November 17, 2016

Review: Etihad A380 First Apartment, Abu Dhabi to Mumbai

Trip to Guangzhou in Turkish Airlines Business Class & Guangzhou to Mumbai in Qatar Airways & Etihad A380 First Class

A few months ago, I came across some tips on Flyertalk about a cheap business class fare from Vilnius to Toronto on Turkish Airlines and since I wanted to earn Elite status in the airlines' Miles & Smiles program by the end of this year, I did not hesitate and booked the flight. Unfortunately, a schedule change forced me to cancel the flight and look for another option. I had some miles left on my American Airlines Advantage account so I thought I could redeem them flying from Guangzhou to Mumbai in first class. Flying from Mumbai to Bangkok was easy since Air India flies direct between these two cities. After thoroughly planning the trip, I ended up buying an open jaw ticket in Turkish Airlines business class, from Stockholm to Guangzhou and back from Bangkok to Stockholm. It actually turned out perfectly well as I was able to fly Qatar Airways A380 first class from Guangzhou to Doha and then to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, I was able to visit the newly opened Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa and from Abu Dhabi, I flew on Etihad's A380 to Mumbai. It was 8 flights in 6 days which was really tiring but who cares when you're flying in first and business class πŸ˜‰



Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Stockholm to Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class, Istanbul to Guangzhou
Review: Hilton Guangzhou Baiyun
24 hours in Guangzhou, China
Review: Premium Lounge, Guangzhou Airport (CAN)
Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Guangzhou to Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class, Doha to Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa
Review: Etihad Airways A380 First Apartment, Abu Dhabi to Mumbai
Review: Loyalty Lounge, Mumbai Airport (BOM)
Review: Thai Royal Silk Lounge Concourse C West, Bangkok (BKK)
Review: Thai Royal Silk Lounge Concourse C East, Bangkok (BKK)
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Bangkok to Istanbul
Tour Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Stockholm

Etihad Airways First Class Foie Gras on the flight to Mumbai

Flight: EY 204
Departure time in Abu Dhabi (AUH): 14:20 (actual, 14:18)
Arrival time in Mumbai (BOM): 19:20 (actual, 19:21)
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Seat: 4K
Duration: 3h 33min
Date of flight: November 4, 2016
*Award Ticket, First Class flight #41

Checking-in using the mobile App


Checking in to my flight to Mumbai using the app was not possible as Indian visa had to be checked.

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa

After visiting the Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa which is no doubt one of the nicest first class lounges I've been to, I decided to head to the departure gate around 1:15pm.

Boarding, gate 61

Taking the travelator to the gate

Departure gate 61

Since visa is required for travels to India, one of the agents working in the pre-boarding area asked if I had one and after telling her I would only be transiting (and showing her my connecting flight), I was then allowed to proceed to the dedicated area for first class passengers. Boarding started at 1:30pm beginning with passengers traveling in business class and first class.

Aircraft, Airbus A380-800

The lovely Airbus A380-800

First Class Cabin, upper deck

The first class cabin located on the upper deck had 9 apartments and on that afternoon flight to Mumbai, 3 apartments were occupied. As I boarded, I was welcomed by one of the flight attendants and handed over to Dolly, a lovely Filipina working in the first class cabin.

First Apartment, 4K

My apartment, 4K

Etihad Airways A380 First Apartment 4K

I loved the way she welcomed me to my seat as she actually said "Welcome to your apartment". Of course, she was just telling the truth as there is no other first class seat in the airline industry as HUGE as the Etihad First Apartment πŸ˜‰

I have previously reviewed the apartment features when I flew from Abu Dhabi to London in May 2015, London to Abu Dhabi in December 2015 and most recently from London to Abu Dhabi in May this year so I would be concentrating more on the service this time.

Dolly also offered to hang my jacket inside the mini wardrobe and which I gladly accepted.

Moments later, I was served a welcome drink (I ordered a glass of water with a slice of lemon) which was served with a hot towel, a welcome note from Simona the Cabin Manager from Czech Republic and some dates.

Welcome note signed by the Cabin Manager

Afterwards, I was presented the menu card and the wine list.

I was also offered some magazines although I declined.

Moments later, Oscar, the F&B Manager from Mexico came to welcome me on board. Etihad has recently introduced a new first class amenity kit featuring new pouch bags from renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix and skincare products from Hungarian brand Omorovicza. Already inside the personal wardrobe was the male amenity kit but since I liked the female version more, I asked Oscar if it was possible to have them instead. Moments later, he was back with the female version. Eventually, I also got the male version. Muchas gracias, Oscar πŸ˜‰

Personal wardrobe with the female amenity kit

The female amenity kit consisted of the fold-over bag which can be used as a clutch bag, Omorovicza perfecting lip balm, Omorovicza nourishing hand treatment and Omorovicza balancing moisturizer. Also included were the usual pillow mist spray, pulse point oil, eye mask, earplugs, comb, toothbrush, socks and care pack (cotton pads, ear buds, emery board).

Moments later, Chef Steven who is originally from the Seychelles came to take my meal order. He suggested I take the Chef's special which was cod and then the Pommeade, one of their mocktails for my drinks. Simona, the Cabin Manager also came to welcome me onboard. As I chatted with Dolly, I learned that she was actually celebrating her 9th year of working for Etihad. Cheers to that, Dolly πŸ™Œ

I was also served some Arabic coffee and dates which were very good.

