With the return of Etihad Airbus A380s to the skies this summer, it also means the return of The Residence – the only three-room suite on a commercial airline in the world.
However, The Residence is only being offered as an upgrade option for First Class passengers on selected A380 flights.
Return of Etihad A380s and The Residence
At the end of 2022, Etihad Airways confirmed that it will reintroduce four of its A380s in the summer of 2023. This decision was made following a surge in demand for air travel across the airline’s network and customer feedback for the return of one of the most remarkable commercial flying experiences in the sky. Etihad had grounded all of its 10 A380s following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Etihad’s A380 feature The Residence as well as three cabin classes on the double-decker aircraft, including 9 First Apartments, 70 Business Studios and 405 Economy Smart Seats. This includes 80 Economy Space seats with a seat pitch of up to 36 inches.
There’s nothing like The Residence in commercial travel. The Residence is above First Class; with a three-section layout, with a private bedroom, an ensuite bathroom with shower and a living room.
Every aspect of your travel is well taken care of; there are no queues, no hassles and no check-ins, just sit back, relax and enjoy the premium service in the lounge and onboard. It is the only three-room suite on any commercial airline, designed for two people travelling together.
Before flying The Residence, a dedicated concierge team ensures your preferences for butler service, dietary requirements, and onward travel assistance are taken care of. The bedroom features a genuine 6-foot 10-inch double bed, with designer Italian bed linen, providing comfort and luxury.
Residence passengers can choose to board first or last, accompanied by a personal escort to the gate.
An in-flight butler awaits to welcome and guide passengers to their Residence, with some even enjoying a full cabin tour and meeting the pilot in the cockpit.
Moreover, The Residence Lounge is totally private, there is a private bathroom and shower room and even a private prayer room for the Muslim faith.
Etihad Selling Upgrades to The Residence
The Residence suites sit at the front of the upper deck, and their amenities are straight out of a five-star hotel. It is all about exclusives in The Residence!
With the Etihad Superjumbos returning on its London Heathrow service starting from the 15th of July later this year, The Residence is once again available for booking. However, there is a change in the booking process. Instead of being directly bookable, The Residence is now offered as an upgrade option for First Class passengers.
Since the A380s will only operate on the London Heathrow route in the beginning, this is the only segment you can upgrade. By early December, the A380 will be deployed on three of Etihad’s four daily London Heathrow flights.
To avail the upgrade, it is necessary to have a booking in the First Class initially. While I believe that redemption bookings may also be eligible for the upgrade, I cannot confirm this at the moment.
Etihad now offers an upgrade option from A380 First Class to The Residence, which can be found on their website during the ‘seat selection’ stage of the booking process. The upgrade is priced at approximately £2,000 for the one-way journey between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow.
However, the cost applied is the same whether it’s a single passenger or a two-person booking, with The Residence designed to accommodate two individuals comfortably. The prospect of a two-person upgrade at this price is particularly enticing.
Please note that at this stage, Etihad is reintroducing The Residence as a hard product only, without the full suite of services typically associated with it, such as private butler service and enhanced food and beverage offerings.
It is expected that the meals, drinks, and service experience in The Residence will be on par with the offerings in First Class.