Etihad has had a rough time of it in the past few years. A major restructuring took place before covid and the airline decided to shift focus from trying to compete with Emirates in scale to becoming a mid-sized boutique airline.
That change meant it had more aircraft than it could ever hope to operate. This includes five A350s which have sat in storage since their delivery in 2019.
It now appears that Etihad is ready to dust these birds off and start flying them because it has taken one to the Dubai Air Show.
Introducing Etihad’s new business class suite
Inside the A350 is Etihad’s newest business class seat. No official photographs have been taken but there is a video circulating on Twitter of CEO Tony Douglas getting a tour.
You may find it uncannily familiar. That is because it is the same seat as BA’s Club Suite, albeit with Etihad’s choice of colour scheme and fabrics.
It has the same door and same new tray table mechanism as Club Suite. Unlike British Airways, however, Etihad has chosen to install a beautiful little mood light in every suite which I always thought BA should have done. It softens the seat and gives it a bit more atmosphere.
Like British Airways, Etihad is not installing a First Class cabin on its A350s. First is now only available on five Boeing 787-9s, as the A380 fleet has been permanently retired. It looks increasingly likely that Etihad will move to a Malaysia Airlines style offering with ‘business plus’, although CEO Doug Thomas insists “it’s not the end of first class.”
I’m not complaining. The Collins Super Diamond design, which is what both Club Suite and Etihad’s new suite are based on, is my favourite ‘off the shelf’ business class seat. It manages to perfectly balance personal space, in flight entertainment and a flexible tray table.
We’ll let you know when we get some official images from Etihad.
PS. Save £150 on Etihad with Amex Offers
A new American Express cashback offer has appeared for Etihad Airways. Assuming you are targetted, you can get 15% cashback up to a maximum of £150 (so £1,000 in bookings) on flights from UK airports.
The offer applies to all bookings – there is no minimum spend. You need to book by the end of the year.
How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (February 2024)
Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.
Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 40,000 Etihad Guest miles.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 10,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.