The Etihad First Class Apartment on the A380 – Excellence in the air

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This is what we’re looking forward to:

The Apartments are on the top deck at the front of the A380. There are just 9. And of course, just one Residence. You can see the door to the Residence’s private bedroom and bathroom just to the left of the staircase at the end.

It amazes me that even with a price tag of £9000 (which was the price for the date I booked, when I booked it), every apartment was occupied, including one for the sole use of a very pampered 4 year old. The only 4 year old thing I expected to see in this cabin was the brandy, but then I’m not part of this world. I’m just an ordinary bloke with some airmiles.

Some people don’t even think twice about spending £18000 for their child and the nanny to fly to London, but I struggle to imagine a life like that.

Not being just another ordinary day for me, I was more excited to be there than that kid was.

We’re going to occupy Apartment 4A.

4A is the pick of the bunch. Forward facing, and with the seat next to the window. You get 3 windows. 4K is in the same situation.

There’s a massive armchair, and a bench that will become a bed over 2m long.

All the other seats are rear facing, or with the seat next to the aisle, so you only get one window, like this:

All the seats are going to be an amazing experience, but if you’re picky and like planning these things then it has to be 4A or 4K.

The butler will arrive with a glass of Champagne and some dates.

You’ve got your own little mini bar, and a vanity unit with mirrors and lights and of course your amenity kit.

Noise-cancelling headphones, naturally.

Pyjamas. They’re quite nice.

There’s a huge amount of space for you to lounge around in, and plenty of storage under the bench. No fighting for room in the overhead bins. Ha ha, no sir. Not today!

Everything is high quality, like the luxuriously soft blanket.

OK then, enjoy the Champagne and peruse the menus. Start making your plan. Not everyday you get 5 star dining on demand from a top chef.

So, which dishes, in which order, and with which wine? Hmmm…

You’ll be very pleased with how private it is, even with the doors open. From your seat, you don’t see anyone else. The next person in your row is all the way over on the other side of the cabin. If you lean forward you can just see their legs.

After take off you can close the doors for even more privacy…

but only after the butler has brought you a glass of Bordeaux and some amuse bouches.

Before dining, the butler asked if I’d like to see the Residence. The Residence is the uber-private double-sized apartment where 1A would be.

The seat is twice as wide as the armchair in the Apartment, and in front, in the very front corner of the A380’s nose, is the double bed and private bathroom.

It’s stunning. I was asked not to take photos though, and even when I was left by myself for a while I obeyed…

If you have £15,000 one-way or a few million Etihad Guest miles, you can try the Residence. You can choose whether you want to board first or last. Most often the answer is first, and you’ll be escorted in, set up, and left in privacy with doors closed before anyone else boards.

On arrival, after everyone else has left, you emerge from your private sanctuary to be taken away in private without ever being seen by the kind of scum who can only afford the Apartment.

I sat in the residence for a while, in a seat last occupied by Rihanna, and before her, Nicole Kidman.

After your third extravagant meal of the day (it’s still only 3pm), you can ask the butler to make up your bed. Nothing as common as a simple reclining chair with a blanket, here you get a separate bed with proper sheets and a duvet.

There is enough room to sit in the chair once the bed is made, if you wish.

If you’re enjoying it too much to actually sleep, the TV screen folds out and there’s another remote control and headphone socket so you can have another cocktail and watch a movie in bed. I’d be very happy if today turned into my Groundhog Day.

Unlike the other people on board, if I got to do this all the time I still don’t think I would ever find it boring.

Of course, you’ll want to close the blinds on your three windows.

Perhaps a light meal before landing.

Finished with movies? No problem: Etihad has live TV.

With a mocktail, because you’ll be driving soon.

When it’s all over, there’ll even be an Etihad employee waiting to lift your suitcase off the luggage belt in a special section reserved just for first class.

After that, all that’s left is burning off the 25000 calories you just consumed.

£9000? No thanks.

I paid £23 and 66284 Etihad Guest miles.

The chauffeur, the first class lounge, the apartment, the Champagne, the 5-star food, a grin that doesn’t fade for a good 2 or 3 weeks, for £23.

Absolute bargain!

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