This is the first time I've flown with Etihad. Melbourne to Milan return with a stopover in Abu Dhabi on each leg. I think the airline was pretty good; can not fault the service of the cabin staff and the food was okay; no better or worse than expected.
Where they were let down is in the plane itself. A 787 Dreamliner is too cramped for a 13-14 hour long haul flight; it needs to be an A380. We found both the Melbourne - Abu Dhabi legs quite tough because of this. The seats seem to be narrower with less leg room. Also there was almost no one sitting in the extra leg room seats near the bulkhead. I asked about sitting there and they said it would cost $US140 per person to upgrade. Absolute rip off; $US50 would be reasonable.
The flight from Milan - Abu Dhabi on an A330 was a lot more comfortable. I flew Melbourne - LA last year on a Qantas A380. This is a 14 hour flight and was a lot more comfortable. I would fly Etihad again but not long haul on a Dreamliner.