Review: Etihad Airways Economy 777-200LR Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi
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Review: Etihad Airways Economy 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles
Welcome back to another trip report, and this time we are flying to India, particularly Pune in the state of Maharashtra, which is also where Mumbai is, the other airport that I’ve flown into many many times, but only once on my YouTube channel. But we start our trip by flying on one of my favorite airlines, Etihad Airways, so let’s get to the review!
We arrived at LAX about 3 hours before departure time just because I love traveling out of Tom Bradley International Terminal and so spending all the time there is always a joy.
The check-in lines were very crowded because of all the A380s that were leaving a couple hours later back to Europe and Emirates back to Dubai. Thankfully I did not have any check-in bags, so I did not have to wait in the long check in lines for Etihad. Time for security! There were a lot of people heading through security, but because LAX has so many lanes, it took no more than 10 minutes. After that, we were in the beautiful Tom Bradley international terminal airside. I took a lot of plane photos, so I’ll show you those. I didn’t take many pictures of the terminal itself, but rather videos which can be seen in my youtube video for this flight.
And now a chain of A380s:
And finally MY PLANE!!!!!
Finally it was time to board. By the time I got back to the gate, all the diamond first class passengers had already boarded. Pearl Business was finishing and we were up next. I wanted to ensure I got on board as quickly as possible so I could get some baggage space overhead.
LAX-AUH Boeing 777-200LR
I was in seat 31A, and yes this is a K seat on the right side, but the seat is the same. The legroom looks tight, but it wasn’t bad actually. I am 5′ 10″ and this leg space was more than ample for a 16 hour flight.
Now to the seat itself: Each seat has a personal TV and a power outlet right next to the TV along with a coat hanger which is virtually useless since there is basically little to no room to hang a coat at your seat. The seat was very nice in my opinion. The padding was just right where the cushion would sink to your shape but not complete where it would be virtually impossible to get up. The headrest was a little hard but it was still perfectly alright for a 16-hour flight. One thing to note about this aircraft is that economy is in a 3-4-3 configuration for the most part. Rows 31-34 is in a 2-4-2 configuration due to the curvature of the plane. I was glad to get my hands on a row 31 window seat since I could film and only interrupt one neighbor to get up. I would highly recommend getting a seat in rows 31-34 and either an A, C or H, K seat on this flight if you can. The aisle is also very spacious in these last few rows. The curvature of the plane at the back cuts down space a little bit, but removing 2 whole seats per row adds a lot of aisle space, so the back of the plane definitely felt very spacious.
The in-flight entertainment system is called E-box. It had a decent selection of movies and fairly recent ones too, but nothing amazing like KrisWorld from Singapore Airlines or ICE from Emirates. I can’t say too much more because I only used it for the airshow, never for the movies.
I was actually comfortable in the seat for the whole flight, even though I walked around the cabin quite a bit during the flight.
After being seated for a short while, the cabin crew came around with the menus for this flight. The menu was in English and Arabic, but here is the English side of the Menu:
I always appreciate airlines who put effort into their economy class product and having menus definitely adds to that. One thing that I noticed when looking through the menu, and many people on YouTube also commented on the video was that the menu seemed extremely Indian and I definitely thought the same thing, but that can probably be attributed to the similarities in foods and/or large volume of people who use an ME carrier to fly from the US to India, though probably not after the electronics ban.
Soon enough, everyone was boarded and it was time to go! Here are some photos on our taxi out to runway 25R
I actually flew on the United flight below to London, and I also reviewed it here.
After reaching the runway, we held short for about 20 seconds and proceeded onto runway 25R for departure. After takeoff, the views were amazing on the way up. We had a few bumps from thermals since it was a pretty warm day in LA, but nothing crazy.
We initially climbed straight out, then turned south towards Torrance, then north towards the north, which is normal for flights heading out of LAX. As soon as my side was facing the sun, it was evidently clear that my window was pretty dirty. What should have been good photos came out bad because of the glare. The views were still great through the eye.
After reaching cruise altitude, the cabin crew sprung into action. Etihad has a “savory snack” as their beverage service which basically is unsalted ritz crackers. They have the same texture as a ritz cracker, but have a little less taste, and are a little smaller in size.And then there was coke which was served in a plastic glass that has Etihad’s #reimagined design on it.
One thing that I noticed was that the cabin crew was mixed. What I mean by that is that some were nice and funny, while others were well intentioned but emotionless. The flight attendant who served me the crackers and coke was one of the more dull ones. She asked for my drink and gave that, and the snack to me without a smile.
The flight attendant who served dinner was much different.
Ok, so even though this is one of the top airlines out there, the meal was disappointing, and I’m sure this has to be an anomaly. I’ll start from the bottom left. The cheese and crackers were normal and good as usual on any airline. The salad was good and actually healthy compared to what is offered sometimes on other airlines. Then next to that was a mango mousse which is probably the highlight of the meal. It was not the best dessert out there, but it was definitely good. Then the main course was bland. The rice tasted just as it should have tasted, but the lentils and paneer lacked taste, and that’s accounting for the loss of taste at high altitudes. You can even see one of the paneer pieces have nothing on it. My point is that the main course tasted less, not tasteless. You could still taste something from the paneer and lentils but it was just a small hint, nothing great. Like I said above, this was probably an anomaly and I’m hoping that this isn’t the case on future meals.
By the time dinner was collected, the sun was setting. Because we were heading towards the poles, the sun had eventually set, but the sky never became fully dark.
This photo below could have been the best photo of the flight if I had taken the photo without an angle but the background looks angled now. But this was otherwise the best photo of the flight for me, and this is also the darkest it got before the sun came out again.
There it is!!
Quite weirdly, the crew came around at this time and started serving ice cream to everyone as a dessert.
So nothing too exciting happened for the next couple of hours. The crew did serve a veg or nonveg sandwich as the mid-flight snack option, and that was decently tasty, nothing amazing though.
About 1.5 hours before landing, the second meal was served, and this one was much better than the first one. It was basically an okra dish. I didn’t take photo after opening everything, so here’s the video.
This dish seemed a little more like the normal Etihad Airways. The salad to the left was, once again, one of the healthier starters I have had. As a matter of fact, I think this entire meal was healthier than many of the other meals that I have had, except for the Hershey’s chocolate and coke in the back. The main dish was good. The okra, or Bhindi as we call it, was actually tasty. I mixed it with the rice along with the mixed curry on the right and it made for a great combination. Once again, not the greatest meal in the sky, but definitely a step up from what was served at the start of the flight. After clean up, it was time for descent and it rapidly got darker at this time too as we descended lower and lower.
We had bumpy approach due to the hot weather which meant uneven air, but we had a smooth touchdown on runway 31R. Then we had a 5-minute taxi to our remote parking stand where we would deplane. At the time of the flight, the mid-field complex terminal construction was underway and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful terminal when it was done. But we just taxied to terminal 3 and that’s where our remote stand was.
We parked right next to the A380 below which was heading to New York much later.
Overall, I loved the flight. I always enjoy flying with Etihad because I think they have a very good economy class product.
Here are some of the good things about the flight
- good quality seats for a long flight with good headrests
- good food (when there are no anomalies)
- The crew are all well intentioned
- aircraft is fantastic
Here are some areas of improvement
- maintaining the aircraft (cleaning of the windows)
- better variety of shows and movies on in-flight entertainment system E-Box
- needs to have consistently good food
Otherwise, this is a great airline and I am definitely glad to have been able to fly them after a while, but I still have the return journey along with my next Jet Airways flights. Do be sure to check those out as well!