After a lovely stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives, it was time to head back home. Our first leg would be to Abu Dhabi aboard an A330-200 in business class.
As a reminder, I’m in the midst of a “vintage” trip report to India/Maldives. But even though this flight review is three years old, it still captures what you can expect if you fly Etihad in business class today.
When booking this award space almost a year in advance, it was far easier to get the first class space from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles than the business class space from Malé to Abu Dhabi. So as it turned out, the whole trip was actually bit around this flight, since I did not want to even spend a few hours in economy class on our journey home.
After arriving on a domestic Maldivian flight back at Velana International Airport, we checked in for the flight then spent some time in the fairly lackluster Leeli Lounge prior to boarding. Today, boarding would be via air stairs. Steep air stairs I might add…
Parked right next to our A330 was a Qatar Airways A330 headed for Doha.
Etihad Airways 279
Malé (MLE) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Monday, January 11
Depart: 08:10 PM
Arrive: 11:40 PM
Duration: 04hr, 30min
Distance: 1,876 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 8C (Business Class)
Onboard we were welcomed by a trio of of flight attendants and directed left to our seat.
Etihad Airways A330 Business Class Seat
The Etihad Airways A330-200 business class seat is arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration with a total of 22 flat-bed seats across five rows. I took the pictures below after we landed in Abu Dhabi since I could not secure unobstructed cabin shots while boarding.
I liked the paintings in the cabin, which gave the otherwise drab cabin some personality.
Seat controls and a passenger service unit (IFE remote) were easily accessible as was a USB charing plug and power port.
Not only was the seat comfortable, but the plush blanket and pillow helped me to take a nice snooze after dinner.
Etihad Airways A330 Business Class IFE + Wi-Fi
The “E-BOX” entertainment system was a bit dated in interface, but still included a great mix of:
- TV shows
- Live TV
- Audio programming
- Moving flight map
There were also two cameras, though you could not really see anything in the dark.
Once again, wireless internet did not work.
Etihad Airways A330 Business Class Dining
Meal service began after takeoff. No pre-departure beverages today, by the way. While Etihad offers a la carte on-demand dining on longhaul flights, this flight had a menu with a choice of chicken, shrimp, or pasta.
On a hot day, nothing is more refreshing than a cold glass of water…I began my meal with that and a bowl of mixed nuts.
For my appetizer, I chose Arabic mezze, which included grape leaves, falafel, olives, hummus, and tabbouleh. Honestly, this mezze was better than the first class mezze on Emirates. It was served with warm bread and a side of butter and olive oil / balsamic vinegar.
I ordered cheese and spinach ravioli for my main course while my wife ordered shrimp. I had any pasta since Hyderabad, so it was a nice treat. Heidi enjoyed her shrimp, served with squash, rice, and asparagus.
For dessert, I enjoyed a tasty slice of cheesecake followed by a cappuccino.
The meal service was efficient and tasty…not only satisfactory, but excellent for a four hour flight.
Etihad Airways A330 Business Class Service
My interactions with the crew were fairly limited on this flight. I will give the crew credit for three cold towels per passenger over the course of the flight. I also won’t hold the eye roll against one crew member when I began snapping pictures of the cabin. Although I try to be discreet when taking photos, it isn’t always possible.
Finally, I appreciated that the cabin lights were briefly turned on only about 10 minutes before landing. Some airlines prepare the cabin for landing far too early….that’s simply unnecessary in most cases.
As I looked back on my two-week journey, this flight was somewhat of a daze. But it’s a great way to travel between Malé and Abu Dhabi and foreshadowed an even more comfortable flight to Los Angeles that awaited us the next day.