One Of The Best Etihad A380 First Class Apartment Fares I’ve Seen

Etihad has one of the very best first class products in the world on their A380, a product they call the First Class Apartment. While the product has some downsides, it’s easily the most jaw-dropping first class product in the sky.

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For a long time the best way to book the Etihad First Class Apartment was using American AAdvantage miles, though unfortunately the cost of such awards has increased significantly since American’s March 22 devaluation:

  • The cost of first class tickets between North America and the Middle East increased from 90,000 miles to 115,000 miles
  • The cost of first class tickets between Europe and the Middle East increased from 40,000 miles to 62,500 miles
  • The cost of first class tickets between Australia and the Middle East increased from 60,000 miles to 100,000 miles

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Between that and American greatly decreasing the number of miles the average person earns through flying, this is becoming a considerably less good deal on miles.

Anyway, while the cost of many award tickets is increasing, one other trend we’re seeing is that the cost of many premium cabin revenue tickets is decreasing. This is true across the board, though in particular we consistently see incredible premium cabin fares out of markets like Colombo, Cairo, Casablanca, etc., which I take advantage of all the time.

That brings us to a legitimately good Etihad first class fare that’s published at the moment, which will get you a long flight in the Etihad Apartment.

You can fly roundtrip first class on Etihad between Colombo and Melbourne via Abu Dhabi for ~$3,900:


Etihad operates the A380 between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, so this is a great way to experience the Apartment on a super long flight.

While discounted premium cabin fares out of Colombo are common, I find it especially funny that Etihad published this first class fare, given the amount of backtracking required to take advantage of it. Going through Abu Dhabi enroute from Colombo to Melbourne is 80% further than the direct distance between the cities.


As a point of comparison, booking those same exact flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne without the positioning flight from Colombo would cost more than double as much.


A while ago View from the Wing wrote about a fairly cheap Etihad roundtrip first class fare between Pakistan and New York, though I suspect a lot more people would be happy traveling through Colombo than Lahore (even if just from a visa standpoint). Sri Lanka is a gorgeous country, so it could be fun to position to Sri Lanka, spend some time there, and then continue to Australia. On the return you should have no trouble finding a cheap fare out of Colombo either.

Of course this is only for the die-hard premium airfare fans out there.

Bottom line

While this won’t be useful to most people, I’m always intrigued by the ever increasing number of good first class fares we’re seeing. ~$3,900 is still a lot of money, though is about as good as I’ve seen for a roundtrip Etihad A380 first class ticket.

The whole basis of the fare to begin with fascinates me, given the amount of backtracking involved.

It’s nice to see that there are some ways to fly Etihad’s first class product for a fraction of the full fare cost without redeeming miles.

Is anyone considering taking advantage of this great Etihad first class fare?

(Tip of the hat to zoqfotpik on FlyerTalk)


  1. The secret to a cheap first class fare ( usually to London) out of Melbourne or Sydney on the Etihad A380 is to buy a ( usually discounted) business fare on a Tuesday or Wednesday and wait. Generally (it has happend every time so far) you can upgrade to first about a week out for only $1000.

  2. That is not bad at all. Although a fair bit of positioning is required for most people. I paid $4000 in business class to Japan last year (DCA-HND-DCA) on AC.

  3. Lucky I don’t see you paying $4000 for first class even if no repositioning was required.

    4000 is still a lot. What’s the most expensive ticket you have ever bought?

    Needless to say I am not buying it.

  4. I regularly pay for round trips between YYZ and DEL on AC in the vicinity of USD3000 for biz on board the 787. So 4000 for a combination biz and first is not bad imo.

  5. A lot of us aren’t going to be paying that price, plus the positioning flights. It is a good deal if you can afford it and have the time to position and backtrack. It is interesting to see the discounted fares regularly out of specific markets though

  6. Just passed through first class lounge AUH yesterday – haircuts are no longer free although you still get a complimentary 15 minute spa treatment. Also as of September 1st all but 3 cigars are now charged for…… the rest of the experience was as usual flawless.

  7. “Between that and American greatly decreasing the number of miles the average person earns through flying, this is becoming a considerably less good deal on miles.”

    Not sure this is totally true, I’m pretty sure the average mileage earn rate is roughly the same. The median earnings, however, is considerably lower. It’s just that there are those very pricey business class seats that even out the average.

  8. Try searching AUH-BOM one-way – it’s just US$1,200. Agree, distance wise this fare is amazing but US$ 4,000 is too much to pay for a ticket like already mentioned – I’d combine with the cheapest Economy one way so that the fare can be slashed almost by half.

  9. AI is notorious for expensive tickets compared to many of the competitors. Not surprised with the Air Asia X pricing as they are a low-cost no-frills long-haul airline.

  10. Is this a good example of a flight to credit to AA now that the EQD requirement has kicked in? How many EQDs and RDMs would one earn as an EXP? Thanks in advance!

  11. @Bob he didn’t mean average as in mathematical mean. He meant average as in your typical flyer–your Average Joe, as it were.

    For the typical person who maybe takes one vacation a year and a couple business trips, earning rates are way down. For the road warrior who is in paid J on the company dime once a week the rates are way up, but that’s not the average flyer. It is a more profitable cohort for airlines, though, so one can understand why they’re trying to cater to that group even as it bites us the wrong way.

  12. Have used certain countries currencies to work in my favor,(CAD) many times and Sri Lanka is one of them. It is only great value to certain markets based on the drive “that” airline can use. To me, a oneway itin, CMB J O/AUH F TO THESE CITIES,LHR SYD MEL HKG BKK for under $4000.00CAD , and other to research, are terrific.,A return fare is aprox 2000.00 on average, or more.

    Remember CMB J AUH gets you 1 free hotel night, and on a return ticket, First Class into AUH gets you 2 free nights. Limos where applicable aswell. Valid 1 year, no date change fees. No show penalty only.

    Just purchase 4 days ago, CMB J O/AUH F O/SYD F O/AUH J CMB under $5600.00 ETIHAD AIRWAYS. Will be using the return portion of my ticket within the year . and use CMB as my off point again.. Getting to CMB and from SYD , and other cities are on points as will the other free flight segments for the next set of holidays.

    Thank you for passing on these incredibly helpful information. Loyal reader here. Keep up the great work.
    P.S. EK does no allow oneway fares out of CMB with a “stopover”. Even more value for an AUH stopover.

  13. How did you not mention that this fare allows routing via BOM (using 9W CMB-BOM), from where you can fly the A380 BOM-AUH, and of course AUH-MEL. That means 4 F sectors on the one ticket for the same price.

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