Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi To London

Introduction
Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge London Heathrow
Gulf Air Business Class A330 London To Bahrain
Westin Bahrain City Centre
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi To London
Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Copenhagen
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen
Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel
Cathay Pacific Lounge London Heathrow Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER London To New York
Sheraton New York JFK Airport
American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK Airport
American Airlines First Class A321 New York To Los Angeles
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
American Airlines Admirals Club Honolulu Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To London
Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow
Etihad Airways Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Etihad Airways First Class 777-300ER London To Abu Dhabi
Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Cairo Airport Ahlan VIP Service
Qatar Airways First Class 777-300ER Cairo To Doha
The Airport Hotel Doha Hamad International Airport
Qatar Airways A350 Inaugural Flight Gate Party
Qatar Airways Business Class A350 Doha To Frankfurt
Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport
US Airways Business Class A330 Frankfurt To Philadelphia


Etihad 11
Abu Dhabi (AUH) ā€“ London (LHR)
Saturday, December 27
Depart: 2:35AM
Arrive: 6:35AM
Duration: 8hr
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 4K (First Class Apartment)

I don’t think words can do justice to how excited I was when I boarded the Etihad A380. As soon as my boarding pass was scanned I jogged down the jet bridge to the door of the plane. That’s how excited I was.

At the door I was greeted by the cabin manager and one of the first class crew, who directed me left towards the First Class Apartment cabin.

Holy $hit. I try not to cuss too much in public, but that’s what I said. Actually, that phrase is about all that came out of my mouth for the first 10 minutes in the cabin.

Words can’t do justice to how beautiful the cabin is. There’s only a single aisle, which makes Etihad the first airline to use a single-aisle configuration on the A380.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment cabin

I was familiarized with my home, “Apartment 4K.” While I have my criticisms of Etihad, there’s no denying that their branding is absolutely brilliant.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K signage

On the outside of my seat was a large coat closet.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K closet

I just couldn’t get over the product. Seriously, Etihad has completely revolutionized commercial air travel with their A380 First Apartment. This is unlike any other first class hard product in the world.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

My “Apartment” featured a forward facing seat in the far corner of my space, and it faced a large plush bench of sorts, which converts into a bed. You’ll also see there’s a “partition,” which can be lowered between rows three and four if you’re traveling with someone.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

The seat was comfortable and gorgeous, and to the left of it was the entertainment controller, headphone jack, seat controls, etc.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

The seat controls were on the outside of the armrest, while inside the armrest was a more advanced control system, from which you could turn on/off lights, the “Do Not Disturb” sign, lower the window blinds, etc.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K entertainment & seat controls

Immediately in front of the seat was a huge TV, which can also extend and swivel so that it can be comfortably viewed from bed.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

On the entertainment screen was the name of the captain, first officer, cabin manager, and onboard chef.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K entertainment screen

The cabin was just so indescribably gorgeous, even just with the perspective from my seat.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, view from seat 4K

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, view from seat 4K

As you can see, the seat in front of me in row three was actually a rear facing seat, so that the two “benches” are right next to one another, and can partially be turned into a “connected” bed.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, view from seat 4K

In terms of other seat features, my tray table was located on the window side of the seat, and it folded out quite easily.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment tray table

In front of it was the magazine rack, which also had the A380 safety card (which I was very tempted to take).

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment magazine pocket

The seat also featured a huge amount of storage. There was a small compartment which is perfect for phones, watches, etc.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment storage

Then your primary storage space is actually underneath the bench. There’s plenty of room for a rollaboard, and you simply lower the “protrusion” to slide it in, which can then be closed.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment storage

Opposite the bench and next to the seat (closer to the aisle) was a fold out compartment, which is where the duvet was located.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment storage

Above that was a vanity mirror, which I’m sure others have more of an appreciation of than I do. My amenity kit was located inside the vanity, with all the items conveniently placed in the “pouches” alongside the mirror. That’s great attention to detail!

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment vanity

Then below the vanity was a minibar with some water and soft drinks. It’s always funny that some airlines put minibars on planes, since presumably service should be attentive enough so that you can be served what you want when you want. But I’m guessing they just wanted to compete with Emirates on the bling front.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment minibar

After exploring my suite it was time to explore the rest of the cabin. Etihad’s A380s feature nine First Class Apartments and one Residence (there are four rows of First Class Apartments, and then one First Class Apartment in row one opposite The Residence).

