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.
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 etihadguest.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first class food offerings on Etihad are always delicious and with plenty of options.
Service was top rate and friendly with staff frequently stopping to ask anything was needed. Food was served fast and areas were cleaned promptly.
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.
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