Big news for VIPs flying to the UAE: Etihad Airways, the flag-carrier for the United Arab Emirates, has some top new perks on its Airbus A380 and Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft, including The Residence by Etihad, available only on the airline’s A380 aircraft.
The Residence will be the new forward upper-deck cabin on the A380 for one or two people. This is the spot to book for those who want space: It has a dedicated living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower room. Guests in The Residence will also have a personal Butler.
Good to know: With the launch of these new fleets, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will also rename its cabin classes.
The A380 will have the First Apartments, fully private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe. Etihad Airways has allocated the upper deck of the A380 to its premium cabins.
On the B787, Etihad Airways is offering an enhanced First Suite that also includes a chilled mini-bar. The Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat will also be available on both the A380 and the B787.
Nice tech touches: Noise-canceling headsets will be provided across all cabins, with built-in magnetic audio jacks for top sound quality. Even better, the A380 aircraft will have full mobile and Wi-Fi service while the B787 will be equipped with Wi-Fi.
The Residence by Etihad
The Residence, which is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for single or double occupancy, offers a private jet experience on a commercial flight. Each Etihad Airways A380 will have a boutique version of The Residence with different color palettes, table marquetry and custom carpets.
Guests in The Residence will have access to a personal butler throughout their flight. (Good to know: The butlers will receive specialist training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London.) They will also have a dedicated VIP Travel Concierge team to take care of ground transport, food and amenities before, after and during the flight.
Etihad Airways will redefine its First Class product with the launch of the First Apartment on the A380. Nine First Apartments will be installed on the upper deck in a 1-1 configuration, creating the only single aisle First Class cabin in the industry.
Each First Apartment, which has a 64-inch high sliding door, includes a reclining armchair and a full-length ottoman. The ottoman transforms into a separate 80-inch-long flat bed.
Good to know: The First Apartment, which also includes a chilled mini-bar, a personal vanity unit and a swiveling TV monitor for viewing from either the seat or the bed, has a 74 percent larger footprint than the airline’s current First Class Suites.
A shower room is available on the A380 for exclusive use by First Class guests.
On the B787, Etihad Airways has designed an enhanced First Suite with many new features. The eight First Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration along a curved aisle—another first in commercial aviation.
Each private First Suite has a large seat and ottoman, which converts into an 80.5 inch long full-flat bed.
On the center seats, the armrests retract and the suites can be joined to create a ‘double’ bed. Other features include a chilled mini-bar and a 24-inch TV monitor.
On both the A380 and the B787, Etihad Airways will launch its new Business Studios, which provide 20 percent more personal space than the airline’s current business class seat.
Configured 1-2-1 in a forward and aft ‘dovetail,’ the Business Studios all have aisle access and the seat converts into a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long.
On the Airbus A380, First and Business Class guests will be able to relax in The Lobby, a serviced lounge and bar area located between the First and Business cabins. With a semi-circular leather sofa, a marquetry table and a large TV screen, The Lobby is designed for relaxing and socializing.
The TV has a USB connection, so it can be used for sharing content or it can also be set to the airline’s Live TV channels for sporting and other events.
Economy Smart Seat
New Economy Smart Seat will offer a unique ergonomic fixed-wing headrest, giving guests a place to rest their head for added comfort and relaxation.
The seat also has a lumbar support feature and an 11-inch personal monitor screen, with all the IFE peripherals set into the seatback in front.
A key design objective for Etihad Airways was to transform the boarding experience, making it more akin to stepping into the lobby of a boutique hotel.
In all entry-ways in both aircraft and in all cabins, the galley equipment is concealed behind custom Arabic fretwork screens and blinds, while the trolleys are covered by elegant wood-finish doors.
Nice touch for the airline’s Muslim guests: Etihad Airways has developed prayer areas which can be curtained off for privacy and are equipped with a real-time electronic Qibla-finder showing the exact direction of Mecca based on the aircraft’s geographical position.
In the premium class boarding areas, Etihad Airways will collaborate with cultural institutions in the UAE to exhibit artwork and artifacts in display cabinets installed throughout. Items from the Etihad Airways Boutique Duty Free catalogue will also be displayed.
With the launch of these new aircraft, Etihad Airways will also update its dining equipment, amenities and soft furnishings across its entire fleet.