Review of Etihad Airways flight Abu Dhabi Paris in Business

Airline Etihad Airways
Flight EY037
Class Business
Seat 15G
Aircraft Airbus A350-1000
Flight time 07:30
Take-off 31 Mar 22, 07:30
Arrival at 31 Mar 22, 13:00
EY   #7 out of 72 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 246 reviews
Flight-Report
By GOLD 974
Published on 18th June 2022

It's always a great privilege to be aboard an inaugural flight and even more so when it's a brand new aircraft type and cabin for the carrier. Flight-Report.com was honoured to have been the only French media invited to take part in Etihad Airways' launch of commercial flights with the A350-1000.
  
First ordered in 2008, Etihad's A350s were delayed, then delivered to the airline in 2019 without cabins and remained in storage in Bordeaux as the global pandemic hit drying up demand for long-haul travel overnight. As the global situation began to improve, the small fleet of A350s arrived at home base in Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2021 ready to be outfitted with new cabins, which Etihad had kept a secret until that point. 

The new Etihad A350s were finally ready for commercial passenger service in Spring of 2022, and we were there for the launch! We're happy to share this inaugural flight experience with our community. 


Routing

  • EY032 - Business - Paris ✈ Abu Dhabi - Boeing 787-10 Not available
  • EY037 - Business - Abu Dhabi ✈ Paris - Airbus A350-1000 You are here

It's an early wake-up on the morning of the inaugural flight and the sun had not yet risen as we arrived at the dedicated Etihad Business class entrance in Terminal 3.  


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check-in


Check-in was expedient and courteous with no wait at all. 


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Boarding Pass


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Distances are conveniently short in the Business class check-in area with only a few metres to go through the dedicated passport control and security checkpoint, which use facial recognition technology. 


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Lets have a look at our aircraft for today before heading to the lounge.  

Our superb A350-1000 is registered A6-XWB, a nod to the A350 XWB "eXtra Wide Body" programme name.


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etihad airways lounge


The entrance to the Business class lounge is situation near the escalator that leads to the ground boarding gates on the lower level. 


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The flight information screens intermittently flash a special visual celebrating today's A350 entry into service.  


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The lounge is expansive with many different spaces; however, there is little natural light.  


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The bar area is mostly empty at this early hour.


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The self-service buffet is divided into two areas with cold options presented is small individual format



…whereas hot options can be found separately.



boarding


Our inaugural flight would be boarding from gate 33


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There is a large backdrop of the A350 inaugural visual where passengers could take photos before boarding. 


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The sun has now fully risen as the final bags are being loaded. 


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The Airbus A350 is a very sleek aircraft.


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Two jet-bridges are connected to the aircraft, including a dedicated Business class jet-bridge to door 1L. 

Many Etihad employees are in the jetway welcoming passengers aboard this special flight. 


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on board


Welcome drinks are already being prepared by cabin crew as we step on board the aircraft. 


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Let's begin the aircraft tour by exploring the Economy class cabin. 

The Etihad A350-100 has 327 Economy class seats laid out in the standard 3-3-3 configuration, which gives a comfortable 18" (46 cm) seat width.


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Seats in the standard Economy section have an industry standard 31" (79 cm) pitch, while rows in the forward "Economy Space" section have a generous 34-35" (86-89cm) pitch. 


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Etihad's Economy seats have unique headrests. 


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The size of the entertainment screens are particularly impressive for an Economy cabin. 


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Measuring 13.3" (34 cm), these IFE screens are the largest in Economy in the entire Etihad fleet.  


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All 44 Business class seats can be found between doors 1 and 2. 


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The Etihad logo is prominently featured on both the forward and aft bulkheads. 


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The reverse-herringbone Business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration are an entirely new model for Etihad.


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Seats in the Business cabin are 20" (51 cm) wide.


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Business class seat model aficionados may recognise the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond


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These Super Diamonds are highly customised; however, with many Etihad signature touches and, of course, privacy doors.  


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The large individual entertainment screens measure 18.5" (47 cm).


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The ottoman 


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The aisle-facing armrest is manually adjustable and can be lowered completely to allow easy access in and out of the seat. 


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…it also contains a small storage space, perfect for water bottles. 


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Individual reading light


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Each seat has a coat hook.


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One very modern feature found in this new cabin is wireless charging at every seat. 


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There are also standard AC power outlets as well as USB ports. Several storage areas can be found as well.  


