Etihad 787 First Class takes luxury to new heights as the airline redefines the flying experience and reminds passengers that flying doesn’t have to be blasé. Etihad 787 instills glamour back into an industry that’s crying for revival and actually makes me want to fly! On this trip I was flying Etihad Airways First Class on the brand new 787-900, just a couple of days after the first Etihad 787 flight between Abu Dhabi and Washington, D.C. Needless to say, I was excited to fly this new product and new aircraft.
Etihad 787 First Class Boarding & Pre-flight
After a wonderful stay at the Washington DC Etihad Lounge, my brother and I boarded the aircraft and was quickly greeted by a flight attendant who escorted us to our seats. Once seated the Flight attendant showed me where I could store my luggage and pointed out the features of my Seat, she then smiled and told me someone else would be right with me to provide me with a pre-departure beverage.
The suite was stunning! Everything carefully laid out and placed in the ideal spot–minus the powerport! Initial reaction—mind blown! Once seated, I quickly found out that my Samsonite carryon would not fit below the ottoman and I would need to store it elsewhere. As many other guests in First were having the same issue, a male flight attendant came to the rescue and started storing luggage in the overhead bins in the business class cabin.
Moments later a female FA introduced herself and offered me a pre-flight drink and she highly suggested the champagne, later to find out she was a bit of a champagne connoisseur! She brought me a tray with a hot towel, a champagne flute, and figs as another FA followed the first one with the champagne! It was a two person process! She presented me the bottle and then poured me a glass after my approval. Knowing nothing about champagne, I will say the 199 Billecart-Salmon Brut was delicious. Not as smooth as Krug or Dom, but at nearly $100 a bottle, it was quite tasty!
preflight champagne & figs
As my brother and I sipped the champagne, another FA brought us dinner menus, amenity kits, and pajamas. The wonderful inflight Chef Yurny returned to take orders, make recommendations and suggest wine pairings. The chef, Yurny, was fantastic! He developed a dinner menu for both my brother and me from the list of appetizers, a la carte, main, and side dish options (sorry I left my menu on board and didn’t take any photos)! Then shortly later, he returned to each suite to ensure every passenger understood how to use the seat controls and to ensure everything was just perfect before takeoff. Meanwhile, every time our glass was nearly empty, an FA would appear with the champagne and refilled our flutes! Due to a ground delay of nearly an hour and a half, which they kept referring to as a “medical clearance” but due to security reasons luggage had to be removed from the hull and each bag on the aircraft had to be identified and claimed (even our bags which the FA took and stored for us), my brother and I finished two bottles before even taking off!
Etihad 787 First Class Inflight
Life at 30,000 feet could not be any better than what it was on Etihad. About 15 minutes after wheels up, the FA brought us our first round of drinks that we had ordered while on the ground. A Manhattan for me, clearly made on board and not premixed! Then about 30 minutes later dinner service began with FA setting up our table settings, filling full size wine glasses and Yurny surprised us with a Salmon tartar in Watermelon juice which was not on the menu. The deep flavor profile was unlike any tartare and both my brother and I savored the appetizer in glee!
inflightManhattan + olives and nuts
table set up (above) Salmon Tartare and pita bread (below)
Arabic mezze platter (above) Lemon sorbet palate cleanser
Halibut Biryani (above) Chocolate ice cream (Below)
Dinner service continued and by the time we were done, both my brother and I had ate and drank so much we weren’t sure who would burst first! The gastronomic delights were the best food I’ve ever ate while flying and compared to some of the best dinners I’ve ever had in my life! At one point my 24 year old brother turned and looked at me and said, “I never thought an airline could teach me what fine dining is!”
Service throughout the flight continued to be spot on and I loved how proactive the flight attendants were! They would quietly do cabin scans and offer passengers who were awake drink refills and snacks. Never once was my Johnnie Walker Blue or water glass empty or did I feel the need to use my call light. The two times I did use my call light, once on accident, an FA responded within seconds. Service was impeccable and I couldn’t rave more about the attention to detail and friendliness of the flight attendants.
About four hours into flight when I was ready to turn in for the night, Yurny noticed that I had left my suite with my toothbrush in hand. He quickly siege the opportunity to ask if I wanted my seat turned into a bed, and then he transformed my seat into a bed with an additional pillow, blanket, and mattress pad while I freshened up in the bathroom. He presented me with my bed and brought me a fresh bottle of water and asked me if he could get me anything else before I turned in for the night. He closed my suite doors and wished me a pleasant sleep.
Suite in bed mode complete with duvet, extra blanket, full size pillow & mattress pad (above) My brother sleeping (below)
View of the door from the inside my suite with the doors closed (below)
I slept for a solid 6 hours before waking up. I honestly do not think I slept long enough, but as I was so enthusiastic about the Etihad First experience and suite, I didn’t want to sleep the entire flight away. I laid in bed and watched part of a movie and then when I left the enclosed suite the other FA noticed my movements and offered to make up my bed. She also offered to bring me a snack or something from the menu, and brought me more water without even needing to ask.
keep drinks cold with the inseat cooler. It came stocked with a pepsi, sprite, sparkling water and still water
I was still stuffed from dinner, so eating more was not an option. Instead I just continued to enjoy my movie and rehydrate with water. As we inched closer to Abu Dhabi I was offered breakfast, as we were about 90 minutes out and if I wanted to eat the flight attendants suggested I ordered breakfast soon. I was still stuffed, despite it being almost 12 hours later, but between the dinner in the lounge and on board, the idea of another meal was nearly sickening! Yet, I also knew that I was going to land in the late afternoon and I would be exploring Abu Dhabi from the minute I hit the ground so I would be better off if I ate something. I opted for a fresh fruit platter over a full meal/cooked to order eggs and champagne; and so I savored a large platter of sweet berries and melon with the bubbly I could never afford to buy myself! The FA served both my Brother and I the same breakfast option and popped the cork on a new bottle as the previous bottle we had been drinking had lost the carbonation. Between my brother and I we finished another bottle before landing and it was just as delicious this time as teh first!
