Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Etihad A380 First Class Apartment Experience : EY19 Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow

I had the great privilege to fly on what is probably the world's most luxurious first class product late last year, the Etihad Airbus A380 Apartments. Here is my experience on this wonderful aircraft!

FLIGHT: EY19
AIRLINE: Etihad Airways
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A380-800 A6-APB
SEAT: 4K
ROUTE: Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow

I arrived at T3 checkin simply by walking across from the Premier Inn hotel which joins the terminal complex. Upon arrival I was met by the porters but I declined their assistance with my bags. I headed to the dedicated first class checkin zone and soon had my boarding pass and was on my way through security and into the terminal.

At the time of this flight and still at the time of writing there is no Etihad first class lounge at Abu Dhabi, instead it is the 'Premium' lounge in T3 which is shared with business class. There is however a small roped off area for first class passengers. The lounge is quite good with a salon and spa available. I partook of a shave in the salon whilst I waited for my flight and it was great!

Soon it was time to head to the gate and onto Airbu A380 A6-APB, delivered new to Etihad in April 2015, making it 6 months old at the time of this flight. I had pre-selected 4K which is a forward facing seat close to the windows. Each apartment is a little different in it's layout, so it is worth having a look at the seat map to decide your preference. My recommendation is 4A or 4K. As I stepped on board the upper deck entry I was immediately escorted to my suite and asked for my choice of drink.

Apartment 4K
Blankets, menu and pillow were placed in the suite prior to my arrival. Soon after being seated I was brought a silver tray with my champagne, wet towel, dates and welcome letter.



The rearward facing seat 3K
I was blown away with how wonderful the apartments are. They are absolutely huge and completely luxurious. I felt like royalty sitting in my own space like this. I was madly snapping photos and exploring the seat and it's features whilst sipping on my Bollinger vintage champagne.

The wardrobe and vanity area

Welcome drinks

Looking across at the sofa which converts into a bed
I was then offered the traditional arabic coffee which was very nice:


Customised welcome screen on the TV - showing a picture of the destination city
The flight departs at 8am, and we left just  few minutes after that. I took advantage of the tail cam to check our progress around the airport:


After an almost silent and totally smooth takeoff roll we launched into the blue skies leaving the harsh desert behind:


After takeoff the onboard chef came to talk to me about how I wanted to dine during this flight. Since it was a morning flight I instructed him that I would like breakfast served immediately, that I would then rest during the middle parts of the flight, and that I would like lunch around 2 hours before arrival. The flight time is a little under 8 hours, enough time for 2 meals I thought!

Here is the complete menu for this flight:





But first more of the Bollinger La Grande Annee champagne, which came with olives, nuts and dried vegetables.



I connected to the onboard wifi, which was free for first class passengers at the time of this flight. The service was good and I was live instagamming from the flight and showing off to my friends on facebook chat. Great fun!

Soon the flight attendant was setting my table for breakfast, including the gorgeous toast holder!


I had ordered the hot breakfast dish of eggs which were cooked to order, I had mine freshly scrambled. Very tasty indeed, even if there is no bacon on Etihad.


The champagne was free flowing throughout breakfast and the flight attendant checked on me regularly. This was in stark contrast to my previous flight on the 787. There is 3 crew working in the apartments compared to 2 on the B787 , and the extra person made the service so much more attentive and what it should be for a world leading First Class product.

After breakfast I asked to have my bed made, and I was left in peace to sleep, along with a bedside glass of champagne of course! The included noise cancelling headsets are a decent quality and the TV swivels around so you can lay in bed and watch TV.

Time for bed


My bedroom
I have heard some people comment that they found the bed hard, I found it quite comfortable myself. I could very easily have a nice long sleep on the longer A380 routes such as to Sydney and New York. I hope to fly on a longer sector on the A380 sometime in the future.

Charging my phone, champagne by the bed, with the vanity open
The amenity kit is located inside the vanity area, it features Begamote 22 amenities along with the usual eyeshades, ear plugs etc. I was also provided with a pair of pyjamas for sleeping, they were very comfortable indeed and I now wear them at home too!

I only had a short nap and I woke up with more than 3 hours remaining in the flight. I decided to have a refreshing shower before lunch! I asked the flight attendant to prepare the shower for me. I was then taken to the shower room (there is only one for F passengers on Etihad, compared to 2 on Emirates), and shown how to operate the shower. You have 5 minutes of hot water available, but you can stop and start as often as you like until 5 minutes is used up.

Bathroom sink

Bathroom as seen from the shower - with Bergamote 22 amenities
The shower
After a beautiful shower I came back to my apartment which had been converted back into it's normal mode since I was done with the bed. I started my meal with more champagne and the Beef Bresaola, it was stunning!


Beautiful presentation
Next was the chef's creation, the lamb shank with vegetables, it was delicious too:


I had a delicious burgundy white wine with my main meal, it was wonderful. Next up was the cheese plate, with LOADS of cheeses and accompaniments. Presentation was amazing:


Despite being extremely full I decided I needed to have the complete experience, so dessert came as well! I had the sticky toffee pudding along with the raspberry mouse. Both were very tasty, particularly the mousse. I couldn't say no to a glass of the dessert wine that came with it...


To try and help digest this huge meal I ordered a peppermint tea from the extensive selection of teas available from Dilmah. It even came with fresh mint leaves. I love the teapots on Etihad First Class:


Before I knew it we were arriving in London...



What an amazing experience. This was the most thrilling first class product I ever experienced. It is an absolutely luxurious way to travel and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. The service on the A380 was just so much better than the B787, it was world class. Now let's hope that they will open a First Class lounge soon in Abu Dhabi to compliment the amazing product in the air.

To view my video review of this flight, please visit my YouTube channel, or see below:


5 comments:

  1. Was this their way of compensating you for the poor flight you had on the ethihad 787 first?

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    Replies
    1. I wish it was, but no. This flight I had the following day after the 787 flight as part of an onward trip to London.

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  2. WOW! What an amazing flight. The food looked amazing!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Looks like an excellent flight. Enjoying ur blogs

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