Wednesday, 14 May 2014

This airplane ticket will cost you $25000!

When we imagine a typical First Class seat, we think of a large sofa-bed like contraption, perhaps with some blinds or a small wooden wall for privacy and a TV not larger than 20 inches. Guess what? Etihad Airlines has blown apart the traditional wisdom of First Class with the introduction of The Residence on its new Airbus A380.

Living room of The Residence

Bedroom of The Residence

Deck plans of Etihad A380

This 6 Star Hotel room in the sky includes a bedroom, living room and full bathroom. Goodness! 90% of all business jets do not even have such luxuries. To double the indulgence, there is even a personal butler to cater to the passenger's every whim and desire. This is not the usual flight attendant that will merely serve you meals and sell duty-free goods; the butler serves NO ONE ELSE except you and your partner.

While the ticket price of USD25,000 from Abu Dhabi to London sounds like a lot, do not forget that this suite is for double occupancy. Also, consider that chartering a private jet with such luxuries could cost you upwards of USD100,000 per flight, the Etihad Residence is actually quite a bargain (if you can afford it)!

Nonetheless, I cannot believe that someone will be so desperate that he calls for DONATIONS for an air ticket on the Residence. Luxuries really spawn eccentric behavior.

Even the Apartments in Airbus A380 are a step above standard first class travel, with separate beds and seats, a large 24 Inch TV and private vanity. However, there are very limited amenities beyond the seat. There is just a small longue-bar, unlike A380s of comparable airlines like Emirates which provide full bars and lounges. Also, if we look at the plan carefully, it appears that some seats in the Apartments are facing BACKWARDS! Not sure if that's a comfortable arrangement.

Etihad Airbus A380 First Apartment

Etihad Boeing 787 First Suite

However, I think that the Boeing 787 First Suites are little better than the first class offered by Singapore Airlines, Emirates or, as in the picture below, Air India.

First Class Seat from Air India. It is closer the Etihad's Boeing 787 First Suite

For those of us who cannot afford the sky high costs, not to worry. Etihad is also introducing new generation economy Smart Seats, though I must admit that the only real development over current airlines is the larger In Flight Entertainment (IFE) screen. The business class is a slight improvement in terms of comfort, but I think that the Fishbone Seating used by Air New Zealand can offer the same comfort while using less space.

 Etihad new Business Studios vs Air New Zealand's Business Premier

Etihad Economy Smart Seats vs Singapore Airlines Economy Seats

More information can be found on Etihad's website

Copyright of all images belong to the respective airlines