Etihad Airways A380: Routes, The Residences, And The Apartments

There are three airlines taking delivery of their first A380s this year. This includes Asiana, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways. Asiana has already announced their first longhaul A380 route will be Los Angeles, while Qatar Airways announced their first longhaul A380 route will be London Heathrow.

So up until today that only left Etihad Airways having not announced their first A380 destination.

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, unveiled their A380 interiors and first destinations today.

And my gosh, I think they’ve just put every other airline in the world to shame.

Etihad’s long term A380 plans

Etihad Airways has a total of 10 A380s on firm order. The delivery schedule for these planes is as follows:

  • One in 2014
  • Four in 2015
  • Three in 2016
  • Two in 2017

Etihad’s first A380 routes

It’s hardly surprising that Etihad’s first A380 destination will be London Heathrow, and the service will commence as of December 2014.

Specifically, the A380 will operate the EY11/12 service daily as of December 27, 2014, as follows:

EY11 Abu Dhabi to London departing 2:35AM arriving 6:35AM
EY12 London to Abu Dhabi departing 9:15AM arriving 8:05PM

A second A380 will operate the route as of the first quarter of 2015.

By the end of 2015 Etihad will have a total of five A380s, and plans to also fly them to Sydney and New York JFK.

Etihad’s A380 cabin layout

Etihad’s A380s will be configured with a total of 498 seats, spread across four “living spaces.” These include the following:

  • 2 VIP guests in “The Residences”
  • 9 guests in the “First Class Apartments”
  • 70 guests in the “Business Class Studios”
  • 417 guests in Economy Class (no quotations needed)

Here’s the Etihad A380 seatmap:

12399_Airbus A380_Seat Map_V4

Etihad’s A380 The Residences

Etihad’s new The Residences is quite possibly the greatest thing we’ll ever see on a commercial airplane. I’ve flown A380 first class on every airline that operates them, and this cabin is in a completely different league.

There’s just Residence on each plane which can accommodate up to two guests, and there will be no way to upgrade into them — the only way to sit in them is by paying cash.

Here’s a short video of the cabin:

And here’s a video narrated by Dannii Minogue:

Each Residence consists of a living room, bedroom, and private bathroom with shower, measuring a total of 125 square feet. The Residences also have a private butler specially trained by Savoy Hotels.

Yes, you get three rooms to yourself and a butler.

Absolutely ridiculous.

THE_RESIDENCE_LOUNGE
The Residences Living Room

THE_RESIDENCE
The Residences Living Room

THE_RESIDENCE_BEDROOM_HORIZONTAL
The Residences Bedroom

THE_RESIDENCE_BED
The Residences Bedroom

THE_RESIDENCE_BATHROOM
The Residences Bathroom

Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartments

Etihad’s first class product on the A380 is also great, though after seeing The Residences I can’t help but feel like it pales in comparison and almost feels second class.

There are nine Apartments on the A380, and they’re each 39 square feet. Six of them are adjoining, meaning you can convert them into double beds. Singapore Airlines isn’t alone in having that feature anymore!

Here’s a narrated video of the First Class Apartment:

A380_FIRST_CLASS_AISLE
First Class Apartment Aisle

Each “apartment” will consist of a separate seat and bed, and looks ridiculously spacious.

FIRST_APARTMENT_SLEEP
First Class Apartment Bed

FIRST_APARTMENT_relax
First Class Apartment Seat

FIRST_APARTMENT_VANITY
First Class Apartment Vanity

First class passengers will also have access to a shared bathroom which will also feature a shower.

FIRST_CLASS_WASHROOM
First Class Apartment Bathroom

Etihad’s A380 The Lobby

There’s also a shared lounge between first and business class, which looks like one of the most elegant lounges I’ve ever seen on a plane.

THE_LOBBY_view
The Lobby

THE_LOBBY
The Lobby

Etihad’s A380 Business Studios

When I first saw Etihad’s Business Studios I assumed it was their new first class, because it looked that good.

Here’s a narrated video of the new Business Studio:

BUSINESS_STUDIO
Business Studio

BUSINESS_STUDIO_SLEEP
Business Studio

BUSINESS_STUDIO_DINING
Business Studio

Bottom line

I don’t think words can do justice to Etihad’s new A380 cabins. Wow, wow, wow. Amazing across the board.

