Here’s How I Plan On Flying The Etihad Residence In 2017

Etihad’s A380 is in many ways revolutionary, especially when it comes to their premium cabin product. Their first class product is simply stunning, with just nine “Apartments” in a 1-1 configuration. Etihad is the only airline to have a single-aisle cabin on the A380.

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However, perhaps the aspect of Etihad’s A380 that has gotten them the most publicity is The Residence, which is their private three room suite with butler service. It’s located at the front of the first class cabin, and features a living room, bedroom, and even a private bathroom with shower.

Etihad-A380-First-Class-24

Etihad-A380-First-Class-25

There’s only one slight problem with The Residence — it’s bloody expensive. For example, a one-way ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi will set you back over $29,000 (in fairness, that’s only marginally more than the full fare first class ticket cost). Perhaps the benefit of The Residence is that it seats up to two people, and you can add a second passenger for a small amount.

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While I’ve now reviewed all the world’s best first class products (my Garuda Indonesia first class review will be out in the coming days, as they deserve a place on the list), this seems next level, and I need to review it.

So it looks like there’s a way to try The Residence without completely breaking the bank. Specifically, Etihad’s shortest A380 flight is between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai, and a one-way ticket in The Residence costs ~$3,000.

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That’s still an outrageous amount of money for flying on a 3hr30min flight. An outrageous amount. But I still think it could be worth it to try the world’s most exclusive product, especially since you get all the ground services that a passenger of The Residence usually gets. This is just ~10% the cost you’d pay on one of the longer routes.

My friend Sam Chui just flew The Residence on this route, and created an awesome video about his experience, which is well worth a watch:

Between the incredible ground service, caviar in bed, shower on a short flight, etc., I feel like this is something I need to try.

And don’t worry, I won’t try a Kickstarter to fund the ticket cost… 😉

Comments

  1. I would argue that a 3.5 hour flight is not long enough to do a true review. You would have to fake things like using the bed, as I doubt you will figure out if you get a good sleep with all that space, if the staff keeps you awake by talking nearby etc….

  2. Do it! It’s a legitimate business expense. I have banker friends that can expense $10k a night just for entertaining clients, $3k is a steal for all the hits you’ll get.

  3. Ben, I would recommend a return flight on the Residence, maybe a night in Mumbai at Four Seasons or JW or something, then right back to Abu Dhabi, as each leg is cheaper this way.

    I calculated it and it works out to be around $4,262 return – giving you way better value than a one way flight at $3000 USD. You’ve got to pick some off peak times, as I did see one or two spikes. This will give you an opportunity to do a complete review over two legs rather than a quick 3 hour flight which in all honestly doesn’t allow you to really stretch out.

    Heck, I hope one day my blog allows me to allow this kind of experience, but for now – I’ll leave it at the suggestions 🙂

  4. Your friend’s video is great. However, the shot of starving children on BBC News while he is in the private Residence Lounge at the airport makes you pause and think for a second, doesn’t it? Are you going to take anyone with you? I would like to find someone who tried to fit two people in that bed. Looks like a twin.

  5. I would give this one a pass. The Residence is no longer a novelty and has already been adequately reviewed.

    Ben’s reports of premium class products on some of the more obscure airlines have been wonderfully fun. For $3000 he could–just as an example–try RwandAir’s offerings. Didn’t someone mention that WB is starting service between Kigali and Guangzhou? I would be salivating in anticipation for a business class review of that flight! A review of a three hour flight in Etihad’s The Residence? Not so much.

    Of course, Ben may want to do The Residence just to satisfy some inner avgeek craving. In that case, absolutely go for it!

  6. This seems like a waste to me, since very very few of your readers will have an opportunity to fly it (unlike the Apartments). But maybe some people are interested in it anyway.

  7. Here’s an idea, inspired by the season: buy one of your hard-working employees a round-trip ticket on the Mumbai flight in the Residence, on condition that they review it.

  8. this is actually not bad, $3000 for two people means $1500 per person to fly in the residence. I might actually do it too. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Go for it! Really not bad considering a Hong Kong to Beijing return is about usd 1,900 (Dragonair F) which is totally no frills and until recently only a reclining seat

  10. As John mentioned, this isn’t as outrageous if you’re flying as a couple. ~$1,500 each is a lot for AUH-BOM, but as a “special occasion” kind of thing, I could see doing it. Say for my wife and I’s 15th anniversary or something. The problem is, you really aren’t going to have time to properly experience the product.

  11. Seems like too short of a flight to adequately review the service. I participated in your Kickstarter the last time and think you should do that again. People who contribute certain amount would be put in a raffle for 2nd seat.

  12. Hey it’s your money so do what you want. But it seems like a waste. (1) As noted above, the Residence has already been reviewed well enough, TPG’s was actually really well done. So few people will have the desire and/or means (and those with the means will often choose other options) to spend on it that it really doesn’t add anything to throw another review in. (2) You won’t truly be reviewing the real intent of the experience on such a short flight anyway – kind of a half assed way to do it. Seems like you’re just doing it out of pride/ego for bragging rights.

  13. Log into the German website and check out JFK to SYD. Found it for less than 20k, still a lot but only a bit more than first

  14. That’s some serious money for the longer flights. For about half that money I’d rather charter a Lear Jet from Miami to St. Maarten – better views and probably a whole lot more fun. I’d love to read that review!

  15. I think you meant to say that a one-way Residence ticket from AUH-BOM is ~$3000. With the current exchange rate, the one-way AUH-BOM first-class ticket price is $1170.

    I haven’t checked but how much is that using EY miles? Isn’t Etihad a transfer partner of Amex/Citi/SPG points? The main reason I read your blog and the BA blogs is to redeem miles/points for these types of luxuries.

  16. Ok I just checked and a one-way Residence ticket costs roughly 333,000 Etihad miles plus $32 in taxes and fees. Not as bad compared to 1.3 million for AUH-LHR route! I guess it’s all perspective. For a Delta skymiles member, 333k tends to be similar to DeltaOne redemptions on certain routes. 😉

  17. Hi Ben & other fellow OMAAT readers,

    Ben, I have always read in your posts related to the residence that for the price quoted by Etihad for a residence ticket, 2 people can fly on it. However, when I price a DEL-LHR round trip ticket, it prices at USD 11,000 if I choose 1 person and it prices at USD 17,000 if choose 2 people. Could you clarify how can 2 people fly when you try to select only 1 pax to get the lowest residence fare ? Paying almost 60% extra isn’t exactly a marginal cost to add a second passenger.

  18. Don’t go through the PR
    Re USA customs and sit in that terrible lounge for 3 hiurs like they made us do.
    Also say in 1st next to a guy that bought BKK AUH JFK for 3,000 USD.
    So don’t pay that no one else does!

  19. FWIW; you can book Etihad’s Residence for two pax for about 14kish from BOM-JFK with a throwaway economy return; which is only about 400 per flying hour/7k per person.

  20. So many posts regarding this. I think it’s totally silly. Just flew from AUH to LHR in F a month ago and even though there’s a bit difference, I can’t really say it’s worth an Omega watch for a 2.5 hour flight.
    Either fly private jet or just stick to F in my opinion. The only extras onboard this flight was the caviar, ride and closed room. Which am not sure helps if someone in row 2 is snoring…

  21. Lucky, you keep saying you’ve reviewed all the best F products without any intent even to fly/review AF 777 F, which seems really well-regarded.

  22. You can do it even cheaper if you originate from Cairo. Approx $2,400ow for 1 or $3,700ow for 2 ($1,850 each).

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