Etihad first-class overview: The Condominium

Fast take: Etihad’s Condominium remains to be among the best first-class merchandise on the market, even a decade after its introduction.


  • An enormous quantity of non-public house and shutting doorways for privateness
  • Glorious service, connoisseur meals and high-end facilities
  • A uncommon alternative to bathe within the sky


  • Costly and hard-to-come-by award tickets
  • A lounge that may get crowded at occasions
  • Much less connectivity to different locations than Emirates and Qatar Airways

Thirty-nine sq. ft of house per passenger. Poltrona Frau leather-based armchairs and separate beds. Private minibars and lighted vanities stocked with Espa merchandise. Excessive-definition, 24-inch touchscreens. Toilets with inflight showers.

Etihad shocked the aviation world a decade in the past when it unveiled the designs for its new first-class Residence and Condominium. On the time, the suite-style seats felt utterly unprecedented, with large footprints, closing privateness doorways and, within the case of The Residence, an modern three-room design with a separate bed room, a seating space and a devoted bathroom full with a bathe.

Solely put in on the airline’s Airbus A380 double-decker jets, of which there are simply 4 at the moment in service, these two merchandise nonetheless rank among the many most unique first-class suites within the skies.

There are simply 9 Residences and a single Residence aboard every A380, and the planes solely function two routes in the meanwhile — from Abu Dhabi Worldwide Airport (AUH) to each Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London and John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK) in New York. Beginning in November, the planes will even fly to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

Fortunately for U.S. vacationers, Etihad resumed A380 service to New York in April and now operates one among its two every day flights in every course between the cities utilizing the jumbo jet.


That is how I used to be capable of e book an award ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi and expertise a long-haul flight in Etihad’s first-class Condominium for myself only a few days after the A380 got here again onto this route.

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The final time I flew Etihad Residences was practically eight years in the past on the identical route in the identical course. I used to be curious to see how the expertise in contrast, particularly after the airline had despatched its A380s into long-term storage through the coronavirus pandemic earlier than slowly beginning to convey them again on-line beginning in 2023.

My flight this time round was each bit pretty much as good as my final journey within the Etihad Condominium. In actual fact, it was all of the extra pleasurable because it was removed from sure through the depths of the pandemic whether or not this really luxurious product would ever fly once more.

This is what it was like flying the Etihad first-class Condominium and tips on how to e book it if you want to expertise it for your self.

How a lot does it price to e book the Etihad first-class Condominium?

The price of reserving the Etihad Condominium will rely upon the route you fly and whether or not you pay money or redeem miles.

Redeeming Etihad Visitor miles is one of the best wager for scoring awards on the airline’s personal flights for the reason that program appears to supply extra availability than when reserving with companion miles. Even when you do not fly Etihad and its companions usually, you possibly can simply high up your Etihad Visitor account for the reason that program is a 1:1 switch companion of American Specific Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

American Airways companions with Etihad, so you may as well redeem AAdvantage miles for award tickets on Etihad flights. Doing so requires fewer miles than going by way of Etihad Visitor, and the taxes and costs are cheaper, too.

Here’s a snapshot of paid and award ticket costs on round-trip flights from New York to Abu Dhabi over the approaching months.

Class Etihad Residences
Airfare $12,671 to $15,505
American AAdvantage miles 230,000 miles plus $64
Etihad Visitor miles Beginning costs vary from 400,000 to 440,000 miles plus $1,200

For my ticket, I transferred American Specific Membership Rewards to my Etihad Visitor account and redeemed 220,000 of them plus $543 in taxes and costs for a one-way ticket that will have price round $9,000 in any other case.


Etihad operates two every day flights in every course between New York and Abu Dhabi, one aboard an A380 and the opposite utilizing a Boeing 787. So, make sure you e book the A380 flight if you wish to expertise the Condominium. Presently, the A380 is working the next flights, although these are topic to vary:

  • Etihad Flight EY 2, departing JFK at 2:30 p.m. and arriving at AUH at 11:30 a.m. the next day
  • Etihad Flight EY 1, departing AUH at 2:40 a.m. and arriving at JFK at 9:05 a.m.

Etihad first-class passengers can choose seats without cost, although when you e book an award by way of a companion program like American AAdvantage, you might need to name Etihad immediately to pick or change seats.

The airline gives a helpful baggage allowance calculator on its web site, however first-class passengers on the airline’s long-haul flights between the U.S. and the Center East can convey a private merchandise weighing as much as 5 kilograms (11 kilos), a carry-on bag that weighs as much as 12 kilograms (26 kilos) and two checked baggage weighing as much as 32 kilograms (70 kilos). Whereas passengers on a paid ticket in Etihad top quality can benefit from the airline’s chauffeur service in Abu Dhabi, these on award tickets (like myself) don’t obtain this service.