Unfortunately it looks like Etihad isn’t releasing any First Class Apartment award space on the A380, and they’re certainly not allowing any awards or upgrades for The Residences.

It’s also really interesting to look at the fares. Etihad’s one-way fare in the Residences from Abu Dhabi to London is over $20,000USD — WOW!

Etihad-Residences-Fare

Just amazing. From the actual product to the branding, this is pure brilliance.

What do you think of Etihad’s new A380 cabins?

Comments

  1. So what do we book in anticipation of an A380 getting subbed in? 😀

  2. It will be like SQ Suites and get old quickly, then they will open the product to the rest.

  3. Uh, wow.

    These should be really popular on longhaul routes for celebrities and people who might normally fly a private jet short distances, but can’t quite afford one with the legs for a transatlantic or transpacific flight.

    Can you imagine being in one of these on a JFK-HKG flight?

  4. Wow, but certainly not sustainable.

    The London route would possibly be OK with all the Emirs heading out to Harrods, but as for the other routes… Residences would probably be empty, Apartments maybe 1 or 2. Business class will always be too full, such that sooner or later, they will have to eliminate Residences from most planes, and take off a few more Apartments too.

    I think.

  5. I wonder what EK would do with their coming A380s. EY has taken the luxury benchmark to a whole new level, great for flyers with deep pockets.

  6. 1. Using Dannii Minogue is ridiculous. Shame on you Etihad, for adulterating such elegant products.
    2. When in bed mode it appears First Class Apartment passengers have their head to the door? That’s slightly strange. So if a flight attendant were to need to come in the first thing they’d see would be your prone head?

  7. @ Jason, I agree. The novelty will wear off in time.

    Though for such a beautiful space as The Residences you’d probably want to spend more than 8 hours on the plane!

  8. @ Charlie, I can’t see high premium loads on AUH-SYD. JFK possibly, but SYD I doubt.

  9. Actually, there is only 1 Residence on the aircraft, which can accommodate up to 2 pax inside. This will be at the forward left of the Upper Deck, where EK typically has one of its F class showers. The ”double bed’ feature in the Apartments is just a novelty, since only a small section of the divider between the Apartments can be retracted, so it’s basically a double bed only from the shoulder up or thereabouts.

    The big thing that some travelers may dislike is that alternating rows in both the F Apartments and the J studios face the rear, a bit like BA CW, and the pull out ottoman beds in the Apartments make you sleep sideways in relation to the direction of travel. I guess it may take some getting used to.

  10. Looks like EY has taken the most distinguishing feature of EK’s A380 first class product (showers) and SQ’s (double beds) and really trumped them.

  11. WOW! yes, wow…. now all they need to do is overhaul their ground experience.
    The F Class lounge in and of itself is fin, but the six senses spa and the showers are sub par, then once you leave the lounge it is a catastrophe….
    Easiest improvement would be lounge-plane chauffeur a la AF/LH.

  12. I love the fact that the only way you can travel in The Residence is to pay cash for it. Now this is truly a class beyond first. 😉

  13. It appears that “the Residence” main sitting area is in the same first class cabin—what you get is a private bathroom and sleeping area. They make it sound like you are fully separate from the rest, but you are not.

  14. @ Brian, I don’t think so. Looking at the seat map there are clearly 9 First Apartments, and the living room, bathroom, and bedroom that make up The Residence are marked out at the forward left of the upper deck.

  15. I think it is brilliant. Look at Thai’s enormous bathroom in the space that the Residence sits. Who would miss it being there? Most px don’t even know its there. If you can take that space and generate 20k in revenue per flight, I think your brilliant!

  16. In your face, Qatar. I know that the objetives are totally different, but this puts Qatar’s new A380 to huge shame.
    As for the residence, the bed seems narrow for two people. I also can’t see the point of it except for ultra-long haul flights or for celebrities or people that may chart a private flight.

  17. Is it true some of these middle east airlines don’t offer booze in flight? Please say no!

  18. Simply stunning, imho this is what the a380 was designed for. to make something truly incredible with all the space and be able to offer the most luxury while carrying over 400 people for small prices at the same time!

    kudos Etihad!

    P.S: @Ralf, Etihad and Emirates serve alcohol in flight!

