I tried economy class on Etihad, the airline famous for its $23,000 apartment-in-the-sky ticket, and I was surprised to find it wasn’t anything special
Gone are the golden days of PanAm, American Airlines, and the like. If you want to fly the best in 2018, your best bet is an international flag carrier — i.e. an airline owned or previously owned by a government, usually one from the Middle East or Asia.
Consumer aviation website Skytrax’s list of top airlines in the world is dominated by flag carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, among others.
Coming in at #15 on the list is an airline that I’ve heard tons of about: Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad has made a lot of noise over the years due to its ultra-modern fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos and its extravagant first and business class offerings on long-haul flights. Those offerings include Business Studio, which comes with a massaging lie-flat bed, 18.5-inch touchscreen, and a lounge to hang out in, and The Residence, a $23,000 ticket that comes with a literal apartment in the sky.
But, let’s be real: I’m not flying any of that.
As a regular joe — albeit one who travels quite often — I was curious how Etihad would hold up in economy class. I got my chance recently when booking a flight from Abu Dhabi, Etihad’s hub, to Cairo, Egypt.
While I won’t say Etihad was bad, it certainly wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.