This post is continued from Etihad A380 First Apartment – Flight EY 460 Abu Dhabi-AUH to Melbourne-MEL – Part 1. Check it out to see the first half of the review.BATHROOM
Proving size was really the theme of the experience, even the bathroom was huge:
I took a quick glimpse of the stairs, just to confirm that we were, in fact, on the 2nd floor:ON-BOARD BAR
Before turning in for the night, we walked around the cabin to explore the on-board bar.
The bar is situated on the top deck of the A380 aircraft, in-between First and Business class:
It was completely empty when we made our way [...]
After spending a very enjoyable and luxurious 3+ hours in the Etihad Airways Flagship First Class Lounge – Abu Dhabi-AUH, it was time for the main event: The Etihad First Apartment!BOOKING
We booked this bucket list flight using American Airlines AAdvantage miles for a total of 60,000 miles; this was before a major AAdvantage devaluation and now the flight would cost you 100,000 miles for the one-way route from the “Middle East” region to the “South Pacific” region. Furthermore, since we both have the Barclay AA credit card, we got a 10% rebate, driving the total price down to 54,000 miles + ~$79 in taxes each for the ~$6,300+ flight. We got even more [...]
A trip to the Etihad Airways First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi was the warm-up to the main event: flying the Etihad First Apartment from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. It was essentially the only reason we had chosen to route from the US to Australia via the Middle East. And a visit to the brand new lounge was nearly as exciting as flying the A380 since our trip was just about 3 weeks after the May 30th grand opening–talk about timing!
As a result, we were purposely very, VERY early arriving at the airport for as much lounge-time as possible before heading to our gate. We checked in quickly and were welcomed into the lounge which is located immediately after going through [...]
Even though we were only in Dubai for 3 days before heading to Australia, we were trying to see as much of the city and surrounding area as we could in such little time. Of course, the center of Dubai is pretty impressive, with the world’s tallest building, indoor ski slopes, etc., but we really wanted to see outside the city, too.
Especially after taking the culture tour of Ramadan (here), we learned that Dubai used to be a small fishing village– and, of course, it’s right in the middle of the desert, so we wanted to see a type of terrain that we were unfamiliar with. We’d also just visited Arizona, so we were curious to compare that desert climate [...]
On our way to Australia, we spent our first few days in Dubai. It was my first trip to the UAE and Jeffrey’s second, and it was fun to split up our trip with a stop in Dubai- especially to get a taste of non-Western culture since our final destination of Australia was about as Western-feeling as you can get!
After flying Etihad Airlines into Abu Dhabi, we decided to spend our entire time in Dubai. Originally, we planned to spend a day or two in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but ultimately decided to spend all 3 days in Dubai to get a better feel for the city and try to stop over in Abu Dhabi in the future. Looking back, we’re glad we made that decision as any shorter [...]
The Park Hyatt Dubai is a Hyatt Category 5 property, meaning award nights will cost you 20,000 points or 10,000 + $125. Booking with points didn’t make much sense, though, as we were able to book a special 3-night minimum Ramadan rate of about ~$150 US/night + tax. Best of all, when booking with cash or Points + Cash, you can apply a Diamond Suite Upgrade which will land you in a suite and get you access to the minibar for free. More on that later.CHECK-IN
We arrived at the Park Hyatt Dubai around 9:30 pm on a Thursday night during Ramadan after a very long travel day from the US (see Etihad B787 “Business Studio” EY 130 Washington-IAD to Abu [...]
After landing in Abu Dhabi-AUH from our flight from Washington, D.C., we popped into the Etihad Arrivals Lounge after going through passport control/customs. We had our chauffeur already scheduled, so we really only had the time to head to the lounge for some water. We couldn’t stop ourselves from trying a quick snack, too — pita and hummus and a few bite-sized sandwiches.
At around, the lounge was mostly empty. Interestingly, it looked very similar to the Etihad lounge at IAD, with the same decor: dark wood with bright white and light blue leather upholstery.
In the lounge, there’s also a shower area and Jeffrey almost [...]
As part of our quest to fly on Etihad’s A380 in their “First Apartment” from Abu Dhabi-AUH to Melbourne-MEL, we had to find a way to position to AUH for the flight over. We decided it would be fun to spend some time in the UAE (we quickly regretted this decision as soon as we stepped into the desert in 117°F heat) and found award availability from Washington-IAD direct to Abu Dhabi-AUH. Best of all, it was operated by one of their new 787s and featured their “Business Studio” class of service.
Here’s a map of our route for the 13 hr 10 min flight that covers a distance of 7,088 miles (11,407 km):
We landed on [...]
After getting to Dulles way too early for our flight out to Dubai, we were extra-eager to finally arrive at the Etihad First and Business Class Lounge. This was one of our (many) highlights of our upcoming trip, and it didn’t disappoint. The Etihad lounge is located at A16, right next to their gate. Because they have just one gate at Dulles, Business & First passengers can board directly from the lounge which is super, super awesome (and a first for us!).
As soon as the sliding doors closed behind us, it didn’t feel like we were at the [...]
The first award redemption of our Around the World trip to Dubai/Australia was booked using American Airlines miles.
We used 60,750 American Airlines AAdvantage miles each (a total of 67,5o0 – 10% rebate since we both have the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard) and booked the following routes in Business Class. We booked before the March 2016 American AAdvantage devaluation, but this award only increased 2,500 points to 70,000 total (link to new award map here).
While we would never have paid the cash rates, it’s always nice knowing that your miles are getting a lot of value as the airfare for this route hovers at around $9,700 per [...]