  19. Interesting the video title is 787/Dreamliner business class. I guess that answers the question of what J class will look like on the 787.

  20. From looking in the seat map, it looks like the First Class apts also have a shower on the right side? Or do you think the shower is only for the Residence?

  21. Looks like they are giving out the residence on award redemption. But HOLY SHIT are they expensive! A return BOM-LHR cost 4.9 million miles + 2500$.

  22. I think you should try a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $20K. I know I’d pay a couple bucks for the review. You have 16K Twitter followers. It should be possible.

  23. I think that the China Southern crew would really appreciate to have a residence on their A380s.

  24. @Ralf

    The big ME carriers (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar) offer booze in flight.

    Saudia/Saudi Arabian (whatever it’s called these days) does not.

    @Ben

    You mention that the apartment is >US $20,000, but is that per person, or is that for the apartment (meaning up to two people)?

  25. @Joey

    The shower on the right is for the the residences.

    As stated upthread, there is *one* apartment the can accommodate *two* people.

  26. @ TravelinWilly, it would appear to me looking at the seat map The Residence and its associated living, shower and sleep spaces are at the forward left of the upper deck. And I would assume the shower on the forward right would be the shared shower used by the First Apartments.

  27. The Residence has their own private shower and washroom. The other shower unit (on the starboard side of the cabin) is used by the Apartments Passengers.

    Too bad that these innovations in air travel do come at a steep price even for the 5500 km route of AUH-LHR.

  28. Do we think they are going to charge twice as much for two people to fly in the Residence? It doesn’t seem like the extra person would be using $20k of additional services…

  29. You know you’ve got to review the product Lucky! You aspire to fly all first class A380 products! Maybe you can book the inaugural flight!

  30. Wow! The Residence looks stunning but don’t you all feel that it’d be more useful on a longer route? JFK flight would be better.

    Not sure how to feel about First class. Having a separate bed is nice but laying sideways? And since divider only opens partly, SQ is still the only product with full double bed in the sky.

  31. The gap between the have-too-much and have-breadcrumb is getting wider and wider… The evidence of class struggle could not be more obvious in 21st century aviation. 🙂

  32. The Residence can be had for 2.36 million guest miles and £193 on the LHR-AUH route.

  33. @ Joey — The First Class Apartment passengers do share a bathroom with a shower, while the Residences has a private shower.

  34. @ TravelinWilly — That’s a great question, still trying to figure that out. Believe it’s per person, just not sure what supplement is for second passenger.

  35. @ Ivan Y — Well and they do eventually plan to fly it to New York and Sydney, but when they only have one at first it’s not practical to fly it on a route that requires more than one aircraft for the rotation.

  36. +1 to CP@WOW Kickstarter idea.

    And since the Residence is for 2 pax, how about a draw for 1 lucky donor to share that flight with Lucky! (I am assuming the $20K is for both pax?!)

  37. Recently while trying to book a flight to BKK from NYC I noticed that CX for my flight leaving Oct 6 returning Oct 20 is charging $27,879.40 for a first class ticket. And they don’t even have a shower! 😉 So 20 grand for an apartment seems like a deal.

  38. @ Al,

    You’re correct, I got confused between “apartment” and “residence” and flip-flopped them, as these are certainly new terms for me/all of us! 🙂 But yes, “apartment” on the left, and shower+two lavs for the “residences” on the right.

    This is going to take some getting used to, seriously. LOL

  39. Stunning, absolutely stunning, and looks extremely elegant. Especially compared with their current business class, which looks a bit cluttered. Presenter, however, annoying.

    Interesting how the bottom level of the 380 is economy only. Upper floor reserved for those rich enough to pay for it, cash or miles.

  40. +1 to the KickStarter idea and @coalharbour’s idea regarding contest for 2nd passenger to join you.

  41. @ collector;
    this is no different than a small studio apt in Manhattan on the lower east side vs a penthouse apartment on the Pierre overlooking Central Park. I will never buy the Pierre penthouse and most likely will never pay 20K $ for a seat/bed/shower on a plane.

    Now, if UA decides to try this out and allows me to upgrade with my GPU then it is a totally different story. Go residences on UA !!!

