Review of Etihad Airways flight Abu Dhabi Melbourne in First

Airline Etihad Airways
Flight EY460
Class First
Seat 3A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 12:50
Take-off 24 Nov 16, 22:20
Arrival at 25 Nov 16, 18:10
EY   #9 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 231 reviews
Rewardflying
By GOLD 3407
Published on 29th January 2017
photo ey460 cover

Anyone who wouldn't be excited for this experience is either incapable of excitement or has flown it so many times it's commonplace. I'm neither.

One of the many thrills flying the Etihad A380 in first class is their onboard shower. This flight had only two occupants in first so I could use it anytime. About 90 minutes prior to landing I decided to take the plunge. The Food and Beverage Manager and my main flight attendant on this flight, Yohaane, requested a couple minutes to prepare the shower.

Instructions were given. Five minutes of water and when the lights turn only red, I had one minute left.

photo ey460 cabin lav 7

Taking a shower is something you typically do in the privacy of your home or when traveling in a hotel. Not on a plane. If fact it means you must get naked on a plane. What if we hit clear air turbulence and you get thrown to the ceiling and knocked unconscious? Do I really need a shower?

I've been on many planes and it's not something that's required.

What the hell, just do it. I undress and press the button to start. Water started to come out the shower head then in a moment it stops.

Hmmm. I press it again. Nothing. I wait. Press again. Nothing. Ok then. I get dressed.

Upon exiting the lavatory on the upper deck of this beautiful A380 Yohaane asks how I liked the shower. He looks devastated when I explain what happened. I say no big deal thinking to myself I did take a shower on a plane because I was actually in a shower on a plane and lived to tell about it. He says he'll reset the system and I can try again. I say that's ok, I don't really need a shower. He says please!

Yohaane is by far the best flight attendant I've had in my close to two million air miles. How could I say no? He requests 5 minutes to reset and prepare the shower. I monitor turbulence carefully while he's gone. He returns, it's time.

I undress, get in, press the button and water starts to dribble out. I contemplate what to do. Should I use the shampoo? Nah. Just rinse off. In the time it took to make that decision the water stopped. I press the button again. Nothing. Press it again. Dribble. Press it again. Nothing.

photo ey460 cabin lav 8

I get dressed, not needing to dry off.

What happens next is why Yohaane and the other attendant in the cabin, a young lady named Rylin, hold the record for world's best flight attendants in my book.

As I opened the lavatory door, they are standing at the door armed with 6 liter sized bottles of water, prepared just in case I got all soaped up and the water shut down.

Both were disappointed I did not get to use the shower. I insisted it was no big deal. Upon landing an Etihad representative met me in the jetway and took my contact information as the flight manager reported the incident. I was compensated for the shower malfunction.

Class airline.

A number of hours were spent in Etihad's First Class lounge. You can read about that here in case you missed it.

photo ey460 cabin aisle 1

I'm in!

The cabin is stunning. With warm natural tones the cabin oozes elegance and not bling.

You're upstairs on the A380. At the front of the upstairs cabin is a staircase down to the lower level, where you can see another stairway to the flight deck.

photo ey460 cabin stairs

To the left is "The Residence" which was unoccupied. On the right are two large lavatories. One with the dysfunctional shower and the other just as big but without the shower. That one would turn out to be the dressing room.

photo ey460 cabin lav 2photo ey460 cabin lav 4

Let's take a peak at business class.

photo ey460 bc cabin 2

Not an Apartment but looks inviting for a comfortable long haul trip.

photo ey460 bc cabin 1

Between the galley behind first class and in front of business class is the bar. This photo is before departure. I was so comfortable in my suite I never went back during the flight!

photo ey460 cabin back lounge 2

Let's take a tour of my Apartment.

photo ey460 apart 1photo ey460 apart 2photo ey460 apart 3

Some Apartments are dressed in beige leather while others are a chocolate brown. If you like beige get 3A, darker get 3K, or just roll the dice.

photo ey460 apart 5

I chose a rear facing seat. Yohaane seemed puzzled and offered a forward facing seat claiming most don't like facing backwards. I like it.

photo ey460 apart 4

This is not your typical airline seat. You get a mini-bar.

photo ey460 apart mini-bar

And a personal closet to hang your clothes.

photo ey460 apart closet

Along with a well stocked vanity which no doubt is very handy for the ladies.

photo ey460 apart vanity 2photo ey460 apart vanity 1photo ey460 apart vanity 3

Multiple seat adjusts via an electronic touch pad.

photo ey460 seat acc 2

Or the old fashioned route.

photo ey460 seat acc 1

Yohaane offered to make my bed in one Apartment and I could sit in a different Apartment. I had my choice!

photo ey460 apart sleep 1

It is impossible to get a better sized bed on an airplane, unless say you are in the Residence on Etihad's A380. I settled for this.

photo ey460 apart sleep 2

The little touches do make a difference.

