A Video From My Etihad Residence Flight

Filed Under: Etihad, Videos

We run a pretty lean operation here at OMAAT. Tiffany does an amazing job handling so many things on the back end, which means I can focus on my passion, which is miles & points, rather than managing things.

I’ll admit that I’m often hesitant to try new things. I like to stick to what (I think) I do a good job at. Tiffany always encourages me to try new things, but generally I’m not very open to them if they come at the cost of focusing on the core of what I do. In other words, I’ve considered trying to add some video elements to reports, but I always felt like I couldn’t do that without compromising the quality of the pictures I take.

During my recent trip in the Residence I decided to experiment with Instagram Stories. While I’ve been posting pictures to Instagram for years, I’ve never before used their stories function. If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen these when I took the actual trip.

For those of you not familiar with Instagram Stories, I suppose it’s intended to compete with Snapchat (which I’ve never used), and allows you to post clips of up to 15 seconds each. They’re posted to your account, though automatically disappear after 24 hours. So they can be viewed by others within 24 hours, or you can save them to your phone.

This was my first time experimenting with this, and I was surprised by how many people viewed them, and more importantly, how many people found them entertaining. I always tend to think I just write for myself, so when I saw that tens of thousands of people were watching these videos within a few hours, I was caught off guard.

Like I said, I don’t want this to in any compromise the quality of my trip reports, but it was something fun to try.

Earlier I posted the review of my flight in the Etihad Residence between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, and I figured I’d also share the short Instagram Stories that I posted during the flight. I saved the videos to my phone. This morning I asked Tiffany if she could quickly put them into a video for me, which she did. While I’m sure we could have done better with the transitions and production quality, this was a very last minute thing.

Yes, I’m slightly drunk in some of the videos, and they’re intended to be lighthearted, so don’t take anything I say seriously.

I figured I’d share them here, since perhaps it adds another fun element to this. Maybe it will help further emphasize just how excited I was during the experience:

Again, I apologize for the quality — these videos weren’t ever taken with the intention of being shared beyond Instagram, but I figured I might as well. I forgot to save a few of the videos that I posted, I didn’t cover the whole flight this way, etc. If you guys enjoy these, let me know, and I’ll do more of them (and put more effort into improving the quality next time). If you don’t, no worries either.

  1. If you are going to post a video, ALWAYS take it horizontally as you are depriving us 70% of the information when viewed on a monitor as you can see by the black bars on the sides.

  2. @ Lukas — I usually agree and make a point of doing that, but Instagram Stories are only in portrait mode. 🙁 So maybe I’ll instead take videos with the intention of just posting here, but that doesn’t work well with Instagram Stories.

  3. Maybe its just me, but I feel like the video is so clearly out there recording all interactions that its not possible to think that you’re going to get typical service. I guess I’ve always wanted to assume that your engagement with crew was typical of a standard passenger and that photos were discretely taken to the point that it was assumed by the crew that you are a regular passenger. I guess in summary I’ve always thought of you and others who do this as mystery shoppers. Using video makes it clear this is an event and the interactions with the crew will be anything but standard.

  4. I am a little disappointed since when you first talked about ever doing the Residence, it was going to be like a big experience to take your readers on and to showcase what it was really like. Photos can only do that so much and video would have been excellent. Instead, the video was really lacking in descriptive quality and I think you missed a really great opportunity to show your readers something special.

  5. Ben, I’ve been trying to book Etihad AUH-SFO using AA miles. once purchased through AA how fast should paper work come through? I booked yesterday, on phone. Process was buggy (said I did not have enough miles, which I do and agent could see that). The booking eventually seem to go through but no paper work so I called back today. Agent said there was a problem, same one but fixed today. So same story. Does a confirmation email come through quickly, should I worry if don’t hear anything in a couple of hours? Cheers.

  6. @ LF — Typically it takes about 1-2 days at most to issue an award ticket. I’d give it another day or so, and then maybe try to call back. Regardless, the good news is that the space is unlikely to “fall out” of the reservation in the meantime.

