Etihad’s first class ‘apartment’ was HUGE.
I recently traveled to Abu Dhabi, UAE after redeeming miles (90,000 miles and $46) for first class on Etihad’s A380 (the plane with the shower and onboard bar!). If I had purchased the one-way ticket with actual money, it would have cost over $8,000. I separately review each segment of my trip:
- American Airlines CRJ-200 Review (Economy): ‘Twas the Worst of Times
- American Airlines 757-200 Review (Economy): ‘Twas Still the Worst of Times
- How to Layover in Amsterdam: 4 Hours
- Etihad A330-300 Review (Economy)
- Hilton Abu Dhabi Review (Executive Floor)
- Abu Dhabi: A Relaxing Destination (Review)
- Etihad First Class Lounge (Abu Dhabi) Review
- Etihad A380 Review (First Class) — A Plane with a Shower
Before my flight home, I spent quality time in Etihad’s First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi, one of the best airport lounges in the world. 30 minutes prior to boarding, I left the lounge. Boarding is a fairly complicated process in Abu Dhabi because you clear U.S. Customs before boarding the plane–a brilliant idea in my opinion. This means that you do not need to clear U.S. Customs when you land in New York so you can quickly transfer to your connecting flight. The AUH-JFK flight itself lasted just over 14 hours which made it my longest flight to date.
Seat and Cabin
The cabin looks huge given the 5’6″+ suites and lack of overhead storage (each ‘apartment’ has a coat closet and storage underneath the couch). The first class cabin includes nine ‘apartments’ and the Residence, which can seat two people.
The bathrooms are located in the front of the cabin next to the stairwell to the lower deck. The doors to the Residence (left) were closed for this flight because no passengers were flying in it. The flight attendants did not let me take photos of the Residence.
The first thing I noticed about my ‘apartment’ was that it included a 7′ couch and a very large television screen. Luggage and other personal items could be stored under the couch.
The seat itself was quite wide and I thought the back support was lacking until I discovered the button that increased lumbar support.
Next to the chair and across from the couch was the armiore and coat closet (left).
The couch turned into a bed that was large enough for me to sleep either in a curled-up ball or completely stretched out. I wish the bed padding was a little softer. I slept for 7 hours during this flight.
The doors on the ‘apartment’ closed completely, although mine would slowly open back up. I was required to wear a seat belt while sleeping.
The seat included an electronics command center. You could charge USB devices, plug in headphones, and control the television (from the controller-looking device).
The cabin also includes an on-board bar which remained empty the entire flight.
The wine and beverage selection is the same as what appears on the first class menu but the presentation is definitely impressive.
You can make your own mixed drinks. The liquor lineup included Grey Goose.
Normally, I do not take pictures of airplane bathrooms but I made an exception for this flight. This plane had a shower! Well actually it had two, but I could use only one of them. The shower provided 5 minutes of hot water. The bathroom was relatively spacious.
The shower door included a lock that needed to be closed to use the water.
The colored dial around the clock symbol shows you how much of your 5 minutes of hot water remain.
The shower head is built into the ceiling so at 6′ 2″, I was able to shower without any issues.
There is a second bathroom without a shower, so passengers can still use the facilities while the bathroom with the shower is in use.
The food on this flight was amazing!! It definitely surpassed the food that I have eaten on other flights, although I still contend the Tikka Masala dish I ate on a Qatar A350 flight was amazing. Before the food service started, I requested a tasting of the available wines. A flight attendant served a 2006 Billecart-Salmon champagne when I boarded the flight and then I proceeded with the wine tasting. She was very knowledgeable about the wines and was happy to walk me through the tasting.
Then the food service began. The first course was a small appetizer of nuts, olives, and peppers. It was paired with a French Sauvignon Blanc.
I watched a movie while eating. I ended up watching 2 movies on this flight given that the selection was pretty good.
After the appetizer, I was served some sort of palate cleanser.
Next came the soup–a wonderful pumpkin soup with spices that I could actually taste.
A sorbet palate cleanser was served after the soup.
And the main course arrived–steak frites! It was paired with a Italian Sangiovese Blend (my favorite red wine on the menu). You may notice on the menu that steak frites was not on the main course menu but rather was included in the lounge and grill menu (pictured at the bottom of the food section). The bearnaise (looks like butter in the photo) added excellent flavor to the steak. Does anybody actually eat the tomatoes??
Finally, dessert arrived. A delicious chocolate cake paired with a Quinta Do Noval Tawny Port. The cake was impressively dense and chocolatey.
The breakfast spread was equally impressive. Cinnamon rolls, danishes, coffee, fresh squeezed OJ, and a fresh fruit platter.
I ordered scrambled eggs which arrived after I finished the fruit platter.
The menus (click to enlarge):
Prior to landing in New York, the flight attendant served me a glass of rose champagne.
The service was excellent. After the dinner service, you needed to push your service button for the flight attendant to arrive which, to be fair, occurred promptly after pushing the button. In addition, they cleaned the shower after every use and even turned my couch into a bed while I was showering. The on-board chef met with each first class passenger to create a ‘meal plan’ for the flight and a flight attendant walked me through an entire wine tasting. A+ service.
This flight was amazing! Given that the number of miles required to book an Etihad A380 First Class ticket has significantly increased, I doubt I will be able to fly it again. If you are saving miles for a really cool trip and decide to use them on this flight, you will not be disappointed.