Review: Etihad Airways Economy 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

Review: Etihad Airways Economy 777-200LR Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi
Review: Jet Airways Economy 737-800W Abu Dhabi to Pune
Review: Jet Airways Economy 737-800W Pune to Abu Dhabi
Review: US Pre-Clearance Facility Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Airways Economy 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

YOUTUBE: Etihad Airways: Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi
YOUTUBE: Jet Airways: Abu Dhabi to Pune
YOUTUBE: Jet Airways: Pune to Abu Dhabi
YOUTUBE: Etihad Airways: Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles


 

After exiting the painful preclearance facility, I was on the US side of the terminal, and there was not any terribly exciting spotting I could do since I did not have any access to the rest of the terminal.

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Etihad Boeing 777-300ER

This is my plane below parked at the last gate, gate 61.

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Etihad Boeing 777-200LR

Boarding began a little after 8 AM with I don’t even know who since I was busy eating some fruits, but I would assume diamond first class, pearl business class, and Etihad Guest Elite members. Then I boarded and began the long walk down the jetway. Terminal 3’s boarding hallways are very long, and the AC isn’t as high in there and by this time the heavy Arabic heat had kicked in, so it was a hot walk to the aircraft. But I had amazing view below the jetway. You can see the whole boarding walk in the youtube video for this flight.

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Etihad Boeing 777-200LR

Etihad Airways

AUH-LAX Boeing 777-200LR

So this is the same photo from the first flight because obviously, the seat hasn’t changed:

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So I won’t go into much detail on the flight since I went into great detail about the seat and the best seats on the plane in my flight review of the inbound flight.

Here is a view from behind the wing.

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View from seat 33K

Soon after being seated, the cabin crew came around with the menu for today’s flight:

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Menu
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Menu
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Menu
It easily took one full hour for boarding, because we began our pushback close to 9 AM. But once done, the flight deck started up the lovely GE-90s, and we began our taxi to runway 13R. There were lovely views of other heavy aircraft behind us in line once we turned to the hold short hold line.

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Jet Airways 777-300ER and airberlin A330-200

We then had a decently long takeoff roll, though we did rotate a little too early since the plain hovered for a second before getting any actual gain off the ground. But we had a slightly choppy climb after that until we reached some of the higher altitudes and even after reaching 31,000 feet we still had some chops. The crew began their service with the typical Etihad Airways “savory snack” which isn’t really that savory. I also got a glass of coke and I really only drink that on a plane because the situation of drinking a carbonated drink at 35,000 feet is just my favorite part.

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Coke

The crew cleaned up and got right to lunch service.

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Lunch boxed
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Lunch unboxed

Ok, every aspect of the meal was very very good. The lentils salad at the top was decent enough for being a salad with just lentils. The main course was excellent. The gravy on the chicken added a nice flavor to it, and the texture of the chicken was also just perfect. The steamed vegetables were ok, but the chicken was truly excellent for an economy class airplane chicken.  The mashed potatoes actually tasted good too because it was salted and had a slight buttery taste to it. Now to the highlight of the meal: The dessert was beyond exceptional. It was supposed to be a cheesecake, but it was a little softer than that. The raspberry and cheesecake flavors together were absolutely amazing. I had 2 more of the cheesecakes after that. You will not see me say this on any report before this, but this was the best airplane dessert I have ever had in economy class. It was just too good. So in total, it was a great lunch: the bean salad was decent and health generally, the main course was excellent, and the dessert was sensational!

The view from behind the wing was also a sight to enjoy.

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Views

Once again, the cheesecake was excellent, and I definitely had more again.

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Nothing too exciting happened for the next couple of hours, except until the mid-flight snack. So the large sandwich was a chicken and tomato sandwich. I hate tomatoes, so I took those out, and the sandwich was alright. So funny story, the sandwich to the left was supposed to be a child meal snack, and for some reason, they had my seat as a child meal on their manifest. I’ll take the extra food without complaints, but then I don’t understand why I was given a regular meal for lunch…oh well, I  still enjoyed it. IMG_6436

As usual, the views were lovely as I opened my window passing close to the North Pole.

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Another couple uneventful hours passed on this flight. A little after passing through Washington and Oregon, the pre-landing meal service had begun.

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Pre-arrival meal boxed
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Pre-Arrival meal unboxed

This was not a bad meal, but it was nothing great. There was the usual lentil salad which seems to be a common appetizer on all 4 Etihad meals that I have had, so that was alright. The lentils curry definitely had a distinctive taste to it, but I’ve had better curry on a plane. The texture and temperature were good, but the taste was a little off. Rice is rice, and you can’t really change that. The paneer to the right was pretty alright. I had better paneer on my Jet Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Pune. Then there was chocolate, and honestly, there could have been more effort put into a decently proper dessert, but that’s alright.

For the rest of the flight, we were just making our way down California through the flat farmlands.

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View from back galley window
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flying high

Now, we began our descent into Oxnard which is a coastal city northwest of Los Angeles where a lot of aircraft landing into LAX enter a pattern for the approach.

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And here is the lovely LAX we are flying by:

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Los Angeles

Some lovely views of the downtown skyline and a terribly widespread forest fire that was happening at the back.

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Finally, we touched down on runway 24R and came to a smooth slow.

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From here, we actually sat here for about 20 minutes because our gate was still occupied by an SAS A330-300 that was heading back to Stockholm.

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Hainan 787-8
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American A319-100SL
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Alaska 737-800 split scimitar
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The SAS that caused us delay

We pulled into gate 153, and that would be our final parking spot.

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First Class windows

I also got a picture of a gorgeous Air New Zealand 777-300ER that was parked to the left of us.

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Air New Zealand 777-300ER

And here is one final photo of our plane

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Etihad Airways Boeing 777-200LR

Now remember, before this flight in Abu Dhabi, we had to use the preclearance facility, so now as we exit the plane, we are treated as domestic passengers. For any other normal international flight arriving, you would have to take the escalators down to the ground level and go through immigration. However, for Etihad’s flights, you are released into the terminal and designated ground crew hold signs up guiding you to the baggage claim. That’s one benefit that comes out of all this. At the time this flight arrives. About 5 A380s arrived just before it. This means massively long immigration lines. MASSIVE! So this is a huge benefit that we get to bypass all of that.

But otherwise to the good and bad aspects of Etihad:

Good:

  • decent legroom for a 16-hour flight
  • seat padding is pretty decent for an economy class seat
  • I forgot to mention this in the report, but they provided pillows, and those pillows were decent headrest pillows, though nothing to wear for a long time
  • menus in economy are always appreciated

The areas to improve:

  • the consistency of decent food (some meals were very good, others were not at all)
  • in-flight entertainment needs to be on par with other great airlines like Singapore KrisWorld and Emirates ICE
  • blankets were decent, though not that thick, even for economy class

All things considered, Etihad is still very high on my list of favorite economy class products. Now there are a few far-east Asian Carriers and one Middle Eastern Airline that tops Etihad, but I would absolutely fly them again in the future. I think they are a wonderful airline and can truly be the best out there with a few tweaks.

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