- Etihad Airways is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, operating in 75 cities around the world.
- Though the airline is only 15 years old, it has built a stellar reputation primarily because of its long-haul flights on new planes like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
- It is also known for its extravagant business- and first-class offerings, like The Residence, a $23,000 ticket that comes with a literal apartment in the sky.
- With Gulf airlines like Etihad and Emirates becoming more popular, I recently decided to fly Etihad from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Cairo. I was curious whether Etihad's reputation would hold up in economy class on a non-long-haul flight.
Gone are the golden days of Pan Am, American Airlines, and the like. If you want to fly the best in 2018, your best bet is an international flag carrier — an airline owned or previously owned by a government, usually one from the Middle East or Asia.
The consumer-aviation website Skytrax's list of the world's top airlines is dominated by flag carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, among others.
Coming in at 15th on the list is an airline I've heard tons of about: Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad has made a lot of noise over the years because of its ultramodern fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos and its extravagant first- and business-class offerings on long-haul flights, including Business Studio, which comes with a massaging lie-flat bed, an 18.5-inch touchscreen, and a lounge to hang out in, and The Residence, a $23,000 ticket that comes with a literal apartment in the sky.
But let's be real: I'm not flying any of that.
As an average Joe — albeit one who travels quite often — I was curious how Etihad would hold up in economy class. I got my chance recently when booking a flight from Abu Dhabi, Etihad's hub, to Cairo.
While I wouldn't say Etihad was bad, it certainly wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
Here's what I thought of my flight on an Etihad Airways Airbus A320, departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Cairo International Airport.
The UAE is a bit unique in that it has two flag carriers: Emirates for Dubai, and Etihad for Abu Dhabi. Since I had an itch to try Etihad Airlines, I had to drive an hour to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
While a handful of Asian and Middle Eastern airlines operate out of Abu Dhabi's airport, it is dominated by Etihad. Terminal 3, where my flight was leaving from, is the newest terminal and has almost exclusively Etihad flights.