  7. @LF: You can check your reservation online at AA.com. Login, go to My Reservations and click the EY one. If it says, Ticket Pending, you’ll know it hasn’t been processed all the way. If it says, Ticketed, you should be good to go. One thing you won’t be able to do is select seats via Etihad’s website once the ticket is issues. You still need to call. I typically ask for the ticket number from EY when I call to make sure the ticket has been processed and ticketed (yes, a bit paranoid). Hope this helps!
    PS: If your reservation is for months ahead, AA sometimes take an extra couple of days to process them. In any event, if after 48 hrs it doesn’t show Ticketed, call back and have them check it.

  8. I enjoyed your video. I loved seeing how excited you were! I was envious over all of the champagne and caviar (and gifts, esp the bathrobe). I hope you are still as excited about travel when you are my age (older than your mom I think). Have you thought about going on one of those Four Seasons trips? You could have ultra-luxury (not at the Residence level though) for days on end.

  9. I love this video, surprised that others aren’t impressed. I do a lot of video in my work and to the critics, it’s not easy filming and coming up with descriptive content (and probably a whole lot harder when tipsy!). More to the point, I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the piece. Do more video!

  10. YES! Absolutely do more videos, I love the casual vibe, it makes me feel like we could be friends! I think they’re very friendly and informative. Thank you!

  11. I love it! It gives a way better impression of the space and how big the Residence really is. I hope you can do a short video of the seats in the future.

  12. Was the video perfect and polished – no. But your enthusiasm came through brilliantly and as Travli says it was fun to watch! Thanks for trying something new. I personally have always preferred photos over videos on trip report.

  13. DO MORE INSTAGRAM STORIES!!!!!!!! Seriously Ben, GREAT job and trust me it only adds to the experience of the OMAAT reader. You dont have to always combine them and put them up on the website, but on Instagram for 24h makes it very fun for us followers of yours!

    I really would encourage you (if not beg) for you to continue instagram stories!!!!!

  14. Hey, thanks for the videos, it’s as close as many of us will ever get to that end of the plane. As for the videos, If I may be so bold to suggest, I really enjoy the work of this guy here:


    Unfortunately he doesn’t travel as often as you do, but his videos are very good quality and best of all, you have to speak naught on them 🙂

  15. Thank you! The video was perfect as it captured ‘your’ experience and was in ‘your’ voice. Any editing or slick presentation would have removed the authentic voice and I suspect, would have presented as a mere advertisement. Please do not listen to the criticism and maintain your own take on the aviation industry as that is what I respect most.

  16. Did you sleep naked? After wearing a robe on a plane, I consider sleeping naked to be the last frontier!! LOL
    By the way, amazing report and hilarious video! Loved it!

  17. The video was great – I don’t think I realized how big it was until I saw it all together. However, party foul on wasting the champagne! Next time bring a champagne saver so you can take it with you!

  18. I loved the videos! I was one of the people watching the Instagram stories. Don’t worry about being polished – they are authentic, and this authenticity will appeal to a different audience than the polished trip reports. I definitely think there is room for both, as long as video doesn’t add stress to your experience.

  19. I LOVED the video. After reading your blog for so long it was wonderful to put an actual person with the stories. Please do more in the future 🙂

  20. Great new concept and format for showing off the Etihad experience. I know some might wish to see the report in a more traditional way but I think this is a fresh, modern and less scripted way to do it which I thoroughly enjoyed! Keep up the good work!

  21. This was a heck of a lot better than the Bravo videos, I enjoyed it. It was more authentic, more informative, and a lot less pretentious.

    Wearing headphones while talking to the camera is really weird though. It gives the viewer the same feeling as if you were wearing headphones while talking to them in person, which is simply rude. I’m all for future videos, but lose the headphones.

  22. LOL – getting into bed and recounting two champagne services, two rounds of caviar service, two lobster dishes… “Life is good.” King of Understatement. I love your excitement at taking this flight. You paid for it, you flew it, you worked for it – it’s lovely to see your enthusiasm for flying and for new experiences.

    I don’t know if that will translate to videos doing a standard business class review of a new product. Would there be enough “strange” content for a video? Also, I don’t know if you would have the opportunity given you wouldn’t have the privacy The Residence offers.

    Whatever. Your blog, your rules. Have you taken off that monogrammed robe yet?

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