Ethiad A330-200 Ho Chi Minh City to Abu Dhabi Or What the Ethiad Airways A330-200 and New Thai A350-900 Business Class Have in Common.

Southeast Asia was fun – a few days in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and even a side trip to Phuket, Thailand flying the Thai A350-900 (previously reviewed) on its fourth day in service. Done that.  Now it was on to the Maldives.

To get to the Maldives from SGN I used American Airlines miles to book business-class flights on Ethiad Airways to Abu Dhabi (AUH) and then to Male, Maldives (MLE).

Ethiad Lounge SGN

At check in at SGN the Ethiad agent gave me a lounge pass.  The lounge Ethiad uses at SGN is shared with multiple carriers.  It has reasonably comfortable seating in one large room. The lounge offers a good variety of food and beverage choices, free wifi, newspapers and magazines.

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Seating Ethiad lounge SGN

Food is served on several buffets at one end of the lounge.  Hot and cold western and Asian dishes, snacks and deserts are available.

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Buffet
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Bar for computer use (right) and alcohol and papers at rear

SGN-AUH Ethiad A330-200

The flight to AUH was scheduled for six hours and 49 minutes to cover the 3,534 miles from SGN.

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Flight info to AUH

The Ethiad A330-200 Business-Class Seat

This Ethiad A330-200 was the remodeled version with all-aisle-access, lie-flat seats in business class in a 1-2-1 arrangement.

Upon boarding I immediately observed that the Ethiad A330-200 and the new Thai A350-900 have nearly identical business-class seats.

I had seat 7K, a window seat on the right side of the plane.  It was set up like my window seat on the Thai A3550-900.

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Ethiad A330-200 seat 7K with fixed video screen and fold-down tray table like Thai A350-900.  Blanket and amenity kit below the screen.

Unfortunately, the middle seats also had the same set up as on the Thai A350-900.

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Business class middle seats on Ethiad A330-200

The middle seat rows alternate with the two seats separated or close together.  As shown in the photo above, when the middle seats are together and the consoles are on the outside, there is no separation between seatmates whatsoever.  As far as proximity to your seatmate, you might as well be in coach.

In the other rows, the consoles are between the seats.  That puts your seatmate at a comfortable distance.  But these seats place passengers directly on the aisle.

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Open foot well business class middle seat on the aisle 

To underscore the exposed position this seat puts passengers in note that with these seats the foot well is open to the aisle.  This is the only lie-flt business class seat I’ve seen with an unenclosed foot well.  It seems that it would be all too easy for blankets and feet to spill into the aisle when the passengers in these seats sleep.

The controls for seat 7K, lighting and video remote are conveniently located at eye level on the console between the seat and the aisle.

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Seat controls and video remote are close at hand and easy to use

The tray table folds down and out from the back of the seat in front like on the Thai A350-900.

img_0763The tray table is non-adjustable unlike many other business-class seats.

The electrical connections are located below the fold-down tray table in a somewhat awkward spot for access and stepping over to get to the aisle.

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USB and AC outlets

In sum, I find the seating arrangement in business class on the Ethiad 330-200 to be equally unsatisfactory as on the Thai A350-900 for those sitting in the middle seats.

The Amenities

On this flight Ethiad provided its usual business-class quilt, pillow, amenity kit, noise-cancelling headsets and bottled water.  No pajamas.

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Ethiad amenity kit with special design
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Amenity kit contents including, eye shades, socks, dental kit, facial moisturizer and lip balm, ear plugs and a guide to Abu Dahbi

Ethiad business kits come with six designs celebrating six of the cities it serves.  My kit had the Los Angeles design.

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Amenity kit designs.
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Noise-cancelling headphones

I travel with my own Bose noise-cancelling headsets (a must have for any flights in coach). However when an airline provides headsets in business or first class, I gladly use those to save batteries and wear and tear on my own headsets.

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Bottled water and reading light (note the of the passenger in the middle seat on the aisle).

In-flight Entertainment System

The IFE on this flight was pretty standard for international business class.  One neat feature was the exterior camera that provided a great view of the takeoff from SGN.

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Exterior camera showing SGN takeoff.

The view from the window wasn’t bad either.

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Ho Chi Minh City shortly after departure

Service

The Ethiad crew provided a pre-departure beverage.  I had champagne.

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Pre-departure beverage

Menus were also distributed.img_0751img_0752

 

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Ethiad gave the option of choosing from the A La Carte or the All Day menu for the meal service.

After drinks dinner began about an hour into the flight.  I had the Nile perch for the main course.  It was moist and flaky and delicious.img_0780

Chese grapes and strawberry ice cream was desert.

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Throughout the flight the attendants were courteous and responsive.  One nice touch was that shortly before landing the FAs handed out a note to each passenger in business class with personalized information on the connecting gate for the next flight.img_0799

The flight was fairly uneventful although we skirted some thunderstorms along the way.  We did not receive any turbulence, but the lightning was a nice show.

Arrival at AUH was about 12:30 a.m.  The plane parked at a remote stand, and we were shuttled to the terminal by bus.  I found the Ethiad business-class lounge and spent my eight-hour layover there.  That will be the next post about this trip.

Conclusions

I very much enjoyed my seat, food and service on this flight in business class on the Ethiad A330-200.  Solo travelers and couples must be careful when selecting seats on this aircraft as getting the wrong seat could negatively affect your experience.

For anyone travelling alone, the window seats are the only desirable ones.  Window seats in the odd numbered rows are the most desirable.  For couples who want to sit together, the middle seats in rows with the consoles on the aisle work well.

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