We were excited to fly Etihad after hearing so many lovely things about them and reading some great reviews. However, we were off to a bad start when checking it at Manchester. There were hundreds of people waiting to check in and only 7 desks open - 3 of these were for business/first class, 3 for baggage drop only and only 1 was for the biggest queue, economy check-in! Needless to say we checked in after a very long wait (nearly 2 hours!) and then had limited time in the Aspire lounge we had booked separately.
Once on the plane, we sat in our pre-booked seats so me and my husband could have a row of 2 on our own. The seats were the same width as a RyanAir or EasyJet short haul flight (17 inches) - not great for a 7hr 20min flight. And for some ungodly reason, none of the 4 Etihad flights we took from Manchester to Male had air conditioning at your seat!! Each flight was like an oven which made a rather uncomfortable 12 hour trip even more so....
You were provided a pillow and blanket, and the meals and service were all fine. But we've flown similar long haul flights with competing airlines (e.g. Turkish Airlines) and were much more comfortable. Mainly due to the fact you are provided with a care package with Turkish to make travelling much nicer (e.g. a sleeping mask, lip balm, slippers, disposable toothbrush and tooth paste).
Simply put, it was too uncomfortable in economy with Etihad compared to other airlines to make us want to use them again.