Possibly the coolest thing about this flight was that nine of the ten passengers in First Apartments/The Residence were aviation geeks that specifically booked the flight to be on the inaugural. Most of us already knew one another, while a couple of new friends were made as well. So we almost had a “private” first class aviation geek party.

I first checked out seat 5H, the seat immediately behind me. It was a rear facing aisle seat.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 5H

The same is true for the seat across from it, though you’ll notice that the seats have different tones — that’s a nice touch which makes the product even more unique.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 5C

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 5C

After seeing the other seats, I was very happy having selected a seat in row four, which I consider to be the best row on the plane.

And then it was time to visit the one-and-only Residence. Gino was the Residence passenger, and while two passengers can fly in it for the same price, he was traveling alone. Gino is one of the coolest guys I know, and was far too kind in terms of how much “access” he gave us to The Residence.

The “living room” of The Residence is located opposite of a First Apartment. It’s definitely quite a bit larger than the First Apartments. Basically you have a two person couch instead of just one seat, and still have a “bench” like the other First Apartments. One other hilarious thing is that the partition around The Residence is higher than for any of the other seats.

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Etihad A380 The Residence, living room

But of course the highlight of The Residence (at least in theory) is the private bedroom, which is located just in front of the living room. It’s a brilliant use of space that’s otherwise wasted, given that airlines don’t put seats in the “nose” of the upper deck, given the lack of windows.

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Etihad A380 The Residence, bedroom

The bedroom even has its own flat screen TV against the wall.

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Etihad A380 The Residence, bedroom TV

Then between the bedroom and living room is The Residence’s private bathroom and shower. It’s very similar to the bathroom/shower combo which the other nine First Apartment passengers share, which I’ll cover in more detail in a bit.

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Etihad A380 The Residence, bathroom & shower

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Etihad A380 The Residence, bathroom

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Etihad A380 The Residence, shower

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Etihad A380 The Residence, shower

Once back at my seat two of the first class crew, Jovanna and Sabrina, introduced themselves and asked if they could get me something to drink.

I ordered a glass of champagne, which was promptly served on a tray with a hot towel and a welcome letter from the cabin manager.

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Etihad First Class welcome note

However, due to all the excitement and friends I had in the cabin, I didn’t drink it for about 10 minutes. In the meantime they came around to offer Arabic coffee and dates, which I had as well.

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Etihad First Class pre-departure champagne, Arabic coffee, dates, hot towel, and welcome note

Since it was the maiden A380 flight, we were also given a special goodie bag, consisting of some candy, along with a beautiful passport holder.

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Etihad A380 inaugural flight goodies

We were also offered a code for complimentary wifi. I’m not sure if this was available to all passengers on the inaugural or if this is something they’ll always offer in first class. They also had a fun contest whereby you could win a trip for two to anywhere Etihad flies by hashtagging stuff on social media with #Reimagined. The issue was that the wifi quality on the A380 sucked — I literally had to try a dozen times before something uploaded to Instagram.

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Etihad A380 First Class complimentary wifi

We were also given a snazzy inaugural flight certificate (I received a similar one on the Etihad inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles last June).

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Etihad A380 inaugural flight certificate

After that we were also offered the standard Etihad pajamas and slippers, which are simple but comfortable.

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Etihad First Class pajamas, amenity kit, slippers, and blanket

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Etihad First Class pajamas

We were a few minutes delayed for pushback. At around 2:35AM Captain Ali came on the PA to welcome us aboard the inaugural flight, and informed us of the anticipated flight time of 7hr10min. I guess because it was the inaugural flight they actually had three captains and one first officer aboard — overstaffed cockpit, to say the least. šŸ˜‰

At 2:45AM we finally began our pushback and taxi to the departure runway. The taxi took 25 minutes, given the construction going on at the airport. I turned on the tail camera and watched as we lined up and then rocketed off on our departure runway at 3:10AM sharp.

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Etihad A380 tail camera

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection. I had no intentions of actually using the entertainment system aside from the airshow, given how much other fun there was to be had aboard. But the entertainment selection was extensive, and was among the best out there. Which I’ve found to be true of Etihad’s entertainment in general.

