Etihad’s A380 is one of the popular product in the market due to the innovative cabins – The Residence, First Apartment & Business Studio.
On Nov 03, 2015, Etihad announced that the A380 will be arriving Mumbai effective May 01, 2016 and the day has finally arrived. I was able to grab an award seat in the First Apartment on the inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai.
This flight EY204 used to be operated with Airbus A340 and is replaced by A380. I was actually hoping that this would also be a brand new aircraft out of the paint shop, however that’s not to be the case.
I was picked up by the Etihad Chauffeur promptly at 10.00 AM from my hotel, for the 2.10 PM departure. I arrived at the airport around 11.15AM and we finished the Check-in, immigration and security check in less than 30 minutes.
I was hoping that the new first class lounge would also open today, however it didn’t happen. I was escorted to an area dedicated to First class and Residence passengers in the Etihad Premium Lounge in Terminal 3.
Around 1.00 PM, I walked to the gate 33 in Terminal 3, expecting some celebration for the inaugural flight. Sure enough, there are lot of folks from Etihad, including some senior management looking after the arrangements.
There was a few minutes delay for the boarding to begin, as we were waiting for the Residence passengers. As soon as they boarded, First and Business class passengers were allowed to board. There were some Etihad Senior management also on this flight, to check the proceedings.
As we boarded, there were a few photo clicks from the Etihad, along with the welcome gift. However, Business and First class passengers were given welcome gift at their seats.
The flying time of this route is approximately 2.5 hours, so there is hardly enough time to experience all the features of the A380 and first apartment. There are a total of 9 First apartments located on the upper deck of the A380, and there only 2 seats occupied along with “The Residence” on this flight,
As we were ready to depart, The captain of the flight Ramesh and the senior first officer Irfan came on the PA and expressed their excitement to be the pilots on this flight and thanked the passengers for flying on this flight. Most of the staff on this place are either Indians or with an Indian origin.
After the meal service, we were handed a certificate for flying on this inaugural flight.
This is a great souvenir along with the 500:1 scale model of the Etihad’s A380.
We landed about 30 minutes earlier than schedule. There was a formal flag celebration from the pilots, however there was no water cannon salute due to the drought.
Image : Courtesy of Etihad Airways
At the gate, there was a celebration and all the passengers were given a desert box and a flower.
The buzz was amazing in the Mumbai airport, you could see a lot of Etihad staff and camera’s clicking all over. There was a photo shoot with the Residence guests in front the banner.
Effective May 1, 2016, Etihad’s A380 is operating daily flight between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai . I happened to be on this Etihad A380 inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We were given an Etihad’s A380 500:1 scale model, greeting cards and a certificate from James Hogan.
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