Etihad's A380 To Have Butler, Three-room Suite

May 06--With a one way trip setting passengers back a stellar $21,000, digging deep for a three-room cabin in the sky will make the wishes of the world's flying elite Etihad's command, with passengers able to request the accompaniment of their favourite personal items on board, pre-flight.

Etihad Airways' The Residence, the world's largest piece of mid-air real estate, with butler and all in tow was unveiled at this year's Arabian Travel Market (ATM). Etihad's Zulkiflie Jumaat said almost everything is within reach once on board the 125 square foot, mid-air home from home.

"If your favourite colour is pink, tell us and we will kit The Residence out in pink decor for you. All the passenger has to do is tell us what they desire at the time of booking, and we will have it waiting on board for them."

So how did Etihad get their first?

It was a tough five year journey, a representative of Etihad told on the sidelines of ATM, and after reaching out to a number of high-end consumer groups in London, New York, Sydney and Abu Dhabi, the concept for The Residence, as well as the retrofit for the rest of the airline's fleet was born.

"We asked our target audience how they would create their ideal airline, and from there, our aim was to meet those demands. The feedback has been unbelievable, even people from competitor airlines have commented on the new look."

From your favourite cut of camel meat to a vintage cigar, or your preferred toiletries to your finest tipple, Jumaat said this is the first time ever where passengers are being given a private jet experience on board a commercial plane.

"Everyone knows the holiday experience starts on the plane, but we have taken that one step further by giving our passengers that hotel feel before the plane even touches down. Our aim is to create a boutique feel, which has been achieved through our careful choice of decor and colour variations."

Complete with a living/dining room, private bathroom and private double bedroom, Etihad have hit the ball out of the park with this new mini suite, making it the first airline in the world to offer passengers the chance to stretch out on a double bed above the clouds.

Located on the new forward upper-deck cabin, The Residence will be equipped with lantal air cushions and lumber control technology.

Two High Definition screens, measuring 27 and 32 inches will also be located throughout the elite living space, so if you fancy breakfast in bed or a movie while tucking into your specially requested three-course meal, a personal butler, trained at the Savoy Academy in London, will be on hand to cater to your needs.

In all, 10 world exclusive living spaces will be fitted onboard 10 Airbus A380 aircraft -- one suite per plane with a two person capacity -- the first of which will take flight in December this year.

To start with the flights will be to London, New York, Sydney and Melbourne. And although staff will not be allowed to avail of the airline's newest addition on personal trips, there is no set criteria for those wanting to purchase a ticket and experience the on board luxury according to airline's representative.

"It will work just like any other plane booking."

During the opening day of ATM at the Dubai Exhibition and Convention Centre, Etihad also previewed its retrofit for the rest of its fleet, announcing that it will be renaming its classes onboard the A380 and Boeing B787 Dreamliner.

The A380 will feature the revolutionary First Apartments, which are private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe.

The Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat will feature on both the A380 and the B787.

Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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