Flight Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment London (LHR)-Abu Dhabi (AUH)

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Flight Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment London (LHR)-Abu Dhabi (AUH)

Flight Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment LHR-AUH

After about 75-90 minutes in the lounge, boarding was called for the flight. We immediately gathered our things and joined the masses in the lounge to head upstairs!

Usually I wouldn’t have been in such a rush to get on a plane, but I literally couldn’t contain my excitement anymore. Jaime typically yells at me corrects me for walking too fast, but this time she kept up because she knew any attempt to slow me down would be in vain.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Sweet looking lights at the boarding area – Gate 10. I took this picture while walking….I was too excited to get on!

 

Before I start getting wrapped up with the best flight ever, let’s see where we are so far:

Boarding was conducted through two gates – 10a and 10b. I wish I would have gotten pictures of the boards that said who was to board through which, but alas my childish excitement got the best of me. We boarded through 10b, which was for The Residence, First Apartments, and the upper deck business class (I believe). The other boarding door was for all the groups of economy.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

The anticipation was killing me.

This would be our 2nd A380 of the trip, and I was very excited to be able to compare it to the Singapore Suites Class flight we had to Frankfurt.

Entering through the Upper Deck door, we presented our boarding passes and were taken left to our Apartments! Before this flight I think I read every review of the Apartments known to man, but it still couldn’t prepare me for actually being in them. Once you take the left and head down the single aisle, it really hits you. We’re here!

Airline: Etihad Airways
Route: EY18 LHR-AUH
Cabin: F (First Apartments)
Plane: A380
Seats: 3A and 4A
Flight time: 6 hours and 50 minutes

The cabin was pretty full for this flight. 9/9 of the Apartments were occupied but the all-luxurious Residence was empty.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Whoa.

I settled into my seat in Apartment 4A and immediately starting pushing all the buttons and opening everything – it was like Christmas morning.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

[Taken from Etihad’s website] As you can see on here, 3A is the rear-facing seat while 4A is forward. Both “seats” are on the window.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

The view of the Apartment from the aisle…..amazing.

First Impression: Good lord – this will be the best flight I’ve ever had, and it’s really not even that close. I think my reaction to the SQ flight was something along the lines of “Holy Sh*t”, but this was way more than that. It almost calmed me now realizing what an experience I was in for.

Shortly after settling in, Anne, our food and beverage manager from the Netherlands, came by to introduce herself. She brought with her dates, a cold towel, champagne, and a welcome letter. What a welcome! She also inquired about the size pajamas we would want and came right back with them. I changed over pretty much immediately.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Welcome package.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

PJs

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Attire for the next 7 or so hours!

After our introduction to Anne, Caspar, the in-flight chef, came by and walked us through the menu, talking about the all the food options and telling us if we needed anything he can help.

The flight announcements were made and it really caught my attention. The crew informed us they spoke a variety of languages, including Romanian, Arabic, English, Greek, Hungarian, Spanish, and Russian – and probably a few more I missed. They also kept awkwardly plugging the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and reminded us tickets were on sale….thanks?

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

The tail camera isn’t quite as enjoyable at night!

When the 45 minutes of my euphoric state started to end, it was time to take off. We headed out to runway 09L and started our just under 7 hour flight to Abu Dhabi (FAR TOO SHORT)!!

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Ready for takeoff!

The Seat:

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

I think Jaime had enough room…

One thing to mention about the seat: IT’S FANTASTIC. Not only is it extremely generous in size, it’s very comfortable. It really did feel like you were sitting on a throne.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Yes.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Pre-changeover into my pajamas. I think I smiled like the entire flight, even when I was sleeping.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Fantastic blanket – I should have taken it!

Each Apartment has a vanity mirror and storage area right after entering the suite. Inside these are the amenity kits. I thought it was very interesting that Etihad had the proper gender amenity kit in each of our Apartments – the little details are what separates some of these amazing, top-notch cabins.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Vanity mirror/storage – this is how it looked when I first got there, notice the amenity kit.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Male Amenity Kit

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Inside the kit – you’ll see the male kit is not as deep as the female version.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Inside of the male kit!

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Female Amenity Kit

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Cool looking inside

Looking around the Apartment there are all types of cool gadgets. The windows could be controlled either by touchscreen or by pressing arrows underneath the windows…I thought that was pretty sweet.

The closet is located just on the edge of the Apartments, and can probably fit 2-3 things, although I just hung up my jacket.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

View from the seat!

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

View from the seat_V2

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View across the hall!

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Touchscreen remote and plugs right next to the seat. This remote controls the entertainment.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Seat controls under the touch screen.

Etihad Airways First Apartment LHR-AUH

Touch screen that controls everything in the suite….awesome.

The Food:

Our intent for this flight was to have the perfect combination of fun and sleep. I wanted to enjoy all parts of the flight, but at the same time knew I at least had to get a few hours. So to help with this plan we asked them to start our dinner service immediately after takeoff.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

The only way to start out any meal….or activity of any sort really. Champs.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Champs and some leftover snackies before dinner.

