Part 4B – Review Etihad First Class Apartment, London to Abu Dhabi
Mention the Maldives and images of pristine turquoise blue waters come to mind. Overwater bungalows with direct jump-in access to the water and romantic sunsets are commonplace in this island paradise.
While it’s on almost everyone’s wish list, getting there can be a challenge. Flights are often ridiculously expensive and once you DO get to the islands, a barrage of expensive hotels with overpriced meals await. Never mind the flight distance involved, those expensive factors are enough to turn some people off and have them looking for cheaper destinations.
Getting to paradise and back doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We booked a ridiculous, normally unattainable luxury vacation valued at almost $46,000 for a grand total of $1,818… for two people!
Considering that’s usually the price of a regular coach class ticket to the Maldives, that’s one heck of a steal.
In the series of posts to follow, we’re going to walk you through all the experiences that we enjoyed on this trip. While most people would consider this once-in-a-lifetime, with just a little legwork and dedication you can have a luxury getaway to make Instagram followers drool with envy.
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – Flights to London and Hamilton
- Part 3 – Refined Luxury London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- Part 4a – The House Lounge, London Heathrow
- Part 4b – Etihad First Class Apartment LHR-AUH
- Part 4c – Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi
- Part 4d – A340 Etihad to Male, Flight Review
- Part 5 – A day in the life of Male, Capital City
- Part 6 – St Regis Airport Lounge
- Part 6b – Trans Maldivian Seaplane Ride
- Part 7 – The St Regis Hotel Arrival Experience
- Part 8 – Overwater Villa, $3000/night for FREE
- Part 9 – Things to do at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 10 – Free Breakfast at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 11 – How to not go broke eating in the Maldives
- Part 12 – Snorkeling at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 13 – Male Airport VIP experience
- Part 14 – Emirates First Class Male to Dubai
- Part 15 – Dubai Transit Hotel – Amazing Value
- Part 16 – Emirates First Class Dubai to Los Angeles
- Part 17 – Conclusion and Giveaway
Etihad Flight EY 12
Etihad remains, in my opinion, one of the best uses of American Airlines miles that exist today. A one way award in First Class from Europe to the Middle East (and the Maldives are considered the Middle East) is only 62,500 miles. Business is a little bit less, but considering that you can get there all with one sign up bonus on a credit card, there is no better way to spend your miles.
Etihad operates three flights a day from Abu Dhabi to London on their A380 aircraft. Each one has the apartment on board, so find the one that best matches your schedule.
For me, EY 12 is the best as it leaves around 9:40AM and lands in Abu Dhabi at 10pm. You can take the later flight but you’ll spend most of your time sleeping instead of enjoying all that this plane has to offer.
As soon as we left the lounge we only had a quick 2 minute walk to the gate. We were greeted by our butler who took us both to our apartment. First order of business… champagne.
The seat is HUGE and is line with Poltrona Frau leather (the same leather used in Ferrari cars).
The apartment has a seat for you to sit and also a couch where you can lounge and relax. Just look at all the room you’ve got!
In each apartment is an incredibly warm blanket, pajamas, and pillow.
Storage for your luggage is underneath the sofa…
And just as a small public service announcement, please don’t be a disgusting traveler. You’re in a cabin that costs thousands of dollars and your stanky-ass feet are all over my Italian leather? Learn some manners you filthy animal.
Now, onward to the rest of the flight…
Double USB chargers and an HDMI port are next to you, incase you’d like to stream to the 24” television in your apartment.
There was a little bit of rain in London which made for some awesome rainbows as we took off.
Not 5 minutes after take off, we were approached and asked if we wanted more champagne. But this time, it wasn’t just the champagne… it also came with almonds, wasabi peas, and olives.
The champagne on offer was a 2006 rose from Charles Heidsdeck.
Later on during the flight we switched up to The Original Cipriani Bellini.
