Etihad Airways has the world’s best First Class product and service. The confirmation of the news came on Thursday May 20, at the announcement in Hamburg of the results of the latest Skytrax survey of 200 airlines across the world.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline won three titles for its First Class at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, following a poll of almost 18 million global air travellers, from more than 100 countries.

Etihad won the awards for:

· World’s Best First Class;

· Best First Class Airline Seat; and

· Best First Class Onboard Catering

The Skytrax survey is conducted annually, and the awards are among the most prestigious in the industry. The public poll takes into account all aspects of the air travel experience as well as the quality of customer service delivered by each airline’s staff.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are exceptionally proud to have won these three awards for our new and innovative First Class product and service which is now recognised as the world’s best by the ultimate judges – air travellers.

“In 2008 we introduced a new Business Class product and we won the Skytrax award for Best Business Class so it is hugely satisfying, 12 months later, to introduce our new First Class Suite and to win the awards for Best First Class, Best First Class Seat and Best first Class Onboard Service.”

Edward Plaisted, Chairman of Skytrax, said: “This was a fantastic Awards ceremony for Etihad Airways, walking away with the World’s Best First Class Award, the Best First Class Onboard Catering Award and Best First Class Airline Seat, achieving a clean sweep of this premium travel category.

“On a global basis, out of 200 airlines, Etihad Airways ranked 6th in the world, moving up from 7th in 2009. The World Airline Awards are known as ‘The Passenger’s Choice’, underlining the fact that Etihad Airways are clearly satisfying their hardest critics – the passengers.”

Etihad redefined luxury air travel in 2009 when it unveiled its new First Class cabin suite. The cabin contains 12 individual suites, which have been designed to provide First Class customers with more privacy, greater comfort and increased storage.

Each private suite is accessed by its own sliding door and includes a personal wardrobe and mini bar, as well as 23 inch wide-screen LCD screen. Customers can use the innovative E-BOX system to view a wealth of on-demand television shows, movies and games.

The airline has introduced its “Inspired Service” concept on the ground and in the air, which seeks to provide both its First Class customers with service individually tailored to their needs.

Etihad’s new First Class 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.

Key features of the 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 Arabic styled 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, raised wash basin and leather fold-down seat

· Luxurious soft furnishings and designer amenity kit

In the air, Etihad Airways long and ultra long haul flights feature the innovative Food and Beverage Manager position.

Many of these managers are from five-star hospitality backgrounds, and are responsible for championing the quality, presentation and delivery of food and beverages on board to ensure consistent high standards.

On the ground, First Class customers flying from Etihad’s home base at Abu Dhabi airport can take advantage of a dedicated concierge service, which ensures that their complimentary limousine service is met kerb-side and they are then escorted quickly inside to the airline’s dedicated premium check-in zone.

The airline has also opened dedicated First and Business class lounges at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi airport, where customers can enjoy a range of services including all-day fine dining, boardroom-style meeting facilities, Six Senses Spa treatments and a champagne bar.

Etihad, which began flying less than seven years ago, built upon its success at the 2009 Skytrax awards where it won the Best Business Class and Best Business Class Catering categories. It also won the title of the World’s Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards in November 2009, as well as six Middle East awards at the WTAs in May 2010.