Flight Reviews

Etihad Business Studio Review – Is the lost mojo back?

This blog post is a review of Etihad Airways Business Class Studio product onboard their 787s. The review includes details on the seat configuration, amenity kit, in-flight entertainment, and the food, as well as information on the ground experience at Mumbai and Abu Dhabi airports. The author also shares their experience booking the flight using American Advantage miles and provides a conclusion on the overall experience.

It just so happens that I end up flying the Abu Dhabi (AUH) based Etihad Airways more frequently than I thought I would, with already 2 flights done for the year (2023) and 3 more pending they are right up there on my most frequently flown international carrier. This post reviews the Etihad Business Class Studio product onboard their 787s.

Etihad Airways Business Studio

Airline: Etihad Airways (EY)
Route: Mumbai (BOM) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) – London Heathrow (LHR)
Cabin: Business
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-9

Etihad Business Class Cabins and Fleet

Etihad Airways offers two distinct business class cabins: the Business Studio, which can be found on their Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s, and the new Business Class cabins on their A350s. The Business Studio is their older product, which, while still comfortable and luxurious, lacks the sliding doors found on their newer A350s.

During my recent flight, which was operated by a Boeing 787, I experienced the Business Studio product.

The business class section has 28 seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. Seats face both forward and rear, with even-numbered rows facing forward and odd-numbered rows facing backward.

Etihad Airways 787-9 2 Class Configuration Seatmap

The center section of the cabin consists of paired seats, where forward-facing seats are adjacent to each other, ideal for couples, and backward-facing center seats have a small divider for added privacy. Single seats on the sides have an alternating pattern: forward-facing window seats are located in a private cocoon next to the window while rear-facing window seats are closer to the aisle and less private. For couples, the paired center seats in forward-facing rows are the best choice, while solo travelers should choose one of the forward-facing window seats.

Despite being an older product, the business studio on Etihad’s Boeing 787s still provides a comfortable and relaxing experience, especially with its warm and cozy color tones.

Ground Experience – Mumbai (BOM)

At Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM), Etihad uses the dedicated business class and first class check-in islands for Business and First passengers. When I arrived, there were no queues and the check-in process was smooth.

First & Business Class Check in Island at CSMIA – BOM

As usual, you also gain access to the security check and immigration lanes for business/first-class passengers.

After clearing security and immigration, Etihad business passengers have access to the Adani East Wing Lounge at BOM. This lounge is one of the few true business and first lounges in the country and is not accessible to any bank or lounge access cards. Access is only provided to passengers flying premium cabins or purchasing access. The lounge has plenty of seating space, a dedicated dining area, and a bar, but does not feel crowded at all. During my early morning/late night flight, there were small bites laid out at the buffet. Overall, there is not much to complain about here.

Ground Experience – Abu Dhabi (AUH)

During my trip, I had a very short connection in Abu Dhabi, which was made even shorter by a long security queue for transiting passengers and the absence of any fast-track security lanes. Unfortunately, the Abu Dhabi ground experience is lacking; the terminal is outdated, and getting to your gate usually involves a long walk down a narrow corridor.

The New Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi

A new mid-field terminal at AUH has been in the works since 2012. It was originally supposed to open in 2017, but its opening was delayed to 2019 after a few trials were conducted. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made since then. The latest news is that the new terminal is expected to open by November 2023.

Mission Impossible : Dead Reckoning Part One

Fun fact: The new terminal was featured in the latest installment of Mission Impossible, titled “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.” In the movie, Tom Cruise is seen running across the roof of the airport terminal.

I had a morning flight to London and stopped by the Etihad Business Class lounge for a quick shower and freshen up. Although I didn’t have enough time to fully explore the lounge, it was a spacious area with ample seating. The showers were clean and well-equipped with everything one could ask for.

Etihad Business Studio Seats

Both of my segments, BOM – AUH and AUH – LHR, were flown on the same aircraft type, the 787-9. Therefore, for this review, I will focus on the AUH – LHR segment, which is longer and has a more elaborate service than the shorter BOM – AUH segment.

Etihad Airways Business Class Cabin Layout – 787-9

The Etihad Business Class cabin offers a different experience than its Emirati counterpart, Emirates. Instead of glitz and glamour, Etihad has chosen a more subtle color scheme with warm hues. In my opinion, this creates a calm, relaxing, and inviting atmosphere.

My Seat 11 – C. Rear Facing & Away from the Window.

Unfortunately, I was assigned seat 11C on this flight, which is both rear-facing and away from the window. Since this was a last-minute booking, all the good seats were already taken. Nevertheless, let’s make the best of what we have.

The business-class seats on Etihad Airways 787 have a similar layout to Qatar’s Business class suites on their 787s but without a closing door. The seats are spacious and comfortable, equipped with an 18.5-inch touchscreen IFE that is highly responsive and clear.

The 18.5″ IFE

The tray table is stored in the console to the right of the seat and can be ejected by pulling a small lever at the bottom of the tray.

The tray table is large enough to work on your laptop.

There are two power sources, a standard 110V universal outlet, and a USB port for charging smaller devices. The lamps add a very nice and warm touch to the seat.

The lamps are a nice touch.

A large storage compartment is located to the right of the seat, which is great for storing loose items and electronics.

Storage Compartment

A seat control strip is located right next to the seat, which can control the seat recline, cushion firmness, and the reading light that can be easily reached in bed mode. The seats recline into a fully flat bed 6 feet, 4 inches long, and 22 inches wide.

Seat Controls

Amenity Kit

Etihad offers an Acqua Di Parma amenity kit in a bright orange leather bag, which paired nicely with my orange juice 😂. It had everything necessary for a 7-hour flight, including a dental kit, eye mask, earplugs, socks, hand cream, and some perfume testers.

Acqua Di Parma Business Class Amenity Kit

WiFi & Entertainment

Two WiFi packages were available during the flight. The first package was free but limited to messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Inflight WiFi Package

The second package was a premium option that cost 9.99 USD or 1200 Etihad Guest miles and allowed full internet browsing for the entire flight. While the browsing speeds were decent for casual use, it would have been nice if Etihad offered at least some free WiFi option for business class passengers.

The inflight entertainment unit was nice and crisp, with plenty of international options.

The Food

Upon boarding, pre-departure drinks were serviced, which consisted of orange juice, champagne, lemonade, and water, I went with the orange juice.

Pre Departure Drink and Amenity Kit

Just before take-off, menus were handed out and choices were recorded for the service.

The Menu

Etihad offers dine-on-demand, so you can choose to have your meals when you want. On this flight there were broadly two service windows, breakfast was served post take off, and a quick snack service just before landing. For my breakfast, I went with the Egg tortilla wrap which was served alongside some bread of your choice, fresh fruits, and beverages.

Etihad like its Middle Eastern counterparts does its food pretty well, so it was not surprising that the food tasted excellent and the service was spot on.


I booked this flight using 42,500 American Advantage miles, from BOM – LHR via AUH in business class, and paid around $20 USD in taxes, for 1 person. There are several other ways to book this using points which I have written about in the following post.

How to book Etihad Business Class with miles and points from India?


Etihad gets a lot of things right. The cabin is comfortable, the crew is excellent and always smiling, and the food is great. However, the ground experience in Abu Dhabi leaves much to be desired. I hope that this will change with the opening of their new terminal.

I’m eagerly looking forward to my next experience with them, which will be very special.

I leave you with a photograph of this iconic aircraft at London Heathrow.

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