Etihad Airways on the A380 flies from and to Abu Dhabi on the following route:
- New York
Flying on the A380 is definitely a major upgrade from flying the A330 aircraft as the premium cabin experience is completely different.
I had the chance to fly the Abu Dhabi – Paris and New York – Abu Dhabi route. Both flights offered the same high quality service experience on the ground and in-flight.
Checking-in process was a breeze at both airports, especially how there are dedicated lines for First & Business class passengers for boarding and security. I never had to wait in line for any longer than 5 minutes (even at JFK Airport).
The On-Board Business Lounge
Residence, First and Business class passengers are boarded straight to the upper deck and as we enter the aircraft is an on-board business lounge and bar with a sleek luxury design which makes the cabin looks unbelievably sexy.
This lounge is accessible for any business and first class passengers.
The Cabin and Seats
Cabin during the day
Cabin at night
Etihad Airways on the A380 has 415 Economy seats in the lower deck, 70 Business Class Studio Seats, 9 First Class Apartments and 1 (3-room) Residence in the upper deck.
The Business Studio is a 1-2-1 seat configuration, all aisle access, with alternating rear and forward facing seats.
As a window seat fan, the best seats would be the A&K even window seat number (10,12,14,16 and so on) as you’d get much privacy closer to the window. If traveling as a pair, the love E&F middle seats (10,12,14,16 and so on) works best too.
Despite the luxury and sleek edges of the cabin ‘packaging’, I noticed some of the seat fabrics looked quite worn out.
One thing I loved about the window seat is the spacious personal compartment that could fit 2 bags.
The touch-screen In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) screen was more than a decent size and it was very easy to use with the controller.
Food & Drinks
Consistently as I take my seat before departure, the cabin crew would courteously offer beverages and ask my meal time preference. Kudos to the crew as they had never failed to deliver my meal at the time I requested.
The food was delicious, although nothing extraordinary but the servings were timely and well-presented.
The all-day anytime menu is a perk I always appreciate when sitting in business or first class as I find it to be very useful on long-haul flights.
I loved how they’ve upgraded their amenities kit from the playful and full color Luxe brand to a modern yellow and black leather pouch by Acqua de Parma.
How to Book Etihad Using Points / Miles
The best value to book an Etihad flight is using American Airlines AAdvantage miles, the miles required is a lot less than redeeming with Etihad Guest Miles. Remember you can still be a member American Airlines AAdvantage even if you don’t live in the US.
However, Etihad Guest Miles is transferable from Citibank Premier Miles, so it would also be a good option to use Etihad Guest Miles to upgrade from an economy fare to Business using credit card points.
Alternatively, the business class airfare flying from Jakarta to Europe (round trip) can go as low as USD 1,900 during low season and this is a great deal.
Sometimes you need to weigh in when it’s best to book using miles or cash. If it is a heavily discounted business class fare, I’d personally book using cash so you can accrue the double miles plus get a chance to upgrade your airline status (only if you see value in receiving the elite status benefits).
Flight from Abu Dhabi to Paris took almost 8 hours and from New York to Abu Dhabi was 13 hours. I got to experience both day and night flights, including experiencing the Etihad Business Lounge in Abu Dhabi when it was packed and empty (which was nice).
I would only prefer flying Etihad in the A380 since the A330 cabin is not as impressive.
If flying to Europe originating from Jakarta, the business class cabin on Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner is a lot sexier than the A330. And you could also get a chance to fly the new Qatar QSuites from Doha (a business class cabin designed like a first class). Q-Suites currently serves Amsterdam route from and to Doha. This cabin will also serve Singapore (starting November 2018), Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita (starting January 2019).