GTHQ Jaunt Journal – Flight: Etihad A380 – First Apartments
Route: Abu Dhabi (AUH) – London (LHR) 8H00M
We’ve tested Emirates A380 First Class Closed Suites and Qatar’s A380 First Class Open Suites so naturally the last Gulf carrier that we needed to try was Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartments. For the quick overview, watch this video:
I was quite excited about trying out the apartments. As we made our way into the plane we were quickly met by the flight crew and we were taken to our apartments – 3A and 4A. We chose those two seats as they were attached and the divider between the back to back couch/beds goes down.
Our flight attendant was very friendly and bubbly and at times too excited. However, I do prefer that over inattentive. She gave us a tour of our apartments with all nooks and crannies. She then brought us our pre-departure drinks (champagne and water). This was followed by dates and Arabic coffee.
We also had a chance to tour the Residence. My first impression was that it was as big as some of the apartments in Geneva and almost as pricey 😉 Seriously though, that was an impressive piece or air realty. Although it’s nice to have your own living room, bedroom and bathroom, for a $20K price tag, I’ll pass.
The bar, which sits between first and business class, was smaller than Qatar’s but had a nice cozy ambiance to it. We didn’t really get to enjoy it as we slept during much of the flight but stopped in to check it out and get some pictures.
Second in class only to the Residence, each First Apartment has ample space and sitting room. As you walk in, the first thing you notice is the large leather ottoman couch which can probably seat 5-6 but there are only 3 seatbelts.
On the opposite side is the vanity mirror which opens up to reveal your amenities and kit. Under the vanity cabinet is the chilled beverage cooler and a small storage drawer for personal items. There is also a wardrobe at the entrance of the apartment for hanging coats and jackets.
Under the couch you’ll find more storage but it was a bit tight for a normal 20” carry-on. In fact, the front floor guard would not close.
Near the very large window you find the reclining wide armchair seat with TV control and armchair controls on the side. The TV control has also a chat feature to chat with your neighbors.
The First Apartment has an adjustable 24-inch flat screen TV which can be viewed from the armchair or the bed.
There is quite a bit of space to walk around in and when breakfast was served, my wife came over and joined me for the meal. When you’re ready to hit the sack, the ottoman opens out into an 81-inch long bed and if since I was traveling with my wife, we lowered the divider to join the apartments. However, the divider only lowers half the length of the ottoman.
The only negative point is that the hardware under the ottoman seemed a bit beaten up and I felt the quality of the wood work was somewhat flimsy.
I took a shower on the short flight in the morning to freshen up and it’s always amazing to be able to shower at 600 miles an hour! However, after having enjoyed Emirates larger bathroom/shower combo, Etihad’s bathroom/shower felt quite cramped and small. Again, this is a 1st world problem…
The shower itself was the same size as Emirates but they have 2 very large bathroom/shower combos while Etihad sacrificed the space of one bathroom to make room for The Residence and its private bathroom. Therefore, they also have 2 bathrooms (in the space of one Emirates bathroom) but only one shower.
Etihad provides Le Labo’s Bergamote 22 shower and bathroom amenities which I’m growing quite fond of.
The Food and Beverages
The food was quite good but not excellent despite having an onboard chef. This could have also been due to me recovering from a slight cold. I ordered a steak and while it looked cooked to perfection, I just didn’t find it had much flavor. I did find the amuse bouche and appetizers to be tasty though.
In the morning, the English breakfast didn’t impress me much. There was a good selection but unfortunately I didn’t get shots of the menu or the main meal… I blame it on my headcold!
Overall, Etihad is fast becoming my favorite airline. From the boarding music with its relaxing tones to the overall service and meals on the vast majority of flights I’ve taken with them, they do stand out. The crew generally seems to enjoy their jobs and be proud to be employees. I’m always impressed with the number of languages spoken by the crew which was 12 on this last flight. It could also be that I always look forward to their 1st class service and the final destinations I tend to choose when flying Etihad J Definitely recommend to try the First Apartments at least once in your life as there’s not many other seats which provide so much space and legroom… unless you’re ready to drop $20-30K for The Residence!
The Good: Space (!) and service Normal cost: USD $11,870 Our cost: USD$100 + 40K American miles
The Bad: Smaller bar than Qatar’s, cramped shower/bathroom vs Emirates
The Ugly: Flimsy woodwork under ottoman