincare – facial moisturizer and lip balm
  • Ear plugs

All products by Scaramouche and Fandango

Service

The service was very friendly and, while attentive in parts, wasn’t quite as polished as on the A380 flight a couple of days previously.

For reasons I’m not entirely clear on and despite the fact this was a daytime flight, the aircraft shades were left closed for most of the flight. On then positive side this had the effect of keeping a very child-heavy cabin reasonably quiet while on the negative side it meant that we saw less of the cabin crew.

Still, given the choice between noisy kids or less visible cabin crew I’ll take the latter every time!

One other thing I noticed was an interesting little diversion that our route took….

etihad-business-class-777-300-review - 099

….I’m assuming that right turn that took us further north was to avoid over flying Syria…..a wise decision if that was the reason! 🙂

Bottom Line

Had I not had such a fantastic experience on the A380 two days before I probably would have been a lot more upbeat about this flight than I have been.

In truth it was a very nice experience and better than a lot of other Business Class flights I’ve taken….but it wasn’t as good as I now know Etihad can be.

The crew were very good (if not as polished as on the A380) and the food wasn’t bad at all but the seat and the area around the seat could be a lot better. The “Business Suite” that Etihad has installed on the A380 and on their Dreamliners is a vastly better product and makes the seat on the 777-300 seem old and tired.

The lack of storage space is annoying and there’s absolutely no excuse for that. Even American Airlines has  managed to install a Business Class seat in its 777-300s that has more storage…and those seats have more room for the taller amongst us too.

The Etihad Business Class product on their 777-300s is perfectly ok but, if you’re looking for something better than “ok”, book on to their A380’s – that’s where the quality truly lies.

6 COMMENTS

  1. You idiot the only reason there was storage bins on the side was because it was on the upper deck of the a380 and the curve in the ceiling means that there can’t be seats placed there and the 777 product is still a lot better than American the only difference is Americans is brand new, if you really want service in business class Singapore air is the way to go

    • Ah yes, Internet bravery rearing its head again. Why the need for the insult? Does it make you feel big and clever? And who cares why there’s a difference between the A380 seat I tried and the 777? The point is that there is a difference and it’s a marked one. Fact. Also, if you think that the only difference between the seat/seat area on Etihad’s 777-300s and American’s equivalent is that American’s is newer then you need to have a rethink. They’re noticeably different and American’s reverse herringbone makes much better use of the area and has a more spacious feel.

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