Review – Etihad Airways Business Class – Abu Dhabi to Paris – A340-600

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As expected, our flight to Paris boarded from a remote gate at Abu Dhabi airport, as there are not enough gates to handle the amount of traffic they have. I was totally fine with this, because it meant I would get another amazing close-up view of the beautiful A340-600 aircraft we would be flying on.

As scheduled boarding began, we were directed towards an Etihad shuttle bus, carrying only first and business class passengers to the plane. After a while of waiting on our bus, we noticed the economy passengers had already boarded their shuttle and were departing for the remote gate, yet our bus still had no driver. In essence, there really was no priority boarding.

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Boarding the Etihad shuttle bus to the remote gate
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Etihad shuttle bus

After a few minutes, our driver finally showed up, and we were under way. As we arrived, the stairs were already packed with economy passengers. This meant that I could take my sweet time being mesmerized by the huge engines and wingspan of the A346, as we slowly climbed up the stairs towards the plane door. As it turns out, our bus departing late was actually a blessing in disguise!

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Etihad Airways A340-600
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Etihad Airways A340-600

The business class cabin on this A340-600 has a total of 32 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat has direct-aisle access. Some seats offer more privacy than others, as the seats alternate between having side table on your left or right. If you’re travelling alone, the most private seats would be even-numbered window seats, as the side table would act as a barrier between you and the aisle. If you’re travelling with a partner, the two seats in the middle in rows 7, 9 & 11 would be best. Although we had a party of four, we decided to split up around the cabin for the more private window seats.

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Etihad Airways A340-600 business class cabin
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Etihad Airways A340-600 business class cabin

Additionally, we were lucky to get the second generation Pearl business class seats for this segment. In my opinion, they are significantly more comfortable than the first gen seats.

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2nd-generation Pearl business class seats

For this flight, I was seated in seat 8K, which was a window seat on the right side of the cabin. Available at my seat when I arrived was a soft pillow, a neatly wrapped blanket, the menu and an amenity kit.

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My seat for the flight, 8K

The crew came around the cabin to distribute hot towels and pre-departure beverages. I had an orange juice.

I pretty quickly noticed how much more spacious this seat was compared to my previous Etihad flight, which had the first-gen A340 seats. The main difference is the addition of a side table, which not only provides more area to put personal items, but opens up the seat to be less claustrophobic, while still retaining a good balance of privacy and spaciousness.

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Side table at seat 8K

Above the side table was a compartment for literature, as well as a water bottle holder. The wall lamp and reading light can be controlled from the seat controls.

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Water bottle and personal items storage

The ottoman was large and the legroom was great. Underneath the ottoman was an area to store shoes or bulky items such as a bag.

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Seat legroom and ottoman

Compared to the older seats, the tray table has now moved out to the seat access corridor, and can be unlatched and swung into position.

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Tray table

The amenity kits are from a brand called Luxe. As you may know from my previous report on Etihad, there are five different versions of these Luxe kits, representing five cities from around the world. Initially, I was given the New York kit, but I asked the flight attendant if I could swap for an Abu Dhabi kit, which she happily obliged. The kit is made of a neoprene material, and contents include an Abu Dhabi city guide, sleeping pack, ear plugs, dental kit and skin care package.

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Etihad Airways Luxe amenity kit – Abu Dhabi version
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Amenity kit contents

The provided blanket was soft and was a perfect thickness.

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Blanket

Seat controls were located above the armrest, as was the IFE controller. Both were intuitive to use, but just felt a little dated.

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Seat controls and IFE controller

The noise-cancelling headset can be found in the storage pocket underneath the armrest, and they were decently comfortable.

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Seat storage
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Noise-cancelling headset

Cabin lights were dimmed as we taxied out for departure. I loved the purple ambient cabin lighting.

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Purple ambient lighting

We didn’t have any delay departing Abu Dhabi, and soon we were above the low lying clouds.

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Departing Abu Dhabi

Similar to our Etihad flight from Incheon to Abu Dhabi, this was also a red-eye flight, which meant I wanted to get some sleep. However, I also wanted to try out some of the food off the Dine On Demand menu, so I took a look at the menu to order a few things before my nap.


Menu:

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Welcome
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All Day / A La Carte
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Non-alcoholic beverages
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Alcoholic beverages
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Alcoholic beverages

 

 

 

 

 

 


The menu had a decent variety of options, given that it was a red-eye flight with reduced service. I ended up ordering a cappuccino, red pepper soup, and a cheese plate.

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Cappuccino
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Red pepper soup and Arabic Baklava
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Cheese plate

As I finished eating, most passengers were already asleep.

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Many passengers already sleeping

After an hour or two, I woke up to find a sliver of light on the horizon with city lights below, so I tried to take an artsy shot out the window. It didn’t turn out as well as I hoped it would, but it’s a cool effect I guess.

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Long exposure attempt out the plane window

Later on in the flight I also spotted another plane flying parallel to us, creating a beautiful set of contrails against the sunrise.

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Flying beside another plane

For breakfast, I had the feta cheese baked egg, along with a fruit smoothie. Yes it is definitely a fruit smoothie and not chocolate milk.

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Feta cheese baked egg with turkey rasher, focaccia bread and tomato relish

I still had some room after my breakfast entree, so I ordered a smoked salmon brioche to try out. The smoked salmon was tasty, but the bun was a bit tough.

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Brioche Bun

I finished off with a Sencha green tea to kick start the day.

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Sencha green tea

We had an incredibly scenic approach into Paris, descending through puffy clouds into patches of farmland, which gradually transitioned into dense, city blocks of Paris, with the river Seine snaking through. I spotted the Eiffel tower in the far distance.

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Starting our descent into Paris
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Farmlands on approach to CDG
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Views of Paris as we approached CDG
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Views of Paris as we approached CDG. Can you spot the Eiffel Tower?

We had a parallel landing / takeoff beside an Air France A320.

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Charles de Gaulle airport
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Air France A320 on the takeoff roll
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CDG tower
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Etihad Airways A340-600 parked at the gate

In Summary:

I had a much better experience on this Etihad flight than our previous Etihad from Incheon to Abu Dhabi. The more spacious 2nd-generation Pearl business class seats made a huge difference. The additional side table seems to really transform the seat into one that balances spaciousness, comfort and privacy. The Dine on Demand meal service is much appreciated during a late flight like ours, so passengers can rest and eat at their convenience. However, while the menu had a decent selection, there wasn’t really any “wow” factor with the food quality or taste. Overall, thumbs up to Etihad for an enjoyable and comfortable flight.

Experience Etihad’s A340-600 business class in our YouTube trip report:

How do you think this newer seat compares with the older-gen A340 seats? We welcome any feedback in the comments below. For regular trip reports, updates, and flight/hotel reviews, subscribe to our newsletter.

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