Review: Etihad A320 Business Class MLE-AUH

Introduction: A Trip to the Conrad Maldives
Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX
Star Alliance Business Class Lounge at LAX
Asiana A380 First Class Los Angeles to Seoul
Asiana Business Class Lounge in Seoul
Thai Airways 777-300 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong
Conrad Hong Kong
Qantas Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Sri Lankan A321 Business Class Hong Kong to Colombo
Serendiva Colombo Airside Transit Hotel
Serendib Lounge
SriLankan Airways A330-300 Business Class Colombo to Male
Conrad Maldives:
– Seaplane Ride, Male Airport Lounge, and Arrival
– Beach Villa
– Deluxe Beach Villa
– Superior Water Villa
– Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Cocktails
– Hilton Gold and Diamond Benefits: Mandhoo Tea, Free Breakfast at Vilu and Atoll Market
– Conrad Maldives Final Thoughts: The good, the bad, and the expensive
Leeli Lounge Maldives Airport
Etihad A320 Business Class Male to Abu Dhabi
First Class Etihad Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

After a just OK experience at the Leeli Lounge we browsed some souvenir items and then headed to our gate for our Etihad A320 business class flight to Abu Dhabi. The Male airport does not have any jetways and instead uses airstairs for all flights. This meant we boarded a shuttle to head to our plane. Unfortunately boarding started early and we missed the business class boarding so there was a bit of mayhem.

Etihad A320 Business Class Review, MLE-AUH

But once we got off the bus we boarded the front stairs to business class:

Etihad A320
Etihad A320

The business class seats on Etihad’s A320 are similar to what you would expect from US carriers domestic first class, except with more legroom and recline. There is built in IFE, plugs, as well as electronic seat controls to adjust your seat.

This product certainly isn’t life changing, and plenty of carriers fly a long-haul product to Male (see SriLankan A330 reverse herringbone review), but it was sufficient.

Etihad A320 Business Class Review MLE-AUH

We were quickly greeted and offered orange juice or water. For some reason the gentleman in front of us was offered a predeparture beverage of choice, however. The flight attendants seem very rushed pre-takeoff but we were handed menus to review and room temperature nuts.

Etihad Business Class Menu Male to Abu Dhabi

Etihad A320 Business Class Review Menu MLE-AUH

Etihad A320 Business Class Review Wine List

Etihad Business Class review A320 liquor list

After reviewing the menu the harried flight attendant returned with hot towels and to take our order. She kneeled down to take our order and addressed us by name, which is always a nice touch. I ordered the Arabic mezze, risotto, and pineapple tart. Luckily we got our orders in when we did because the four late boarders in business class didn’t get the Arabic mezze or the chicken as an option (a common issue on Etihad as I understand it).

Once we put in our orders there was a smooth takeoff for our evening departure and the lights were dimmed. Within 30 minutes we had trays down in front of us and the meal began:

Etihad Business Class Arabic Mezze

The Arabic mezze is well known on Etihad and while it was very good I didn’t love that the bread was so cold it was hard as a rock. The wine (a Shiraz) was very good though!

The risotto was then brought out quickly afterwards:

Etihad Risotto Entree Business Class

So, not that I had high hopes, but it was not very good. The risotto’s flavor was good but the texture was gluey and the parmesan tuille on top was chewy with zero crunch as it should have had.

We were then quickly brought dessert as well:

Etihad Business Class Dessert - Pineapple Tart

I always almost laugh with the airline desserts. What’s wrong with a good butterscotch pudding or something else that actually travels well? This clearly was supposed to have a crumble on top but it was just all one texture and the sauce tasted exactly like melted vanilla ice cream. Which…it may have been.

Overall I wasn’t very impressed with the food but again, the wine was good!

After the trays were cleared I browsed a movie, then dozed off, to try and prep for our very late night (early morning) departure in the A380 Apartments!

Etihad A320 Business Class Review Maldives to Abu Dhabi: Bottom Line

This certainly is a step up from a domestic first class but when many carriers, including Qatar Airways and Emirates, fly longhaul equipped planes with lie flat business class seats the product is not competitive. Either way, it was part of our American Airlines award ticket that included the A380 First Class Apartments so we were fine with it based on the circumstances! If not for that we certainly would have investigated a different airline with a better hard product when leaving the Maldives.

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