Booked On Inaugural Etihad A380 Flight!

Filed Under: Etihad

Earlier in the year, Etihad unveiled the details of their A380s, which they will begin taking delivery of later this year. Even though there are several other airlines that already operate the A380, Etihad’s are truly unique, both in terms of how they’re marketing them and in terms of the actual cabins.

In terms of premium cabins, they’re introducing The Residence, First Apartment, and Business Studio. The Residence is a completely new concept for a commercial plane, consisting of a private living room, bedroom, and bathroom, plus a personal butler.


Even their First Apartment looks a step up from other first class products, with quite a unique design.

Etihad will be debuting their A380 on the Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow route as of December 27, 2014, and then next year will be putting their additional A380s on two more London Heathrow frequencies, as well as a Sydney frequency.

As many of you probably remember, I ran a (rather ridiculous) Kickstarter when Etihad first unveiled their A380 to fund a ticket in The Residence. While it wasn’t funded in the end, it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

While the Kickstarter didn’t work out, I’m still committed to trying every A380 first class product in the world (I’ve flown Air France, British Airways, China Southern, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways), so have gone ahead and booked the inaugural Etihad Airways A380 flight from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow in First Apartments. No Kickstarter required. šŸ˜‰


While fares between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow run ~$6,700USD one-way in first class, if you originate in other markets it gets substantially cheaper. There are more details on similar fares in the Etihad forum on FlyerTalk.


With any luck, maybe I’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone and fly the Qatar Airways A380 inaugural flight on the same trip. šŸ˜‰

Or maybe I should book The Residence and invite His Excellency Akbar Al Baker as my +1, as I’d love to hear his thoughts. šŸ˜‰

Is anyone else scheduled to fly the Etihad A380 yet?

  1. Yes, but on april. A one way first class NRT-AUH-LHR did cost ~U$ 4k. But your example is not very good. A direct one way flight is always going to be expensive, sometimes more than one with a return flight. I also don’t see the point of a inaugural flight. Wasn’t yours AUH-LAX flight a fiasco?

  2. @ Carlos — Wouldn’t say it was a fiasco, just wasn’t necessarily as special as I was expecting. That being said, I do think there will be more excitement around the inaugural A380 flight, given the new cabins.

  3. Fantastic Ben – i am looking fwd to reading your experience with Etihad A380. Next year for me looks quite the adventure as far as trips. Lots of Middle East and Asia turns and thanks to your recent post..I have unloaded some of my AA miles stash such as: Abu Dhani to Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles To Osaka, etc. Lets see what the schedule holds and If possible..being able to fly Etihad A380. Cheers my friend šŸ™‚

  4. OMG I don’t even want to BEGIN thinking about all the shenanigans you’d get up to in the suite if Akbar was your plus-one LOL

  5. Congrats, Lucky! I guess I’m one of the people who didn’t think your Kickstarter campaign was ridiculous. Looking forward to your trip report.

    Have fun!

  6. @Lucky – Since you are on a paid fare, will you credit those to your AA account or start saving Etihad miles toward that Residence flight one day?

  7. @ Adi_T — It’s a fare originating in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They have quite a few reasonably priced premium fares out of there.

  8. Is there a aircraft map published for the new 388 somewhere? I’m curious as to the layout of the aircraft with the apartments and the residence to see how the space looks to scale on the aircraft.

  9. @ Lucky – Looks like someone snagged The Residence on that flight, so your fact-finding mission with Al Baker will have to wait šŸ˜‰

  10. I would strongly consider buying a ticket on that flight if I could visit His Excellency and you in The Residence! Snagging a seat with HEAAB would win you blogger of the century!! Enjoy the trip; I’ll certainly enjoy the trip report.

  11. Have you posted about how to book these types of fares, or how they work in the past? I’d love to learn more, but I don’t even know how to begin!

  12. NBO to LHR is pricing round trip in F at $4404 and Orbitz offered me 10% off. So $2000 each way for 13 hours of flying in First, including 8 hours on the A380. Not bad.

  13. How embarrassing is it for Qatar that Etihad beat them out of the gate with their A380 (regardless of interior luxury quality).

  14. @wwk5d, I actually think it was a blessnig that Etihad beat Qatar. Imagine if Etihad announced its First Apartments/Residence after July 1st, Qatar would have committed to its original inaugural date in June with the original Qatar First A380 design. šŸ˜‰

    @Lucky, that’s awesome!!! If you earn the miles on AA, will those be eligible for EQP/EQM? Also, as an AA exec plat, what kind of perks do you get with EY?

  15. @ Joey — You don’t really get any perks due to status when flying Etihad, since they’re not part of oneworld. You just earn normal miles on Etihad — no elite bonus.

  16. @ Steve Edelman – Just flew NBO-AUH-ORD a month ago. The NBO-AUH flight was two class with their regional J product so it won’t be 13 hours of F each way.

  17. How do you know you fly too much? You know when a “positioning” flight to Sri Lanka on the other side of the world is so hum-drum that it doesn’t even bear mentioning!

  18. @Lucky
    @Josh ā€” ā€œCMBā€ is the airport code for Colombo, Sri Lanka. There are quite a few good premium fares published out of there, like this one I wrote about a long time ago (though itā€™s no longer available):

    Lucky, so you have to fly to Colombo first to avail of that fare ? How will you be flying to Colombo? And don’t you have to factor in the cost of that into the total ticket?

  19. @ Adi-T — Yes, you absolutely do. Haven’t booked my ticket to Sri Lanka yet. Will probably book a Cathay Pacific first class award.

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