Has the Etihad First Class Apartment Flown its Last Flight?
Reuters is reporting that, in the wake of the drop in air travel demand due to the Coronavirus, Etihad Airways may be considering retiring their A380’s from service and never even starting service on the A350 jets they have on order.
I reviewed the Etihad First Class Apartment around a year and a half ago. I really loved it. So much so that we were due to fly it back from our honeymoon last month – until the wedding and honeymoon also became collateral damage of the coronavirus.
Only Etihad’s A380’s have the Famous First Class Apartment
What may not be immediately clear from that news is that this would mean the end of the famous First Class Apartments.
These mini “Apartments in the Sky” are both my favorite ever flight experience as well as what I consider the absolute best way to spend American Airlines AAdvantage miles (despite needing to use a special trick to book Etihad First Class Apartment awards with American Airlines miles). For just 115,000 miles you can fly from the US to Abu Dhabi and even to points in India or the Middle East, including the Maldives, on that one award ticket. Given that, depending on the route and date, these tickets can exceed $10,000 one-way, the redemption value is outstanding.
Etihad’s Fist Class Apartments Are Aspirational Awards
Etihad’s First Class Apartments are one of the “aspirational awards” that people getting into the hobby of miles and points first learn about.
That’s both because almost none of us could ever afford the experience for cash – thus making it an experience worth learning about and collecting miles and points for – and because the Apartment has so many unique features.
Those features include an onboard chef that can actually (partially) curate your meals from their available ingredients, the ability to have connecting Apartments such that you can (partially) combine two neighboring beds in the sky, and the onboard shower (surpassed only by the Emirates A380 First Class (Review) which has a better onboard shower though, in my opinion, the rest of the Emirates First Class experience, from food to the seat, is no where near the level of the Etihad First Class Apartment.
Not a Done Deal
The Reuters report doesn’t make anything definitive. If demand for air travel, including luxury air travel and business travel from the Middle East, were to really pick back up, the plans could easily change.
Yet, if it takes years for air travel to return, this may wind up a necessary cost cutting measure for Etihad to survive, despite the support of their government.
Have you ever flown the Etihad First Class Apartments?
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.