Overview: Etihad First Class Airbus A380 (AUH-LHR)

For the subsequent portion of my evaluate journey, I flew Etihad’s Airbus A380 top quality on the 7hr15min flight from Abu Dhabi to London. I used to be trying ahead to this flight, provided that Etihad solely not too long ago introduced again its A380s, after they had been grounded for an prolonged time period.

I’m pleased to report that Etihad actually is on high of its recreation, and is nearly as good as ever. Etihad’s A380 top quality is a powerful product, with beautiful design, nice meals and drinks, and (on this flight) distinctive service. I rank this as being probably the greatest top quality merchandise on the planet, and I’m so pleased that Etihad made the choice to carry this aircraft again into service. Let’s get into the evaluate.

How I booked my Etihad top quality ticket

I booked my total journey from Jeddah to Chicago (by way of Abu Dhabi and London) as a single award utilizing American AAdvantage miles. Particularly, I booked the next for 115,000 American AAdvantage miles plus $323.73 in taxes and charges (with the Jeddah to Abu Dhabi phase in enterprise class, and the Abu Dhabi to London to Chicago segments in top quality):

12/04 EY330 Jeddah to Abu Dhabi departing 2:35AM arriving 6:20AM
12/04 EY17 Abu Dhabi to London departing 2:05PM arriving 6:10PM
12/05 BA295 London to Chicago departing 11:00AM arriving 1:55PM

That’s a fairly nice use of American AAdvantage miles, in case you ask me. Moreover, whereas there have been provider imposed surcharges on this award, they had been less expensive than in case you had been completely reserving an award on British Airways throughout the Atlantic.

Etihad top quality lounge & boarding

Etihad not too long ago moved to the brand new Abu Dhabi Terminal A. In earlier installments I reviewed each the Etihad First Class Lounge and Etihad Enterprise Class Lounge Abu Dhabi, that are glorious.

The primary class lounge gives an ideal a la carte eating choice, whereas the enterprise class lounge is large and gives all types of facilities, from leisure rooms, to a bar. These are among the many greatest top quality and greatest enterprise class lounges on the market.

One other superior factor is that Etihad gives direct boarding from the lounge to 3 gates, and sometimes A380 departures function from these gates. My flight was departing from gate C29, which gives lounge boarding. Whereas my boarding go indicated that boarding would begin at 1PM (65 minutes earlier than departure, which is suspiciously early), in actuality it began at 1:20PM, 45 minutes earlier than departure.

Etihad boarding from lounge Abu Dhabi

Etihad A380 top quality cabin & seats

Etihad’s Airbus A380 top quality cabin (which the airline markets as “First Class Residences”) is situated on the entrance of the A380’s higher deck, with every suite being 39 sq. toes. On the door I used to be greeted by the delightfully pleasant crew, and pointed left into top quality.

Etihad’s A380 top quality cabin is in a 1-1 configuration, so it has a single aisle, which is one thing you’ll in any other case solely discover in Singapore Airways A380 Suites Class. I’d argue that that is the primary class cabin with the very best first impression, as there’s a lot consideration to element that went into the aesthetics of the cabin.

Etihad A380 top quality cabin

Etihad’s A380 top quality cabin has a complete of 9 top quality seats, along with The Residence (which is the three room suite which you can guide for an additional price). The A380 top quality cabin has a staggered format, with seats alternating between being ahead and rear going through, and between being nearer and farther from the aisle.

Personally I don’t care whether or not a seat faces ahead or backwards, although I do far choose the seats which are nearer to the home windows. Right here’s my basic advice for selecting seats:

  • Seats 3A and 3K are rear going through seats which are nearer to the home windows, whereas seats 4A and 4K are ahead going through seats which are nearer to the home windows; these could be my most popular seats, and admittedly I like all of them equally
  • Seats 1H, 5C, and 5H, are rear going through seats which are nearer to the aisle, whereas seats 2C and 2H are ahead going through seats which are nearer to the aisle
  • When you’re touring with somebody, attempt to assign seats 3A and 4A or seats 3K and 4K, as a result of the partition can partially be lowered between these pairs of seats to have a considerably shared house

Truthfully, regardless of which seat you choose, you’re in for a deal with, so don’t assume that any seats listed below are “dangerous.” Nonetheless, it’s good to really feel like you’ve gotten extra distance from the aisle, and to have the ability to gaze out the window extra simply.

You’ll additionally discover that Etihad’s top quality seats on the A380 have differing colours. Whereas seats in odd numbered rows are beige, seats in even numbered rows are brown.

