Etihad Bringing The First Apartment And Residence Back To New York JFK Route

Etihad brought back the Airbus A380 into its fleet, despite originally planning during the pandemic to retire the aircraft type. It’s been flying Abu Dhabi to London. To date the airline has said that not all of its A380 fleet would return, and that they’d fly it to Europe but not ultra long haul like to the U.S. and Australia.

That’s changed. Etihad has announced that the Airbus A380 will return to New York JFK effective April 22, 2024. This is huge from a passenger experience perspective.

  • The Etihad “First Apartment” is incredible. In my view it’s still the third-best commercial airline first class hard product flying (behind Emirates new first class, and Singapore Airlines Suites). It features a separate recliner seat from its bed. And the cabin offers a shower.

  • The Etihad “Residence” is at the front of the first class cabin, and features two seats, a private bathroom and shower, and a separate bedroom. Etihad has only been selling this product as a buy up to first class passengers since bringing back the aircraft, and hasn’t been selling it as a standalone.

It’s not yet clear whether the flight will replace one (or both) of its 787s flying to New York. Business class is good, but not Etihad’s latest product. There are over 400 economy seats on the plane’s lower deck. Business class features this lounge.

According to Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves,

We’re thrilled to start flying our remarkable A380 across the Atlantic, and we know our guests love the onboard experience. Whether they are flying in Economy, Business, First or the three-room suite in the sky, The Residence, they will enjoy elevated levels of service from our dedicated crew, and ensure they arrive in the city that never sleeps refreshed and relaxed. We know this is important for all our guests, not least our corporate customers, and the timing and comfort provided by the A380 means they can arrive fresh and ready for their business appointments.

Putting the A380 on the popular New York route makes sense as we satisfy customer demand for more capacity, further growing our expanding network. The fact that our new route to Boston, Etihad’s fourth US gateway, will open on 31 March, three weeks before our A380 starts flying to New York, underlines our ambitious growth plans.

When Etihad brought back the A380 to London Heathrow, award space (often for the full cabin) was wide open. That’s how I grabbed three seats for myself, my wife and my daughter to fly London – Abu Dhabi and back earlier this month, using American AAdvantage miles.

I’ll be looking to see whether the first apartment opens up on New York JFK – Abu Dhabi, and if it does I’ll make several speculative bookings if possible – as a way even to get to India, the Mideast, and even Africa and Asia (even if booked as separate awards). I’ve flown this product many times and it’s really special.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What’s the business class like on the A380 and how does it compare to the 787? I hope this won’t replace both flights as it’s nice to have a morning flight from JFK.

  2. @Gary, I believe our daughters are around the same age, so I’m curious how yours handled takeoff and landing in the EY Apartment and being in a seat unable to see mom and dad for a while. We’ve done international business class with ours and even with reverse herringbone, she could at least lean forward and always see at least once of us.

  3. Aeroplan is showing that Flight 102 will be the one that will be flown by A380. American Airline is still showing it as a 787

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