What is it like to fly in an Etihad A380 First Class Apartment on a shorter flight?
This is part of my previously unpublished 2016 Gulf Carrier Mezze trip report. Although Etihad now uses a 787-9 instead of a A380 on this route, the soft product remains virtually unchanged. For now, at least. As Etihad continues cutbacks to stem growing losses, this trip report will one day represent a historical look at the great promise Etihad once offered.
Eithad once offered chauffeur service to first class passengers, including those on partner-issued award tickets like mine. This program has been cut, which is truly a shame. My driver picked me up in a white BMW and we had an excellent dialogue on matters of faith.
I made the mistake of not printing out my itinerary, which is required to enter an Indian airport terminal. Thankfully, after opening my laptop and showing the uniformed inspector my itinerary, I was allowed to pass through.
There was no wait to check-in and I was soon heading to the GVK lounge with invitation in-hand.
> Read More: GVK First Class Lounge Mumbai (BOM)
About an hour before takeoff, I left the lounge and made my way to the boarding gate, which was quite a walk from the GVK lounge. I was very impressed by Terminal 2 in Mumbai: it’s a very modern, attractive facility.
Boarding started a bit late and I soon found myself onboard the beautiful upper deck of the Etihad A380.
Etihad Airways 203
Mumbai (BOM) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Thursday, June 02
Depart: 09:35 PM
Arrive: 11:25 PM
Duration: 03hr, 20min
Distance: 1,226 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Seat: 2H (First Class Apartment)
Etihad A380 First Class Seats
I love the color-scheme and layout of these suites. Other than Singapore’s new suites, there is not a more spacious first class product available.
One side of the suite contains a long couch that folds out into a spacious bed. The other side include a comfortable chair as well as a personal vanity
The only issue was with luggage storage. There are no overhead bins in the first class cabin. Instead, hand baggage is stored under the couch. But the compartment was too small to accommodate my rather small Rimowa carry-on bag.
Etihad A380 First Class Dining
Prior to takeoff, a FA presented a menu and wine list. I was curious if a full a la carte menu would be offered on this short service, similar to what I had experienced from London to Abu Dhabi. Nope. The menu choices were far more limited.
Even so, I found many excellent choices. A FA wearing a white chef outfit stopped by my seat just before we took off to ask if I made my meal selections. I ordered mezze with a side salad, followed by lamb loin with rhubarb, beetroot, and carrots. Finally, fruit and cheese followed by ice cream for dessert. It’s wise to order early on Etihad flights, as the carrier has a penchant for running out of food in first class.
After takeoff I enjoyed a glass of red wine with three canapés: olives, mixed nuts, and wasabi peanuts. The 2006 French Bordeaux was amazing.
A FA carefully set the table for dinner and offered me some potato chips/crisps as I was waiting for the first course. Kudos to Etihad for the excellent butter, olive oil, and bread.
The mezze included baba ganoush, hummus, and tabbouleh as well as olives and warm falafel. I very much enjoyed it and thought it far exceeded the mezze in Emirates first class.
The salad was a bit anemic…
The lamb arrived. When ordering, I requested it be cooked medium rare. Now, the moment of truth arrived.
Turns out the chef cooked it perfectly. This was an outstanding main course choice.
Moments after finishing, the chef brought out a nicely-arranged fruit and cheese course.
Finally, ice cream to finish the meal along with a strong cappuccino.
Folks, scheduled flight time was 3hr20min and actual flight time was only 2.5 hours. I have never had such an outstanding feast on a such a short flight.
Etihad A380 First Class Lavatory + Shower
The meal service essentially took the duration of the flight. There was no time left for a shower, though I did at least check it out. Like Emirates, showers are timed but you can pause and restart the shower as needed. The lavatory also included Bergamote 22 amenities (great smell) and I loved that the bathroom did not feel like an airplane lavatory at all.
Etihad A380 First Class Amenity Kit
No amenity kit was offered on this flight. Typically, the first class amenity kit is found in the vanity.
Etihad A380 First Class Lounge
Directly behind the first class cabin and galley, Etihad carved out a small lounge for first class passengers to congregate during the flight. Perhaps it is wasted space, but I love a spacious aircraft that does not seem packed like a sardine can.
Etihad A380 First Class Service
Upon boarding, I was offered a glass of fresh mint-lemon juice along with dates and moments later, Arabic coffee. The tray included a cold towel and note from the crew welcoming me onboard.
Much to my dismay, the captain announced a flight time of only 2 hours and 20 minutes.
I felt bad for the FAs on this flight. You can see what I ordered above and the cabin was full (except for The Residence). With everyone ordering multi-course meals on a two-hour flight, the FAs were scrambling the entire journey.
That made service less personal and more abrupt, but I do not hold it against the FAs. This is just a difficult flight to work on.
FAs are an asset on Etihad and I appreciated how much they hustled on this flight.
Etihad A380 First Class IFE
Lastly, a note on IFE. I didn’t watch anything on this flight, but Etihad offers an excellent wide-screen monitor and a large selection of moves, TV shows, music, audio, games, as well as a moving flight map.
Excellent noise-cancelling headphones are offered.
Etihad A380 Business Class
I took a peek at (lightly-filled) business class:
A longhaul flight in this cabin looks quite enjoyable.
We landed 30 minutes early (less than 2.5 hours of flight time). I think it is difficult to ask for anything more on a regional flight. A spacious suite, delicious multi-course meal, and great service. If only Etihad was profitable…