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Seats can be adjusted through touch screen controls or physical buttons.


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For this flight we'll be in seat 15G, a centre aisle seat. 


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There are privacy dividers between the central seats. 


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For this inaugural flight, each business class passenger received a sanitary kit, a First class amenity kit, a Wi-Fi voucher for 350mb, and special commemorative box of chocolates.  


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On settling in, welcome drinks were served by the cabin crew and included water, orange juice, lemon mint drink, or champagne. 


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Ready for an on-time departure!


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The safety video was shown on the individual screens after the main door was closed. 


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A look at the brand new Etihad A350-1000's safety card.


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A video detailing Etihad's environmental commitments followed the safety briefing. 


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The in-flight entertainment system was made available following these videos and included a nice presentation of the destination city.  

The IFE system was available only in English and Arabic, however. 


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We voluntarily moved to a free window seat in the forward Economy cabin to have some window views for take-off. 


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Take-off from runway 31L.


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Passing over Yas Island and Ferrari World.


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in-flight


While the Economy cabin was mostly filled with regular passengers, the Business class cabin was made up of a mix of media and airline executives and employees. Shortly after take-off the Etihad Airways CEO himself, Tony Douglas, gave a small speech in the Business cabin.

Thanks to the A350's very quiet cabin, he didn't even need a microphone. 


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“The Airbus A350 is an absolutely incredible aircraft, and we are proud to introduce it into the Etihad Airways network today. Our teams have worked closely together to craft a product and travel proposition that will ensure every journey with Etihad is a choice well made – both for our guests and for the planet. With highly efficient fuel consumption and CO2 savings, the A350 will support our goals to reduce carbon emissions and deliver an unmatched flight experience for our guests.”
 


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arc moving map system


Etihad Airways are one of the launch customers for Panasonic's new Arc 3D moving map application


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The interface is beautiful and intuitive with several features that can be personalised. 


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amenity kit


These Acqua di Parma branded amenity kits are normally found in First class.  


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The products inside are all by Italian luxury brand Acqua di Parma, naturally


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High-end chocolates in the commemorative A350 inaugural box. 


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Views of the beautiful A350 wings as we head north towards Europe. 


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breakfast


The food menu is also a special commemorative A350 inaugural edition.


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The is a special welcome message in both French and English


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The dishes proposed on this special flight are more in line with a First class offering than Business class.


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Wine and beverage lists


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Service begins with a latte in an elegant glass.  


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…champagne was of course also available


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As crews weren't quite yet familiar with this new aircraft and its galleys, the meal service was a bit longer than usual.  
Unlike most carriers, Etihad serves even breakfast in proper courses, rather than having everything on one tray.
 
Starters
A selection of breads and pastries
 


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Natural yoghurt
Toasted granola and fresh berries


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The hot main dish came next


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French omelette with caviar
Mixed leaf salad and toasted baguette


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Here is a look at the other options:
 
Lobster eggs benedict
brioche, asparagus and vine tomato


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Croque-monsieur
Black truffle and rocket


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Caramelised French toast
Lemon curd, mixed berries and candied orange


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We were able to sample 3 of the 4 options, which were all excellent. These elevated takes on classic French dishes were a delight and go to show that breakfast on an airplane can be done well.


rest & relaxation


Seats in business class convert to 79" (2m) long fully flat beds.


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Here's the seat with bedding


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And of course, each seat in Business class is equipped with a privacy door, making for an enclosed suite in Business class.


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Business class passengers have access to two lavatories in the forward cabin, which feature chic finishes


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Economy cabin


In the Economy class cabin, the first 5 rows are marketed as "Economy Space" and feature a generous 35" seat pitch, compared to 31" in standard Economy. 


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Etihad's newer cabins feature a winged headrest on one side for additional privacy and comfort


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Tray tables are large and stable.


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Here is a look at a meal tray in the Economy cabin composed of an appetiser, hot main, bread, cereal bar, and water bottle. 


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Huge individual entertainment screens


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Under the IFE screen are the headphone jack (also connectable through bluetooth), USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as the reading light button and flight attendant call button.  


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Another nice feature is an electronic device holder with a non-slip surface. 


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There are no intrusive electrical boxes below the seats, allowing for more foot space. 


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And for kids, Etihad have developed a special  kit in partnership with Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi.


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There's even a fun moving map full of dinosaurs in the kids' section of the IFE. 