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Etihad E-Box entertainment system

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Etihad airshow

Shortly after takeoff, the young and dapper looking South African onboard chef came by to introduce himself and take meal orders.

It goes without saying that this is an oddly timed redeye, so the primary meal is breakfast before landing, and then there’s an “all day dining” menu, if you fancy something after takeoff.

The menu read as follows:

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And the wine/drink list read as follows:

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I decided to start my meal off with a glass of champagne, which was served with a selection of things to nibble on, including nuts and olives.

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Etihad First Class champagne and nibbles

Shortly thereafter my table was set. It’s worth noting that Etihad just recently changed up their first class service, so all the tableware was different than what I was used to in the past.

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Etihad First Class table setting

I ordered the steak sandwich, which was delicious.

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Etihad First Class steak sandwich

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Etihad First Class steak sandwich

And I had a side garden salad to accompany it.

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Etihad First Class garden salad

For dessert I ordered the hazelnut tart, which was delicious. The only catch is that I literally had to order it three times before it was served to me.

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Etihad First Class crunchy hazelnut tart

I want to give the crew the benefit of the doubt since:

  • We weren’t the easiest people to work with, since we all knew one another and were constantly running around the cabin, presumably disturbing the “flow” of service
  • It was a completely new service concept for the crew, since they weren’t familiar with the A380 galley, and I imagine it’s tougher to work in a single aisle cabin

So I’m totally forgiving of the speed at which they served things (getting a refill of a glass of water usually took 10 minutes), but I tend to be less forgiving if they forget something altogether. I had to remind them three times over 45 minutes that I had ordered dessert.

Of course that didn’t put a damper on the actual flight. While it was 5:30AM in Abu Dhabi at this point, most of us were still going strong. The guy behind me had his bed made, which I snapped a picture of.

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Etihad First Apartment A380 bed

Then it was time to head back to The Lobby, which is the shared social space between first & business class. The Lobby features a circular seating area with six seats, and then opposite of it is a drink display (though not a bar).

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Etihad A380 bar

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Etihad A380 lobby

Physically it’s a gorgeous space, though I do find the concept a bit odd, since I’m not sure what one is supposed to do there. Emirates, Korean Air, and Qatar have the onboard bars, which are just awesome. They’re so much fun, and I usually end up spending a good chunk of my flight at the bar.

Apparently the intention here isn’t to have any food or drinks served. So I figured it was a social area, though it’s a bit odd that they have headphone jacks so that you can watch the TV from those seats as well.

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Etihad A380 lobby

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Etihad A380 lobby

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Etihad A380 lobby

So while it’s physically a beautiful area, I don’t understand the concept.

After checking out The Lobby I asked if I could take a quick tour of the lower deck, and the flight attendant told me that for security reasons I had to stay on my deck. That’s the first time I’ve ever been told I can’t go to the lower deck of a plane, which I found interesting. For a second I felt like I was flying a US airline.

After that it was shower time for me. While Emirates has a dedicated shower attendant (or two attendants on longhaul flights), the cabin crew perform their duties on Etihad.

There’s a large bathroom in front of the first class cabin, which is similar to what other airlines offer (as you can see it’s right in the nose, based on the curvature of the aircraft).

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Etihad A380 First Apartment bathroom

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Etihad A380 First Apartment bathroom

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Etihad A380 First Apartment bathroom

And then immediately behind it is a smaller room with a shower and toilet.

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

It’s worth noting that all the first class lavatories feature Le Labo Begamote 22 toiletries, which is among my favorite toiletry brand — awesome!

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower Le Labo toiletries

When it was my turn to shower, the flight attendant gave me a quick “rundown.” She explained I would receive five minutes of water (much like on Emirates) and that I could spend 20 minutes in the shower room.

What was different than Emirates is that she told me in the event of turbulence I should return to my seat right away (on Emirates you’re just supposed to sit down on the bench in the shower).

“So to clarify, I should return to my seat right away if the seatbelt sign goes on? Like, naked in a towel?”
“I guess.”

