Introduction: Maldives an Ocean Paradise
Etihad First Class Lounge JKF Airport
Etihad First Class Apartments New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) A380
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Etihad Regional Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Male (MLE)
Conrad Maldives Arrival Lounge and Maldivian Seaplane
Around Rangali Island
Maldivian Sea Plane
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
Emirates Business Class Male (MLE) to Dubai (DXB) B777
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW) B777
Etihad First Class Apartments New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) A380
My wife and I were excited to board and see what Etihad had in store for us. We boarded through the upper deck jet bridge where the first class cabin is on Etihad’s A380 plane.
We were greeted by a flight attendant upon entrance and directed to turn left and that our apartments were on the right side of the isle.
I think by my wife’s facial reaction that she was quite impressed! I don’t think showing her photos of the cabin before hand fully prepared her for how nice this cabin was.
Upon entrance into the first class cabin you get to see just how elegant it is. My wife was in 3K and I was in 4K which are adjoining seats, one in front of the other. I think my wife knows my dislike of flying facing backwards so she took 3k and got settled in with the baby. We both had our carryons and backpacks and they were all fairly full. Our primary flight attendant AKA butler helped us fit our bags in the storage area. One of my wife’s bags was slightly to big so our butler helped stow it away in a crew cabin.
Upon entering my apartment I was VERY impressed! The amount of space given to the passengers in Etihad Apartments is stunning. I mean you actually walk into the space and down an isle to get to your seat. And the seat, wow an super plush and wide leather Poltrona Frau Italian leather seats!!
The exterior of the Apartments have sliding doors for added privacy. I thought the doors were really slick looking too personally. They can be controlled by remote control at your seat or manually near the door.
Also in between 3K and 4K (our seats) there is another sliding door that either adds privacy or opens up the Apartment space more so that while your sleeping you can see each other.
The butler assigned to us is typically reserved for the passenger occupying the Etihad RESIDENCE. Yup they have an even larger space in the first row, but for our flight it was unoccupied. Thus the butler was assigned to work the first class cabin. The butler was dressed sharply with a white sport coat on. He helped set the tone for exceptional service right away by introducing himself, asking if it was my first time flying in the Apartments and showing me around my Apartment. He also was very excited to interact with our toddler son and shared he has two boys of his own back in Berlin and tries to get back to see them as much as possible.
Next, we were offered a beverage and selected a glass of the Bollinger La Grande Anne 2005 vintage which was very nice. I sat there for a bit and “soaked it all in.” “What a cabin I thought to myself.”
I watched a moment of TV and looked at the leather bench in front of me which also had a ultra soft blanket.
A moment later I was brought a warm, moist towelette for my hands and some Arabic dates and a welcome letter from the cabin manager. We were also asked if we wanted to schedule a shower during our flight. I asked for the last available time but my wife had beat me to it. So mine was scheduled 2 hours before landing and my wife’s was an hour and a half before landing.
Directly to the left of me were the seat controls and IFE TV remote control along with a USB and power outlet to charge my devices. Etihad offers in flight Wi-Fi but we didn’t use it during our flight.
My wife and baby stopped over to my seat and our butler offered to take a photo of us. You can see just how wide the seat is as my wife and I fit in the seat together comfortably.
Shortly thereafter the chef came around to the passenger and introduced himself. This would be his very first flight as head chef serving the first class passengers. He distributed menu’s for our flight and explained we could eat anytime and that there was no schedule so just let him know and he would be happy to prepare. He did note that we should let him know our selections ASAP so that he could put aside our choices. I advised I would eat about 1.5 hours after takeoff.
I initially told the chef to surprise me and prepare whatever he’d like for me. I told him that I am not picky and I am sure to like whatever he prepared. However he looked sort of nervous or perplexed by this request (being his first flight and all) thus I decided I will nix that and select off the A La Carte menu. The wine and dinner menu reads below:
After playing around with the IFE remote I decided to have another sip or two of Arabic coffee and try another date.
This is the view of my neighbors Apartment across the isle with our doors open.
Also on the couch in my apartment, next to my blanket there was a bag that contained my Etihad branded, black, size large pajamas and slippers.
After reading my welcome letter from the cabin manager I decided to change into my pajamas thus went to one of two bathrooms in the first class cabin. The bathroom was fairly large but not quite as nice as the bathroom on Thai Airlines first class in the A380. I wish I had a bit more space.
The restroom was very nicely appointed and the design was pleasing.
In the other bathroom is where the shower is. The bathroom is too small for comfortably taking a shower. I mean when you get out of the shower there is not a lot of space to comfortably get dressed.
I hung my clothes up in my closet which is built in to my Apartment near the entrance doors. I had just enough space to hang my shirt and pants as they provided two hangers.
Tucked away in a compartment near the end of the bench were the noise cancelling headphones provided by Etihad enclosed in a black zip-up pouch.
