After I had collected quite a lot of Etihad Guest miles, I found out that it was possible to fly Abu Dhabi – London in Etihad´s new First Class Apartment for just 55.000 miles + 18€ (80 AED) tax. I surely wanted to use this opportunity for an “once in a lifetime” experience and started planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
The day before my flight from Abu Dhabi to London I received a phone call from Etihad´s chauffeur service. A very friendly woman asked if everything´s alright and if I´m happy with my pick up time (5:45 a.m.). We arranged an earlier time so I´d have enough time to enjoy the fabulous First Class lounge.
On the next morning I got picked up at 5:15 a.m. from my hotel near the Corniche. We reached the airport within 20 minutes. Upon arrival I was accompanied to the First Class Check-In. A few moments later I received my boarding pass, cleared customs and passed the security check. I proceeded to the First & Business Class Lounge in Terminal 3.
Boarding began at 7 a.m. A separate First & Business boarding area enables a quick boarding and shortly after that I embarked the gigantic A380, registration A6-APE.
When I entered the cabin I was greeted by my personal flight attendant, who guided me to my apartment.
My first impression was: wow! It looked even more spacious and luxurious then on the pictures and videos I had seen before.
After I sat down I received a welcome drink and the flight attendant explained all functions of the apartment – including the mini-bar & in-flight entertainment system.
When the boarding process was still going on, the Inflight Chef Marco introduced himself, presented the menu card for our 7,5 hour flight to London-Heathrow and wrote down my order for breakfast and lunch.
A few minutes after our scheduled time of departure we left foggy Abu Dhabi in a westerly direction and set course for Europe.
It was pretty cool to observe our flight with the tail camera on the 32-inch flat-screen TV while simultaneously viewing the flight map on the remote control.
Breakfast was served a few minutes later. I chose the “Breakfast Bakery Basket” together with some fresh scrambled eggs on toast and sausages – delicious!
After I finished breakfast, the crew prepared my apartment for a nap and transformed the couch into a bed. According to the tail camera we were somewhere over Iran now.
When I woke up again we were somewhere over Bulgaria or Romania. I decided to refresh myself and asked if it´s possible to take a shower now. A few moments later the bathroom was prepared by a flight attendant. She showed me the functions of the unique shower, for example that the water is only available for 5 minutes. The remaining time is indicated by a digital display.
Thereafter I went to the lounge/bar area, which is situated between the First and Business Class. A perfect place to have a drink and come into contact with other passengers.
With a remaining flight time of approximately 1,5 hours my lunch was prepared while we overflew Prague, Czech Republic, at 41.000ft.
I´d ordered an U.S. Rib-eye Steak with oven-baked French Fries – amazing!!
One hour later we commenced our descent into London.
We touched down smoothly at around 12 p.m. on runway 27L and taxied to our gate at Terminal 4.
After collecting my suitcase and clearing customs, I met my chauffeur. He drove me to Gatwick, where I caught my next flight and so this adventure came to an end.
This was surely the best flight I´ve ever had! The experience itself was amazing and the crew was so lovely, especially the Cabin Manager James and the Inflight Chef Marco! I felt very welcomed and comfortable.
Just two words are needed to describe this adventure: Flying Reimagined