Etihad Airways unveils new luxury plane with three-room private suite

The Lobby (left) where passengers can mingle, and 'The Residence by Etihad' private suite (top and bottom).

Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates' national airline, has launched a new fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircrafts, the first of which features a three-room private suite - complete with a living room, separate double bedroom, and an en-suite shower room.

Promised to be "the world's most luxurious living space in the air", 'The Residence by Etihad' is located on the forward upper deck of the new A380 planes, and is available for single or double occupancy. The private suite offers levels of luxury and total privacy normally found only on private jets, said Etihad Airways in a press release.

According to the Daily Mail, a one-way ticket aboard The Residence is set to cost around £12,500 (S$26,400) - but guests will also be provided with a 32-inch flatscreen TV as well as food provided by a gourmet chef. A personal butler, who will have received training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London, will also be provided to cater to the passenger's every need, said Etihad Airways.

Besides offering this new suite, Etihad Airways has also redefined and renamed its existing cabin classes. The airline unveiled the new cabins and The Residence private suite at a global media launch in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.

A key design objective for Etihad Airways was to transform the boarding experience making it more akin to stepping into the lobby of a boutique hotel, said the airline.

The first class section on the A380, renamed First Apartments, features private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe.

On the B787, Etihad's first class has been enhanced with new features, including a 24-inch TV monitor, chilled mini-bar and personal wardrobe.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "These new living spaces will raise in-flight product and service standards to their highest level yet in commercial aviation and alter air travellers' expectations of in-flight comfort and luxury forever.

"Etihad Airways' A380 and B787 will deliver the most advanced airline cabins in the industry, while meeting all weight, range and cost targets at our desired seat count. This will allow us to offer products unparalleled in quality and style, yet at competitive prices across all three cabins."

The airline's new business and economy classes - The Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat - will be found on both the A380 and B787 aircrafts, according to its press release.

Business passengers will be able to convert their seat into a flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long, while travellers in the economy class can now rest their heads on a fixed-wing headrest.

First and Business Class guests on the A380 will also be able to relax in the The Lobby, which is a serviced lounge and bar area located between the First and Business cabins.

It features a semi-circular leather sofa, a marquetry table and a large TV screen for relaxing and socialising.

The cabin entrances of both the A380 and B787 aircrafts have also been redesigned, with the gallery equipment concealed behind custom Arabic fretwork and blinds, while the trolleys are covered by elegant wood-finish doors.

ngkaren@sph.com.sg

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