Flying Etihad Economy Class To Australia
I flew Etihad Airways Economy Class for the first time a few years ago. It all started while searching for the cheapest flights to Australia. Before booking an online flight, I check the usual sites for flight comparisons, like Skyscanner and Google Flights. Etihad, among other airlines, is one of my favourite airlines for flying to Australia thanks to their broad range of cheap airfares from all major European airports. Here is a comprehensive review of my 777 Eithad Economy flight to Australia.
Etihad Airways Economy Flight Review To Australia
I was looking for a reasonable flight price in economy class, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon an Etihad return flight ticket for 835 euros. This is rare, even in the low season. Considering this aspect, for a cheap return flight to Australia, you will not find anything below 1000 Euro (2015) for an economy-class flight (2015). At present, in 2023, prices have increased considerably. And I never paid less than 1000 Euro in +15 years of Australian travel.
Here below are details of my experience with Etihad Airways economy class.
How to book your Etihad Economy Class Flight to Australia
After seizing my flight deal on Skyscanner, a redirect link opened to the Etihad Airways website, where I could complete m Etihad flight booking in economy class. Before doing so, I double-checked other flight options and noticed that the same flight was available with different flight amendment fees. Etihad charges between 100 and 200 Euro for changing flight dates depending on the class type for your booked economy flight ticket.
So my flight offer was the cheapest airfare, with a 200 Euro fee for changing flight dates. If you calculate that 200 Euro on top of the basic airfare would make the flight ticket 1000 Euro, which is the average airfare to Australia from Europe, I still have grabbed a good deal. So I was happy to book my Etihad Flight in Economy Class.
The process of online flight booking with Etihad was smooth up to the payment, where unexpectedly, the site crashed after entering my credit card details and clicking on “submit”. While it’s unusual to experience this type of inconvenience, there is no need to panic, and it may happen if the site server is overloaded with bookings.
I would get in contact with customer service and double-check with them. I did this with the help of customer service. I could activate my booking on the phone. I found the helpline customer service very efficient, friendly and helpful with their response. From Europe, the service is available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Etihad Online Check-in
After my online economy flight booking went through, I received an email notification with the invite to sign up for the Etihad frequent flyer card, and I did so. You can then create your account to retrieve your flight details, submit changes, check baggage allowances, set meal preferences and use much more functionality.
However, for the Etihad online check-in, you need to access it from the Etihad home page, not your account, because your statement is not connected to the check-in. I found this somewhat weird because I am used to the Emirates website managing everything from my account (online check-in included).
Etihad Airport Check-in and baggage drop off
I got to the Milano Malpensa airport early in the morning, around 8.00, as my flight was scheduled to depart at 11.15. in the morning. All international flights are called to the gate 1 hour before departure, and they start boarding 45 minutes. Etihad’s allowance is 30k for checked and 8 kg for cabin baggage.
Etihad Economy Class – Seats Comfort and Entertainment
The Etihad economy class seats are not as large as those from Emirates, are dated, and lack ergonomics. I flew with an Etihad Airbus from Milan to Abu-Dhabi Airport with a 2-4-2 configuration and a B777 from Abu-Dhabi to Melbourne Airport with a 3-4-3 configuration.
While the leg space feels the same as an Emirates economy class flight to Australia, the seat comfort could improve by renewing the seats. As for general economy class comfort in the cabin, the blankets are good quality fleece, soft and warm.
The seat pillow turns into a neck pillow after tearing off the velcro strap. I found this handy and more comfortable than small pads offered on other airlines’ economy-class flights.
Etihad Economy Seats: Electronics and Entertainment
Like the Emirate ICE, the Etihad E-Box entertainment is of good quality, with widescreen and a great selection of films and music programs. The seat electronics are good. All seats have regular plugs and USB ports to plug in mobile phones. That’s good; if you want to work on your laptop or iPad, you can plug in your device and keep it charged without worrying about running out of battery.
The only negative factor of entertainment is the announcements. You get an overdose of it before taking off and landing and when you select a program from the Etihad in-flight e-box entertainment.
What I didn’t like about my Etihad Economy Flight
No matter what you do when selecting a film, if you change your mind and want to start over again with a new one, you are bound to listen to a ton a row of ads for about 10-13 minutes each time. There is no way to skip them. Unfortunately, you have got to watch them. As my seat was just next to the toilet, whenever I accidentally picked a film and then stopped it from starting a new one before letting the announcements start
I found something else to do, to kill 10 minutes. Another thumb down goes for collecting the headphones 30 minutes before landing. This is something I have already experienced with Emirates. The reason behind it (I assume) is that a lot of them got stolen. So either you have your headsets—the best thing is to plan to watch your movie to end at least 30 minutes before the landing.
Etihad Menu and Food
While you cannot expect food on an Etihad economy menu to be fantastic, I found food with Etihad much better than Emirates’ food. I always pick a vegetarian meal on economy class flights, as I prefer a light dinner. Food portions are big enough not to go hungry soon after the meal, and the quality is average. Etihad offers “Bites” in-between meals and small snacks like crackers or spreads. I had a veggie pie and fruit salad, which was a good refreshment.
I haven’t seen the crew going around with glasses of water after meals. Some airlines offer this on long-haul flights. So be prepared, bring your empty bottle of water and ask to have it refilled by the cabin crew. The good thing about Etihad is that they serve meals and drinks at the same time. So no long waiting for a glass of wine to drink with your meal.
Etihad Crew Service
Right at the boarding gate,e there has been an issue with customs. Although we were on a transfer flight, the big surprise was they asked me to drink my bottled water. How can I possibly drink 1 litre of water in a couple of minutes? I tried to drink as much as I could. This is a rule on all o Australian flights that have been introduced on transfer flights too.
It was a hard loss because I needed to drink lots of water when flying and liked to keep my empty bottle to refill on the plane. While I manifested my concern, the Etihad business class’s chief stewardess showed her empathy and kindly handed over a water bottle to me.
It seemed to be my lucky day, as the flight was only half full, which meant plenty of free seats in the Etihad economy class and many in a row of 3-4 seats too. After moving to three different places and letting first families and kids be accommodated, I finally found my position with a stewardess’s help.
I got a seat in a row of 4, just behind the business class and the first set of toilets in the economy class cabin. Overall, I found the cabin crew on Etihad professional, efficient, friendly, and helpful, which cannot be taken for granted on economy-class flights.
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First published in 2017, last updated in Jan 2023
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May 17, 2015 @ 1:10 am
I flew Etihad when I arrived to Australia thought overall they were pretty good. The inflight entertainment does suck when you’re trying to finish a movie then they collect the headsets.
May 20, 2015 @ 2:22 am
I loved flying with Etihad! Their service is overall good but there are certainly things that could be improved 🙂
May 17, 2015 @ 2:11 am
Good to know Michela! We heard fab reviews and yep, we are flying Etihad economy from Bangkok to NYC in about 2 and a half months. Looking forward to the experience. I see 1-2 eBooks being churned out during that flight, looks comfy 😉 Thanks for the helpful share!
May 20, 2015 @ 2:23 am
You are welcome, Ryan. I am glad my review was helpful. 🙂