I used the remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person.
We headed straight to the Etihad First & Business Class Lounge which is one of the best lounges I have visited. I just love the “a la carte” dining and the complimentary treatment at their Six Senses Spa.
The lounge was still not busy when we arrived so I thought I’d go to the Six Senses Spa to book for a facial. Nelly, a very nice lady from Hungary, gave me one of the best facials I’ve had lately. After I finished my facial treatment, we decided to have our lunch in the restaurant. We ordered our main course from the a la carte menu while taking a bit of everything from the buffet. My main course was beef and tasted fantastic.
As usual, there was priority boarding for the Residence, First and Business class passengers.
The first class cabin on Etihad’s A380 is simply unique. No other airline offers a first class cabin with a 1-1 configuration, thus the HUGE size of each of the nine apartments. The leather seats by Poltrona Frau (same company that furnishes Ferrari cars) were very comfortable. It was my first time to be seated on a rear facing seat but I guess it didn’t really matter specially if you are flying in first class… and specially on Etihad’s A380! Of course, the main reason for our seat selection is that Mike and I wanted to try the double beds and it is only possible with Apartments 3A and 4A or 3K and 4K.
Samea introduced herself as she welcomed me and upon learning that she was from Sweden, and she also came with the usual welcome note, hot towel, dates and drinks served in a silver tray. Truly a five-star concept!
Then it was time for some arabic coffee served by Samea.
Snacks before landing: Less than two hours before landing, Samea came to our seats and asked if we wanted to have some snacks. I was still feeling full so I just decided to have some Sencha Green Tea.
The first class amenity kit consisted of skin care products from Le Labo Bergamote 22 (5g lip balm, 7ml facial moisturizer, 7ml hand balm and 1 refreshing towelette), Pillow Mist and Pulse Point Oil, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and eyeshades, earplugs and this time, with an additional Colgate mouthwash. The bag itself has patterns of Sadou, paying homage to it Emirati heritage, and which I personally think is a good thing to promote local arts.
There were lots of good films from the movie selection and I ended up watching Deadpool and The Dressmaker which are two of the most recent films I have not seen yet. There is also wifi connection although unlike on Qatar Airways where it is complimentary for first class passengers, there is a fee to use it.
A few minutes after we were airborne, my post departure beverage (mango juice) and some snacks consisting of nuts, green peas and olives were served.
Comparing Etihad’s dining and food offering to other airlines I have flown with in first class, there is no doubt that this is the most extensive list I have ever seen. First, you can dine whenever you want, and choose from a large selection of lounge snacks, main course, lounge and grill, etc. Etihad’s first class tray table is huge.
I was informed by Liz-Mari, the Food and Beverage Manager, that the chef, in this case Chef Graham, actually prepares food since the meat are raw and they have the cooking materials, etc. unlike in business class and economy where the food are all prepared in land. Kudos to Etihad for having a real chef on board!
While the shower suite was still being prepared, I took my time to visit the Lobby (again) which is located between the first and business class cabins. Not surprisingly, nobody was there since most were probably still having their dinner or probably resting. Otherwise, this is a very popular place to hang out specially on day flights.
And now, it’s my turn to shower. To be honest, I already showered in the morning at home before going to the airport, and then again at the Etihad First & Business Class Lounge at London Heathrow before this flight so this would actually be my third shower today. But of course, taking a shower at 37,000 feet is incomparable and I’ll do it again and again. Just like the last time I had shower on Etihad’s A380, there was the small amenity bag consisting of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel by Le Labo Bergamote 22. Emirates and Etihad have pretty much the same rule when it comes to using the water. You get maximum 5 minutes of water and you can pause it when not needed.
Flying on Etihad First Apartment for the third time, I realized more and more how luxurious their first class is. Etihad has truly reimagined everything to give such an amazing product: the most spacious apartment, a separate seat and bed, a shower suite, an inflight chef making a truly five star experience in the air and of course, the impeccable service of the crew. And this is simply unbeatable. While I think that Etihad’s First Apartment is not perfect, (I still think that Emirates shower suites on their A380s are much larger and nicer and that the complimentary wifi offered by Qatar Airways to their first class passengers is something that’s missing on Etihad) overall, Etihad’s First Apartment is surely the most luxurious first class in the sky and no one can deny that. To all the crew on this flight specially to Samea, Liz-Mari and Chef Graham, thanks for once again letting us experience the best the airline industry has to offer!
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Arthur has visited a total of 69 countries, flown 144 times in business class and 46 times in first class