Etihad A380 top quality cabin

I assigned myself seat 3A, the “true” window seat on the left facet within the third row that’s rear going through. As you’ll be able to see, Etihad’s A380 top quality product consists of each a seat and a bench, which can be utilized as a buddy seat. When it’s time to sleep, the bench converts right into a mattress.

Etihad A380 top quality seat

The seat itself is extremely comfy for lounging, because it’s properly padded and the proper width.

Etihad A380 top quality seat

To the facet of the seat are the window shades, which have blinds that may be raised or lowered. You possibly can both simply decrease them so that you simply block the view with out blocking the sunshine, or there’s a full blackout perform.

Etihad A380 top quality window shades

The tray desk folds out from the identical facet of the seat, and have to be one of many largest and heaviest tray tables on the market.

Etihad A380 top quality seat tray desk

On the alternative armrest is a small storage compartment, seating controls, and a touchscreen to manage extra seat capabilities.

Etihad A380 top quality seat controls

Simply past that’s the leisure controller, in addition to two USB-A retailers, an HDMI outlet, and a headphone jack.

Etihad A380 top quality seat leisure controller

There’s additionally an AC energy outlet a bit additional away from the seat.

Etihad A380 top quality seat energy outlet

The primary factor subsequent to the seat is a big vainness, which will be opened and closed.

Etihad A380 top quality seat
Etihad A380 top quality seat vainness

Beneath the vainness is a small minibar, with room for as much as six drinks — on this case it included 4 cans of soda and two bottles of water.

Etihad A380 top quality seat minibar

There’s additionally a further storage compartment, which is the very best place to depart smaller objects throughout the flight (so long as you don’t overlook them later!).

Etihad A380 top quality seat storage

Additionally proper subsequent to the seat is a small vertical storage space which you can open or shut. I’ve by no means actually used this for something, but it surely’s one other place you could possibly retailer a cellphone or passport.

Etihad A380 top quality seat storage

Close to the aisle, there’s a bigger closet space, the place you’ll be able to dangle garments throughout the flight, in case you select to vary into pajamas.

Etihad A380 top quality seat closet

The cabin doesn’t have any overhead bins, however as a substitute your carry-on luggage will be saved beneath the bench, as there’s a specifically designated place for these (simply make certain your carry-on isn’t too large or full, or else it may not match, and can have to be saved by the crew in a closet).

Etihad A380 top quality seat storage

After all one of many different nice options about this product is the door, which will be opened or closed inflight. The door goes as much as 64″, which is kind of excessive, although there are little holes within the door in order that the crew can (theoretically) look by there.

Etihad A380 top quality cabin

Above I discussed how seats 3A and 4A, in addition to seats 3K and 4K, can form of be changed into double suites. To broaden on {that a} bit, see the darker coloration partition within the left of the beneath image?

Etihad A380 top quality seat

Properly, there’s a management panel proper by there, and in case you click on the button, that panel can open between suites. So that you wouldn’t get a full double mattress, however you’ll be able to a minimum of simply see the particular person within the different suite.

Etihad A380 top quality seat controls

Etihad’s A380 top quality arduous product is mighty spectacular. It’s visually gorgeous, and the sheer quantity of house that every passenger is allotted is unbelievable. Now, I’ll say that I want Etihad had designed this house a bit otherwise.

Particularly, it’s a bit disappointing how passengers have a lot house, but the precise sleeping floor and mattress isn’t any bigger than your typical top quality seat. However that’s a minor factor within the scheme of issues, and it doesn’t undo what a powerful product that is.

Etihad top quality facilities

Ready at my seat upon boarding had been a pillow and blanket. Each of those are nice — the pillow offers numerous padding, whereas the blanket is cozy and comfortable. I do discover it attention-grabbing how Etihad has a partnership with Armani / Casa for enterprise class, however this doesn’t prolong to top quality.

Etihad top quality pillow & blanket

A second after settling in, all the primary class crew got here by to introduce themselves, and one provided a pre-departure drink. I ordered a glass of champagne, which was served on an exquisite tray with a heat towel and dates. Arabic espresso was provided a couple of minutes later.

For the time being, Etihad’s champagne in top quality is the 2010 Devaux & Michel Chapoutier Stenope, which is good, however not significantly memorable.

Etihad top quality pre-departure drinks

I used to be additionally offered with an Etihad branded bag that contained most of the different facilities for the flight.

Etihad top quality facilities

Etihad’s top quality pajamas are from “A Good friend Of Mine,” an Emirati trend model. The sleepwear is breathable and comfortable, and I admire how Etihad highlights a neighborhood model. Nonetheless, word that these pajamas run actually massive, so maybe choose a dimension smaller than you’d normally select.

