We recently covered the glimpses of the inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai on Etihad’s A380. It was truly an amazing experience with the Etihad’s A380 First apartment on the inaugural flight.
Etihad Chauffeur dropped me in Terminal 1, as the flights bound for India normally depart from T1. However, since this is an A380, we are departing from Terminal 3, Gate 33.
Etihad didn’t have any problem with me checking in from the T1-First class counter, and we breezed through the security and immigration in less than 20 minutes.
After spending about an hour in the dedicated space for the first class passengers in Etihad Premium Lounge, I headed to the gate 33 expecting some sort of celebration for the A380 inaugural flight to Mumbai.
Etihad agents were scanning the boarding passes of the business and first passengers before letting them board the flight. There is a small area with limited seating to wait after the boarding pass is scanned.
Boarding started around 1.20 PM for the 2.10 departure. we boarded through the upper deck ramp. I was greeted by the Food & Beverage manager of the flight – Mahesh and was escorted to my Apartment 4A. Etihad’s A380 first class cabin is unique, Etihad is the only airline that offers single aisle for First class cabin on a wide body aircraft.
There are a total of 9 First Apartments on this aircraft and the seating is unique and innovative. Normally, all First class seats turn out to bed when needed. Etihad changed that concept completely by introducing a seat along with a sofa cum bed in the apartment.
The most distinguishing feature of the Etihad’s A380 is “The Residence”, which is at the forward portion of the upper deck.
Your Apartment can accommodate 3 passengers, 1 in the seat and 2 in the sofa cum bed. You can have a small party in your apartment during the flight.
Regarding the seating arrangement, some seats are forward facing and some seats are rare facing.This was designed with the intention to have the sofas/bed next to each other, when you decide to sleep. There is a partition between the apartments which you could lower, so you get a feel of sleeping next to each other.
Some of the first apartments are also rear facing. Here is the configuration.
Seat 1H is the forward facing seat, close to the aisle. This seat may be a little inconvenient as it is next to The Residence.
Seat 2C & Seat 2H are forward facing seats close to the Aisle (No Window access from the seat)
Seat 3A & 3K are forward rear facing seats close to the window
Seat 4A & 4k are forward facing seats close to the window
Seat 5C & 5H are rear facing seats close to the aisle
If you prefer window seat and forward facing seat, Row 4 is the best choice.
Back to the flight, First class cabin attendant Cheita, stopped by to introduce herself and gave a tour of the First Apartment.
There is a several pockets of storage area in the First Apartment – including a jacket storage, personal items storage. You have a personal vanity along with all the Etihad amenities.
There are no overhead bins in the First Apartment, your carry on bags and items have to stowed under the sofa in front you.
The seat in the First Apartment has a variety of features – including setting the firmness, adjusting lumber support, massager, incline, modifying the head support.
If the Apartment is not set up properly for take-off or landing, there is a red light outside your cabin to alert the flight crew.
Mahesh came back with my choice of welcome drink – Lemon and Mint along with the Arabic dates.As this is an inaugural A380 flight to India, there was a gift from Etihad
The on board chef – Jacob came by and introduced himself and offered the Menu available for this flight.
There are only 2 passengers in the First class, which means there was a lot of attention from the crew. We started push back at about 2.15 PM and we were airborne after taxiing for about 15 minutes. The flying time to Mumbai is less than 3 hours, which means there is not enough time to experience the food, take a shower and get a nap.
Shortly after take off, food service has begun as per my order taken before the taken off.
There is a small lounge between the First class and business class cabin offering a variety of snacks and few drinks.
One of the features of the Etihad’s A380 is the ability to take shower. There are 2 rest rooms and one is spacious and does not have a shower, while the other is smaller and has a shower. Here is a picture of the bigger rest room which doesn’t have a shower.
You will get water for 10 minutes and the shower has to be activated by the attendant in the back end. The shower panel will illuminate when activated and the clock starts ticking when the shower starts. There is shampoo, shower gel and conditioner available.
We had the opportunity to try the Etihad’s first apartment in EY204 from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai on May 01, 2016 which is the launch day of A380 to Mumbai.
First Apartment is very spacious and has been a true game changer. We hope to travel on a long haul flight to fully enjoy the First apartment and service.
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