In order to appease the food junkies, I’ll put the menu posts up here.You’ll probably need to click on them and enlarge them to read it better.

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Jaime and I wanted to eat dinner together, so Anne pulled out the tray table and added the extender onto it. Then Jaime came back to seat 4A and we were ready to chow down!

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Bread is out, champagne is poured. Meal about to come out!

Speaking of the bread – here’s a really cool tidbit I never realized. While Anne was serving us the bread and rolls she used a spoon and knife to pick them up. It seemed kind of difficult to do and I asked her why they don’t just use tongs. She told us that they used the spoon and knife combo because it is more “proper” than tongs. And although she didn’t specifically hate it, I could tell she really wished she was able to just use tongs :)

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Cool, little individual bottles of olive oil.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Appetizer. I got Arabic Mezze, and, as you can see, a beer to accompany my champagne.

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Cheers to one awesome lucky husband!

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Mood lighting during dinner

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Palate cleanser! Jaime wasn’t a fan…I found the trick is to just avoid this and drink the tan-ish palate cleaner to the right…

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Dinner time! I got the beef tenderloin with green beans and béarnaise sauce.. It’s usually my first choice unless there’s lobster (hint hint Etihad….). I’ll end the suspense – it was fantastic.

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Jaime went with the lamb shank with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. She loved it.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

It was really hard to not eat to take these photos….so I gave in and had some bread….maybe a few pieces.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Cheers!

I’ll talk about it a little more under “The Service”, but Anne found out we were on our honeymoon and made sure they gave us an awesome desert!

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Y.U.M.

It was basically a dessert medley. Small pieces of chocolate, cheesecake and fruits!

Right when we finished dinner, we got our beds made and turned in!

Sleeping in the sky:

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View of our beds from the hallway (mine on the left and Jaime’s on the right).

As you can tell in the pictures, the TVs swing out from the wall and you can turn them towards you to watch in bed.

About half of the console between the Apartments fold down, making the wall go up to about you waist.

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Another hallway view, more on Jaime’s side.

To cover the small piece on console between you, the staff puts a piece a cushion on it, making it seem almost seamless.

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Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

View from the side/window.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

I always have to get Jaime’s approval to put pictures of her up. But sometimes I’m writing a post and it’s just a hassle to ask. I do that whole ask for forgiveness instead of permission thing. Anyway – ready for bed!

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Watching TV in bed. How did Pitch Perfect Two get on my screen….oh yeah – because I put it there, because it’s fantastic.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

I know the image on the screen is hard to see, but I wanted to give you a different view of the suite. Laying down in bed!

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View of the throne seat from the bed!

The Entertainment:

I think Etihad’s entertainment system on their new planes (A380 and B787) is one of the very best. The touch screens are easy to use, fast and responsive.

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Movies main screen.

My biggest single complaint about the Etihad entertainment system is the inability to use it pre flight. When you board the plane early, and especially at Heathrow with the very long taxi, you end up being on the plane for a while before takeoff. I was wishing for about 30 minutes that I could watch something, and that was after I killed time checking out every part of the Apartment I could!

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

It took me a while to get through this…or I watched it more than once…I can’t remember.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Main Menu

The rest of the plane:

One of the absolutely coolest things about this plane? It has to be the shower. Yes, SHOWER. When I woke up from our 2.5 hour nap, I decided I HAD to use the onboard shower. Jaime was too tired and really had no desire, but it was just too tempting to pass up for me.

Now there are two bathrooms on this plane for the Apartment passengers. 2 bathrooms for 9 people is pretty good I’d say.

The restrooms are about the same size, but one is just a restroom, while the other has the shower in it!

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Bathroom. Very sleek. I felt rich being in it.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Bathroom. Sink, lotions, etc.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Shower controls. We were told the showers would last 7 minutes. Perfect amount of time I’d say and it had a little meter to show how much water you had left.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Shower head! With the bathroom being somewhat small considering all it had in it, it was nearly impossible to get a picture of the whole thing all in one.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Bathroom #2

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Not having to house a shower, this bathroom is significantly bigger.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Platform to use if you’re changing in there…

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Baby changin’!

As you can see in the picture above, there’s a small cut out in the wall that looks like another secret door! I actually tried to open it for about a minute without success. I asked Anne later if I was missing out on some sweet, secret compartment and she crushed my dreams telling me it was only an electrical closet. Sadface.

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Looking down the front stairs to economy.

Unlike our Singapore flight, we didn’t get a tour on this one, although I’m sure if we asked they would have gladly obliged!

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Stairs all lit up!

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View over top the Apartments!

The Service:

The flight had 23 crew members and 3 pilots/first officers. Every one of them that we met (about 6 or so) was extremely pleasant and professional.