I’ll have to try that sometime. šŸ˜€

The shower itself is roughly the same size as Emirates’, though there are three things I don’t love about it:

  • On Emirates the water comes out of a handheld device, while on Etihad it’s mounted into the ceiling
  • You have to close the shower door in order to turn on the water, and in order to do that you have to be in the shower, so you get sprayed with cold water initially, since you can’t point the nozzle away from you (on Emirates you can angle it away from you)
  • The shower really needs a floor mat. I nearly fell in there before even turning on the water, and surely I’m not the most fragile person using the shower

Ultimately those are total first world problems, and suffice to say that I giggled for most of my shower, much as I did when I had my first shower on Emirates.

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

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Etihad A380 First Apartment shower

While business class was completely dark and everyone seemed to sleep, there was a party still going strong in first class. Gino, the first passenger in The Residence, received a pretty cool gift from Etihad. Actually, a couple of cool gifts.

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Etihad’s first Residence passenger flight certificate

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Etihad’s first Residence passenger gift

Eventually I had my bed made. Not so I could actually sleep (ain’t nobody got time for that), but rather so I could test out the bed.

It’s fascinating how they make the bed. Basically the bench flattens out so that it turns into a bed. And then they put the mattress pad and bedding on it.

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Etihad First Class Apartment turndown service

They even have a cute turndown service note, which I think really captured how I felt in the moment.

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Etihad First Class Apartment turndown service

So the Etihad First Apartment really is freaking amazing. It’s the only airline suite I’ve been in where you can close the door, have the bed fully made, and still be able to walk around inside your suite.

As you can see in the below picture, there’s a partition between rows three and four that slides, so that you can sleep face-to-face if you’re traveling with someone. It’s worth noting that only the partition on the left goes down, so at most the upper half of your torsos will be in the same “bed.”

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Etihad First Class Apartment turndown service

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Etihad First Class Apartment turndown service

Before I knew it, we were 90 minutes out, and it was time to order breakfast. I placed an order for some fruit and muesli, as well as a coffee.

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Etihad airshow

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Etihad airshow

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Etihad airshow

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Etihad airshow

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Etihad airshow

After 30 minutes I still wasn’t served anything. I figured they were waiting until close to landing to serve me breakfast, which I was fine with.

45 minutes before landing a flight attendant came to me and said “do you need anything before we land?”

“Yes, just the breakfast order I had placed about 45 minutes ago, please. Let me know if you need it again.”

30 minutes out I still hadn’t been served breakfast, and it hadn’t been acknowledged that it was on the way or anything. I saw the cabin manager walk past me, so I pulled him aside. I emphasized that I realized they were all new to the plane and I wasn’t holding it against them, but figured he needed to know that I had ordered breakfast three times and still hadn’t been served it.

He was extremely apologetic (and kind of embarrassed), and he personally got my breakfast started.

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Etihad First Class Apartment breakfast

I ate as we descended, and only had about 10 minutes to do so, given that the seatbelt sign was being turned on and I still hadn’t changed out of my pajamas.

The coffee, fruit, and muesli were great.

Soon enough we began our final descent into London, and at 6:30AM we had a “firm” touchdown on runway 27L at Heathrow.

After a short taxi we arrived at the gate exactly on-time, and I got the first “real” view of the Etihad A380, which I unfortunately only had the pleasure of seeing in darkness.

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Etihad A380 upon arrival in London

I thanked the crew, said bye to all my friends (both new and old), and went on my merry way.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment bottom line

The Etihad First Apartment is absolutely revolutionary. It’s truly in a league of its own in terms of first class products. There’s no hard product out there that comes even remotely close.

While a lot of the marketing of the Etihad A380 was centered around The Residence, I actually thought the First Apartment was the show stopper.

The crew was well intentioned and the cabin manager was extremely professional, though clearly there’s a bit of a learning curve with the A380. I’ve never had to repeat orders as much as on this flight.

I can’t wait to fly the Etihad A380 First Apartment again between Abu Dhabi and Sydney in a few months.

Have you flown the Etihad A380 First Apartment yet? If so, what was your experience like?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. I’ve also been on seat 4K!

    What do you have to say about the seat? I found it to be bothersome that the seat barley reclined

  2. Ben,

    As always, an incredible and detailed well written trip report. This report has gotten me beyond excited for my first class apartment experience in June 8 from Abu dhabi to Sydney. I was able to score your same seat 4K for the flight and couldn’t be more excited for this day to come. Etihad has definitely taken the industry by a storm with this incredible product

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am counting down for mine.

