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June 1, 2009

Etihad Unveils New First Class Cabin Suite

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, unveils its new first class cabin featuring 12 individual suites which have been designed to provide first class customers with the ultimate in luxury, privacy, comfort, and increased storage. Etihad flies daily between New York’s JFK and Abu Dhabi and starts service to Chicago’s O’Hare Sept. 2.

The highlight of the $70 million first class revamp is an extra-large seat that extends to a fully-flat bed, 80.5 inches in length, which is equipped with built-in massager, lumbar support and adjustable headrest, as well as power sockets for a laptop, iPod and other electronic devices.

Each private suite is accessed by its own sliding door and includes a personal wardrobe and mini bar, as well as 23″ wide-screen LCD screen which features more than 600 hours of ‘on demand’ entertainment. Spacious stowage compartments are built into and around the seat.

Meals are served on demand and a middle seat divider can be lowered to allow a dining space for up to four people.

The first class cabin also features a large and luxurious changing room with a full length mirror, new style wash basin and leather fold-down seat to allow passengers to freshen up and change after take-off and prior to landing.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “Competition for premium customers remains intense and during the last 12 months a number of airlines have unveiled significant enhancements to their first class cabins, with others deciding to remove the cabin completely from their aircraft. A downturn is exactly the time when an airline needs to demonstrate its commitment to the very highest standards of service excellence. The economic turbulence that the aviation industry is currently experiencing will give way to calmer times, and when it does our investment and product innovation will ensure that we have not simply remained competitive, but that we are the market leader.

“With this in mind, we feel the time is right for us to raise the bar and we believe that our new first class cabin, together with the enhancements we have already made to our first class service, re-establishes our position as market leader in terms of luxury air travel.”

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The new first class cabin has been developed following extensive global customer research, including input from many of Etihad’s most frequent flyers.

The cabin interior was created by craftsmen from some of the world’s top designers, including luxury leather upholstered by world-renowned Poltrona Frau, which also provides interiors for Ferrari cars. The new-look first class also includes new luxurious soft furnishings and designer amenity kits.

Key features of the new first class cabin include: 82 inch long private suite with a 80.5 inches fully flat bed, with bed width of 29.75 inches Each suite with sliding privacy doors 23 inch personal TV/video screen, with in-flight entertainment system that allows customers to pause, stop, fast-forward or rewind up to 600 hours of films, TV and radio programmes, and play games Personal mini bar Illuminated wardrobe with a personal mirror In-seat massager, lumbar support and adjustable headrest Spacious compartment areas where customers can stow their belongings Poltrona Frau leather upholstery Extra large (24 inches by 25 inches) wood finished meal table In-seat power sockets for PCs, iPod connector, USB ports, Ethernet port and audio jack Luxury changing room with full length mirror, wash basin and leather fold-down seat Luxurious soft furnishings and designer amenity kits

www.etihadairways.com

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