As if caviar, onboard showers and obsequious service in first class wasn't enough, Etihad has recently upped the game. Today, they put out a press release regarding their new proposed "Residences" on their new A380s. These cabins are slated to be released for the Abu Dhabi to London routes followed shortly by flights to New York, Melbourne and Sydney.
The residences are, for lack of a better word, unbelievable. Each residence will take up 125 square feet of space encompassing a living room, separate bedroom with a double bed, two different dining tables and your own personal bathroom and shower. Of course, all of these amenities are overseen by your own personal butler trained by Savoy Hotels. Needless to say, this is completely over the top – which seems synonymous with Middle Eastern airlines – but after looking at some of the furnishings, I was pleasantly surprised to see the cabins seem to exhibit some posh understatement. Check it out.
Currently, Etihad doesn't seem to allow Residence bookings on miles, but perhaps in time they'll follow Singapore Airlines' take on their suites' class in their A380s and start releasing limited quantities at the Saver level. At least, that's the only hope that I have to be able to experience something as ridiculous as this.
Personally, the interesting take-away I'm getting from this announcement is another data point on the future of air travel. Many bloggers (including your author) think that airlines are moving away from first class cabins. More business class cabins now offer amenities that used to be the purview of first class. These include lie-flat seats, great food, solid beverages and on-point service at 40-60% discounts off first class pricing. Perhaps Etihad serves a different demographic, but it will be very interesting to see how this new offering will be received.
Lots of respect will be accorded to the first person to write up an Etihad Residences trip report on Flyertalk!