Lifestyle magazine, D’Marge, ran a piece on Etihad’s decision to retire its fleet of A380s. The A380 is the world’s largest passenger plane. The chief executive offer (CEO) of Etihad, Tony Douglas, said that it is unlikely that Etihad will ever operate the A380 ever again. The A380 is one of many business casualties of the coronavirus pandemic. It has been parked since March of last year.
THe A380 has been in trouble for a long time and this is just one of many nails on its coffin. Etihad’s decision will likely see the end of its ultra-exclusive cabin, “The Residence,” which is only found on the A380s. The Residence is beyond anything you can find in first class. It is the very pinnacle of luxury travel. A passenger on The Residence is given a luxury three-room apartment designed for up to two guests. The apartment comes with an ensuite shower room, private bedroom and separate living area. Passengers are assigned a VIP Travel Concierge and given access to a dedicated team that takes care of everything from providing a chauffeur-driven limousine to giving you a private airport lounge. Etihad’s newest private lounges are famed for their luxury, with a full bar, sit-down dining, and a shower. The Residence was available on flights to and from Abu Dhabi, London, New York, Sydney, Paris and Seoul.
A one-way ticket on The Residence was worth $20,000 or more and was a must-get for many luxury travel enthusiasts.
Many entrepreneurial frequent flyers found ways to get a ticket without paying the exorbitant ticket fare. For instance, in 2016, Sam Huang, of the travel blog, Top Miles, was able to get a $23,000 ticket to fly from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Sydney, Australia, at a cost of $108, and 60,000 AAdvantage miles.
The Residence’s suites look more like a New York apartment than first class on any other carrier. They come with a closet, minibar, reclining chair, a sofa and vanity mirror. The connected private bedroom and en suite bathroom (which has its own shower) take luxury to a level previously unseen on the skies. Relaxing on The Residence was like being in a floating Med Spa.
Not only does The Residence feature flight attendants, it also comes with a butler trained at the prestigious Savoy Hotel. On top of that, there is an onboard chef ready to make culinary miracles for The Residence’s guests. Caviar and the finest champagne are served.
What distinguishes Etihad from its rivals in the UAE, is that, like Qatar Airways, it kept its fleet of A380s small, operating only 10.
The A380 was troubled by its huge carbon footprint. It made it not only unsustainable, but extremely costly to maintain, and this in part explains the exorbitant costs.
Qatar Airways retired half of its own fleet of A380s, which plied the Europe-Asia Pacific line. It now operates just five A380s.
Air France retired its fleet of A380s in May. British Airways, Lufthansa, and Qantas, have grounded their fleet of doubler deckers since the start of the pandemic.