  42. @collector

    At least when someone buys a first class/business class seat, they are actually subsidizing the cost of an economy seat to an extent. Yes more space on the plane is devoted to high-paying travelers and economy seats get more uncomfortable, but those high-fares make it more economically feasible for the airlines to charge more affordable fares in coach.

    Building giant luxury condos for the super-rich to use as second homes in Manhattan, on the other hand, does nothing for 99.99% of the population and simply makes it harder and more expensive for the rest of us (even people making like $1 million+ per year) to live here. Same goes for London but to an even more disgusting level.

  43. Here’s another vote for the kickstarter idea. I’d certainly pitch in; though, I’d be happy with a review of the First Apartment. And with the money saved Lucky could try out Transaero’s Imperial Class! What a review that would be!

  44. Am I the only one who saw the bed and thought ‘mile high club’!

    I’m surprised no one picked up on that.

    *Gets mind out of gutter*

  45. I’d chip in $100 to a Kickstarter campaign.

    Guessing the +1 is gonna sleep on in the living room tho!

  46. Interesting use of the width of the plane in first. I’ve always wondered about the possibility of offering bunks, capsule hotel style cabins or couchettes in planes. Probably a difficult sell given that food service would be hard and, assuming passengers would have to be seated for take off and landing, there would have to be rules about when passengers were in seat/sleep position.

    Bunks as a premium economy produce would be cool, though.

  47. Perhaps a speculative award booking for SYD route?

    Has anyone looked into best paid fares into The Apartment?

    I notice The Residence fares have steep cancellation penalties (20% up until 30 days before departure, 50% for 7-29 days before departure, 75% for 3-6 days before departure and 100% for less than 3 days before departure).

  48. Looks very luxurious. And the concept of the A380 residences is exciting. Less convinced though that their A380 & 787 business seats will be the most luxurious in the market (as you state). They look very nice to me, but do not seem that very different from their current business class product (or the business class product from Air Berlin or Iberia, which all have the same layout). The Qatar Airways 787 business class is still – by far – my most favorite business class: http://theluxurytravelexpert.com/2014/04/15/flight-review-qatar-airways-boeing-787-dreamliner-business-class-bru-doh/

  49. Ladies & gentlemen — instead of doing a Kickstarter for Lucky & one lucky reader, we need to think more epic!

    @ Lucky – since Etihad seems to be willing to charter the premium product, can you talk to their media people to see if we can get the upper deck on one of first JFK-AUH flights? 😉

  50. Amazing!! Wow!!

    But….

    Why would they choose to show “Twilight” as the movie in the demo video? Found that to be an unusual choice. LOL

  51. Rolling out luxury offers.. ignoring the full fare coral passengers..
    Luggage lost since 9 days and counting.. no response.. no compensation.. and a lot of negligence.. sad state of affairs..

  52. One thing that may not occur to many people is that when you’re spending this kind of money you’d actually like the flight to be longer than eight hours, so that you can enjoy the amenities and get a full night’s sleep as well. I’d prefer if the plane flew a bit slower!

  53. No upgrades?

    So, you’re a Dallas based oil executive who flies first class from Dallas to Abu Dhabi (starting Dec 4th) ever other week for a year. They aren’t going to upgrade you even if the residence is empty? I doubt that.

  54. Obviuosly the price of The Residences will include some sleep wear right ? Now seriously, I´m sure some arab plutochrats who make shopping spree trips to London won´t have any problems flying on The Residences, and having their Rolls Royces shipped separately.

  55. Lucky – – I know that if paying revenue, it only costs a negligible amount for the second pax in the residence. Do you know if the same is true when redeeming EY miles? Is it 2MM+ for one AND two pax, or 4MM+ for two?

  56. They must focus more in economy class and make the first flight to new york and new your is far so the people can enjoy the flight but if hethrow it is half the destination people wont be happy of paying 49 thousand for this route

  57. With all the brilliance in the upper deck they should haver certainly considered a comfort class on the economy deck. There is a huge gap in the industry for a comfort class. Surely that will be a big hit.

  58. I’d like to see what the actual Yoga mat looks like that I assume is contained in the leather Yoga mat carrying bag. Is this one of the amenities to take home with you?

  59. I absolutely love the design of these seats. I am so impressed by the color and the stitching. incredible design and look outstanding. Whoever built the seats had to be too amazing. I am completely taken back by the sheer luxury and eloquence of this new cutting edge style.

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