Here is a straight down the isle view from outside my apartment. Straight ahead at the end of the isle are stairs down to the first deck of the airplane.
By this point the cabin was prepared for takeoff and thus I looked out the window to enjoy our departure. It was a cloudy, rainy day in New York.
I watched our departure both out the window and on the planes tail camera.
Etihad offers some live TV channels which was nice as I was able to catch some of the US Open tennis shortly after takeoff.
All the while snacking on some olives and mixed nuts and Bollinger!
About an hour later they started setting the table for dinner service. My wife and I decided to coordinate our dinner times in order to dine together.
I moved over to Apartment 3k where my wife and baby were seated. We began with what I recall a squash themed amuse bouche (I could be mistaken here).
We both selected the corn soup for our starter. Along side we were offered an assortment of bread.
After we finished our soup which was very tasty, we were offered a palate cleanser.
My wife went with the Chicken….
And I with the lamb biryani which was so good. I shared a bite with my wife and she agreed it was the better choice.
For our baby we asked for some fruit for his dinner and my wife also tried to give him some chicken. He ate a whole banana and had some of a bowl of assorted mixed fruit. They also offered traditional baby food for him but he doesn’t really eat that anymore so we declined.
We finished our meals with a nice dessert. My wife went with the blackberry tart while I chose the textures which consisted of pumpkin flavors, which I am a fan of. Both desserts were scrumptious. Service throughout was attentive and thorough. Our glasses were topped off when needed without prompting.
My wife went with a nice red wine during her meal while I stayed with the Bollinger the entire flight, mixing in some water here and there.
Not long after dinner my wife decided to have her bed made hoping that she and baby could go to bed for several hours. I decide to have some time relaxing and watching some TV.
I looked around my Apartment a bit more and opened some drawers one of which housed some soft drinks and water.
Baby wasn’t quite as tired as mom yet so while she tried to coral him I requested my bed made and then closed our doors to our Etihad Apartments to have the ultimate in privacy.
I decided to lay down and watch some TV while in bed. The TV swings out for viewing while laying in bed. There is a button on the wall that will swivel it out and I think on the remote it may be possible too.
After the baby fell asleep I decided I should try to go to sleep too. My wife was already sleeping. Guys, let me say this is the best I have ever slept on a plane without any sleep aides!!!! We all slept approximately 7-8 hours!!! Actually I was woken up by a flight attendant asking if I would like to get ready for my shower! I decided ultimately to skip the shower due to the bathroom being a bit small and me being too tired to jump up and head right to the shower. My wife agreed with me and skipped her allotted shower session too. Honestly it seems more of a novelty then anything to me. IF the shower area was more spacious I probably would have tried it.
Once up my wife decided to freshen up at her seat in the vanity mirror while our baby was still sleeping.
Since it was morning and breakfast would be served shortly I decided to open my window shades. There are two levels of shades. A full black out layer and a more sheer layer that lets some light in and then finally wide open.
Our chef returned to take our breakfast orders. This time we decided to dine separate. I went with the eggs. Which also had sausage, beans, tomato and hash browns. I also had some fruit and pastries with toast and finally some orange juice. A proper English breakfast.
After breakfast we changed back into our normal clothes and got ready for landing. The crew came around again to chat with us. The cabin manager came over to ask how the flight went. Our chef, a proud new dad, came over to share some pictures of his newborn daughter from his cell phone. Everyone was so happy to have us onboard and play with our baby. They said he did great and was an amazing traveler.
I never used the amenity kit during the flight but it was located inside the vanity of my Apartment. The mens and women’s kit is slightly different but contents are similar.
We had a nice smooth touchdown in Abu Dhabi and the crew went and grabbed my wife’s bag that was stored in the crew area. We gathered up the rest of our belongings and the crew bid us farewell.
What a spectacular flight. The hard product was the best we have ever experienced and the genuine service was great. I would love to take this flight over and over again. This is the way to fly! Our best flight ever.
I booked this flight using American Airlines miles. Etihad partners with AA. Thus I was able to redeem 90,000 American Airlines miles and $12.60 per person for this flight!! Guys, I was able to pay $25 for our tickets!!! WOW. This is for my wife and my ticket.
I originally booked our tickets through Washington Dulles airport on Etihad 787 Dreamliner but later realized I could route through NYC/JKF and ride in the Apartments instead. There was no fee to make this change as the origin and destination stayed the same.
For the baby we needed to add him as a lap infant. I waited several months after we booked our tickets to book his. I actually called American Airlines three times to get a price quote. The third time was a charm and I was quoted a fair price of $371.40 for the baby’s ticket. No miles were needed since he wasn’t occupying his own seat.
The cash price for my original itinerary was over $15,000 per person had we paid cash!!!
A great value and one of my favorite redemptions yet!!