Etihad Airways has laid out plans to offer its first-class passengers some serious legroom…
For passengers who find first-class seats a bit too tight, Etihad is now offering miniature suites featuring a closed-off bedroom, private bathroom and a dedicated butler.
It’s just the latest push by airlines worldwide to attract high-spending customers.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier announced the front-of-plane amenities as part of a broader rollout of plush new cabin offerings for dozens of long-range jetliners it plans to receive over the coming years.
It is the latest in a series of premium offerings for the flying elite by Etihad, which already woos fliers with perks including private first-class chefs and in-flight nannies.
Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan conceded that offering what the airline says is the first-of-its kind multi-room suite helps generate buzz, but that ultimately it is a serious effort to bring in more cash.
“Obviously there’s going to be a halo effect in the positioning of Etihad Air as a premium carrier,” he said.
“But we wouldn’t do it unless we felt we could make money with it … This is a top-end market. There is demand here.”
One passenger – or a couple – aboard each of its new A380s will be able to book a three-section miniature suite that the airline is calling a “residence” at the very front of the plane’s upper deck.
The 11.6-square-metre area includes a “living room” partitioned off from the first-class aisle that includes leather seating, chilled minibar and a 32-inch flat-screen TV.
There is a separate bedroom with space for two that can be closed off from the rest of the cabin and a private bathroom with shower.
A personal butler trained in London will be on hand to wait on passengers in the suite, giving them what the airline promises will be “discrete personal service and attention to detail found in the world’s most exclusive hotels”.
Etihad expects to get its first of its A380s in December, which it will deploy on the Abu Dhabi to London route.
Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner said additional A380s will likely be deployed on New York and Sydney routes as they’re added to the fleet.
The fancy new suite won’t come cheap.
Baumgartner said it will likely cost three to four times as much as regular first-class seats, or about $US21,000 ($A22,700) from Abu Dhabi to London. One way.