After leaving the Premium Lounge on the airside of US Pre-Clearance in Abu Dhabi I went to the boarding area. I passed by everyone and walked straight to the upper deck of the A380.
The first class cabin is in the front of the upper deck. In the very front of the upper deck is The Residence, Etihad’s 3 room suite, which can accommodate 2 people and can cost upwards of $50,000 each way from Abu Dhabi to New York. Etihad is unique in that it is the only airline in which the first class cabin on the A380 only has a single aisle giving each passenger A LOT of space and privacy.
I was escorted to my seat by the first class flight attendant and offered snacks and champagne.
She showed me everything in the first class apartment including the mini-bar, vanity mirror, coat closet, and In-Flight Entertainment.
Within 5 minutes of being on board, I tried setting up my iPhone to take a selfie in my seat by propping it up on the couch across from me. The phone slipped behind the couch and was out of reach. Thoroughly embarrassed, I told the flight attendant, who told the cabin manager. The Cabin manager was a savoy trained butler and did most of the service for the first class cabin throughout the flight. He told me they would call an engineer and asked me to wait in the lounge between first and business class while they worked on retrieving my phone.
I was able to snap a few pictures of business class before it filled up. The engineers got my phone back to me in less than 10 minutes. After the embarrassment was over, I changed into my pajamas, and returned to my seat.
Before take-off, I was greeted by the plane’s chef who he went over the menu.
Etihad has a dine on demand concept, where you pick what you want to eat and when you want it. I chose to eat as soon as possible once we reached our cruising altitude. I chose the carrot soup, beef filet, and textures.
The meal started with a Manhattan and some nuts,
after that the chef brought out the amuse bouche, which was good, but unfortunately I can’t remember what it was!
(I need to take notes, especially on a trip like this! My journaling skills while traveling are terrible making it hard for me to bring you the best, most real content. This is something that I plan on working on.) The carrot soup was good, but I think I should have ordered the Gulf Mezze. I then asked for a glass of Bordeaux to go with my steak, a 2010 L’Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol and it was delicious!
I cut into my filet to find a perfect medium rare – something that is nearly impossible to find at 38,000 feet in the air! The dish was hands downs the best I have had while flying.
The textures dessert was an interesting approach to showcase the pomegranate flavor three different ways. When it came out it reminded me of something you would find at a Michelin restaurant because it was pretty. I have to say it was very good, and the textures were surprising.
When I finished my dessert the chef came by to ask how I liked the meal and to see if I needed anything. He did wait to let the flight attendant know I wanted my bed made, instead he just went about doing it himself. My bed was made and I took a bit of a nap.
When I woke up we were about 4 hours from New York. I asked if I could get a shower and was told it would be about 30 minutes, but more on that later. After my shower, I was brought a coffee and a plate of fresh fruit. I had a cheese omelet for breakfast and watched a couple movies on Etihad’s in-Flight Entertainment system.
The Etihad First Class Apartment had a long list of amenities including the 26” IFE system, a shower, mini bar, vanity, and a lounge area between the first and business class cabins. The IFE had plenty to choose from including a lot of new release movies. There was also WiFi available for a reasonable $21.95 for the entire flight and it was pretty good service for inflight WiFi.
It was nice having such a large screen that moved so you could watch a movie while laying in bed. Probably the best part about the Etihad First Class Experience was the shower. One of the worst parts of a long haul flight like this is feeling dirty for 15 hours. Being able to take a shower at any time in flight makes a huge difference. I took my shower with about 3 hours of flight time remaining, so I felt nice and refreshed upon landing in New York. You get 5 minutes of water, and you’d be surprised how quickly that 5 minutes goes. You also get a small bag of Bergamote 22 toiletries, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately my pictures of the shower didn’t turn out due to the lighting in the bathroom.
Feeling refreshed I returned to my seat, ate my breakfast while finishing Spotlight. I also really enjoyed Etihad’s airshow and the tail camera on A380.
The Etihad First Class experience was like nothing I have ever experienced before. The service was incredible, the food was amazing, and it was truly #FlyingReimagined. I want to remind you that even though this was an over the top experience, anyone can experience the Etihad First Class Apartment. I paid only 90,000 AAdvantage Miles and about $80 for this one-way flight. Etihad is partners with American Airlines, and transfer partners with Citi ThankYou and AMEX Membership Rewards.