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FLIGHT REVIEW: Etihad Flight 455 Sydney to Abu Dhabi – Economy Space

Traveltalk’s JENNY EVANS is flying…finally. Here, she reminds us that as things start to return to a version of normal on the ground, international travel is very much a reminder of COVID’s long shadow.

Although life is finally starting to feel a bit more like normal, arriving at Sydney airport was a stark reminder that travel is nowhere near pre-covid levels. The departure screen showed just half a page of departures rather than the usual three or so pages.


We were Verified to Fly. This requires loading up the required travel documents (COVID International vaccine certificate) prior to check in and had checked in online.


Arriving at the airport three hours before departure, Etihad check in felt busy, most travellers had Verified to Fly but there were only two check-in desks open (two desks for VtF, two for economy and two for business) so the baggage drop took about 45 mins. It was clear that the majority of travellers were arriving early for the flight. 


Luggage allowance was a generous but strict 30kg checked and 7kg + 5kg carry on. All were weighed at check in.


The check in area overall was quiet. Most of the shops were shuttered up but a selection of restaurants were open (not all). We were told that there were restaurants available on the other side of security but in reality there was only one bar selling sandwiches in our part of the terminal.



The flight boarded on time (8.50pm), left the gate at 9.33pm and took off around 9.45pm.


I was sitting in seat number 22H in the Economy Space section. My daughter was in 22J and we had a spare seat between us.


The cost of the Economy Space seat was approximately $150 USD for the flight and was an option when choosing your seat online. Economy Space features an increased seat pitch of up to 36 inches. This is 5 inches more than what Etihad offers in their Standard Economy seats. At 6ft2inches tall I felt this was worth every penny.


We were travelling on the Etihad Boeing 787-9, the cabin was clean and the plane quiet inside and out. The flight was at about 60% capacity.


An amenity bag was provided including eye mask, spare face mask, sanitising wipes and gel and a bottle of water.


Entertainment was extensive including a selection of new and older movies and TV. But having spent the last two years living with the huge availability of streaming services, I found that there wasn’t much I hadn’t seen.


Meal option was chicken, beef or vegetable. I chose the chicken which turned out to be a pleasant honey soy chicken with jasmine rice. A food bag was distributed mid flight containing sandwich, cake and water, and breakfast was served around four hours prior to landing.


Cabin staff were friendly and polite and service was prompt.


The flight landed on time at 4:43am. Total travel time 14h 10 mins.


Overall the flight was a pleasant experience and I’d recommend Etihad Economy Space as a cheap but comfortable way to travel.



Eat before you go through security.


Be prepared! Make sure you know exactly what travel documents are required by the airline AND by the destination country.



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Written by: Jenny Evans
Published: 9 March 2022

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