Had the chance to fly with Etihad Airways for our last trip to Europe. Decision made based on the lowest available price for our destination at the time of booking (~ RM5.5k for all three of us, 2 adults and one infant). Turkish Airlines provided cheaper fares but the idea of flying 12 hours non-stop to Istanbul with an infant is really scary. So far we only did around 4 flight hours to Tokyo with Naurah (our daugher), this 6 hours is already stretching it.
We purposedly took the flight from Singapore to get to Abu Dhabi for the all-new Etihad 787. That’s like adding around 30 minutes more of flight time to Abu Dhabi for the same flight originating from KUL. It’s okay. New airplanes are always good or at least better than the current fleet they have.
No seat selection for KUL-SG sector. It was a short one. Doesn’t matter. Flew on MAS A320. Premium-like leather seat. Nice and spacious.
Arrived in Singapore T3. Went to the transfer desk for the rest of the boarding passes since checked-in at KLIA at the MAS counter. Head straight to the gate for our flight.
I did choose my preferred seat but somehow they re-assigned it. Was initially aiming for the front row seat with the extra legroom and was willing to pay but not able to choose it online. So I had to choose the next row instead.
Once we got onto the plane, to our surprise, we are assiged to the front row seat. Row 15 J&K Coral Economy with bulkhead in front of us, just behind Pearl Business. Despite the bulkhead, we still have ample space to move around and let the baby walk, pretty much better than other rows in the economy class. 3-4-3 seating arrangement throughout the class, which is okay.
Initially, there’s a woman seating at H but since the seat behind us is empty, she switched thus giving us the whole aisle seat.
Flight was pleasant. Food ok. We were introduced to the nanny on flight but only see her seldom. Not sure how exactly the nanny would help throughout the flight though. Etihad should explain more about this value added service.
Flight from Abu Dhabi to Milan was packed on Etihad’s A330. No other plane options. They have 787 to Zurich though. That was unexpected since summer is almost over. We did not get the bulkhead seats this time. Worse that we were seated in the middle row. A bit challenging with the baby. Only good thing is the flight was at 2am. So despite the tussling around with Naurah, she managed to sleep in between.
Business class in-front. Weird that they place those with infants next to the Pearl Business class.
No 787 this time. A330 all the way from Milan to Abu Dhabi and KUL. Bulkhead seat and middle row on both flights. Nice thing is on both flights, only one seat is occupied at the aisle. So I grabbed the seat and let Naurah sleep in mine. Flight attendants were more friendly on these two flights.
Baby food (those fruit purees in glass jar) were available throughout all the flight but not to Naurah’s liking. She’s fine with her baby formula and once a while share the in-flight meal.
Overall I can say, Etihad is a safe choice if you’re flying with an infant. You will get the bulkhead seat even if your child no longer needs bassinet without additional cost. Stroller flies free plus one checked-in luggage allowance for the baby, which is nice considering you only pay around 10% of the base fare.
Just to note. Abu Dhabi airport is not the best there is in the region. Heard that Doha had completed its newest terminal in the recent years. Emirates, already well known for it’s airport. You might find that the airport can be a bit crowded, maybe not enough toilets during certain hours while waiting for your transfer flight. It is still okay nevertheless. Just hope that they will improve.