So it sounds like the a perfect seat and bed. Not so fast. Check out my ratings here on rewardflying.com

The amenity kit provided is what I can best describe as the travel shaving kit my dad used when I was a kid, a long time ago that was.

photo ey460 amenity kit 1photo ey460 amenity kit 2

The FA Rylin was excited to tell me about an essential oil provided in the kit that assured a good night's sleep. Maybe I should have listened to her.

Inside the kit was a pouch of Omorovioza skin care products.

photo ey460 amenity kit 3

And if you wanted a shave, head over to the lavatory for the convenient mirror.

photo ey460 cabin lav 6photo ey460 cabin lav 3

Once on board Yohaane entered the suite with this presentation of my sleepsuit.

photo ey460 amenity 5

More class.

I decided to change before departure. Yohaane stopped me before reaching the lavatory. He took the bag and requested I return to my seat and he would summon me in a minute or two.

He did and escorted me to the proper lavatory. As I entered I found…

photo ey460 fa pjsphoto ey460 fa clothes hang

Yohaane can not be called a flight attendant. He is more like a personal butler. And we haven't even departed yet.

Welcome to Etihad.
photo ey460 welcome screen

Rylin offering some Bollinger, the same as served in the lounge along with an oshibori.
photo ey460 fa champagne

Then Yohaane served some Arabic coffee.
photo ey460 fa coffee

Explaining that you take a sip after taking a bite from the date to cut the bitterness of the coffee.
photo ey460 fa welcome

A card offered a personal greeting from the Cabin Manager.
photo ey460 welcome letter

As you know it's common when flying international first class to have the purser or cabin manager introduce themselves at the beginning of a flight and thank you at the end. This practice is not limited to first class as a number of business class airlines do the same. The cabin manager on this flight was Rupoc Al Kamal. Rupoc was someone who could sit and talk to you as if you've been best friends years. His visits were more than an introduction, he sat down and had a chat. With me not once or twice, but three times and he genuinely appeared to enjoy all of them, as I did.

And he was proud of his crew, for good reason.

The beverage menu was sufficient and not over the top. I selected a bordeaux, which was offered white or red. A misunderstanding wasted a white, don't they know me????



And food



Mark Anthony from Sydney was the in-flight chef and extremely nice. He asked all the questions about what I'd like to eat, when I 'd like to eat as well as when I wanted to shower. My food choices were:

Dinner:
Appetizer: Foie Gras
Main Course: Wagyu Sirloin
Dessert: Textures, 3 items all made from dates

After my short nap I asked for breakfast and selected:
Poached eggs with spinach and mushroom and hash browns

And just before landing, much to their dismay, I requested:
The Etihad Steak Sandwich

Dinner began with an Amuse. It was a candied walnut with dried beetroot and goat cheese. Can I say highlight?

photo ey460 food amuse 1

Next up was a simple lemon sorbet to cleanse the palette.

photo ey460 food amuse 3

The foie gras was tasty but extremely rich and too much. I only ate half.

photo ey460 food app 2

Dinner was served with a choice of breads along with olive oil and butter.

photo ey460 food din 1a

The Wagyu sirloin followed.

photo ey460 food din 2

It was overdone, dry and a disappointment. I'm regretting not having the Emirates Palace at the lounge.

photo ey460 food din 3

Next was the "Texture" dessert.

photo ey460 food des 2

It was fine, but not memorable, at all.

photo ey460 food des 1

After my short nap I ordered breakfast. Nicely poached eggs, it was, well, good for breakfast and even more so on an airplane.

photo ey460 food bk 4

Spinach and mushroom (1).

photo ey460 food bk 1

The Etihad Steak Sandwich before landing was ok as well. Served with ketchup and stone ground mustard with real french fries, so that has to count for something!

photo ey460 food snack 1photo ey460 food snack 2

I was disappointed with the food. Everything was nicely presented, but for me there just wasn't a wow factor in any of the dishes.

A general greeting was sent to all the passengers on this Etihad A380 flight to Melbourne.
photo ey460 ife 2

The monitor is huge. It's mounted on the wall so you feel like you are sitting at home watching the big screen TV.

photo ey460 ife 1

The controller annoyed me, so much so I forgot to take a photo of it. The selector was this little tiny ball that you had to press. If you didn't do it perfectly then it moved the selection frontwards or backwards. Give me a button!

photo ey460 ife 4

The selection was good. I found the current season of "House of Cards" that passed the time away.

photo ey460 ife 3

And what's not to like about this…

Over the Great Australian Bight headed to Melbourne.

photo ey460 ife camera 2

As you've ascertained by now my opinion of this crew was they were incredible. But I'm not done.

