Etihad First Apartment: Simply Awesome

Update 5/1/23: 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. Greg’s original pre-pandemic 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.

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

My seat. Along the right is a bench seat that would later be turned into a bed.
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.
The cabinet along the wall next my seat opened to reveal lighted mirrors and an amenity kit.
Amenity kit contents shown
Which champagne would you like sir, Brut 2006 or Brute Rose’? How about both?  Certainly.
The on-board chef recommended the sliders. They were great.
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!
The original breakfast plan was smoked salmon on bagel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good. How could they make this tasteless?
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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How do you know which one is an Apartment?


Booked 2 seats in First for GVA-AUH. It’s not the Apartment, but I’m still happy. Saves me the pain of positioning to LHR and the fees were only $44 for each ticket with AAdvantage.


I scored flight 20 on Jan 10. Whoever reserved the 2nd seat on this flight, say hi to me as I am sitting in 3A.


You probably got the seats I canceled. I booked those seats yesterday afternoon and canceled them last night and rebooked seats on January 20.


Well, in that case, I think you very much for changing your plans. Much appreciated.


Ahhh bummer. All gone, I was too late! 🙁


FYI, travel has to start somewhere by January 19th. Was able to book DOH-AUH-LHR originating DOH on 1/19 and then departing AUH on 1/20. Was not available originating in AUH on 1/20. Works connecting thru LHR on 1/20 as well.


Jackpot! See you on the 19th my friend! Easy booking through Aeroplan


If you see a guy in 4K that looks like he snuck into first class, buy him a drink at the onboard bar. BTW, BKK-DOH first class on Qatar A380 has great availability for 50K AA miles


Is it easier to call AA Overseas or within the USA?


My husband just call the USA number and the hold was not that long. We just booked 2 seats with AA over the phone. When you call you can provide them with your phone number and they will call you back when it is your turn.


Booked mine via Chat on the AA App. Not sure that was necessary but wanted to give it a try. I recall somebody bypassed the large AA phone queue for the recent Qantas award bonanza by using chat.

Simon Guy

Thanks for the hot tip! This will be my first trip to the mid-east and my first trip on Etihad


Just booked. Thanks for the heads-up!


Greg I am stoked. Just got off the phone with. AA Intl desk and booked a one way flight in the Ethiad Apt London to Abu Dhabi January 7th. 62,500 miles plus $290+ USD. I am going by myself. I will now need to book a one way ticket to London using Virgin Miles and then an onward ticket from Abu Dhabi to Manila or Cebu. I live in Anchorage AK and Argao Philippines. Thanks again !


Thank goodness I read your blog on a regular basis. Just booked one seat via Aeroplan. Looking forward to it, thank you =)


It’s this a prediction? Update says “12/9/2023” or someone is really anxious to start 2023.

[…] I miss Etihad first class — and this wasn’t even the apartments that Greg flew! […]

[…] Last year I had the opportunity to fly Etihad First Class Apartments from Abu Dhabi to London.  I loved everything about the experience!  You can find my review here. […]

[…] This is awesome news.  Suddenly we can use Air Canada miles transferred from Amex, Capital One, or Marriott (see our Transfer Partner Master List) in order to book Etihad, and with no fuel surcharges!  I flew Etihad’s incredible first class apartments this past October and loved every minute of it. It was out of this world awesome.  See my review here. […]

[…] miles for 1.86 cents each.  I put this as a favorite only because of my amazing experience flying Etihad First Apartments.  If you want to fly Etihad First, AA miles are the way to go.  Like Alaska, AA is not a transfer […]


eggs benedict at 35,000 feet awesome


Wait – isn’t that picture of the bed from someone else’s Apartments review where they tested just how far the concierge service would go by requesting a picture on the bed?

[…] Suppose you intend to come back from the Seychelles some other way.  In my case, I flew to London to meet my wife who was there on business (and I traveled there in luxury via Etihad First Class Apartments). […]

[…] (it’s not as easy there as in the US) so that he and his husband can fly first class suites (like I did recently).  I know they’ll love every second of it.  And hopefully I’ll have a chance to show […]

Andy Shuman

Hey Greg, glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been raving about the Etihad cabin for years, and I also had a late-night flight and was dead-tired to enjoy it fully. But even so it blew my mind. Best sleep on a plane ever!

Aus Biker

Ain’t life grand? Boy o boy we all picked the greatest hobby!

Dr. McFrugal

Nice redemption Greg! I’ve flown in Singapore Suites, but this looks even more amazing. Definitely one of the things to do on my list.

And great planning this at the tail end of your #40kFarAway challenge. Bravo!

Should we include this redemption and clever positioning when judging the winner for the challenge?


Wow !!! Yes better then that 27 hr train ride I bet . I guess u deserve it but don’t make a habit of it .


Did you still have to go through transit AUH security, including belt and shoe removal?


I just flew the Apartment SYD-AUH and agree it was a very cool experience. There were only 3 pax on my flight so the service was excellent (but the staff seemed top notch so I am sure they would have still been spectacular even with a full cabin of 9 pax). I was very underwhelmed with their lounge in SYD. It was nothing special and was incredibly disappointing. As an aside, I stopped in the AX Lounge in SYD and was completely blown away by how terrible it was. AX should be embarrassed to have their name on that lounge. I read that AX is expanding the SYD lounge in the next few weeks so that is good for SYD departing passengers.

Gay Courter

Have 2 booked. Do they combine?


yes, if you have the adjoining seats (on same side) there is a partition that will lower, but they do not combine into 1 cabin

Gay Courter

Have one booked for next year. Well, 2. Do they combine?


It certainly makes you appreciate it more right after your 40k challenge. ^_^




It will never be first class unless there is a someone to give a half hour massage in air. Shower is old stuff.

I get it now this whole 40k challenge was greg’s idea to ditch his family so he could do the etihad apartment. Hard to find space for 3 people in the apartment. OMG masterstroke.


Literally my favorite flight ever as well. I used Korean mikes (RIP, Chase transfers to Korean) for SYD-AUH round trip and enjoyed the hell out of both lounges, free limo service in AUH, the incredible spaciousness of the apartment, and phenomenal service from onboard staff.


I think you officially win the 40k challenge by staging to ZA (So Africa) to snag 80k AA Eithad J suites award on return.

Seems lots of award space (lie-flat) out of Africa vs travel to Africa in lie flat seats.


A few years ago for me it was 40000pts from AAdvantage for the Etihad Apartment. London to Abu Dhabi followed by nice 4hr first class 777 to India. In fact, it was 36000pts after discount using Barclays American Airlines MC. Crazy times.


IF u reuped that B card did u get points or notthing ?


Well, that certainly is a 180 from your 40K to Far Away travels. It looks fabulous – the reason we play this game.


Nice, Greg! Glad you had a good experience.