A luxury Residence onboard

Etihad Airways has raised the bar in luxury travel with the launch of a new three-room apartment that comes with an en-suite shower, double bed and personal butler. Called “The Residence“, Etihad has transformed part of its A380 upper deck into a luxurious flying hotel suite that offers a trio of compartments including a living room space, bedroom and en-suite bathroom, complete with shower.

A personal “Jeeves”, trained at the Savoy Butler Academy in London, is also on hand to cater to guest whims, while a concierge team will look after passengers’ travel experience from ground transport to cuisine and amenities.  The residence bedroom features a double bed, joined to the living room by a short corridor. The living room features a two-seat leather couch, a dining table and private minibar. Both the living room and bedroom feature LCD television screens for inflight entertainment. The space, covering almost 12 square metres on the aircraft, is unprecedented in commercial airline travel. Etihad’s Australian-born president and CEO James Hogan said the aim of residence was to provide an experience more like flying in a private jet than flying in first class.

The airline also unveiled new first class, business class and economy class seats for its A380 and Dreamliner aircraft. The seats were designed over a five-year period by a consortium of three British design firms. The airline’s A380 first class seats, dubbed apartments, are 74 per cent bigger than the carrier’s existing first class and feature a reclining lounge chair and expanding ottoman. It is the ottoman, not the seat, that expands into a bed. The private space, which can be closed off from the aisle with sliding doors also features a vanity unit with lighted mirrors and amenities from luxury brands. The first class cabin also features a bathroom with a shower for Guests.

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest airliner, measuring 72-metres long and with a wingspan of just under 80 metres. Etihad’s A380s will carry up to 498 passengers, with two residence guests, nine first class, 70 business class and 417 economy class passengers. The size of the A380 has allowed airlines to do things with the interiors that would have been impossible previously. Singapore Airlines, the first airline to take delivery of A380s, set the precedent by creating private “suites” in its first class cabin. Emirates, too, broke new ground with its A380 by becoming the first airline to install showers on board. Meanwhile Qatar Airways is expected to launch later this month a new all-business class flight from Doha to London that will accommodate 40 passengers on a single-aisle A319.

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