Saturday, 20 January 2018

Flying Etihad A380 Economy with Children - Review

We recently flew on Etihad airlines A380 to Abu Dhabi and Australia from London Heathrow. We flew with our two girls who are aged 5 and 2. Here's our review of our experience of flying with them with young children.

Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

Seat Selection:
We were able to preselect our seats upon booking at no extra cost. The layout was 3-4-3 so we chose to sit in a row of 4 towards the back of the plane. 

Checking in:
Checking in was all very straight forward apart from in Sydney. We waited in a very long queue (for over an hour) and were not offered to check in at any other desks (such as business or first, which were empty). This was a long time to try and keep young children entertained in a long queue. There were also other families with young children who were also struggling with the long wait.

Boarding:
We were allowed priority boarding which was very handy with small children. It's so much easier not waiting in the massive queue to board as you can get on the plane and get them settled and familiar with their surroundings as quick as possible.

Children's Fun Pack:
The children were gifted with fun packs before the flight took off. On the shorter, Abu Dhabi flights these were a colouring pack which was shaped like a suitcase. On the longer, Sydney flights these were bags with colouring inside. My eldest daughter loved the bag and carried it around everywhere on our holiday. 

Comfort:
There was plenty of room around the seat area for young children. You can easily place their bags under the chair in-front of them which still left room for them to stand up etc. We sat the girls next to each other in the middle of our row of 4. When they were ready to sleep we could lift up their arm rests so they could stretch out and lay down, side by side.


Blankets and pillows were provided. The blankets were much nicer than any other airlines we have been on. They were soft and very big.

The plane itself was large. We could walk around the toilet area to stretch our legs without feeling cramped. 

Entertainment:
The entertainment system was a large touch screen display. It also had touch screen remote control. There was a section on the entertainment system designed for children which was designed like a town that the kids could swipe through. There were tv shows, movies, music and games.


There wasn't a great choice of movies or tv shows for the children which we were quite disappointed with compared to what was on offer for adults. More needs to be done in this area.

There were cameras on the plane located at the front, underneath and on the tail which you could watch on the screen. The girls enjoyed watching the plane take off and land.

Service:
All of the staff were excellent with the children. They all interacted with them and they made them feel welcome. 

Food:
Meals were served twice on both flights and also a snack was provided. The children's meals were served about 30 minutes before everyone else's. The trays took a long time to be cleared and the children's trays were only cleared with the adults which was annoying as the kids had tended to finish their food before we received ours and we were then left trying to stack the trays up on our tables for hours.

There was a good selection on the tray such as a hot meal, salad sticks (carrots etc) with dip, desert, drink, chocolate and more. Both of the girls enjoyed their meals. They also enjoyed their snack of a sandwich.


When we were looking for more snacks (especially during the 13.5 hour flight to Sydney) there wasn't a great deal of choice. There were only muffins. It would have been good to see a bigger variety on offer with fruit and drinks cartons.

Toilets:
The toilets were a good size. I could fit myself and my 5 year old in without feeling too squashed. The changing table was large. They were kept very clean throughout the flight.

Onboard Nanny:
According to their website, there is an onboard nanny who can help provide an extra pair of hands during the flight. They can help settle the children or help keep them entertained if you need a bit of me time.

We did see the Nanny on the flights delivering the kids packs but barely had any interaction. That may be because the nanny felt like we didn't need it perhaps or maybe she was busy down the other end of the plane, who knows.

Overall

Would we fly with Etihad again, yes. They aren't the best from experience but certainly in the top 5. Some improvements on the above would certainly make the flight better but as our flights went without a hitch id say we enjoyed our experience.


Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

**Please note, Etihad did not know I would be writing this blog post. We purchased all of our tickets ourselves. My opinions expressed in this post are my own**





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2 comments

  1. Wow an on board nanny. Shame it didn't turn out to be as good as it sounded. The food range looks good for kids x

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  2. I've seen Ethiad advertising a lot recently. It's an airline that I never considered before but it looks great. Shame about the lack of kids tv. I'd rather they had great kids tv to keep the children happy then adult tv. But still, I'd certainly consider them if the price worked out :)

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