On A Plane: Etihad Business Class Review

Etihad Business Class Seat

Etihad Flight 403 Business Class Review

Flight du jour:

EY 403

Bangkok (BKK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

December 1st, 2015

Departs: 8:35 AM

Arrives: 11:59 AM

Duration: 6 Hours 24 Minutes

Etihad LiveryThe Etihad flight du jour.

The time had come for another adventure and this one was off to a good start with our Etihad Chaffeur picking us up in an black Mercedes Benz and whisking us off to the airport (Etihad discontinued their Chaffeur service for partner award tickets on August 10th, 2016). We booked the tickets pre-devaluation using 30,000 American Airlines Aadvantage miles each way (the new award price between Asia 2 and the Middle East is 40,000 AA miles) and $91.40 in taxes and fees total for the outbound and return segments.

IMG_8146
Etihad Business Class Seat

My first thought upon entering the cabin was that it looked like someone had stolen the upholstery from my parents couch and sold it to Etihad.  Airlines tend to put a lot of thought into their premium cabins but the striped seats looked like everything about the 1980’s that we don’t want to remember. Maybe they were trying to replicate the fake wood grain on the adjacent side tables, or maybe stripes were super hot when they put in the order for these seats, but whatever the case may have been they weren’t looking so hot now.

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Double Decker Planes and Powder Staches!

Have you ever gotten to fly “upstairs” on an airplane before?

Does “reverse coffin” sound like something you’d be into?

I have always wanted to ascend those magical stairs to the fancier cabin perched atop the squalor that is coach, but up until now I had never gotten the chance to do so. Thanks to some US Airways Dividend Miles that I had scored from the US Airways credit card signup bonus, plus a few more miles transferred over from my Starwood Preferred Guest account, I was making it a reality.

All Your Powder Is Belong To us!!!
“All your powder Is belong to us!!!”

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When Buying Miles Makes Sense

Do you have few miles or points but would still like to fly business class?

Do you have some money to spend on upcoming travel but not enough to buy those hilariously priced business class tickets?

I feel your pain!  Flying coach on long-haul trips sucks and I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that I avoid ever having to do it again.  Mostly, my strategies revolve around using credit card sign up bonuses to build up large balances of frequent flyer miles that I can redeem for business and first class travel.  But it takes time to build up these balances.

For those with travel plans that are happening in the very near future they might benefit from another way to avoid coach that doesn’t involve taking out a second mortgage on their cat.

When Buying Miles Makes Sense

It makes sense to buy miles when A) you might otherwise have paid for the business class ticket or B) you really don’t want to fly coach and are willing to pay a little extra to avoid it.

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates
Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates

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50k US Airways Offer Gone From Barclays Site. Last Chance To Apply.

As of today the US Airways Dividend Miles card with a 50,000 mile bonus offer has been removed from the Barclays site.  Thankfully, I still have a working link for you, though this final opportunity to get the card will likely be short lived.

Barclays US Airways card
Barclays US Airways card

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30 Days Left To Get 50,000 Miles for $89

30 days left to get 50,000 miles for $89 dollars.

Barclays US Airways card
Barclays US Airways card

It’s not that often that credit card companies are willing to shower you with miles for next to nothing, but that is exactly what is currently happening with the Barclays US Airways credit card. The sign up bonus is 50,000 US Airways Dividend miles after first purchase and paying the annual fee of $89. So for $89 and a $0.50 Amazon gift certificate to yourself, you can top up your Dividend miles balance by a cool 50,000 miles.

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Sixteen Hours in Business Class or in Coach?

I got an email just the other day from a friend inquiring as to how to best approach getting from the US to SE Asia without being stuck in coach.  Considering that this particular friend is 6’6″, avoiding coach seems like the smart thing to do.

Lay-Flat bed and a sleeping aid.
Lay-Flat bed and a sleeping aid for the win!

He had been thinking about buying coach tickets for him and his squeeze on American for $1100 and then using miles to upgrade the ticket to business class. He didn’t have the miles in his account already, so he was inquiring as to if this approach seemed reasonable and what cards he should be thinking about to make this a reality.

I am all for travel hacking your way into the premium cabin but am generally against buying a coach ticket and using the miles to upgrade.  Here’s why:

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