June 5, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi to New York

Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Washington Dulles (IAD) Lounge Hopping
United Airlines 777-200 Global First Washington to London
United Arrivals Lounge London
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge London
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment London to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to New York
American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

After a quick visit to the pre-clearance lounge, it was soon time for boarding.  At this point, it was 3AM local time and 11PM London time and we were both ready to relax onboard, have a great meal, and then get some much needed sleep.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment 3K
We both woke up a bit as we made our way down the jetway to the upper deck of the A380.  This wasn't our first time flying Etihad's First Class Apartment and it certainly won't be our last.  We arrived at our seats (3K/4K) with me taking the rear facing 3K and Emily in forward facing 4K.  This would allow us to eat together (in my apartment) and sleep together as the divider is lowered and the two beds essentially become one.

View from 3K
Love these pillows - anyone know where to buy them?
From the moment we sat down, I know this was going to be a great flight.  While The Apartments would be nearly full, The Residence was empty meaning the onboard butler/F&B manager would have more time to spend with all of us.

Champagne was poured at our seats as we relaxed and snapped some pictures.  The cabin looked a bit different at night - definitely warmer lighting and a sexier mood than the day flight a few days prior

Pajamas (although I ended up leaving mine on the plane - rookie mistake) and slippers were delivered along with a welcome note from the cabin manager.  Amenity kits were available within the vanity - same as the flight from London to Abu Dhabi.  Dates and Arabic Coffee were also delivered as we moved to Champagne glass number two.

The crew asked if we'd like to dine together and we said yes.  We've dined together (facing each other) on Cathay and Singapore but this was the first time the crew proactively offered and did so with a smile.  The logistics of serving two people on a smallish tray table are definitely a bit more complicated - especially in a moving aircraft.

We were underway on-time despite 3:30AM being rush hour at Middle East airports.  Once in the air, we placed our dinner orders.  The lighting was dim and I honestly can't remember what I ordered so we'll leave that out of the report this time around.  If you're interested in reading about Etihad's food, checkout the day flight review from London to Abu Dhabi.

Our table was set and Emily walked through the aisle over to my apartment for dinner.  While not a great picture post dinner, this provides a bit of perspective on how big the "living space" is when two apartments are combined.

View of our Apartment - 3K and 4K combined
Once dinner concluded, it was nearly 5:30 AM Abu Dhabi time.  In other words, time to get to sleep.  Amazing pics of the apartments with two turned down beds:

We both slept great.  I did find the bed a bit narrow but combined with the amount of space, multiple pillows, and super comfortable bedding, I really can't complain.

We asked for shower slots 2 and 2.5 hours prior to landing and the crew accommodated.  Emily was still sleeping at 2.5 hours out so I took her slot and showered on a plane for the second time in my life.  It's still a novelty and probably always will be.  Etihad's shower isn't as luxurious of an experience as Emirates' but it still gets the job done.  My complaint was the drainage - I think the shower drain actually got clogged while I was showering which meant water was filling up fast on the shower floor.  I didn't want to cause a flood on a commercial airplane so kept turning the water off to allow for some drainage before turning it back on again.

Etihad coffee setup
We both had a quick breakfast and soon enough, we were on approach into JFK.  

Tail came on approach into JFK
Upon landing, there was no immigration given we pre-cleared in Abu Dhabi - we went straight to baggage claim where we met our Etihad Chauffer for the quick ride to The New York EDITION.

Final Thoughts:

This is the best (attainable) first class product in the sky.  Period.  While Emirates is more "fun," and the service may be better on Singapore, the physical space you get with Etihad's First Class Apartment is unmatched.  
Enough room for in-flight yoga
The early morning flight time leaves a bit to be desired (and makes for a shorter and less substantive review!) but so it goes when flying from the Middle East.  We will definitely be flying Etihad again in the future!

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