If you're a fan of opulent, over the top luxury, finding business class too confining and dull for your tastes, you're obviously an interesting character and with current trends, you might do better leasing a jet. Flying commercial first class internationally is becoming a harder task. The cabin is seemingly disappearing right before our eyes, with American, United, Emirates, Etihad, Cathay, Japan Airlines and many more moving away from the restrictive cabin in favor of more passengers on their newer jets. Etihad is following suit with it's Dreamliner's...
Here's the gist, airlines are finding more and more markets, but fewer and fewer markets command the First class demand which the planes can offer. We've seen Emirates remove First class to cram 615 seats onto a plane, Cathay Pacific ditch First on it's new A350's, and now, Etihad is planning to roll out First-less Boeing 787-9's in May 2016. Before you begin looking for private jets on eBay, it's not a total vanishing act. Roughly half of the Etihad Dreamliner's will still feature First Suites. You'll still find First on major city "hub" routes with luxury demand, while more tactical routes with less demand will ditch first, retaining the same number of business class seats (pictured below), adding a whopping 76 seats to economy, bringing the numbers to 270 passengers.
Want to fly it or avoid it entirely? You'll find the first of these new Dreamliner's on Shanghai, Dusseldorf, Perth, Istanbul and Johannesburg routes starting in May and rolling out through August. With the introduction of Etihad's gorgeous looking "Business Studio", offering direct aisle access, large entertainment screens and no shortage of opulence, I can't imagine first will be particularly missed; unless, of course, you are accustomed to flying in their First Class Apartment, a staple of the airline's A380 fleet. More butt's in seats, 76 more to be specific!
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