  3. Ben, you left out some vital information. What’s the maximum occupancy of the Etihad shower? I just figure it could cause some problems if two people in there had to return to their seats due to turbulence… šŸ˜‰

  4. No doubt it looks like an awesome product… but I’m not sure it’s revolutionary. Yes, it’s big, but LH already had the dual bed-seat thing going, and walled suites have been all the rage for a while. But more importantly, other than the ME3, I can’t see any other airlines copying this concept – just uses too much space!

  5. The Residence is really not so impressive. But then again, the market for it exists, and is a also very large given how many people from the Gulf want to fly the highest class there is and don’t give a damn about money. EY F Apartments are undoubtedly the best hard product there is, although some airlines do beat them in the soft product, in my opinion.

  6. Great review as always!

    Can you confirm what Hershel said? Does the EY seat really have that limited a recline?

  7. Fantastic as always on your trip report Ben – you always seem to captivate the excitement that you and our fellow #planenerds must have felt on that maiden flight.

    I’m booked from SYD-AUH-MUC – in July securing the 4k seat. I’m super excited to try both the First Apartment and the regular first suite.

    It was great meeting you and your father at the Park Hyatt 2 months ago – You need to spend more time here in Australia and the South Pacific.

  8. I would do a shower training a week prior to my F flight, since i need more than 5 minutes in the shower!

    As always, great review šŸ™‚

  9. that’s quite disappointing the service was so bad… i often feel like with all these awesome hard products, they are all very very good… but it’s the soft product that creates the experience.

  10. Ben,

    Any news on when we might see this flying to JFK? I’m envisioning a JFK-AUH-MLE AAdvantage award in my future!

  11. It’s really quite sad that someone would need (or want, or like, or be excited by) this kind of space for a few hours. World gone wrong.

  12. @Chuck flying the inaugural industry leading A380 would be pretty exciting… especially in Ben’s line of work.

  13. “The Etihad First Apartment is absolutely revolutionary”

    Er, I don’t think you quite grasp what the term revolutionary means…it’s innovative, it’s ahead of it’s time, etc. But unless it sparks other airlines to begin offering the same, it can’t be called revolutionary. And to be honest, I think the only airline that will begin offering something like this is probably Emirates. I mean, I can’t imagine most of the other airlines that have the 380 in their fleet offering something similar.

    Do all the other rows besides 3 and 4 have their seats away from the window?

  14. The report I’ve been waiting for since months! So wanna try it!

    I have some some spare AAdvantage miles, can I just purchase the missing till I have 40.000 and then fly 787 Suite from Bombay to AbuDhabi and then in the Apartment to London?
    Is it as simple as this?

  15. @Colin I was not speaking so much about Ben, since indeed it is his line of work, but about people who would want this for personal enjoyment.

    However, it would be more worth the money if it came with a full-time maid provided by EY. She would have an economy-type seat, placed in a corner of the cabin. And it would be permissible to treat her, during the flight, exactly as maids are treated in the UAE. Fun! No more complaints about service!

  16. @Jon @Lucky Am also on one of the first few day’s SYD-AUH route in 4K and 4A.

    Hoping Airbus stays on delivery schedule

  17. What an awesome product! I think the First Apartments top every other product out there! It’s quite amazing that you can have a bed and a seat and still be able to walk inside your suite.

    Great review! Thanks!

  18. lucky, you’re the king of this. i wasn’t really blown away by the etihad a380 premium cabin until i read this detailed report. now i know with certainty where my AA miles are going next.

    although i have to say, the poor service by the cabin crew is inexcusable. i am an extremely forgiving person, having worked in the service industry myself. but to have to ask three times for your meal in first class –on more than one occasion — is simply beyond belief.

    if a restaurant is open and taking paying customers, i think any review of its food and service is fair game. and in the same vein, if an airline is taking revenue and miles for pax in its premium cabin, that is active service and it should not suffer from growing pains. that’s what training is for.

    if i were etihad management, i’d be really embarrassed by this review.

  19. Amazing report and the product looks very cool. I’m disappointed you didn’t receive better service, especially you eating breakfast during the descent. That’s not cool, but I guess the crew needs some time to iron the wrinkles out.

