[Emirates vs Etihad] Trip Report: AUH-BLR-COK-DXB (EY+EK+AIX)

Hello everyone! I had to fly down to India yesterday and while I usually fly Emirates, I decided to book Etihad instead since I wanted to check out the new Terminal A at Abu Dhabi Airport and experience Etihad’s amazing business class service I had heard much about.


Outbound

EY238

Abu Dhabi - Bengaluru

Zayed International Airport (AUH / OMAA) - Kempegowda International Airport (BLR / VOBL)

We start with Terminal A @ AUH. It was actually structurally complete in 2018 but its inauguration was pushed back due to several delays along with the pandemic to open only in 2023. First and business class passengers had their own separate entrance and check-in section akin to DXB and DOH, but there was no self check-in which surprised me.

The CCTV in this airport acted in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part 1. I did not get an autograph 😔

I spotted a few aircraft from the lounge and from gates near my departure gate of A4 (606 airside).

1. Airbus A380-861

reg. A6-APG
Boarding as EY17 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow

2. Airbus A350-1000

reg. A6-XWC
Boarding as EY223 from Abu Dhabi to Delhi

3. Airbus A320-200

reg. A6-EIT
Boarding as EY386 from Abu Dhabi to Muscat


My aircraft

Boeing 787-9

reg. A6-BLX

After boarding, I sat down at seat 10K. This was the view:

While taxiing to the runway, I saw 2 WizzAir Abu Dhabi A321s. One was at the gate and one was taxiing to the terminal after landing. I also saw this Boeing 787-9 which had just finished pushing back.



I saw a couple Emirates 777-300ERs (in the new livery) which was a surprise to spot in Abu Dhabi. There were also three Qantas A380s that never came out of retirement.


I saw this A340 in an all-white livery.

With a 19-minute delay, we took off from Abu Dhabi at 2:59 PM and the meal service began soon after. I opted for the chicken starters with mango juice, pepper chicken rice and a scoop of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream. The food was scrumptious.



I took these two lovely pictures an hour before arrival.


We landed on time at 7:15 PM local time.


IX1132

Bengaluru - Kochi

Kempegowda International Airport (BLR / VOBL) - Cochin International Airport (COK / VOCI)

I got an opportunity to go through the absolutely stunning Terminal 2 @ BLR. It was easily one of the best airport terminals I have ever gone through, and is actually quite similar to Terminal 3 @ Changi Airport in Singapore. As a Bangalorean, it was a very proud moment.



Before long, I was at my gate D6 and boarded the Airbus A320-200 operated by Air India Express. I was in the first row, and the seat was comfortable with ample legroom despite the relatively old aircraft.

I only took one photo because after ordering and eating a spicy calzone sandwich after departure, I dozed off and woke up only when we were on final for landing.



Inbound

EK531

Kochi - Dubai

Cochin International Airport (COK / VOCI) - Dubai International Airport (DXB / OMDB)

Here we are at gate 4 in Terminal 3 @ COK. Parked next to us was an Etihad A320 and an IndiGo A320neo.

I spotted this Qatar Airways A330-300 to Doha after we had pushed back and started taxiing to the runway.

I also saw this Air India A320 in sequence for departure after us.

Soon after, we had departed and we were in the air at 34,000 feet headed for Dubai. I clicked this picture during our climb out.

After a 4 hour 9 minute flight, we landed in Dubai 4 minutes behind schedule. Here we are at gate C19 (F10 airside).

Welcome home.


My Review

Between business class on Emirates vs Etihad, it’s actually a pretty close call. On one hand, Etihad has a 1-2-1 configuration which is a major upside compared to the 2-3-2 configuration on Emirates’ 777-300ERs which are absolutely redundant in today’s age. Even their newly-refurbished 777-200LRs operate using a 2-2-2 configuration, which I can argue is slightly better than their 300ERs since every seat gets aisle access at the least.

Apart from that, the Etihad 787 business class feels slightly more private due to its staggered layout and also due to how you essentially have to “enter” into your seat through a little passage between two tables rather than just getting in and out. Also, about the tables: Etihad has cleverly put the charging ports on the table adjacent to the seat itself; this means that the charging wire never gets in your way since you can place your devices on that table itself, completely independent of the rest of your seat.

The Emirates business class seat did have a mini-bar (which I didn’t use; I never drink anything cold), but more importantly, a much bigger TV with a better infotainment system. Emirates’ ICE is unparalleled in terms of what it offers, but that’s not to say that Etihad’s IFE is too far behind. In fact, both IFEs had a really good selection of movies, and it’s safe to say that everyone will be able to find something they like.

To sum things up, both the airlines offer amazing business class products. For now, I do prefer flying Emirates since I’m a frequent flyer with them and can use miles to save on cash or upgrade. However, Etihad’s business class product is equally as good, and I hope that Etihad continues to grow and offer some well-needed competition to Emirates and Qatar.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this trip report. I’ve stopped traveling regularly due to personal interests, but the next time I fly, I’ll try to upload a similar trip report.

17 Likes

Great pictures, however I believe trip reports go to Spotting, and there is a limit of 10 pictures.

For a topic to be posted in RWA it has to be approved by a moderator, his topic was approved so it’s fine.

4 Likes

Also, just wanted to say that Young Metro by Metro Boomin from WE DON’T TRUST YOU is such a good song to listen to while flying.

Something about the synths just hit right iykwim. And of course The Weeknd’s ad libs in the background