Simona was the Cabin Manager and, combined with Anne, sat down and spoke to us for quite some time. It was really interesting learning about their lives and seeing behind the curtains of living in the sky.

Anne was absolutely fantastic and was a huge reason that our flight was so wonderful.  We spoke to her a lot during the flight and ended up telling her we had just gotten married and were on our honeymoon. She could not have been more pleasant and we’re hoping we get her on a flight again soon!

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Anne and Jaime right before we landed!

Service was a 9/10. I would give it a 10/10 but then I feel like I won’t have anything to ever look forward to!

What’d I miss?

The Lobby. The onboard bar available to Business, Apartment and Residence passengers. It’s located to the right of the upper deck boarding door in between The Apartments and the Business Studios.

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[Taken from australianaviation.com.au]

Honestly, with less than 7 hours on the plane and it being an overnight flight, we just didn’t have time. I’m sure if we took a daytime flight from AUH to Sydney or JFK we would have definitely visited. I find onboard bars like this to be the most beneficial to the business class passengers. You have so many amenities and space in the Apartments that you don’t need much back there, unless you’re just a big socialite!

The End:

The flight was coming to an end and sadness came over me. Then I realized I was with my beautiful new wife and we were on our way to the Malidves….so I got over that pretty quickly.

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Looking out the window drinking my coffee thinking about how sad I’m going to be writing this post…

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Jaime pondering her recent life choices….

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Desert for days.

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

A good daytime shot of the cabin!

Etihad Airways First Apartments LHR-AUH

Jaime’s suite. That crooked head pillow is driving me crazy.

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Coming in for landing!

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Look at those tiny little engines!

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Pulling up to the gate!

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Awesome control tower – gotta be my favorite.

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Pulled up next to another Etihad A380 heading to London!

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Last look at the whale! She will be missed. Until next time.

Conclusion

It really is as simple as I said when I first got on the plane – this was the best flight I’ve ever had – hands down. And to put that in perspective, in that same week and a half I also flew First Class on both Singapore and Cathay Pacific. It was just that good. I can’t wait for my next time on this bad boy – maybe to Sydney!

Have you flown in the First Apartments? Where do you rank it against the rest?

16 Comments on “Flight Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment London (LHR)-Abu Dhabi (AUH)

  1. Great report. Hopefully I’ll get to check out the First Apartments someday. I always enjoy reading reports from people who genuinely loved the flight, rather than the unnamed jaded people who seem to have lost the perspective on how special it is to be able to fly like this once in a while.

    • Thanks! I don’t think I could overstate enough how fantastic the flight was – you’ve really got to try it. I literally didn’t want to disembark. Use the extra miles and try to hop on a long-haul!

    • Thank you! I tried to set the energy level high, but I don’t think any words can match my actual excitement!

    • Thanks, Gary – I appreciate it. When are we going to see some sweet Apartment reviews on VFTW?! I look forward to it.

      • I booked half a dozen award trips when the A380 was first loaded to the schedule for JFK-AUH. I wasn’t going to chase it, and I had no idea which trips I’d make work. But I’m using an AUH-JFK segment next month and a JFK-AUH-JFK roundtrip in February. It’s a long time in coming!

        The January trip is, at least, A380 F on all 3 major Gulf carriers and will include a somewhat late visit to the new QR F lounge in DOH. :)

        • Damn! I’m extremely jealous but I look forward to the reviews! Unfortunately my next A380 trip might not be for a while!

  2. which routes would have the highest probability of having residence available for award?

    • As far as The Residence is concerned, that seems to be available on most flights. That’s because you have to book it with Etihad miles and it’s outrageously expensive. The First Apartments seem to be most readily available between LHR-AUH, however, they can still be tough to come by for more than 1 person. I wrote a post a few weeks back about GREAT award availability for last minute awards – check it out.

  3. Great Review. Love the level of detail and all of the photos. I have an upcoming trip in the apartment from AUH->SYD in a couple weeks and I share much of your excitement and have tracked down every picture and review I can find. I have been worried I am mentally setting the bar too high, but sounds like that won’t be an issue.

    • Thanks! You are not setting the bar too high. Especially since you have the longer flight – you’ll absolutely love it! You’ll have plenty of time to get some good sleep, good food, and even enjoy The Lobby!

  4. My husband and I are planning to fly the same route in first in June, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this review! Your commentary is hilarious, and I love that you appreciated every little detail about the flight. Thanks for sharing and congrats to you and Jaime on your recent nuptials!

    • MJ,

      Glad you liked the review and thanks so much! It is a fantastic flight – you’ll absolutely love it. If you actually get sad when a flight ends, you know you had a great experience!

  5. I really appreciate this review and the enthusiasm pouring out of it. I’m getting ready for my own Apartment adventure pretty soon and this review definitely has me more pumped about the experience!

    • Dan,
      Glad you liked the review! However much enthusiasm you got out of that boast I can promise you in reality it was 100x more!
      Enjoy the flight!
      -Joe

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