This is the second part of a two-part series. If you have not read the first post, please click here.
Before I get into this review, I want to point out how lucky I’ve been to have been afforded the opportunity to fly in first and business class around the word. However, as a result of all that “luxury” flying, I have become increasingly critical of details, especially of service and food, on-board airplanes. I may sometimes make remarks that sound pretentious. Please understand that I am being hypercritical and if it were my first time flying in first or business class, I would likely believe the flight was perfect regardless of the level of service I received.
A few minutes after takeoff, the on-board chef came back to my seat to take my order. He had been interrupted by takeoff previously. I had no idea what I wanted to order and asked a bunch of questions. I eventually settled on the Gulf Mezze for an appetizer and the Etihad steak sandwich with some fries. Brit went with the Carrot and Coriander soup as an appetizer and the Chicken Biryani as her main. I also informed the Chef that Brit and I would like to dine together in one of our apartments. Never thought I’d say that on an airplane.
Before dinner, we were brought a small platter with our pre-dinner beverage of choice and an array of small snacks. This is when the flight attendant asked us if we would like to shower prior to arrival in Abu Dhabi. We both responded with a resounding, “HELL YES!” (we didn’t actually say those words), but who could pass up an opportunity to shower on an airplane?!
The flight attendant also brought bags with our pajamas. This was over the top. Every time we have gotten pajamas, they have come in a cloth bag. Etihad decided this was not good enough for First Class passengers. We were delivered a bag that held a bag that held our pajamas.
As I mentioned earlier, we decided to dine in Brit’s apartment for this meal. Once everything was set up, a flight attendant came over to inform me that I could move to Brit’s apartment. I cannot explain how cool it was to have a restaurant-like dining experience while flying. Brit sat in her normal seat and I sat across from her on the ottoman that would eventually convert into her bed.
We both felt our appetizers were just okay and were not impressed. We felt entirely differently about our main courses. Wow wow wow! The steak sandwich melted in my mouth and the Chicken Biryani was out of this world. I would skip the fries next time.
We originally decided not to order any kind of dessert because we didn’t think we would be able to eat any more. Then we noticed freshly baked cookies on the menu and couldn’t resist trying some cookies that were freshly baked in the air! Unfortunately, they were bad and we did not even end up finishing them (something we never do with dessert).
After dinner, it was time to change into our pajamas and head off to sleep! While we changed in the bathrooms, the flight attendants made up our beds in our apartments. They converted our ottomans into beds, laid down mattress pads, and made up the beds with sheets and blankets.
If you would like to watch some TV in bed, the TV swivels out from the wall to face you while you’re laying down. There is also a separate connector for your headphones close to the bed so you don’t need to string a chord over from your seat. Etihad provides a nice pair of noise canceling headphones. I decided to turn on a movie, and at some point, nature took over and I fell asleep. I thought that the entertainment selection was pretty bad. This is one area that Etihad needs to improve on.
After sleeping a bunch, I was awoken by the Chef. I thought that was a bit odd, but I guess he does more than his job title suggests. He took me to the shower and explained how everything worked. Most importantly, he showed me how to pause the water when needed because you only get 5 minutes of running water. Once he left, I hopped in the shower and took every drop of the 5 minutes allotted to me.
After we both showered, it was time to explore the plane a bit. I knew there was a bar/lounge area located between first and business class and wanted to check it out. We finally decided to quit being hermits and we left our apartments. We walked back and found an empty lounge – no one was inside. I suspect this area may get more use during daytime flights. The flight attendants said we could hang out there if we wanted, but we decided to head back to our apartments. After all, the apartments were the reason we wanted to fly this plane.
For the last few hours, we kicked back and enjoyed some more movies in our apartments. The chef came by and asked us what we wanted for breakfast. This time we decided to dine in my apartment. I had some sunny side up eggs with sausage and beans. Brit ordered some scrambled eggs. Super cool that you could order eggs however you like and they freshly cook them on board. A bit different from breakfast meals in Economy…
Brit’s order came out wrong and she was delivered an omelette. We didn’t say anything, but right before we landed, the Chef headed to Brit’s apartment realizing his mistake and apologized for her messed up order. Disappointing they they would get an order wrong in first class, but it was nice that a recognition and apology of the mistake came before landing.
It felt like we just took off and we already landing in Abu Dhabi.
This marks the third first class flight I have ever taken. The first was with Japan Airlines. The second was with Singapore Airlines. Out of the three, this was the only one in which I was already brainstorming ways we could fly in Etihad A380 first class again while still on the flight.
That being said, Japan Airlines is still my favorite first class. However, the feeling of flying in your own apartment is something unique and special. This is a flight I will always remember. Have a personal chef who would make anything you ask for (if the ingredients are available) is more than anyone could ask for. Having a separate seat and bed was also pretty over the top. Taking a shower was legendary (only 2 airlines do this in the world).
Be on the lookout for a post coming soon detailing the best ways available for you to book an Etihad A380 first class apartment.
Any questions on this hopefully not once in a lifetime experience?