  20. Thanks for a thorough report of a very tempting product. Like others have mentioned, I hope you can comment about the amount of recline on the seat. Is it better or worse than the seat that Singapore uses?

  21. Great review, with detailed, pertinent info. You kind of implied it, but are there two or more first class bathrooms, since the one pictured has a shower? What type of champagne did you go with, and how was it? In the past, you’ve had some great interaction with onboard chefs. Did you have any dealings this time? How much of the service problems are likely just growing pains?

  22. @elteetrav The seat is very comfortable, but due to the fact that it barely reclines, I’d definitely rate it lower than Singapore.

    in matter of fact, if I need to fly on that route again, I’d go for the 787 or the 777 over the A380, when flying long haul, I’d prefer relaxing in a reclined position when.

    I’d even rate the LH 744 F seat ahead of EY A380 Apartment for that matter.

    Regarding the shower, Emirates did a much better Job, on emirates the lavatory is just as big as the one in my home, there is plenty of room to move around and get a dressed Etc…. In EY Apartment, I had a hard time getting undressed without bumping into the walls.

  23. What are the shower quotas for the residence? Are they longer than in First? Do you get two? If traveling alone, do you get to use both of them?

  24. Thank you for a fantastic review.

    Perhaps Etihad ran out of food/breakfast, but due to the crew being aware of your gripe with them on this issue on previous flights, they scrambled around the business and economy class cabin to find enough food to put together your breakfast šŸ˜‰

  25. I flew EY F apartment 2 weeks ago. I like 4A better than 4K for the sole reason that the badge color looks better with the whole setting than brown.

    Regarding your slow breakfast service. I had similar experience… but for the supper service. I was not very lucky cuz there was a family of 8 along with 3 Apartment passengers on my flight (full house F Apartment & Residence). Family of 8 is composed of 5 children.. from baby to late teen. However, they were well behaved and everyone went to bed and quiet. The other passenger and I were the only 2 who ate. It took almost 3 hours into the flight to finish the 3 course meal!. Not that many pax were eating, I didn’t know what was holding them. If they were not familiarized with the aircraft is one thing… but they did not come to check on me in between and take my plates or fill the water.. I had to hit the call button for them to fill the water several times. After the meal I walked to the lounge and passed through the galley and saw them gathered around eating and talking …. that explained why my meal service was not attentive! I may have a bad luck on the crew.. but… .averagely, Asian carriers service is better.

    After spending time in the lounge chatting with some J pax, the butler walked pass. One of the J pax called her into chatting with us. Before that moment, she walked pass by me many times but never acknowledge my present…. ok it is not her job to take care of F passenger who are not with the Residence, but a smile or “hello” wouldn’t hurt. Then I asked if I could snap a photo of the residence after the flight when everybody deplaned, she said it is not allowed anymore and cited that so many people walked it and they had to change the carpet already (after 5 weeks). So I asked if it is ok to just take the photo from outside through the door and not step my feet in (after the flight), she still said no. Weird. Kinda the same as your comment about not allowing to go down to the lower deck. Either it is EY own rules or the FA made up their own rules similarly to US-carriers (from the unfriendly-unaccommodating mindset), it is weird!

    Hard product was great… too bad that the new First Class Lounge isn’t open yet.

    Not that I say all the ME3 FAs are bad and not as good as Asian or a few European carriers, but these FA/butler had been trained extensively, why can’t they have the basic mindset of good service. I don’t think I am high-maintenance cuz I think a service on CX J BKK-HKG flight was more attentive than my EY Apartment experience.

  26. Excellent report and the cabin certainly looks impressive. But that is truly shocking service. Perhaps the minibar is fitted because it takes 10 minutes to get a glass of water from the flight attendants!

    Is the entertainment selection different on the A380? We usually find Etihad’s has a lot of content that isn’t likely to be of interest to a western audience.

  27. I don’t understand the purpose of the lobby too. The seating looks cramped, and it looks like it’s stuck in the middle of 2 doors between the first and business class cabins! Without a permanent bar do you still have a flight attendant to check if someone seated there needs something to drink?

  28. @ Antonio — Hah, I doubt they’re gonna tell someone that paid $25,000 for their ticket that they can’t have a second shower.

