TRIP REPORT: Etihad/Swiss, Abu Dhabi - Belgrade


Written by Filippo Bertoni

This report covers two flights I recently took on my way from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade:

- Abu Dhabi to Geneva with Etihad in First class
- Zurich to Belgrade with SWISS in Business class

Abu Dhabi to Geneva

This flight was operated by one of the few Etihad 787-9s still featuring a First class cabin (with 8 spacious suites), and was one of best flights I ever had. The three crew members working in the First class cabin (one Romanian, one Brazilian and one Tunisian) were outstanding, formal and professional, yet engaging with passengers and anticipating any passenger needs. Upon boarding, I was escorted to my seat and was offered a glass of Charles Heidsieck 2006 Rosé along with the traditional Arabic coffee & dates. Champagne and wine refills were proactively provided throughout the whole flight. Before taking-off, the Cabin Manager (a beautiful South African lady) came to personally greet each of the 3 passengers sitting in First.

Etihad Airways first class lounge in Abu Dhabi

The First class cabin and seat are stunning, very roomy, elegant. Even with the doors closed for full privacy, the seat does not feel claustrophobic at all. When fully down, the seat / bed padding are comfortable and the two big pillows provided and so soft that I wanted to take them home with me.

Food was extremely good: the menu is not that extensive but the quality of every dish is comparable to a high-level restaurant. A note of merit to the beef tenderloin, which was incredibly well-cooked, juicy and tender, honestly one of the best I have ever had. The omelet I had for breakfast was also pretty incredible. When flying Etihad First, you can order anything from the onboard menu, at any time during the flight. Strange enough, there was no onboard chef on this flight.

Pajamas are provided and are designed by a local Emirati brand A Friend Of Mine: drawing inspiration from traditional Emirati dress, I found these pajamas to be incredibly soft and comfortable. Amenity kit is stocked with Acqua di Parma products.

In my opinion, this First class product is much more classy and elegant compared to what Emirates offers in First. Some areas of improvement:

No amenities are offered in the toilet; WiFi quality and speed could be better (First passengers are given 200MB for free). Champagne could be probably enhanced (Etihad serves Charles Heidsieck 2006, both Brut and Rosé, while Singapore Airlines, e.g., serves Krug in First)

Other than that, a flight close to perfection. A merit note for the First Class Lounge & SPA at Abu Dhabi airport, which is beautifully designed and worth spending at least 2 hours to fully enjoy the dining / high-end restaurant style experience.

Zurich to Belgrade

This flight was operated by a packed A220-100. Food was OK for the flight duration, and the crew was nice and professional. Other than that, it was quite an uneventful journey.

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  1. Anonymous09:53

    Etihad first looks still impressive!

  2. Anonymous10:32


  3. Anonymous12:38

    Thank you for interesting trip report!

  4. Anonymous13:23

    Good report and interesting socks😉👍 Etihad looks superb, too bad it's not flying anymore to BEG, still don't understand that decision.

  5. JU520 BEGLAX21:52

    Thank you for your report, we dont have First Class Reviews very often here if at all. Swiss Business Food is a joke. ZRH-BEG must be a warm lunch. It angers me to see how Swiss is saving in Business Class. Complete wrong strategy.

    1. JU520 BEGLAX23:24

      Btw, you are a hungry man 😜

    2. Anonymous05:41

      Exactly, their product should be better especially since ZRH-BEG is not such a short flight. It's not like VIE-BEG for example.

      On the other hand, JU offers a warm meal to business class passengers on BEG-ZRH.


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