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in-flight entertainment


Etihad Airways continued their partnership with Panasonic for the new A350-1000 cabins. Touchscreen IFE controls are now becoming standard in long-haul cabins. 


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The new E-Box interface now offers a dark mode, similar to phones, tablets, and newer computers.


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There is a large library of content in different categories: films, series, documentaries, music, games, children's programming, e-magazines, etc. 



There is also a section featuring informational videos on the airline. 


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There are also several Live television channels. The sports channel is particularly popular for large sporting events, which no longer have to me missed if flying.


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You'll also find current weather and forecast details for the destination. 


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Drinks can be ordered right from the IFE screen.


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Bluetooth-compatible headphones can be connected to the IFE system in both cabins. 


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The process is quick and easy and the sound quality can be tested. 


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Several options for communicating with other passengers on board. 


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For those travelling with others, there is even a feature to launch programming simultaneously to multiple seats to watch together.  


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The IFE system interface is very smooth and easy to use, though it is a shame was only available in two languages at the launch of service–not even the language of the destination country was an option.


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Etihad Business customers may request snacks and beverages at any time outside of meal services. 


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Each passenger on board received this lovely commemorative certificate. 


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approach and arrival


Preparing the cabin for arrival. 


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The airshow indicated landing from the north facing west.  


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The moving map also provides some fun facts about areas overflown on the trip. 


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…as well as the maximum altitude and speed. 


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Descending to CDG on a grey Parisian day. 


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Here's our beautiful aircraft arriving into CDG 
(Below photo courtedy of Etihad Airways / Paris Aéroport)


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A welcome ceremony was organised at Terminal 2B (Etihad normally operate from 2A/C)


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Below photo courtesy Etihad Airways / Paris Aéroport


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Deplaning to find a festive atmosphere at the arrival gate.


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Those participating in the inaugural flight press conference were directed to the right coming off the jet-bridge.


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Press conference


An impressive cold buffet was in place for those participating in the press event. 


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There were several speeches, including comments by Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East:

“Etihad Airways has been a long-standing partner of Airbus in the UAE and we are excited to continue our collaboration. The A350-1000 is setting new standards of air travel, offering unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. This marks the start of a promising new chapter for the UAE’s aviation sector, led by innovation and a commitment to sustainability. We look forward to many more years of partnership and working together to support Etihad Airways expand its network through our most technologically advanced and efficient aircraft.”


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One last view of the beautiful A350-1000 that took us on this memorable inaugural flight.


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video



PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Etihad's A350-1000 can accommodate  371 passengers: 44 in Business class, 45 in the "Economy Space" Extra legroom Economy section, and 327 in standard Economy class. 

To day, 5 A350-1000 aircraft have been delivered to Etihad with an additional 15 on order.  

The new aircraft will initially fly on medium-haul routes including Abu Dhabi <-> Cairo, Istanbul, Mumbai and Delhi for crew familiarisation and will begin longer-haul destinations to New York JFK and Chicago ORD later this summer.


Flight taken and reported by Flavien for Flight-Report with participation from Etihad Airways and Airbus (Translated from original French by KévinDC).

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Conclusion

After several difficult years and then weathering a global pandemic, Etihad Airways finally had something to celebrate this spring with the entry into service of their beautiful new A350-1000, symbolising a new beginning of sorts.

The new custom cabins are sleek and modern, with chic high-end finishes. The Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats are among the most spacious business class seats in the market and the addition of doors adds privacy and exclusivity.

POSITIVES :
- A350 features: -25% fuel consumptions/CO² emission, -50% noise in the cabin, more comfortable lower-altitude cabin pressurisation
- Pleasant mood-lighting concept creating a more relaxed atmosphere and reducing fatigue and jet-lag on long-haul flights.
- Spacious cabins with high ceilings and the largest overhead bins in the market
- Spacious and comfortable seat with direct aisle access for all, privacy door, large IFE screen, wireless charging, and many storage solutions.
- Very good IFE content with modern innovations including bluetooth connectivity and multi-screen content sharing.
- Fast Wi-Fi
- Delicious and well-presented meal service
- On-demand service and ordering from IFE screen

NEGATIVES :
- No exterior camera
- No mattress pads available, which are becoming more common in high end business class products
- No AC power units in Economy (Only USB-A/C
- Paid Wi-Fi in every cabin

Information on the route Abu Dhabi (AUH) Paris (CDG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 30 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Abu Dhabi (AUH) → Paris (CDG).


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

The average flight time is 7 hours and 34 minutes.

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