Sam Chui delivers his verdict on Etihad Airways’ luxurious, beyond-First Class experience.
It has been almost two years since Etihad Airways introduced its customers to The Residence. According to the Abu Dhabi-based flag carrier, the multi-faceted offering provides “a truly unique and bespoke travel experience, delivered with complete discretion and limitless hospitality.” At the heart of this phenomenal product is a three-room suite, housed at the front of the upper deck of its Airbus A380s and featuring a luxurious living room, separate double bedroom and en-suite shower room, as well as the services of a Savoy Hotel-trained butler. It is intended to accommodate up to two passengers and, unsurprisingly, such luxury comes at a price. When it was first introduced, one-way tickets between London and Abu Dhabi started at $20,000, far beyond the budget of most of the travelling public. Speaking at the launch in 2014, CEO James Hogan said the fare represented “a good deal” when compared with the $100,000 to $160,000 it would cost to hire an executive jet for a similar journey.