Sometime after dinner as I was spaced out watching TV, while the rest of the plane slept, Yohaane knocked on the door. (Numerous times I told him it wasn't necessary to knock, but he still did.) He thought I might like a special cocktail which he prepared for me. It was non-alcoholic. I forgot the ingredients but it might have been the beetroot and apple juice drink on the menu. It was excellent and extremely thoughtful.

photo ey460 fa cocktail

Later as I was waiting for breakfast Yohaane knocked again, and delivered the morning paper.

photo ey460 fa paper

Sometime after breakfast another knock at the door. Yohaane thought I'd like a coffee and some warm cookies.

photo ey460 fa coffee 1photo ey460 flight path

Full review and ratings for this flight are on rewardflying.com

And find more information about Etihad's Premium Services here.
See more

Verdict

Etihad Airways

8.3/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge

8.8/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services9.0

Abu Dhabi - AUH

6.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Melbourne - MEL

6.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Reviews of the incredible experience flying with Etihad in their first class Apartment can be found on many blogs and Youtube videos. My experience was equally gratifying. And the fact that there was a minor issue with the shower, and how the flight crew dealt with it, only exemplifies the extent Etihad will go to treat you as a very special guest. I hope to fly with them again, and pray Yohaane is my Food and Beverage Manager.

Information on the route Abu Dhabi (AUH) Melbourne (MEL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 5 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Abu Dhabi (AUH) → Melbourne (MEL).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Etihad Airways with 8.2/10.

The average flight time is 13 hours and 27 minutes.

  More information

7 Comments

  • Comment 383827 by
    Razza_Pr 212 Comments

    Hello, rewardflying, and thank you for publishing this much-anticipated FR!

    Very unfortunate issue with the on-board shower, though. The first report I've come across which tells me that it was dysfunctional. At least the crew more than made up for it!

    It looks like they did a better job with the steak for their sandwich as opposed to the actual steak they served? That is why I tend to avoid ordering steak on flights, though.

    The closest commercial experience to private aviation, it seems, lacked two key factors (the food, and the comfortable rest). Was there on-board WiFi? Did you try using it?

    Once again, thank you for this FR!

    • Comment 383842 by
      Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

      Hello Razza_PR and thanks once again for reading. The sandwich was better but only marginally. Some day I'll learn my lesson on beef, however that means I would have missed a 5 star meal on Austrian over the summer! They figured out how to cook beef for sure.

      Yes I used the wifi (details on the website full report). I didn't do a speed test but unlike other carriers I was able to send photos and essentially use the internet normally.

  • Comment 383839 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    Happy to read the crew welcomed you with warm hospitality. Taking the time to acknowledge their hard work shows class.

    I'm not an Alain Ducasse graduate but, isn't foie gras supposed to be served seared? A balsamic-caramelized reduction perhaps.

    The shower malfunction is odd for a fairly new bird. Could the crew have checked to see if the one in the residence was working?

    Steak has to be cooked whole, rested, and then sliced to portion it. Otherwise, it looses its natural juices while cooking. The Biryani tends to be their specialty. KE served perfectly crispy fries in economy in my last flight ;)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 383844 by
      Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

      Hi Caribel, thanks for stopping by and reading. Foie Gras can be served cold, as a mousee, pate's etc. Your reference is to sear it on one side which is probably my favorite preparation. Apparently because of the fat content, heating it can be tricky. Probably the reason on an aircraft they served it cold.

      Anyway I'm not sure they checked the residence shower. As a freeloader on an award ticket I wasn't pressing the issue. Yohaane was the one who really wanted me to experience it. Can't compliment that guy enough, the whole crew for that matter. It was the experience of being royalty for 14 hours.

  • Comment 383891 by
    DiegoSS02 69 Comments

    Excellent report!! Despite the showers issue, obviously, the product offered by EY is excellent. Indeed, the FA's seem to be overwhelmingly nice. I guess flying on one of the best first class products in the world totally redifines your concept of what flying and on-board service is. Lucky for you!! (not everybody have the chance to fly in such a first class service).

  • Comment 383955 by
    indianocean GOLD 6749 Comments

    Flying Appartment from AUH to Australia is definitely worth, long enough to enjoy all the facilities onboard: the suite, the seat, the bed, the catering and...........the shower (well, when it functions)

    I just like Etihad butler service. I just wonder how Etihad is not among the Best First Class products. Compared to QR, your report proves that is way better than Emirates and Qatar. Too bad the catering was not good though.

    Thank you for sharing. EY First is on my to do list.

  • Comment 384056 by
    flyingvinny 46 Comments

    Thanks for the Flight Report RewardFlying! I agree with you the EY food is a bit disappointing for F, but the sweet spot is the steak frites from the grill. I like my meat medium and every time it is cooked to perfection.... at 40,000 feet!

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