Updated on March 18, 2016
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.
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.
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)
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.
I settled into my seat in Apartment 4A and immediately starting pushing all the buttons and opening everything – it was like Christmas morning.
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.
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?
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)!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
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!
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:
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.
To cover the small piece on console between you, the staff puts a piece a cushion on it, making it seem almost seamless.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 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.
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?