Etihad 787 First Class Suite: Amenities, IFE, and More
Etihad 787 First Class Suite takes the boutique hotel concept and brings it onboard as each first class suite is well thought out and the color scheme differs slightly from suite to suite. My brother and I were in the center two seats of row 1, seats 1D & 1G. The seats were forward facing and completely enclosed and shared a partial wall. For privacy, the middle wall slid completely shut or could be left ajar for a more spacious feel. On Etihad 787 First Class the window seats of row 1 and center aisle seats of row two are rear facing. Sadly I was forward facing in row 1. I selected them as per the seat map and couldn’t tell how well the first and business class cabins were divided. It turns out there is a bulkhead wall between first and business class along with thick curtains. Therefore row two may actually be a better option as the seats are further away from the galley. Although the galley is also far enough forward on the 787 and the crew is cautious of passengers, which resulted in a pleasant and quiet journey throughout the flight.
The large suite is absolutely stunning with a different color schemes and wood finishes. The 26 inch wide Poltrona Frau leather recliner comes a comfortable 80.5 inch bed. The huge 24 inch High Definition TV makes you feel as though you’re watching TV at home and the Etihad E-BOX entertainment system has among the most extensive selection of entertainment options I’ve ever experience. Although I was sad to not see/find an external camera view option, the system is fully loaded with hundreds of movies spanning the latest released movies to tons of foreign films in multiple languages. The music selection is also top notch and there are more games, ebooks, and other options to keep anyone entertained, no matter the persons taste or attention span!
The suite features tons of storage space, but is space restrictive due to the dimensions. There is a larger storage space under the ottoman with a latching door, a small closet to hang clothing in, and multiple storage compartments under the arm rests. The underarm compartments are perfect or storing books, magazines, phones, passports, and other smaller items whereas the under ottoman storage is more appropriate for a backpack, or small carryon item. The closet is also very small, and is only appropriate for a jacket or clothing after changing into pajamas.
first class suite closet + under ottoman storage
The bed on the 787 is 6 feet 6 Inches and nearly 2.5 feet wide. With the large mattress pad and oversized pillow and blanket, I quickly forgot I was on an airplane. The 787 is extremely quiet and with the suite door shut, it felt more like a small Tokyo hotel room verse an airplane seat! the suite is decked out with multiple lights which allows customization of the suite’s ambiance, including lights under the TV, an adjustable reading light, and in suite wall light. Each light has multiple brightness settings and can be turned on or off individually.
Finally the seat controls are easy to use and have hundreds of settings which allows for customization of lumbar support, massage function, and seat angel. The seat moves forward to allow customers to be closer to the oversize 23″ x 20″ dining table and ottoman. The seat reminded me of a 22-way adjustable BMW driver seat, with more options then I could ever use!
touch screen seat and suite controls. Manage everything from lighting, to seat firmness to position on the mini touch screen
psp like controller for Etihad 787 first class E-Box Panasonic eX3
Amenity kit + contents
sporting the Etihad Pajamas
Amenities in the seat were also fantastic, featuring Etihad cotton pajamas, a stylish amenity kit, and in seat mini fridge. The pajamas were comfortable enough and came with slippers and the amenity kit featured a tradition Arab design and Le Labo hand cream, face moisturizer, and lip balm. The amenity kit was packed to it’s brim and also featured a shaving and toothbrush kit, eye mask and socks, ear plugs, and a mini kit featuring Q-tips, cotton pads, a nail file, and pulse point oil and sleeping mist to help passenger relax and calm their minds. The Etihad 787 first class amenity kit was by far the most extensive I have received to date!
Eithad 787 First Class Summary
Although I have only flown first class on four airlines now, I would say Etihad does EVERYTHING right when it comes to first class travel! From the onboard chief, to the flight attendants, to the hard and soft products everything was perfect! Food options were plentiful, amenity were nice and well thought out, and the suite was stunning! Traveling first class on Etihad is suited for a King and will not leave anyone disappointed! Etihad struck a home-run in my book and after this last flight I wish everyone of my flights could be on Etihad! If you have a chance, book a flight with Eithad and enjoy their brand new 787!
How I booked this flight
I was able to book this flight use American Airlines Advantage miles. A flight to the Middle East in First Class costs 90,000 miles one way. Award space is not available via AA’s website and you must call American to book Etihad awards. To search Etihad’s award Space, visit Etihad’s Guest award booking site, no logon is required. Search your route and dates and if “GUEST” space is available call AA to book your ticket.
More From This Series
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- Etihad Airways B787 First Class Washington Dulles (IAD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
- Etihad Airways Arrival Lounge Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge Terminal 3 Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Airways A320 Regional Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Cairo (CAI)
- Qatar Airways A320 Regional Business Class Luxor (LXR) to Doha (DOH)
- Qatar Airways Stopover Hotel and Program Doha
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge Doha
- Qatar Airways A380 Business Class Doha (DOH) to Paris (CDG)
- American Airlines Admirals Club Paris (CDG)
- American Airlines B767-300 retrofit Business Class Paris (CDG) to New York