As is the case with many airlines these days, there are different levels of service even within one category on Etihad Airways. There are two versions of Business Class on Etihad, although oddly they carry exactly the same name – Pearl Business Class. They’re notably different, however, but the airline reserves that difference for a parenthetical phrase after the name. In one case you’ll see “flat bed” in parentheses, and in the other you’ll see “seat.” You probably can guess which one is the better cabin setup.
Since the Pearl Business Class cabins with seats that recline into flat beds are the nicer ones, that’s the cabin configuration that you’ll find outlined in detail below. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find information about what to expect if you get an Etihad flight with Pearl Business Class that doesn’t have flat beds as well.
Seat & Bed
- Seats recline to a fully flat position (horizontal with the floor)
- Seats are partly surrounded by a plastic shell, creating semi-private “suites”
- An ottoman across from main seat serves as visitor seating for meetings
- Seats are more than 6-feet long when fully reclined into beds
- Every seat has aisle access
Food & Beverages
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- Menu is entirely a la carte; you dine anytime you want throughout the flight
- Menus created by award-winning chefs
- Selection of fine wines available on flight
- Each seat has a personal 16″ LCD TV monitor with on-demand movies, TV shows, video games, and audio programming
- Noise-cancelling headphones are available for each passenger
- USB plugs and outlets at each seat to charge laptop, iPod, etc.
- Complimentary amenity kit by Aigner, including eye mask and ear plugs
- Business Class passengers get to use the Etihad Premium Lounge at Abu Dhabi airport
In the other version of Pearl Business Class, the cabins look more like what you’d expect from First Class or Business Class on a shorter domestic flight. The seats are larger and recline further than in coach, but they don’t recline to flat beds and they aren’t semi-enclosed by privacy shells. Seats still include outlets for recharging laptops, iPods or other devices.
Passengers have a 10.6″ video screen for entertainment, and the selection of video options is essentially the same as is listed above. Meals are also still a la carte, although the number of menu choices may be less than you’d find in a cabin with the higher level of Business Class service.