So as I was leaving Sri Lanka, I was searching for routes on how to get home. Of course I could fly back through Asia to get home but I was more interested in seeing if I could fly a new product that I’d been wanting to fly for some time. Enter Etihad and the first class apartments on their A380.
The Etihad first class apartments may be a bit dated now but it’s still an impressive product that is a delight to experience. From the moment I boarded to the moment I deplaned, I thought the service was incredible. Add that to the space and comfort of the apartment and it was fantastic.
Unlike Emirates, you aren’t able to board from the first class lounge so I had to walk over to the gate. Depending on where your gate is located, it might be a good 10 min walk so you’ll want to make sure you know where you’re going since the lounge doesn’t make announcements.
When I got to the gate, boarding had just begun so I was able to board quickly. Walking through the jet bridge, I thought it was neat how the livery had the London landmarks and iconic items on the side (since I was connecting through Heathrow).
As soon as I boarded, I was escorted to my suite and shown the features. Although the apartment is now a bit dated (it was introduced in 2014 I believe) the features are still impressive.
The suite has a sitting area that runs the length of the suite which can be folded out to a bed. I didn’t have my bed converted even though I probably should have asked for it since I was exhausted and ended up falling asleep in my chair.
Next to the door of the suite is a small closet where you can store your carry on luggage as well as coats. Next to that was a vanity with lights and mirrors galore and underneath that was a small fridge that had some soft drinks and bottles of water.
The chair had multiple buttons that could accomplish the same thing so I thought that was a nice touch. There was a touchscreen pad in the armrest and buttons on the outside of the armrest. There was also a remote to work the tv which was also a touchscreen.
I was offered a pre departure drink and just asked for some water and Arabic coffee. That along with some dried dates and a warm towel were immediately brought.
Before takeoff, the chef for the flight came around to explain the menu and explained that he would cook eggs however I wanted. The food is a la carte and you can order whatever you want but the chef seemed really eager to serve his cod special so I left it in his hands. I also ordered before vs. ordering when I was ready so that there wouldn’t be any surprises. I don’t know how much food is actually stocked on board but I think it’s so disappointing when they run out of your first choice. That said, I doubt that was going to be a problem on this flight.
I think many of the other passengers were ready to eat shortly after takeoff but since I had eaten breakfast in the lounge, I wasn’t really hungry so I decided to get some work done instead for a few hours and delayed my meal. I started with the caviar course, then soup, the cod chef’s special, and the warm date pudding to finish. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
So there are 2 bathrooms in first class in which 1 is significantly larger than the other since it has the onboard shower. I was originally scheduled to take a shower but passed when it was my time since I wasn’t quite finished working and since I didn’t feel the need to shower just a few hours from when I woke up. I will say that the bathroom isn’t as large or spacious as the Emirates bathroom but I’m not sure it really matters in the grand scheme of things.
Etihad offers 90MBs of free internet to first class passengers. It isn’t the fastest internet so I wouldn’t use it to stream videos but it should be enough to get some basic browsing done (depending on the length of your flight). I was constantly starting and stopping the usage so I didn’t use all of the 90MBs but I found it difficult to even check emails on gmail so I did what I could without the use of internet.
The amenity kit had everything you need or want in a kit. You also receive PJs which is great. I don’t always take those with me but I do find them to be more comfortable than regular clothes, especially since I don’t care if they get dirty or not.
The product may be a little dated but it’s still a fantastic product especially when you consider how attentive the crew is. Don’t get me wrong, the hard product is still impressive especially when you consider how much room there is. But obviously the bar gets raised with every new product that comes out. Etihad hasn’t revamped their product so sure, it’s a bit dated especially when comparing it to the Singapore A380 first class or the new Emirates first class product. But the crew was absolutely fantastic and attentive.
The small personal fridge was a nice touch that I didn’t realize was there until midway through my flight especially since it didn’t just hold drinks but also kept them cool. That saves a lot of effort if you’re either looking for mixers or just want to drink some water without bothering the cabin crew for a simple request.
The food was excellent and the service matched. I really think a great cabin crew can make or break an experience and a great crew with a mediocre hard product can be much more enjoyable than a mediocre crew with a fantastic hard product. I thought the crew was fantastic and attentive and it’s great to see people who enjoy their jobs.