Etihad Airways First Class is one of the most luxurious first class experiences available today.  Along with the Airbus A380 being the largest commercial airplane in the skies,  when the two are combined, you get large luxurious “apartments” aboard the Etihad Airways first class cabin.  This provides one of the best flying experiences short of having your own plane.  Best of all, this experience is within reach by using miles at reasonable rates.

Etihad Airways First Class

Etihad Airways A380

Etihad Airways First Class

Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment


One of the best ways to book the Etihad First Class Apartments aboard the A380 is with the use of American Airlines miles.  Etihad Airways does not have a large fleet of A380 planes compared to the gigantic fleet of Emirates Airlines A380s.  Therefore, Etihad has limited A380 routes with destinations to New York, London, Paris, and Sydney.   Etihad used to fly the A380 to Mumbai and it appears Etihad is no longer flying the A380 to Melbourne.

First Class AA Miles Redemption Rates to/from Abu Dhabi:

  • Europe:  62,500 AA Miles
  • New York: 115,000 AA Miles
  • Sydney: 100,000 AA Miles

To find award availability, go to and conduct a search using miles.  If “Guest First” is available, you can book using American Airlines miles.  When you call American Airlines to book the partner award and they find no award availability, try calling the AA customer service in London or Australia.  For some reason sometimes the US customer service has issues seeing the award being available.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Etihad Guest Search

Etihad Airways First Class

Etihad Apartment Bed


Etihad Airways 454
Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Sydney (SYD)
Cabin: First Class
Duration: 14h 10m
Seat: 3A, 4A
Aircraft: Airbus A380

The flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney is one of the longest I’ve ever flown at over 14 hours.   However, first class aboard the Etihad A380 certainly made life easy.  Between the large space, bed, shower, entertainment system, lounge area, and ample amount of food, there was never a moment of discomfort.

a tray with food and drinks on it

Pre-flight drinks

Plane Atmosphere (5/5)

Etihad Airways cabin decor is refined, elegant, subtle and classy.  This is a stark contrast to the blinged out gold plated interiors on Emirates Airlines.  In comparison to Emirates and Qatar Airways, I found the natural earth tone color scheme on Etihad more relaxing.

Additionally, the A380 has better air pressure regulation and increased humidity which really improves the flying experience on a 14 hour flight.  If you have flown 14 hours on both the 777 and the A380, you may have noticed the huge difference in how you feel at the end of the A380 flight.

Etihad Airways First Class

Single Aisle Configuration in First Class

a room with a mirror

Different Lighting Modes

a light fixture on a wall

Lamps that look like they are from a building and not an airplane

Etihad Airways First Class

Business class section

a light on the wall

More interesting lighting

a black and white sign on a wall

Apartment 3A and 4A are connected by a retractable wall that can be lowered.

Lounge (4/5)

The lounge area on the Etihad A380 is smaller than the lounge areas on Emirates and Qatar.  It is also connected to the kitchen area so staff runs back and forth through the lounge during food service.   If you have flown on the Qatar Airways A380, the Etihad lounge looks pretty lame.

Etihad Airways First Class

Etihad Airways A380 Lounge

a round table with a circular pattern on it

Seating area in lounge

Bathroom (4/5)

While the bathroom aboard the Etihad A380 has showers, the space was cramped and dark.  It appears that the lounge and bathroom sizes were reduced in size to make room for “The Residence”, which provides one passenger their own private bathroom, bedroom, and living room.  If you have flown the Emirates A380 in First Class, the Etihad bathrooms are a bit of a let down, but at least they have a shower.

a bathroom with a mirror and sink

Sink area

Etihad Airways First Class

Etihad Airways First Class Bathroom

a black and silver object with a light on the button

Showers have a timer, but fortunately there is a pause button while you scrub.

a shower head in a room

Etihad Airways First Class shower head

Seat (5/5)

The “Apartment” is where Etihad really leads in comparison to other first class offerings.  The apartment includes your own seat and a separate bench that converts into a bed.  It feels like you have your own little living room instead of just a lie flat seat.  Once settled in, its easy to forget you are even flying since the experience is more like being home on the couch watching TV.

Etihad Airways First Class

No concerns about being uncomfortable during the 14 hour flight

Etihad Airways First Class

Bench that converts to bed

Etihad Airways First Class

Chair was very comfortable and wide

Etihad Airways First Class

Next to the chair is a vanity mirror that opens up

a seat in a plane

Aisle seat

Etihad Airways First Class

Some of the seats face backwards, which feels weird during takeoff and landing.

a brown pillow on a couch

The blankets on Etihad are some of the best and are very plush

a screen shot of a welcome card

Entertainment system had a large screen and an abundance of content to view

a drawer with a light inside

Storage Area

a group of cans in a drawer

Beverage Drawer

a video game console on a wall

High Tech Remote

a black outlet with white text

Universal Power Outlet

a close up of a seat

Seat Position Controls

a screen with text on it

Touch screen for automated window shades

a screen on a seat

Touch screen under armrest

a door with a handle and a flower in it

Personal Closet

a person lying on a bed with a television on the wall

Sleep time


The first class food offerings on Etihad are always delicious and with plenty of options.

Etihad Airways First Class


a tray of food on a table


a plate of food on a table

Main Course

a plate of food on a table

Steak sandwich is a a thick piece of steak on bread!

a plate of desserts


Service (5/5)

Service was top rate and friendly with staff frequently stopping to ask anything was needed.  Food was served fast and areas were cleaned promptly.

a white card on a colorful blanket


a group of objects on a table

Amenity Kit


In conclusion, Etihad Airways first class “Apartments” aboard the A380 is one of the best flying experiences available, short of having your own private jet.  The level of comfort and space is incredible and the food offerings are delicious. However, the lounge area and shower experience are not up to par with other airlines.  For those with plenty of American Airlines miles, there is arguably no better award redemption.

Etihad Airways First Class

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