Etihad First Class Apartment
Etihad First Class Apartment
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During the pandemic, we saw a ton of true First Class seats get put on hiatus or go away altogether. 

Then we got the gut wrenching news that due to reduced travel demands, the Etihad A380, home of the famous “First Class Apartments” (and the exclusive Residence) were n’er to fly again. 

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Well, today we have news from Paddle Your Own Kanoo (noticed by Gary Leff at WFTW which where I read it) that indicates we all may have another shot at the First Class Apartment.

Apparently, there are two main news items:

  • Etihad sold 4 of its 10 A380s and plans to put the remaining 6 back into service, and
  • Etihad’s A320 narrowbody planes will actually leave Etihad and go to Air Arabia Abu Dhabi which is a joint venture between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia

This means:

  • We will *probably* have an opportunity to fly the First Class Apartment again. I don’t see routes names, but JFK-AUH as well as LHR-AUH and SYD-AUH seem likely.
  • We don’t know which routes from AUH will go narrowbody. Those flights would no longer be bookable with AA miles nor Aeroplan miles (my new favorite way to book Etihad). So, for instance, if MLE became a narrow body route, that would really screw up a JFK-AUH-MLE routing. You’d be able to book using Etihad’s own miles (via Citi or Amex) with a HUGE caveat which is that you can’t mix cabins. So, using Etihad Guest miles, you’d need F availability all the way through and a if the narrowbody has only J, you’d need two completely separate awards (= pricey!!)

For those that aren’t familiar with the First Class Apartment, it’s literally an apartment in the sky (ok, a huge suite).

Me in the Etihad First Class Apartment

If you have two that are connected, the bed (partially) combines as well.

You have a recliner and a bed, separate, for maximum space and comfort.

Etihad First Class Apartment
Etihad First Class Apartment
Lying on the (Still Folded!) Bed

The food is amazing and you’re permitted a 5 minute “shower in the sky”.

Steak Frites
Steak Frites
Etihad First Class Apartment Shower (5 minutes!) 

I’ve previously reviewed the Etihad First Class Apartment and also compared the Etihad First Class Apartment against the Emirates First Class Suite.

Once availability is loaded, your best booking methods are AA Advantage miles and Air Canada Aeroplan miles – as long as the routes stay on the widebody jets.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at the South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


  1. Can you say more about the possibility of routes changing to narrow-body? For example, I already have a JFK-AUH-MLE booking using AA miles. If they change the hardware, will my AUH-MLE booking be cancelled?

    • That’s a great question. IF that happened (meaning that you already booked and then the service switched) – and keep in mind the timing is not super likely – then one of two things would most likely happen:

      1) The reservation would be honored – but no further changes would be allowed on that last segment.

      2) The leg gets cancelled but AAdvantage already sold you the flight. A good agent would then get space opened for you on a JV partner, most likely BA, although then you’d lose JFK-AUH and instead go something like JFK-LHR-MLE. In this case you could of course opt to keep JFK-AUH, drop the MLE segment and make your own way to MLE.


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