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Parents’ Review: Etihad First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to London
If you’re just tuning in…welcome! You’re amidst the journey of a lifetime, one that is taking my family around the world on a surprise trip for my mom’s 75th birthday. I wanted both my mom and dad to be able to experience as many first class products as they could. So far…they’d flown Cathay First Boston to Hong Kong, Singapore Suites from Beijing to Singapore, Singapore First from Singapore to Dubai, and now…they’d get to fly the Apartment. I was obviously SUPER excited for them to fly the Apartment. I was originally booked on another flight to London, but a couple days before we were scheduled to fly a Business Studio seat opened and I was able to switch into it. Here’s what my parents thought of the Etihad First Class Apartment Abu Dhabi to London – it wasn’t shooting stars and glitter.
It’s a 1-1 Cabin on an A380. That’s pretty ridics.
- When: April 2017
- Where: Abu Dhabi to London
- Cabin: First Apartment
- Loyalty: American Airlines Advantage
- Cost: 62,500 + $90
- Flight: EY 19
- Duration: 7 hours 40 mins
My parents were across the aisle from one another in 5C and 5H
Booking these tickets:
These were originally booked in mid 2016 when the calendar opened up. My mom and I booked the 2:35am flight, both in apts, and my dad took was going to take an 8:10. The hope was that the 1:50pm flight would open with 3 seats and we would all move into that one. As time went on, we figured it would be best to try and get everyone on the 8:10am flight as we would continue on to Nice, France and preferred to arrive in the evening rather than late at night. Roughly a month before departure an additional seat opened up on the 8:10am flight and I moved my mom to it so she could fly with my dad. Business Studios were fully booked across the board. I kept my 2:35m apartment until a couple days before we were scheduled to fly when a business studio opened up on EY19 at 8:10am and I snagged it. Luckily I also managed to snag a seat directly next to the Business/First Lounge which meant my parents could come say hi without much effort.
Visiting them in First. Where the staff got salty.
People have varying opinions about this. When we flew Cathay from Boston to Hong Kong I was in Business Class while folks flew first. We had planned a birthday cake to be delivered for her, and I was in contact with the Service Manager of the flight. I was not only welcomed to come up and celebrate with them, but later in the flight I was invited to come up and share another piece of cake with my mom. The staff on that flight could not have been warmer or more welcoming – they even took lots of pictures for us. I maybe spent 10-15 minutes each visit.
My mom asked if I could come up and visit her in the apartment. The response from the flight attendant was starkly different than on Cathay. She firmly told my mom that this was against policy but would talk to her boss – who said it was fine. When she came back to get me she approached my seat as if I’d done something wrong and told me that my mom had requested to have a glass of champagne with me. When I got to my mom’s apartment the service felt cold and stuck up, akin to walking into a Gucci store with old clothes on. While the flight attendant still poured me a glass of champagne and had a smile…it was kind of like this…
My mom wasn’t impressed:
I loved the configuration of The Apartment. You could sit and watch TV and still have your bed made up! There was a door to close for privacy!! There was a make=up mirror to enable me to freshen up after resting, there was a private shower!! The food was good, but the attitude of the staff was a little “snooty,” and minimal!! I loved the experience, but the staff did leave a negative impression!!! However, I would go this way again in a heartbeat!!!! Wouldn’t you????
My Dad’s thoughts:
I was intrigued to fly The Apartment because of all the coverage it gets in the travel media. I must admit that the view down the aisle is a much cleaner look than that of Singapore Suites, but that’s the only area where I would give The Apartment the edge. I don’t like to lie completely flat so I found much of the space in the roomier Apartment to be wasted. In regard to the food, the menu was good but the preparation was poor. But the most serious and lasting impression I have of this flight is the poor attitude of the cabin staff. I thought both the purser and the attendant assigned to us lacking in warmth and the attendant came across with a snobbish air. The service she provided was marginal at best….easily the worst we experienced on our trip. Etihad has obviously spent a lot of money on the cabin, but it appears they have some work to do on the people side of things.
Neither of my parents used this feature.
As you can see the long portion of the Apartment gets made up into a bed. My mom ended up sleeping for two or three hours. You can see across from the TV that the Seat is still in position. Both of my parents really liked this set up.
Overall – ONE BIG MEH!
I’m really happy that my folks were able to experience the Apartment and I thought my dad did a great job of photographing everything. The biggest drawback was the flight attedant’s attitude towards my mom’s request. I can understand if they have a policy and hold that policy. I’m even sensitive to guests in first class not being cool, but if you’re going to bend the rule, don’t don’t it with an attitude. This is supposed to be an uber premium experience and there is nothing that ruins a dinner party quicker than sour wine.
To juxtapose this…I was tended to by the food and beverage manager of the flight. He could not have been nicer. Too bad the rolls weren’t reversed. I’d much have preferred to have had to deal with a snooty flight attendant and let my parents have the F&B manager who was excellent.
We are looking to do a trip to Israel next year and both my folks want to give the Apartment another go…so hopefully we have a better experience service wise. Overall…I think their impression was MEH!
You don’t have to stop here. Check out how we paid $5k and took a $125k Surprise trip Around The World to celebrate my Mom’s 75th
- Boston to Beijing
- Beijing to Singapore
- Singapore to Bali Roundtrip
- Singapore to Dubai
- Abu Dhabi to Cannes, France
- Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi to London ($8k)
- Etihad Airways Business Studio A380 Abu Dhabi to London ( $3500-5k)
- British Airways Club Europe A321 London to Nice
- Cannes, France to Dallas
- Lufthansa Business Class A321 Nice to Frankfurt ($10k)
- Lufthansa First Class A330 Frankfurt to Dallas
- JW Marriott Beijing, 1 Bedroom Suite ($450 for 5 nights)
- Club King ($250)
- Mandapa, Ritz Carlton Reserve 1 Bedroom Rice Paddy View Villa ($600/night)
- Conrad Bali 1 Bedroom Ocean View Suite ($400/night)
- Abu Dhabi
- Cannes, France
- Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, France ($300)
- Grand Hyatt DFW ($150
- JW Marriott Beijing, 1 Bedroom Suite ($450 for 5 nights)
- Hong Kong
- Abu Dhabi
- Etihad First Class Lounge
- Etihad Business Class Lounge
- Etihad Shave Experience
- British Airways First Class Lounge LHR Terminal 5
- Living Room Azur
- Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal A
- Peninsula, Beijing
- Raffles, Singapore
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai
- Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
- When to look for Cathay award space
- How we booked 3 Singapore Suites
- 5 things we loved doing in Singapore that avoided the heat
- Never trust the concierge
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There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
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