Etihad top quality pajamas

There have been additionally a pair of properly padded slippers.

Etihad top quality slippers

Etihad is at present celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and is providing particular amenity kits. The equipment was properly stocked, with eyeshades, earplugs, socks, a dental equipment, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and several other merchandise from ESPA. These included hand and physique lotion, facial mist, a lip remedy, a soothing oil, and an evening balm.

Etihad top quality amenity equipment

On my final Etihad top quality flight, the airline was providing Acqua Di Parma amenity kits and merchandise, so I’m wondering if that partnership is over, given the change to ESPA.

I used to be additionally offered with headphones, which had been nothing particular, however did the trick.

Etihad top quality headphones

Subsequent up, I used to be given a voucher at no cost Wi-Fi (which is all the time provided in Etihad top quality), plus the menu and drink record for the flight.

Etihad top quality Wi-Fi voucher
Etihad top quality menu & drink record

Etihad A380 top quality leisure & Wi-Fi

Etihad’s A380 top quality gives a excessive definition 24″ private tv, which might swivel. It may possibly both face the seat, or it may be turned 90 levels if you wish to use it in mattress mode, in order that flexibility is nice.

Etihad top quality leisure display screen A380

Etihad’s E-BOX leisure system is great, with an enormous number of films, TV exhibits, reside TV, music, video games, and extra. The choice is mainly infinite, so even in case you’re choosy with inflight leisure, you shouldn’t have any points staying entertained.

Etihad top quality leisure A380
Etihad top quality leisure A380
Etihad top quality leisure A380
Etihad top quality leisure A380
Etihad top quality leisure A380
Etihad top quality leisure A380

Better of all, the system gives a map function, plus a tail digital camera, which is such a cool factor about flying the A380 (I’ll have photos of each beneath).

Etihad additionally gives Panasonic Wi-Fi on its Airbus A380s.

Etihad Wi-Fi portal A380
Etihad Wi-Fi portal A380

Pricing is kind of enticing these days, as for a flight on this route, you’ll be able to pay $2.99 for a messaging go or $9.99 for a browsing go, each with no knowledge limits. That’s some actually nice pricing. Thankfully top quality passengers don’t even must pay that, however quite can log-in with a particular entry code.

Etihad Wi-Fi portal A380

I discovered Wi-Fi speeds to be fairly good for a protracted haul jet, and was in a position to keep productive for a lot of the flight.

Etihad A380 departure from Abu Dhabi

Boarding took fairly a while, which I don’t actually thoughts when sitting in such consolation. Of the 9 top quality seats, six had been occupied, whereas The Residence was empty. I’m fairly positive nearly everybody in top quality had redeemed factors, based mostly on the discussions I overheard between different passengers (about Aeroplan, the loopy routings they flew, and so forth.).

Enterprise class was simply over half full, with 37 of the 70 enterprise class seats occupied, in order that’s not precisely an ideal load issue (I do know this as a result of I overheard the gate brokers discussing the load simply previous to boarding).

At 2PM, the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, advising that we had been simply ready on two passengers, however could be departing quickly. He suggested us of our 20 minute taxi to runway 31R, our flight time of 7hr15min, and our eventual cruising altitude of 40,000 toes.

By the best way, the captain had a really distinctive Korean accent, and I’m fairly positive I had flown with this man previous to the A380s being grounded. Small world.

Precisely on schedule, at 2:05PM, the primary cabin door closed. At that time the journey prayer was performed by the cabin, after which the security video was screened. We then began our pushback at 2:15PM.

Pushing again Abu Dhabi Airport

Then at 2:20PM we began our taxi, as we handed one in every of Etihad’s different Airbus A380s. Is there a extra stunning A380 livery on the market? I’d argue not…

Taxiing Abu Dhabi Airport

On the plus facet, our taxi was a lot quicker than marketed, and we had been on the runway by 2:30PM, and instantly cleared for takeoff.

Taxiing Abu Dhabi Airport
Taking off Abu Dhabi Airport

On the A380 you actually virtually don’t really feel such as you’re taking off, because of how clean and delicate the jet is. We had a gradual climb out, and the seatbelt signal was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff.

Etihad top quality meal service

Etihad has a dine on demand idea in top quality, so you’ll be able to order what you need whenever you need. Along with the usual a la carte menu, Etihad additionally has the “lounge and grill” menu, the place you’ll be able to choose your protein, sides, and sauces, in order that’s a pleasant degree of customization to supply. Yow will discover the Etihad top quality menu beneath.