  29. @ Christian — There are two bathrooms, and only one of them has a shower. I had the Gosset champagne, which was lovely. The onboard chef seemed a bit cold — can’t say we had the warmest interaction. But he was nice enough. I’m hoping the off service on this flight was just due to growing pains.

  30. @ COlin — Haven’t heard anything further. Originally it was supposed to be by the end of this year, though I’ve heard it might be delayed a bit. I’ll post as soon as I hear anything for sure.

  31. @ Hershel — I thought it was fine given that you can put your feet on the “bench,” so I found it quite nice for lounging. But yeah, it would be nice if it reclined more.

  32. Hmmm…. I don’t recall having an issue with reclining on SQ, I’ve done SQ R in November and EY Apartment 2 Weeks ago. But maybe I’m Wrong

  33. Hi Ben,

    Just a couple of details I am keen to know that weren’t mentioned here.

    1/ Is the amenity kit the same hand crafted traditional non-branded disappointment that was offered previously ie. last year ? Or did they offer something different/better to commemorate the 388. ie. I don’t think QR offered Armani kits prior to the launch of their 388 etc.

    2/ I know you have said before that you rely mainly on your own devices for entertainment, but, to the best of your knowledge, has their been any improvements/enhancements to the content of their entertainment system ? Even though you rate it on par with EK, I find it massively inferior to EK/QF/QR etc.

    I am flying EY Apartments LHR-AUH-SYD in August so am keen to know the above.

    Cheers

    Nizar

  34. @ Nizar — It’s the same amenity kit they had before — nothing special for the A380. I believe the entertainment was very similar to what’s offered on other aircraft, if not the same.

  35. Hi Ben

    Is this allowed as part of an Australia-UK redemption (80k in F)? I could see Qantas options changing in Dubai but didn’t know if this was also an option for the same miles? If so does it need to be booked over the phone rather than online?

    Thanks šŸ™‚
    (Avios veteran but newbie to AA miles redemption!)

  36. Ben,
    This was an exceptional report. I was 1/3 of the way through it and then realized that you’d not even left the gate as yet :-).
    They need better carpet; I guess they used a cheaper kind as they did not except so much foot traffic since it only holds 1 maybe two people per flight; wrong! I hope they get a more durable carpet for the next planes to arrive.

    So if you have to change anything, what would you change?

  37. Great review! This is your SME and definitely keep to this stuff! Not other jibberish nonsesne posts.

    Got a trip coming up on this same route! Also on 4K. Very useful information. Will keep posted as to how the dining service go. I imagine your breakfast order issue was just an isolated issue on that flight alone.

  38. EY hard product in this plane is the only one good thing with this airline. Other things like service onboard and service in the airports are really bad. I think SQ and CX are better than EY and for a long distance. Crew in ME3 only work for money, they doesnĀ“t like it work in its airlines.

  39. So basically avoid seats in rows 1, 2, and 5…

    Curious to see how that TV swivels while a person in lounging in bed…

  40. Thanks for a great report. I have a trip planned in 4A later in the year. It looks like the barriers are a bit lower between 3 and 4 than say 5. I want to maximise privacy, as i will have my 18 month son with me. Did you notice the lower barrier (if it was lower) and would you recommend say row 5 to isolate myself from the rest of the passengers, or do you think it will make little difference?

    Thanks

  41. Awesome. Happy you included so many pictures.

    BTW… How do they manage to grass-feed a tenderloin? šŸ˜‰

  42. Hi Ben, When I look at the AA award chart, it looks as though there are no award flights from London to Abu-Dhabi, but from Abu Dhabi to London, a first class award would be 40K miles. Am I reading the chart correctly? Thanks!

  43. There is a small trick in how they maximized the space (if this was not already mentioned). On EK you have two aisles….lots of dead space. Take out one aisle…that square footage can be used for 1-2 seats šŸ˜‰

  44. @ MattUK — They seemed to be the same height between all First Apartments. I think row four is a great option.

  45. @ wwk5d — It swivels really well, goes down to near where your waste is. Very nicely angled.

  46. @ Kerwin — Hah, that’s a toughie, because I did live it. I guess the one thing I’d change is the bar. If they had an Emirates or Qatar style bar, this would be awesomer by an ever larger margin.

