We not too long ago discovered that Etihad Airways shall be reactivating some Airbus A380s in 2023. Particularly, the airline shall be bringing again 4 of those planes as of summer season, and so they’ll fly between Abu Dhabi and London.
Whereas the Etihad passenger expertise on the A380 is nice throughout the board, maybe most intriguing is that this marks the return of The Residence, essentially the most unique expertise in business aviation. Nevertheless, it appears to me like Etihad is perhaps planning some main modifications to this product.
Fundamentals of The Residence, Etihad’s superb A380 suite
Whereas Etihad’s Airbus A380s have 9 superb First Class Flats, the airplane’s crown jewel is The Residence. That is situated on the very entrance left of the primary class cabin.
The Residence is a personal three room suite that takes up 125 sq. ft. It features a lounge, a bed room, and a personal lavatory with a bathe. Bodily it’s such a spectacularly good product.
What actually set the expertise aside, although, was the extent of service. You’d have a personal lounge in Abu Dhabi, and a crew of individuals taking good care of you on the bottom. Then when it was time to board, you’d be launched to your onboard butler, who was there to simply maintain you, and to customise the expertise nevertheless you’d like (together with placing a signed Shawn Mendes image in your pillow with turndown service, if that’s what you’d like).
I reviewed The Residence a number of years again on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. Whereas The Residence sometimes value $25K+ for a one-way flight, I discovered a reasonably good fare on the time by originating in Cairo. I smile to this present day considering again on what an epic expertise it was, as I don’t suppose I’ll ever have a flight like that once more.
The economics of The Residence had been at all times a bit questionable, because it didn’t promote out persistently, and Etihad by no means upgraded individuals to it. So on a majority of flights it sat empty. On the plus aspect, The Residence had an unimaginable halo impact for the corporate, because it obtained a lot publicity, and actually made Etihad extra identified globally.
Is Etihad planning modifications to The Residence?
With Etihad bringing again its Airbus A380s, what does that imply for The Residence? Effectively, one thing tells me it’s going to be a bit totally different than earlier than the A380s had been grounded. What makes me say that?
To start with, The Residence will solely be bookable as of March 2023, so it’s fascinating that the airline is ready a number of months to promote it. Then in speaking about The Residence, you’ll discover that the airline solely talks in regards to the laborious product, and doesn’t point out something in regards to the butler or different enhanced companies:
The world’s solely three-room suite within the sky. The Residence affords final flying expertise with exclusivity, privateness and luxury. That includes a devoted bed room, lavatory and lounge, you possibly can chill out as you’re cocooned in a secluded world your whole personal.
Lastly, Etihad additionally says that The Residence will “ultimately” be accessible as an optionally available further for top quality clients:
For the primary time, Etihad plans to ultimately provide The Residence as an optionally available further for visitors to additional improve their First expertise.
All of this makes it fairly apparent to me that The Residence shall be completely totally different than pre-pandemic. That is purely hypothesis on my half, however my guess is that The Residence shall be offered at a way more cheap premium than pre-pandemic, or that it’ll simply be offered as top quality, with a further seat project charge (I’m guessing the quantity shall be within the low 4 figures).
That will be good on Etihad’s half, in the event you ask me:
- Remember the fact that there’s no actual alternative value to having The Residence, for the reason that bed room is on the very entrance of the higher deck the place there couldn’t in any other case be seats, so it’s not just like the airline can reconfigure the airplane in a greater approach
- The Residence can be empty most of the time, whereas top quality has traditionally offered very effectively, so the airline might as an alternative have 10 top quality seats, somewhat than 9 (or perhaps even 11, since The Residence can accommodate as much as two individuals)
- With such a small A380 subfleet, the price of providing devoted companies for passengers in The Residence would make the economics powerful, since at most 4 planes shall be flying
- Etihad has eradicated the butler and inflight chef roles, and I’m guessing the airline isn’t going to wish to carry these again only for 4 planes, particularly because the airline doesn’t in any other case appear dedicated to retaining top quality
I actually might be incorrect, however I believe it’s extremely probably that The Residence shall be extra attainable than earlier than. Ideally will probably be accessible simply as a seat project charge for top quality passengers, in order that you could possibly doubtlessly redeem miles for top quality, after which pay money to “improve.”
The Etihad Airbus A380 shall be making a comeback in 2023, with 4 of the planes flying between Abu Dhabi and London. That is an thrilling improvement for these of us who’re A380 lovers. What I discover most intriguing, although, is how Etihad appears to be planning modifications to The Residence.
The airline will begin promoting this product in March 2023, and says will probably be accessible as an improve from top quality. With Etihad being far more disciplined, my guess is that The Residence shall be all in regards to the laborious product, and also will be priced far more fairly than earlier than.
What are you anticipating from the return of The Residence?