Etihad top quality menu
Etihad top quality menu
Etihad top quality menu

Then you could find the Etihad top quality drink record beneath, together with wine, cocktail, spirits, juice, comfortable drinks, mocktails, espresso, tea, and extra.

Etihad top quality drink record
Etihad top quality drink record
Etihad top quality drink record
Etihad top quality drink record

Meal orders had already been taken on the bottom, and I used to be served my first drink just below half-hour after takeoff. I made a decision to order a unclean martini, and that was served with some snacks, together with blended nuts, olives, and feta cheese. I like how Etihad presents its pre-meal drinks and snacks, and it’s additionally nice how the airline can put together correct cocktails.

Etihad top quality drink

To kick off my meal, I ordered the caviar course, which was served about 50 minutes after takeoff. Etihad presents its oscietra caviar in a tin, with blinis, after which a facet plate with chopped pink onions, bitter cream, chopped eggs, and so forth. I additionally had a glass of champagne to accompany this.

Etihad top quality caviar course
Etihad top quality caviar course

Subsequent up, I ordered the Arabic mezze, which included each cold and hot appetizers. It was scrumptious, significantly the beetroot hummus and shrimp. Previous to this, I really feel like Etihad hadn’t modified its mezze in so lengthy, so I used to be pleased to see some new additions.

Etihad top quality mezze appetizer

Subsequent up, I used to be provided a palate cleanser, because the airline historically gives between the appetizer and principal course.

Etihad top quality palate cleanser

I used to be then served the primary. Slightly than customizing the dish, I simply ordered the fish as really helpful on the menu. This consisted of pink grouper with child fennel, pumpkin, cherry tomato, pea shoots, and watercress dressing.

Etihad top quality principal course

I used to be so full at this level, so I made a decision I’d have dessert later within the flight. The meal concluded with a heat towel and a field of goodies.

Etihad top quality heat towel & chocolate

The meals high quality and presentation had been glorious, as was the service. Although Etihad eradicated the onboard chef and meals & beverage supervisor just a few years again to value lower prices, I haven’t discovered that this negatively impacted the standard of the eating expertise.

Etihad A380 top quality bathroom & bathe

Etihad’s A380 top quality options two bathrooms, one in every of which can also be a bathe suite (The Residence has a separate non-public rest room and bathe suite). These are situated on the very entrance of the cabin by the staircase, on the correct.

Etihad A380 staircase
Etihad top quality bathrooms A380

The forward-most bathroom is the one with out a bathe, and it feels bigger than the one with the bathe. It incorporates a bathroom and sink, however could be very spacious.

Etihad top quality bathroom A380
Etihad top quality bathroom A380

The opposite rest room incorporates a bathroom, a sink, and a bathe. Passengers can use this any time as a rest room, apart from the intervals the place it’s reserved as a bathe suite.

Etihad top quality bathe A380
Etihad top quality bathe A380

Bathe reservations are taken at the start of the flight, and are provided on a first-come, first-served foundation (maybe Etihad Visitor Platinum members get precedence, however there usually aren’t any of these within the cabin). As you’d count on, individuals usually need to bathe as near touchdown as potential, so if you’d like a bathe afterward within the flight, simply ask the crew to order a late slot ASAP.

For instance, I used to be the fourth particular person to be requested once I wished a bathe, and all of the slots within the final three hours of the flight had been already booked. So I ended up simply having a bathe after lunch.

Whereas that is the last word first world downside, don’t count on the Etihad A380 top quality bathe expertise to be fairly just like the Emirates A380 bathe suite. Earlier than it’s time to bathe, the crew units up the lavatory with a towel, a flooring mat, and toiletries.

Etihad top quality bathe A380
Etihad top quality bathe A380

There are additionally toiletries from ESPA, and also you’re given 5 minutes of water (which you’ll be able to activate and off, in order that the bathe lasts a bit longer).

Etihad top quality bathe A380
Etihad top quality bathe A380

The bathe suite positively borders on being claustrophobic, and I’m not normally an individual who has a difficulty with that. Nonetheless, how can one probably complain a few bathe on a aircraft? It’s nonetheless an expertise that makes me giddy each time.

Etihad top quality bathe A380

Word that in case you want it, there’s a hair dryer within the cupboard above the sink.

Etihad top quality bathe A380

Etihad A380 foyer lounge

Situated between the primary class and enterprise class cabin is The Foyer, which is the lounge idea on the Etihad A380. There’s an enormous galley between first and enterprise class, and it’s situated instantly behind that. The Foyer consists of a round seating space with two separate couches, every of which might seat at most three individuals. There’s a espresso desk between the couches, plus a wall-mounted TV.

