Etihad Business Studio is the name of Etihad’s new business product which, as of December, will be introduced on Etihad’s new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Essentially, it is an evolution of the current ‘Pearl Business’, with a modernised design and increased privacy. BusinessClass.co.uk was at the launch in the UAE, and today we publish a number of additional unique pictures of the new seat.
New design and more privacy
After looking at the new first class products, ‘The Residence’ and ‘First Apartment’, on the Airbus A380, and ‘First Suite’ on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we now shine the spotlight on Etihad’s new business product, ‘Business Studio’. This product will be on both of these types of aircraft, in contrast to the first class products, which are only on specified aircraft.
The seat has been developed over five years, based on the concept ‘work, rest and play’. Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer at Etihad, says the idea is to offer a luxury standard with a sleek design and high tech functionality which should correspond to the level that many others offer in first class.
‘Business Studio’ builds upon the foundation of the current product, ‘Pearl Business’ (which BusinessClass tested in December 2013), with 20 percent more legroom and a significantly refreshed and modern design. The seat is now more like a suite, the walls are higher and there is a proper screen that can be pulled up between the cracks in the middle of the cabin if you desire privacy from your neighbour.
The seats will remain in a 1-2-1 configuration, arranged in a zigzag pattern, so all passengers have direct access to the aisle without having to step over anyone. The advantage of the 1-2-1 configuration is that there are favourable seats for both travellers who are travelling alone, and want privacy, and for travellers who have a companion and want to sit together, who can then choose the advantageous two middle seats. If one gets a central location without knowing the person next door, there is, as I said, a screen which can be pulled up.
There will be 28 seats on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and on the Airbus A380, 70 seats, located upstairs behind first class.
The seat itself is made from beige Poltrona Frau leather, the same leather that that Ferrari use in their cars. The seats in the Airbus A380 have been developed by EADS Sogerma, and the seats in the Dreamliner, by Zodiac Aerospace.
When the seat is reclined, it becomes completely horizontal, with a length of 204cm. Seat width is 56cm.
In front of the chair is an ottoman, which serves as a footrest during the day and becomes a part of the bed during the night. There is storage under the seat for shoes and small hand luggage. At the side of the chair is a small table where you can store water bottles, headphones, reading materials, and personal belongings. Diagonally in front of the chair is another small table for items such as glasses and plates. The table used during meal service is stored within the chair’s design and is 40x46cm when extended.
The seat has many design details influenced by modern Arabia, for example, there are several different lights built into the seat, with effects that help create a relaxed atmosphere. Above the chair is a reading lamp, and to the side, an attractive ornamental lamp.
New entertainment system
On the side of the chair there is a touch-screen remote control for use in conjunction with the new entertainment system. A new feature is that the whole menu comes up on the screen of the remote control, which you can then scroll through.
Etihad’s latest entertainment system is the Panasonic EX3, with over 750 hours of entertainment. The HD screen, in front of the seat, is 18 inches wide and excellent noise-cancelling headphones are also available in business class (in fact, in all classes), which connect via a magnetic contact.
The remote control is fixed in a holder on the side of the chair. Next to this is a touch screen display to control the chair’s functionality. There is also a built-in massage feature in the seat.
WIFI will be available onboard both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, however, the Dreamliner will not offer cellular connectivity.
Passengers travelling in first class or business class, on the Airbus A380, will also get access to ‘The Lobby’, a lounge located upstairs between the two cabin classes. The lounge offers a large leather sofa, a TV and a breakfast bar where you can relax or socialise with fellow travellers .
Etihad also want the boarding process to be something slightly different. Their aim is provide an inviting and inspiring atmosphere as passengers come on board, a bit more like the lobby of a boutique hotel. Therefore, they have installed doors and screens, decorated in an Arabic style, on the Airbus A380. These adornments cover the regular interior throughout the boarding process, most notably in the galley, where the food is stored and cooked, and create a more pleasant and welcoming experience.
What do BusinessClass think?
Etihad already has a pretty good business product, with a fully flat seat and a zigzag seating configuration (so-called ‘staggered seating’). ‘Business Studio’ is a development of this and it has clearly embraced some aspects which could be improved upon in the current ‘Pearl Business’. The interior has been revamped with a more modern design, but most impressive is the new seat, which has a much improved ability to create privacy from the rest of the cabin, which many desire.
The design is also stylish and sleek, especially with the different lighting effects in the seat. It has a pleasant colour combination, smooth lines and it feels both elegant and tranquil. In addition, the seat is very comfortable to sit in.
Both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner will enter service in December 2014. The first flight of the Dreamliner will be to Dusseldorf and the first flight of the Airbus A380 will probably be to London. The Dreamliner will also be test flown, on the route Abu Dhabi – Doha, during December.