Etihad First Apartment: Simply Awesome (and coming back to the US!)

Update 11/30/23: Etihad has announced that it will return Airbus A380 (and First Apartment) service to New York (JFK) starting April 22, 2024. The airline had stopped using A380s completely during the pandemic, then started flying them again earlier this year, but only in between London and Abu Dhabi. Now, Etihad is bringing the plane, along with Greg the Frequent Miler’s favorite first class product, back to the Abu Dhabi – JFK route. It’s been four years since Greg was originally able to fly in the Apartment. My guess is it won’t be another four years before he’s back. His original review follows.

In October of 2019 I had my first chance to fly one of the most luxurious first class products in the world: Etihad First Apartments.  I paid 80,000 American Airlines miles plus $51.40 in taxes and fees to fly from the Seychelles to London, with a very short layover in Abu Dhabi.  The flight from the Seychelles to Abu Dhabi was an unremarkable four hour business-class flight.  The 8 hour flight from Abu Dhabi to London in Etihad’s First Class on board their A380 aircraft, though, was remarkable.  It was awesome.

Not only was the first class suite amazing, but the cabin crew was phenomenal.  Four crew members separately came to introduce themselves and to help plan my time on board.  It was an overnight flight, so I wanted to sleep, but I also wanted to get the most out of my time on board.  We worked out a plan that included a small meal before sleep, then a cold meal at breakfast so that I could sleep a bit longer (a hot meal would require more time), then an on-board shower.  This had to be the best flight of my life, edging out even Singapore Suites.

Since this post was written, new ways to find and book Etihad apartments have surfaced. Etihad’s First Apartments are now bookable with Air Canada Aeroplan miles (as well as with AA miles and Etihad’s own program of course).  The easiest way to search for availability is using the Aeroplan site or via SeatSpy (details here).  You can book online with Aeroplan, but must call in to book with AA.  Flights between London and Abu Dhabi cost 62,500 AA miles each + ~$300 in taxes and fees, while Air Canada charges 65,000 miles each way plus ~CA$450 in taxes and fees.

For the rest of this post, I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

a leather couch in an airplane
My seat. Along the right is a bench seat that would later be turned into a bed.
a room with windows and a couch
View from my seat toward the aisle. Across the hallway is a second suite. Each suite has doors that close.  I found it interesting that they style each suite with different hues.  My apartment had dark brown leather whereas the one across the hall is more cream colored.
a yellow pouches with a black band
The cabinet along the wall next my seat opened to reveal lighted mirrors and an amenity kit.
a group of cosmetics on a table
Amenity kit contents shown
two glasses of wine on a tray
Which champagne would you like sir, Brut 2006 or Brute Rose’? How about both?  Certainly.
a group of burgers on a plate
The on-board chef recommended the sliders. They were great.
a bed with a book and a magazine on it
Bed time! I found the bed to be very comfortable.  This is one place where my Singapore Suites flight was better: it had an insanely comfortable bed. This one was comfortable, but not insanely so.  I still slept very well!
a bagel sandwich on a plate
The original breakfast plan was smoked salmon on bagel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good. How could they make this tasteless?
a plate of food on a table
A crew member quickly noticed that I hadn’t eaten the bagel sandwich and asked if I’d like something else. Curious what would happen if I went off-menu, I asked for an Eggs Benedict. The chef met the challenge brilliantly. It was awesome.
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