Checking into and boarding Etihad top quality

Etihad first-class passengers can benefit from the next precedence companies on the airport.

Precedence check-in Sure
Lounge entry Sure, Etihad and companion lounges
Does the airline take part in TSA PreCheck? Sure
Precedence boarding Sure, in Group 1 after preboarding

I arrived at JFK about three hours earlier than my flight and made my method to the devoted first-class check-in counter in Terminal 4.

After verifying my journey paperwork and printing out my boarding cross, an airline consultant escorted me to the entrance of the TSA PreCheck safety line and met me post-security to take me on to the Chase Sapphire Lounge.


This was previously the Etihad Lounge, and the airline’s business- and first-class passengers nonetheless have entry. In actual fact, these passengers have precedence entry to the lounge.


That signifies that even when there’s a waitlist for folk who’re eligible to enter the lounge because of a Precedence Cross membership — which you’ll be able to enroll in with various bank cards — it is best to have the ability to skip the road when you’re flying in a premium class on Etihad.


The lounge is round 7,600 sq. ft and is wanting extra colourful today than when it was an Etihad-branded house. Simply inside the doorway, there’s a residing room-style seating space with slim-profile chairs and sofas, in addition to some leafy vegetation for greenery.


The principle space of the lounge is anchored by an extended bar backlit by a wall of home windows.


This house additionally accommodates a plethora of seating choices, together with vignettes of swivel chairs, a low-slung sofa with small tables and dining-style seating with bigger tables, chairs and banquettes. Vacationers will discover loads of energy and USB ports to cost their units as properly.

Delving additional into the lounge, there’s a beverage station with espresso and tea and a buffet serving each cold and warm objects like hen tagine, curried cauliflower and burrata with apricot pesto.

On the far finish of the lounge, there are a few workstations and a few extra residing room-style seating preparations surrounding a lighting-effect fire. The lounge additionally has three bathe suites (one for males, one for girls and a 3rd all-gender facility), although I didn’t request to make use of any of them throughout my temporary go to.

Friends can order meals off an a la carte menu utilizing a QR code and have it delivered to their desk. Dishes embody shirataki noodles with smoked tofu and shiitake mushrooms and the signature Sapphire burger with mustard aioli, confit tomatoes and arugula served with french fries. I needed to attempt the burger, which was delivered inside 5 minutes of my order, and it was juicy and hearty; the fries had been crispy and piping scorching. Throughout breakfast, the a la carte choices embody objects like a breakfast bao sandwich and a smoked salmon Benedict.

The lounge additionally serves signature cocktails just like the Concrete Jungle with Brooklyn gin, Lillet blanc, creme de cacao and lemon juice, in addition to quite a lot of beers, wines and Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee 1785 Champagne, all of that are complimentary.

General, the service within the lounge was cheerful and environment friendly, with attendants passing by way of at common intervals to test on guests, take away used dishes and glasses, high up refills and wipe down surfaces between friends.

About 45 minutes earlier than departure, the identical check-in agent who introduced me to the lounge reappeared to ask if I’d prefer to improve to The Residence because it was accessible for my flight. I inquired what that will price and was instructed it often ran $5,000 additional, so I politely declined.

She then took me on to the gate, which was down one degree from the lounge and across the nook, in order that I might be among the many first to board. Due to twin jet bridges, I used to be capable of enter the airplane immediately on the higher deck.


How comfy was Etihad top quality?

The primary-class cabin aboard the Etihad A380 is situated on the entrance of the airplane’s high deck with a staircase main right down to the decrease deck on the ahead facet and a big galley and lounge space separating it from the large business-class cabin to the aft.


The Residence takes up a bit of actual property on the ahead left facet of the cabin and features a vast seating space, a separate bed room and its personal bathroom. Sadly, since I didn’t improve to it, I used to be requested to not take images or movies of it throughout my flight.

The remainder of the cabin consists of 9 Residences unfold throughout 4 rows in a 1-1 sample, with seat 1H located by itself throughout from The Residence.


This is a snapshot of the cabin format and Condominium dimensions.

Variety of seats 9
Cabin format 1-1 
Chair width 30 inches
Mattress dimension 26 inches vast, 80.5 inches lengthy
Display screen dimension 24 inches

Residences alternately face ahead and backward with their armchairs both nearer to the aisle or the window and are upholstered in one among three tones of leather-based: chocolate, caramel, or tan.