Etihad inflight magazines, E-BOX magazine, safety instructions card, etc.

I also checked the beverages on offer and they were actually the same as on my previous flights: a diet and regular Coke, a diet and regular Sprite and still and sparkling water.

Around 2:07pm, the captain (Rodrigo Passos) came on the PA to welcome us onboard and inform us of our flight time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Etihad Lounge in Los Angeles ad

Around 2:21pm, the inflight safety video started to play and 20 minutes later, we were airborne.

The Skytrax 5 star rating!

In-flight Entertainment

Some of the new films onboard included Ghostbusters, The Duel, The BFG and The Infiltrator.

Etihad first class headphones

Onboard Shower

I thought I would "shower again in the sky" so I asked Dolly to book it for me. A few minutes after the seatbelt sign was turned off, Dolly came to my seat to inform me that the shower was ready.

As expected the Le Labo products (which Etihad Airways had been using since they launched their A380 flights) were gone and have now been replaced by the skin care products from Omorovicza. It included a cleansing handwash, face wash, hand sanitizer, hand lotion and mist spray.

Already waiting in the shower cabin were the Omorovicza body cleanser, shampoo, conditioner and a towel.

It was actually my 5th time to take a "shower in the sky" and there was never a time that I ran out of water. You only get about 5 minutes of running water but I guess, it is actually more than enough.

There was also the Omorovicza body lotion to use after taking a shower.

Etihad A380 first class toilet

To be able to test a new product in the shower and lavatory was nice although I still prefer the Le Labo products.

Dining

Minutes after I was back in my apartment, Dolly came with my mocktail and some nibbles.


Champagne

Bollinger La Grande Annee
Duval Leroy RosΓ©


Γ€ la carte

Appetiser

Foie Gras
Gulf Mezze
Dal Badami Shorba

Main Course

Lamb Loin
Tandoori Chicken
Authentic Gulf Lamb Biryani
Black Cod
Paneer Tiltila


Dessert

Textures
Fresh Fruit Platter
Cheese Selection
A Selection of Ice Creams


Lounge

Paapdi Chaat
Arabic Mixed Grill
Vanilla Cheesecake
Potato Crisps
Baklava
Madeleines
Freshly Baked Cookies

Moments later, Dolly came to set up my table. As expected, the table set up was perfect ... even the logos of the butter and olive oil πŸ˜‰

The cutlery were from Studio William exclusively for Etihad.

Oscar, who also works as a butler for the Residence guests, came later to offer me some bread and I chose the pretzel. He also asked if I loved the mocktail, which I did.

Etihad first class butter and olive oil from Monte Vibiano

Foie Gras
Plum Jelly, shallots, brioche πŸ˜‹

Black Cod
Saffron potato, courgette, asparagus samphire, thyme butter sauce

The foie gras was very good and I was glad I ordered it. I later learned that the guy seated in 1H and in 2H also ordered it although there were only two foie gras on board. The guy in 1H was busy on the phone talking when the inflight chef took the orders so when his turn finally came, me and the guy in 2H (who was a Platinum member) had already ordered it. πŸ˜‰ The black cod was definitely one of the best meals I've had in first class. Thanks so much Chef Steven πŸ™‡

To end my meal, I had a cup of Morrocan green tea (as suggested by Dolly) which was served with a hot towel and a local chocolate from Coco Jalila. Dolly offered me some desserts but I was already full so I declined. Dolly also offered to make my bed although it was not really necessary as it was a very short flight.

Indian immigration forms were also distributed.

View of sunset

Around 6:06pm, the captain came on the PA to give us updated flight info and that we would be landing in 45 minutes.

Moments later, Simona came to my seat to thank me for flying with them, who was followed by Oscar who gave me a playing card and a guest comment card. Lastly, Chef Steven came to thank me as well and was very glad when I told him that the black cod was one of the best meals I've had in first class.

Arrival in Mumbai Airport

There was little traffic in Mumbai Airport and we had to wait for about 15 minutes. We landed around 7:06pm although it took us sometime to reach the gate.

Mumbai International Airport

CONCLUSION

All my previous flights in Etihad First Apartment were between London and Abu Dhabi so I was really excited to take this much shorter flight. The lounge experience in Abu Dhabi was definitely one of the best an airline could offer and should be an inspiration to other airlines. I loved the fact that Etihad started offering a new amenity kit although I personally like the Le Labo products more. To be given pyjamas on this short flight was impressive since I have never received any pyjamas on my two flights in Qatar Airways first class between Doha and Paris, which is a flight of almost 6 hours. The meal service was topnotch, I was continuously offered refill of drinks and more bread, and the foie gras and black cod by Chef Steven were just phenomenal. Of course, Dolly really did a great job and took care of me throughout the whole flight. Lastly, the onboard shower was a big plus since only two airlines in the world offer them. Overall, I enjoyed every single moment on this flight and would definitely fly with them again in the future. To Dolly, Chef Steven, Oscar and Simona, "Shukran" 😊


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