Etihad uses the branding “Flying Reimagined” to describe their in flight offerings. What an incredibly pretentious and bold statement. Etihad are the only ones reimagining the flying experience? Really? But then you step onto an Etihad A380, and your doubts are met with utter silence-it’s real. Etihad has reimagined flying, and the results are an extrasensory experience of delight…
There’s First Class… And Then There’s This.
The first question with Etihad’s First Apartments is “where does it start and where does it end?”, a good question indeed. The photo above features two separate apartments, with the privacy divider lowered (optional). The idea behind this – is that two traveling together could sleep side by side (yes, the long ottoman on the left folds out to make a full bed as well) and interact, despite being in a private suite. If you’re traveling solo, fear not, the privacy walls are so tall, you’d really struggle to see anyone even if walking around your suite, which you can do.
Etihad first Class apartment – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
The most unique element of the First Apartment is the separation of relaxation, work and sleep, offered in a way more natural to our behavior back down on earth. Guests can recline in their chair at any point, seamlessly switching from full “pass out and watch a movie laying down” to “get some work done and have some food in my massive chair” without pressing a button or moving a seat. Having a fully made bed- ready and waiting in addition to a comfortable work and dining space creates without a doubt the best first class experience on the market today in terms of seating, which industry nerds call “hard product”.
If the visuals somehow haven’t sold you, there are a few more details we believe really separate this first class experience from the rest. Etihad’s First Apartments feature two headphone jacks: one at your seat, and one at your bed. Yep, the television also swivels, meaning you migration between your throne and your bed has never been easier. This all translates back to the brilliant innovation around what a guest might actually want to do during a 8+ hour flight, versus what they can in most other first class offerings.
Etihad 380 bar – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Still somehow not sold? Etihad is one of six airlines offering a bar in the sky. On all A380 flights business and first class passengers can utilize the social space to catch up with colleagues, friends or family while enjoying the live television being streamed onto the extra large bar television. Just like being home. Usually on TV at this particular bar? Whatever the biggest sporting or cultural event of the day is. Presently, the NBA Basketball finals. Before you ask: yes, everything at the bar is free. This is a great way to catch up with anyone you may have left behind in business class…
And If First Class Is Outta Sight, Business Class Is Pretty Swanky Too…
In keeping with the general “best or nothing” vibe on the Etihad A380, business class is also absolutely fantastic. Featuring just four seats across, with a variety of seating arrangements: forward, backward, two seats in the middle together, two seats in the middle far apart; those hoping not to burst the miles or money bubble can enjoy this top notch offering. Expect seats that covert into fully flat beds, access to the bar, fine dining and endless entertainment.
Etihad 380 business – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Picking up on the “variety of seating arrangements” bit- the seats above make the perfect option for traveling companions in business class. Depending on just how friendly you are with your traveling companion, you can easily raise and lower the divider to see all of the person, or absolutely none of them. The extra large entertainment screens and large tray and storage spaces make this seats a serious contender in the competition for best business class.
Etihad was extremely impressive during our media day with them at New York’s JFK Airport. We love their lounge concepts, seat designs and of course, the first class apartment. The first apartment is available on all Etihad A380 flights, and can be booked using Etihad or American miles, amongst others. Tickets occasionally drop below $3000 round trip on certain routes, so if you’d like to tick something off your bucket list, this is truly the best seat on the market.