Etihad A380 onboard lounge
Etihad A380 onboard lounge

There’s a drink show space with some gentle snacks throughout from The Foyer. Flight attendants are in fact pleased to get you any meals or drinks from the galley, however this isn’t in any other case a conventional bar. In my expertise The Foyer isn’t very fashionable with passengers, and normally stays fairly empty.

Etihad A380 onboard lounge
Etihad A380 onboard lounge

Etihad A380 top quality mattress

After lunch and my bathe, it was time to get some relaxation, because it had been a really lengthy day. I requested the crew to make my mattress whereas I used to be showering, and that turndown service was full by the point I returned. Etihad’s A380 top quality gives an 80.5″ mattress, in order that’s a really lengthy mattress.

Whereas I want the mattress had been a bit bigger (given the quantity of house allotted to every top quality passenger), it’s nonetheless a completely pretty product, and really comfy.

Etihad A380 top quality mattress
Etihad A380 top quality mattress
Etihad A380 top quality mattress

I additionally discover it cute how Etihad locations a bookmark on every pillow with a Dr. Seuss quote — “you understand you’re in love when you’ll be able to’t go to sleep as a result of actuality is lastly higher than your desires.”

Etihad A380 top quality bookmark

I ended up going to sleep with round 5 hours remaining to London, as we had been flying over Iraq.

Etihad A380 top quality map function
Etihad A380 top quality map function

I awakened just below three hours later, as we had been flying over Serbia.

Etihad A380 top quality map function
Etihad A380 top quality map function

Oh my gosh, I felt so nice after getting some relaxation. At this level the solar was beginning to set, with an exquisite view from the tail digital camera.

Etihad A380 top quality tail digital camera

Etihad top quality pre-landing snack

Inside a couple of minutes of waking up, a flight attendant was at my seat to ask if they may get me something. I ordered a cappuccino, which was scrumptious. In top quality, Etihad usually proactively serves this with a plate of sweets, together with cookies and madeleines. Truthfully, Etihad must cease doing this, as a result of they’re so rattling scrumptious, and I find yourself consuming most of them. Grrr…

Etihad top quality cappuccino

About 20 minutes later I made a decision to order a pre-landing snack. I wasn’t significantly hungry, so I mainly simply determined to complete my meal from earlier. I ordered the rainbow chiffon cake, contemporary fruit, and an iced latte, all of which had been served without delay, and had been glorious.

Etihad top quality dessert

Etihad top quality service

Service on Gulf carriers generally is a bit inconsistent, given that you’ve got crews from everywhere in the world. I really feel like Etihad is in a groove, as just about the entire flight attendants that I’ve had previously 12 months have been distinctive.

I’ve to say, together with my Etihad A350 enterprise class flight final 12 months, this was the very best crew I’ve had on Etihad in a very long time. Specifically, the Lebanese flight attendant serving me for a lot of the flight was unbelievable. She struck the proper stability between being skilled, personable, and attentive, all whereas having a watch for element. She’s a celebrity, and Etihad is fortunate to have her.

A superb crew could make or break a flight, and the crew on this flight actually made this a particular expertise. I hope Etihad can proceed with this degree of service going ahead.

Etihad A380 arrival in London

At 5PM London time, the captain was again on the PA to advise that we had been 260 miles from London, would begin our descent in round 10 minutes, and would land in round 45 minutes. He suggested that we’d encounter some turbulence on the strategy, so he requested the crew to arrange the cabin for touchdown a bit early.

Etihad A380 top quality map function
Etihad A380 top quality map function

Certainly, it was a windy night in London, and we had fairly a little bit of turbulence on the descent. Regardless of that, we had a superbly clean landing at 5:50PM.

From there we had a brief 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate in Terminal 4, the place we pulled in at 6PM, 10 minutes forward of schedule.

Etihad A380 top quality tail digital camera

I bid farewell to the stunning crew, after which headed to the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 4 for the night time, previous to flying British Airways’ A380 top quality to Chicago the next morning.

Backside line

What an absolute deal with it’s to as soon as once more fly Etihad’s Airbus A380 top quality. That is an unbelievable expertise, when it comes to each the arduous and comfortable product. The cabin is intimate and trendy, the seats are big, the meals, drinks, and facilities are nice, and the service couldn’t have been higher. What extra can one ask for from a firstclass flight?

Etihad has been by fairly the rollercoaster in recent times, when it went from infinite development to value reducing, and now it’s good to see the airline making an attempt to develop in a extra sustainable manner. On stability, I believe Etihad is nearly as good because it has ever been, and I’m pleased to see the airline persevering with to enhance.

What’s your tackle Etihad’s A380 top quality?

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