First class travellers between Abu Dhabi and London can now turn that seven-hour jaunt into an indulgent trip to remember, with Etihad’s famed The Residence available as an upgrade on selected A380 superjumbo flights.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the Etihad A380’s first class Apartment suites – Executive Traveller has always rated these as among the world’s very best first class suites thanks to their spacious 39ft2 (3.6m2) footprint, a wide leather lounge chair and a separate ottoman which converts into an 80” long lie-flat bed, plus upmarket touches such as a chilled mini-bar and vanity mirror with make-up lighting.
But Etihad’s The Residence goes above and beyond: it’s a deliberately superlative super-suite created to out-luxe rivals such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines during a hyper-competitive time in the air travel landscape.
After all, which other commercial jets let you enjoy a private lounge room and a bedroom with a cosy double bed and your very own shower suite?
Etihad has since cut back on its last-decade extravagances, removing not only the Resident’s dedicated butler and the A380s themselves, until “a surge in demand for air travel across the airline’s network” set the stage for the superjumbo’s return.
And a result, Etihad Airways’ A380 superjumbo will soar once more on July 15 on the busy Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow route, specifically as flights EY11/EY12.
By early December, the A380 will feature on three of Etihad’s four daily Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow flights: the ones to look for are EY11/EY12, EY17/EY18 and EY19/EY20.
And if you’re travelling in first class, you’ll have the opportunity to claim The Residence as an upgrade to your first class booking for what Etihad describes as “an optional extra for guests to further enhance their First experience” to the “ultimate flying experience with exclusivity, privacy and comfort.”
An option to upgrade from Etihad’s A380 first class to The Residence is now beginning to appear on the Etihad website during the ‘seat selection’ stage of the booking process, priced at around £2,000 for the one-way leg between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow.
It’s understood this same rate applies to either a single passenger or a two-person booking – and The Residence was intended to be comfortably shared by two – making this two-person upgrade an exceptionally appealing proposition.
Of course, some adjacent Etihad A380 first class Apartments can be opened up to create a shared double bed, too.
As a benchmark, at the time of writing Etihad A380 one-way first class fares between Abu Dhabi and London are around £3000-3500 (based on sample dates across late October and early November).
It’s believed that meals, drinks and other service aspects in The Residence will be the same as in first class.
Executive Traveller has approached Etihad for comment and will update this article with further details as they are made available.