Seats in odd rows face aft whereas these in even rows face entrance. The Residences with seats nearer to the window for much more privateness embody 3A, 3K, 4A and 4K.


Seats with B and H of their designation have their armchairs nearer to the aisle, although they’re nonetheless separated from it by closing screenlike doorways which are 62 inches excessive, offering a considerable privateness defend.


The partitions between Residences are about 54 inches excessive, so whereas your neighbor would possibly have the ability to see into your suite whereas standing up, the fact is that you simply seemingly will not see your fellow vacationers throughout your flight.

For those who’re touring with a companion, the flight attendants can decrease the partitions between seats 3A and 4A, and 3K and 4K to create a form of double suite.

Finest seats for solo vacationers Any
Finest seats for {couples} 3A and 4A; 3K and 4K

I chosen seat 4K for what I contemplate to be the optimum format: a forward-facing seat with the chair nearer to the window.


Getting into the Condominium, there was an extended, slender leather-based bench to 1 facet and a lighted, mirrored vainness containing varied Espa skincare merchandise, a watch masks and earplugs to the opposite.


Slightly below the vainness was a common energy plug and a set of drawers, one among which might be used for stowage. The opposite was a calming minibar containing sodas and water.


Beneath the bench was a space for storing that might maintain a small carry-on or massive private merchandise. The crew took bigger carry-on baggage from passengers to retailer them close to the galley.


Towards the window, the armchair was upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather-based and might be maneuvered into varied lounging positions utilizing a set of seatside buttons, which additionally operated the digital window shades. The seat didn’t recline to lie-flat mode, although, for the reason that Condominium’s bench will be transformed right into a mattress.


On the wall above the buttons, I discovered two USB-A ports and an HDMI port together with the hand-held, touchscreen distant for the leisure system. Hidden contained in the armrest was one other touchscreen panel with which I may management the seat, in addition to its lighting, the flight attendant name button and a do-not-disturb indicator.

The seat’s huge desk popped out of a panel alongside the window after which swung down and into place. From the latter place, it might be adjusted ahead and again alongside a monitor. Due to how massive and unwieldy it’s, you may seemingly want flight attendants that will help you deploy it.


Additionally on the window ledge was a lighting fixture that lent the house a contact of class because of its stylized patterning (there’s one other on the suite’s aisle wall), and simply subsequent to this was a small cubby holding a set of noise-canceling headphones.


Throughout from the armchair, the leisure system was a wall-mounted, 24-inch, high-definition touchscreen. Given the size of the Condominium, although, it was extra sensible to make use of the hand-held distant to scroll by way of the leisure choices. It pops out from the wall and swivels round for higher viewing when the mattress is laid out.


A number of hours into the flight, after having fun with a full meal, I requested the attendants to make up the mattress. They did so by decreasing the bench to its full width of 26 inches and 80.5 inches lengthy. They dressed it with a fitted sheet and a smooth mattress pad, then neatly organized a cover and each a full-size and accent pillow, plus the faux-fur throw blanket that had been ready at my seat once I boarded.

This is among the most comfy airplane lie-flat beds at the moment accessible since there aren’t any odd dimensions, awkward angles or cramped foot cubbies. And although my head was nearer to the aisle, I used to be not disturbed by noise or exercise because of the closing privateness door. I additionally wasn’t conscious of any motion from the particular person in seat 3K, whose mattress was simply adjoining to my very own.


One factor to notice is that there aren’t any particular person air nozzles within the cabin ceiling for passengers. Nonetheless, as a result of massive footprint of those suites, flight attendants are capable of modify the temperature of particular person zones within the cabin. So, once I requested for it to be a number of levels cooler, they had been ready to do this for me with out concern for inconveniencing different passengers.


Passengers within the Etihad Residences can use two massive bathrooms situated to the suitable of the staircase right down to the decrease deck. These need to be a number of the most fashionable airplane bogs round because of mosaic backsplash tiling, geometric lighting options and basinlike glass sinks.

They had been stocked with Espa skincare merchandise, and the crew saved them spotless through the flight. It was additionally good to have some extra elbow room than your common airplane toilet to be able to turn into the supplied pajamas earlier than taking a relaxation.

One of many bathrooms had a bathe, too. Throughout embarkation, the flight attendants requested every first-class passenger in the event that they wish to bathe earlier than touchdown in Abu Dhabi after which allotted half-hour time slots based mostly on passenger preferences. I lucked out and bought one of many final slots, about two hours earlier than touchdown, in order that I may nap for so long as doable, get pleasure from a fast rinse after which have a meal earlier than we began our descent.


