Etihad Introducing First Class 3-Room RESIDENCE Onboard the A380

I’ve flown Etihad several times. They have an outstanding first class — a stylish attractive first class suite with doors, and an onboard chef concept with plenty of food options that can be served on demand throughout the flight.

Service can be mixed, but the hard product is very good (although I prefer the spaciousness of Cathay Pacific’s first class seat by far).

Etihad has a new product entrant coming, though.

They’ll be bringing an A380 online December 27 with London service (EY flights 11/12), and will serve the Australia market with the aircraft in 2015.

And when they do they’re introducing a whole new onboard first class concept — with two different first class options.

Each A380 will feature “The Residence” — a single or double occupancy 3 room cabin with double bed, 2 dining tables, lounge room, private shower suite (4 minutes of water) and dedicated butler. The Residence is 125 square feet.

The living room in The Residence is furnished with a two-seat reclining sofa upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather, dual marquetry dining tables and a chilled mini-bar.

A touchscreen control unit operates the retractable ottoman, the ambient and mood lighting, window shading, adjusts seat position and firmness, and activates the in-seat massage functions.

A door and passageway separate the living room from the master bedroom and the ensuite shower room. The bedroom features a Poltrona Frau upholstered 82 inch long double bed with custom-made mattress, bedside unit, wardrobe, and under-bed stowage for hand luggage.

The living room features a large 32 inch LCD TV, whilst the bedroom boasts its own 27 inch LCD TV. The communications suite features broadband with internet mobile and data capability, Live TV, HDMI, AC outlet and USB ports.

In addition, first class will have “Apartments” — which are 39 square feet, about 3/4ths more space than the current First Class suite (which, while attractive, I find the current suite to be quite narrow).

The ground-breaking First Apartment will feature on the airline’s A380 fleet and offer a complete living space with a reclining lounge chair and an ottoman which converts to become a separate 80.5 inch long fully-flat bed.

…Nine First Apartments will be located in the upper deck of Etihad Airways’ A380s, six of which have ‘connecting doors’ that allow them to create apartments for guests travelling together.

Benefitting from the A380’s size, each First Apartment has a total area of 39 square feet, offering 74 per cent more space than Etihad Airways’ existing First Class suite.

Configured along a single aisle, a first for the industry, Etihad Airways’ First Apartments include a 30.3 inch reclining lounge chair and separate full length ottoman which opens into an 80.5 inch long and 26 inch wide fully flat bed. The lounge chair and ottoman are upholstered by Poltrona Frau, the prestigious suppliers of Ferrari interiors

I have to imagine that American AAdvantage first class awards would book into the Apartments and not the Residence — if, of course, Etihad loads award space. Presently I’m not seeing first class awards on the Abu Dhabi – London flights serviced by the A380, although business awards are fairly common.

Separately, first class on their new 787s will allow center seats to be combined into a double bed.

The Etihad Airways B787 will feature eight First Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration.

A key design feature of the B787 First Class cabin is the industry’s first curved aisle and suite wall which creates a unique and visually compelling environment.

The B787 First Suite boasts a 26 inch wide Poltrona Frau seat that converts to a comfortable 80.5-inch long fully-flat bed.


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. […] How about a residence at 35,000 feet?  View From The Wing has the scoop.  Try a double bed, couches, dining room table, private shower and a dedicated butler.  If you can’t afford what will likely be a ticket about the same price as an affordable car, you can always opt for the smaller apartment Etihad will be offering.  Awesome.  Just awesome. […]


  1. If the average coach seat (including its share of the aisle, lavatory, etc) is about 5 square feet, the First Residence needs to be at least 25x the average coach fare on a route. Expect $30,000-$50,000 round trip costs for it. There will never be any award space available, even at the last minute. If unsold and they give it to anyone, they will probably offer it to a full-fare or VIP in first class.

  2. I just checked the calendar, and today is May 4th, not April 1st. Is there something special about May 4th that I don’t know? Or does Etihad have a rich owner writing the product plan for his personal wishes?

  3. Randy should run a contest for all BA bloggers. Whoever gets the most page views for second half of 2014 gets to fly in the Residence.

  4. That bedroom in the residence looks pretty claustrophobic, especially with no windows visible and that low ceiling curving down overhead and the cabin getting narrower towards the head of the bed. I’d sleep a lot better in the apartment.

  5. So now I guess we all know where Lucky will be moving full time just after Christmas. 😉

  6. Gary, care to speculate on whether the A380 Apartments will be available for award redemption via the American program and, if so, how many miles it will cost?

    Also, you made reference to the 787 suites being combined into a double bed. Are you sure about that? In perusing (perhaps inadequately) the publicity materials, I don’t see a reference to that.

  7. @Carl The rich owner is Sheikh Al-Thani, ruler of Abu Dhabi. Basically the A380 is an extension of a A320 Business Jet, spread out.

  8. Gary,

    I am slackjawwed. Talk about aspirational awards.

    I have no idea what private air costs, but is it possible that such a tricked out product will compete with private air on pricing, but offer the user the convenience of determining schedule, avoiding LHR, and the other issues with flying (even tricked out) commercial?

  9. I speculated about the A380 apartments in the post, that American awards would map onto the apartments but so far I don’t see any inventory for apartment awards so may be moot for awhile.

  10. @Corky that would probably be a pretty good motivator for me and for lucky to outdo each other, pity our poor readers..

  11. @Ben already seeing $40k roundtrip prices on what’s not THAT long of a long haul flight in LHR-AUH-LHR

  12. @Alex, she mentions at the end of the video that the TV swings around so that you can watch it from bed.

  13. also @Carl, the Sheikh also has many relatives throughout the Emirates. They have a LOT of money, like mind-boggling amounts of money. These are people who will rent out multiple floors of a hotel in Paris for a month so their families and staff can stay on holiday, while also shipping over several cars and other “necessities”. They can afford the Apartments and Residences.

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