I also wanted some coffee to wake up, and it was swiftly brought out in what has to be some of the most gorgeous china I’ve ever seen on an airline.
We knew dinner was going to start soon, so we decided to get some stretching and exercising done. I mean, when you have all the space in the world, you might as well do a full-on routine. Ben was stretching and doing toe touches with room to spare!
Before we dug into our food, the onboard chef came over. He asked if we had any allergies or special requests, so I decided to have a little bit of fun. I told him that I wanted the Signature Caviar service, but everything else I would let him decide what he wanted to make. I wanted to be surprised and delighted… so have fun with the ingredients. He looked like he was ready for the challenge, so the show began.
First was the Etihad Signature Caviar service. The Caviar was accompanied by egg yolk, egg whites, blintzes, lemon wedges, onion, sour cream, and more bread. It was also, as it should be, served with a small mother of pearl spoon. Because… obviously 🙂
Now, I don’t expect that I’ll ever eat caviar on the ground, because I’m quite well accustomed to how it tastes at 35,000 feet.
Next, the soup. It was a butternut squash soup. But not just any butternut squash soup. It was the creamiest, tastiest, heartiest soup I’ve had.
The next course was a poached egg with blanched asaparagus. I mean, come ON! A poached egg on an airplane? Made right then and there? That’s impressive.
Since I was filling up, I asked for a half portion of the main course. He made a honey and almond glazed chicken breast, served with a side of carrot puree and brocollini.
After that awesome meal, we decided to retire to the onboard lounge to have some dessert wine and just relax. They had a live feed of a soccer match going on, but we were the only ones there. About 3 minutes after we arrived, 2 more couples showed up from business class (the horror!) and they wanted to be chatty. Like, a lot… like, loud. So we retreated back to First Class and the refuge of our apartment.
The lounge itself is actually pretty nice as each seat has power chargers and all the liqour/wine is available for you to have as well. It’s kind of self service, but at the same time the butler is right there and they will happily make you whatever you’d like.
How dare you even consider lifting a finger, you first class passenger, you!
Asked if we’d like to have our dessert now, we were shocked. We completely forgot to have dessert!
We decided to head back to the seats and have dessert together. One of the best parts of flying in the apartment is the ability to have you both seated for any meal service. Try doing that in coach!
Since we were pretty stuffed from the flight, we opted to simply have strawberry ice cream and a martini creation. I can’t quite explain it, but it was a mix of espresso, vermouth, Tia Maria, and vodka. Super tasty.
The rest of the flight was pretty relaxing. We watched a movie or two and had almost completely forgot that we scheduled a shower with our onboard butler. In the front right of the cabin there is a large bathroom with a shower attached. As a First Class Apartment manager, you can get a 5 minute shower included which is a fantastic way to freshen up before landing.
The butler informed us that our time had arrived and the shower area had been prepared for us.
You’ll get 5 minutes of water, and don’t worry about bringing a stopwatch with you, there’s a visual timer to let you know that time is running out. When you’re down to the last minute, the water shuts off automatically as a sort of “hey, don’t leave with shampoo in your hair…” warning. You can turn it back on and keep going.
Aqua di Parma toiletries were in abundance and matched everything in your amenity kit as well.
Just before landing I heard a DING and realized that my screen was flashing. Not sure what that meant, but I saw that a message from the crew was on my screen. They were wishing me a happy Birthday. Nice touch, but they could have also just come over and say it to me 🙂
And just like that, we were landing in Abu Dhabi! I love the views of Abu Dhabi from the air at night. It’s literally black stretches of nothing and then BOOM city lights and civilization.
How to Book
Without a doubt, Etihad is the best way to redeem American Airlines miles. For just one sign up bonus you can get a one way ticket from mainland Europe to Anywhere in the Middle East, 8 hours in what is one of the most luxurious first class products around, and unparalleled lounge service. For 62,500 miles, this can’t be beat.
Next stop, the Maldives!