As is the case when utilizing the well-known Emirates onboard showers, every passenger will get 5 minutes of water with a lighted indicator close to the management knob to allow them to know the way a lot time they’ve left. This bathe felt extra spacious than Emirates’ because of the extra intensive glass walling and the truth that the showerhead was mounted on the ceiling slightly than being a hand-held unit docked on a pole.

Espa shampoo, conditioner and physique wash had been all supplied together with a towel, after which afterward, there was a small hair dryer tucked right into a wall cubby that I may use to type my hair.


Certain, you possibly can wait to get again on the bottom to take a bathe with all of the water you needed, a number of showerheads and doubtless higher stress, too. However there’s simply one thing about soaping up midair and arriving refreshed and relaxed that makes this really feel like one among journey’s final luxuries.

Facilities in Etihad top quality

For those who’re flying Etihad top quality, go away somewhat additional room in your carry-on so you possibly can take all of the goodies you get on board with you.

Moderately than a regular amenity equipment, the airline shares varied objects within the Condominium’s vainness cabinet.

Throughout my flight, these included:

  • Espa hydrating spa face mist
  • Espa rejuvenating hand and physique lotion
  • Espa nourishing lip therapy
  • Espa relaxation and restoration evening balm
  • Espa restful pulse level oil
  • A watch masks
  • Earplugs
  • A dental equipment with toothbrush and toothpaste
  • A cloth pouch to hold them off the flight

The flight attendants got here by with a packet of slippers for me to make use of through the flight, in addition to a set of charcoal-gray Giorgio Armani pajamas that had been light-weight, breathable and ultra-soft.


As talked about above, noise-canceling headphones had been supplied and labored very properly with the leisure system.


The leisure screens are 24 inches throughout diagonally, and you may management them both with the touchscreen distant or immediately as touchscreens themselves, although they’re slightly far-off from the seatback.

The content material was very updated, with new releases on the time like “Oppenheimer,” “Wonka” and “The Starvation Video games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” There was all kinds of TV exhibits as properly, together with some academic ones about Abu Dhabi, varied comedies and dramas, HBO Max releases, musical albums organized by style and a few stay TV channels, together with CNN and BBC Information. I principally saved the view of the tail digital camera and the flight path on, although.

On my flight, there have been two Wi-Fi packages accessible: a text-only cross for $4.99 and a full-flight “Browsing” cross with limitless information for $24.99. You may change your cross amongst units by creating an account and logging in earlier than buying the Wi-Fi.

Since I used to be flying in top quality, I used to be given a voucher without cost Wi-Fi for the flight, which got here in helpful for engaged on the long-haul. I used to be capable of join simply and clocked obtain speeds of 8.27 Mbps and add speeds of 4.68 Mbps.


How was the meals in Etihad top quality?

Throughout boarding and whereas handing out slippers and pajamas, flight attendants provided every passenger a selection of beverage, together with water, juice, Champagne or just about no matter else they needed.

I requested for a glass of Champagne, which ended up being Charles Heidsieck 2006 Brut Millesime, after which was additionally served a cup of Arabic espresso, a ramekin of dates and a scorching towel. (I used to be provided one other glass after takeoff, which was served with nuts, wasabi peas and olives.)


That gave me an opportunity to peruse the menus ready at my seat, although I waited till we had been up within the air to order my meals.

Etihad gives dine-on-demand service in each enterprise and top quality, so you possibly can order something you need from the menu just about any time up till about an hour earlier than touchdown.

My flight departed New York within the afternoon (or late at evening if going by the point in Abu Dhabi) and landed within the late morning in Abu Dhabi, so I made a decision to have my first and extra substantial meal shortly after takeoff so I may then relaxation for a number of hours in the midst of the flight earlier than having a lighter meal previous to touchdown.


The menu selections included appetizers like:

  • Gourmand Home osetra caviar with conventional garnishes
  • Burrata with burnt orange, sumac-spiced heirloom tomato salad and pomegranate
  • Arabic mezze
  • Harira soup with vermicelli, lentils, chickpeas, dates and lemon
  • Clam chowder

The principle programs included:

  • USDA beef tenderloin with fondant potatoes, courgette, carrot, sunchoke mousseline and shallots
  • Hen breast with truffle polenta and purple Swiss chard
  • Lamb shank bukhari with basmati rice
  • Chilean sea bass with za’atar mousseline, leeks and asparagus
  • Mushroom cappellacci with courgette, tomato and panna sauce

And for dessert:

  • Caramelized apple hazelnut financier with berries and vanilla sauce
  • Mocha mascarpone tarte with raspberries, salted espresso and chocolate sauce
  • A cheese choice
  • Haagen-Dazs ice cream

