Tuesday 21 October 2014

Etihad unveils luxurious hotel-style cabins complete with private butler

Published 07/05/2014 | 15:01

The lounge area inside ‘The Residence’
The lounge area inside ‘The Residence’

THIS is the future of flying – and it looks comfortable.

Independent.ie was among a select number of media outlets to get a first look inside Etihad Airways new Airbus A380 which takes flight next December.

The interior includes a three-room hotel-style suite area called ‘The Residence’ that the Abu Dhabi airline claims is better than flying on a private jet.

It will feature its own living room, double bedroom, a shower and you will have the aid of a personal butler who has been trained at the Savoy in London.

Of course, it doesn’t come cheap. For two people the price for a one-way flight from Abu Dhabi to London will be around €14,400.

The apartments have a personal mini-bar, vanity unit, swivelling TV monitor and a fully equipped shower room.
Customers will have a personal butler attending to them for the evening.
The Residence comprises a living room, separate double bedroom and en-suite shower

So while it’s out of range for the ordinary traveller, Etihad’s CEO James Hogan says the idea is “aspiration”.

He believes that the airline will have a sufficient number of ‘better than first class’ customers to justify the Poltrona Frau leather sofa, entertainment system, Egyptian cotton sheets and top class menus.

Mr Hogan said the move would leave competitors "scratching their heads" as Residence is “better than a private jet”.

The A380 will also feature nine ‘First Apartments’ with sliding doors and an 80-inch bed. And the days of calling the cabin crew every time you need a top-up will be gone. The apartments have a personal mini-bar, vanity unit, swivelling TV monitor and a fully equipped shower room.

For mere mortals there is an upgrade too. Etihad says that they have put as much energy into their economy and business class.

The planes will be redesigned with ‘hotel-style’ interiors. Lounges with big screen TVs and prayer areas are also part of the plan.

Back in economy the seats will have new headrests which Etihad say will guarantee the best sleep possible on a long haul flight.

Business class and economy class customers flying on Etihad out of Dublin can expect to enjoy the new design within four years as the airline retrofits its existing fleet – although it might be sooner as they plan to move newly purchased Boeing 787 Dreamliners here at some point.

"The Irish market is very important to us," Mr Hogan said. "We were the first to open up that market and we're very proud of our position in Ireland.

"The 787 will move at a point in time to Ireland. It's a natural fit for that market."

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