  47. @ Alan — You need to book it as two awards, unfortunately. You can’t book it online. Etihad awards have to be booked by phone with American.

  48. Ah, thanks Ben – suspected that might have been the case! QF F is bookable online for 80k one-way, which is quite appealing. QR also available and more direct routing (MEL-DOH-EDI) but with Avios that’s pretty expensive and I don’t their their MEL-DOH product is that good.

  49. @ Alan — Yep, that’s one exception, since it’s marketed as a “direct” flight, so you can transit through Dubai.

  50. Ben, I really enjoy your blog and in particular enjoy the reviews, but my inner grammer nerd wouldn’t let me be silent on one small point. Something cannot be “more unique”. It is either unique, or it’s not. The word cannot be modified. šŸ˜‰

  51. Hi Lucky,

    I have 150k miles on my AA account and I am thinking now what I can do with it. What is your reccomendation how to use these miles for get the best value (experience) for it? My departure city is Prague. Where is possible to find additional taxes for award EY flights?

    Thanks

    Michal

  52. @ Michal — I might try to fly Etihad A380 first class, as you can route Prague to London to Abu Dhabi and onwards. I’d say that’s a great option.

  53. @lucky – When two First Class Apartment are converted to a double bed, is it true that there is still a big divider between the two bed/seats? For Singapore Airlines Suites, you actually get a full double bed, with virtually no divider in between.

  54. I enjoyed this review, I am flying from Sydney to London return in three weeks in the first apartment and can’t wait. My final destination is actually Ireland, but I am not missing a chance to try Etihad, while also getting points for my Virgin Velocity within Australia. Seats are 4k and 4a, sooo excited!

  55. Hi Lucky,

    I booked this same flight so that i could experience the A380 with my mom, but it looks like they changed the plane! They are now flying their A340 on this route – in early December! As you can guess, I’m extremely disappointed and am considering my options hence this message to you šŸ™‚ Do you think its even worth us flying first on the A340? I’m considering whether i should change the tickets to fly business instead to save the miles for another time when i can fly the A380 as the one flight which they are still flying the 380 is sold out (for award tickets).

    Would be great to get your thoughts on this.

    Thanks.
    Cynthia.

  56. I was in the Etihad lounge in Abu Dhabi last weekend and I was told that the new First class lounge will open in February.. The cause for the delay was the floor. It was unstable so the whole thing had to be redone..

    šŸ™‚

  57. Hello Ben, Wonderful trip report as always. Along the lines of what MattUK asked, do you know if Etihad will allow two adults and one infant in The Residence? I emailed Etihad but did not get a reply. Thanks.

  58. I flew LHR-AUH on the First Apartment in June. Considering your flight was in Feb and mine in June, there seems to be a difference in at least the champagne! They had Bollinger La Grand Annee 2005 and Duval Leroy Rose on my flight…http://bit.ly/1HCaqcS !!!

  59. Hi lucky,
    1) How much is the total fees + taxes (estimate) for this AA award redemption AUH-LHR ?
    2) And to avoid using LHR for return, can i book let’s say Lisbon – LHR – AUH ?
    Many thanks

  60. We flew Etihads A380 1st Class apartments 2 weeks back to the UK from Sydney, and whilst the apartment is a great space, the soft service is incredibly poor, food was below average for economy never mind first class, food over cooked and bland, the movie selection is very limited and by the time we returned we had seen everything worth watching so were bored. The nanny service is a gimick as they service as a hostess in economy and when not serving there they can then help as a nanny which we found to be rarely, finally and as inexcusable as poor food and entertainment there is no 1st class lounge, instead you have a sectioned of area of the business lounge with no amenities…very poor, my advice book business with Ethiad you get the same as first, or book 1st with singapore suites, they are the leader currently in service, food and entertainment in my view.

  61. Fantastic review- I was holding onto every word! I’m so excited about my flight… but I am a bit confused by The Residence versus the Apartment?? I wasn’t sure. I laughed at your shower discussion and didn’t stop laughing at your other blog you wrote about it to. I’m actually worried that after my flight I won’t want to do anything else but fly first class Emirates. Ever.
    PS. You literally overuse the word literally but literally…. I literally laughed out loud throughout all of your blogs. Sorry… you need to be told that as a blog writer because otherwise, you’re literally damn good at it šŸ™‚

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