You could possibly additionally order “lounge and grill” type, which was principally a mix-and-match possibility that includes varied proteins, sides and sauces, in addition to objects like:

  • Steak frites
  • Beef sliders with apple-fennel slaw
  • Quinoa and roasted vegetable salad with lemon labneh
  • A steak sandwich with cheddar and caramelized onion
  • New York cheesecake

Passengers may request snacks at any time together with:

  • Potato chips
  • Baklava
  • Madeleines
  • Numerous cookies

Then, for the breakfast menu earlier than touchdown, the alternatives included:

  • A choice of pastries and cereals
  • Combined berry smoothie
  • Cheese-herb omelet with hen sausages, mushrooms, tomato, spinach and potato rosti
  • Contemporary fruit platter

I began with the caviar service as a result of, properly, why not? It was fantastically offered within the tin with a quintet of blinis and a number of garnishes, together with chives, pink onion, creme fraiche and diced egg white and yolk, all served on the airline’s bespoke Nikko tremendous bone china. It went splendidly with a glass of Billecart-Salmon 2016 Classic Cuvee (the rosé Champagne on board that day was Duval-Leroy Status Premier Cru).


Subsequent, I had the Arabic mezze, which included kibbeh, hummus, tabouleh and baba ghanoush, with a glass of crisp Laurenz V Singing Gruner Veltliner from Austria.


For my predominant, I could not cross up the steak, which I requested medium uncommon after the flight attendant warned me it will be barely extra cooked than an equal order on the bottom. It was nonetheless tender and juicy, and the veggie sides had been flavorful and contemporary. I paired it with a glass of Domaine des Senechaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which was redolent of blackberry and licorice notes.


Lastly, for dessert, I had the hazelnut financier, which was fluffy and light-weight.


Then I took a glass of the Dow’s single-harvest 1992 tawny port again to the lounge space behind the galley, which is shared between first and enterprise class. Right here, there is a self-serve bar with spirits, wine and different drinks, in addition to some snacks.


The centerpiece is a six-seat sales space round an ornate desk with energy ports so you possibly can work or calm down over a meal with pals and colleagues. There are seat belts, too, so you possibly can stay even when there’s turbulence.


This can be a in style hangout for teams touring collectively. In actual fact, it was solely away from passengers after the principle meal service in enterprise class had been completed for fairly awhile.


After a nap and a bathe, I requested my breakfast about 90 minutes earlier than touchdown. I had the pastries, the fruit platter (which was surprisingly contemporary) and the omelet. The latter was hearty and savory, as had been the mushrooms and rosti. The cappuccino I ordered was piping scorching and properly frothed as properly. It was not fairly the full-octane power you would possibly anticipate on the bottom, but it surely was an excellent prelanding jolt nonetheless.


The service on my flight was, in a phrase, impeccable. Though flight attendants moved by way of the first-class cabin usually to see if passengers wanted something, passengers principally used the flight attendant name button for service since Condominium doorways are principally saved closed through the flight. Every time I pressed mine, somebody was politely knocking at my door inside 15 seconds.

The cabin supervisor and all of the flight attendants I interacted with (5 in whole) had been extraordinarily polished but additionally exceptionally personable. They enquired about my travels, had been blissful to inform me about their very own backgrounds and checked in all through the flight not solely to make sure that I used to be comfy, however that I used to be having fun with the expertise to the utmost (I used to be). And it was at all times in a way that felt real and unforced — they appeared authentically invested in my enjoyment, which made me recognize the expertise and the flight all of the extra.


Would you advocate Etihad top quality?

Even a decade after its introduction, the Etihad Condominium stays some of the unique, modern and opulent airline first-class experiences on the earth, and it feels much more particular contemplating that it was unclear whether or not Etihad would reactivate its Airbus A380 fleet after the pandemic.


Not solely are the suites large, however their privateness and luxury options, together with closing doorways and benches that remodel into lengthy twin-size beds, make for a wonderful inflight expertise. The smooth touches, resembling Espa facilities, dine-on-demand service and world-class hospitality from the airline’s crews all set the Etihad first-class expertise aside even additional.


What’s extra, you possibly can steadily discover Etihad first-class award house (albeit for a bucketload of miles) each with the airline’s personal frequent flyer program and people of its companions, together with American Airways AAdvantage.


All these parts mix to make this a memorable but achievable journey expertise. It had been eight years since my first Etihad Condominium flight, however I am going to make sure to not let a lot time cross once more earlier than my subsequent journey on this really singular first-class cabin.


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