Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Photo and Video Tour: The Residence on Etihad’s A380

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

This week, TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig had a chance to spend a few minutes in The Residence on Etihad’s A380. Read on for his impressions of the $20,000 first-class suite.

When Etihad shared the layout for its brand-new A380 last year, the airline’s first-of-its kind super-premium suite was the star of the show. Priced higher than first-class offerings from any other top carrier, The Residence will run you more than $20,000 one-way on the 14-hour flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, and more than $32,000 from New York to Abu Dhabi once Etihad adds the A380 to that route in December. You can bring along a companion for the same price, assuming you don’t mind sharing your double bed.

We first got to experience The Residence at the Milan Expo, but the mock-up we saw in Italy earlier this summer is no match for the real thing. I reached out to Etihad ahead of my upcoming trip from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in The Apartment (which I booked for 60,000 AAdvantage miles) to request access to The Residence, which is typically off-limits to passengers even when it isn’t booked for the flight. Fortunately, Etihad was able to arrange a tour prior to boarding, and I even had a chance to try out the bed for a bit halfway through the flight.

Here’s what it’s like inside:

The Living Room

Etihad A380 The Residence - Overview

The Residence is divided into three rooms: The Living Room (pictured here), the Bathroom (just behind the TV here) and the Bedroom (at the end of the hall). It’s by no means a palace, but the space is quite roomy for an airplane.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Living Room

The Living Room has seating for two, an extra-wide ottoman and a 32-inch TV.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Door Closed

Just like with The Apartment, The Residence has a double sliding door that, when closed, provides a fair amount of privacy.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Tables

Each seat has its own dining table that folds away when not in use.

Seat and Storage

Etihad A380 The Residence - Seats

The seats are made from fancy European leather, and are either beige or brown in color, depending on the aircraft.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Mini-Bar

Like with The Apartment, you also get an in-suite mini-bar. This one’s a bit larger, with nine drinks instead of six.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Storage

First class doesn’t have overhead bins available, so bags need to be stored in compartments built into the ottoman.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Window Shades

The Residence, The Apartment and business-class seats all include windows with automatic blinds. Note that while some Apartments have three windows each, The Residence only has two.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Bose Headphones

The Apartment passengers receive generic noise-canceling headphones, though Residence guests get to use Bose headsets (you’ll need to leave them behind at the end of the flight).

Bathroom and Shower

Etihad A380 The Residence - Lav

A highlight of The Residence is the private bathroom, including a small shower stall. It’s virtually identical to the shower lavatory available to Apartment passengers on the starboard side of the aircraft.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Shower

Like the shower for Apartment passengers, you get five minutes of water here, though considering you’re spending $20,000 for the flight, you can probably ask for more.


Etihad A380 The Residence - Occupancy Sign

While only one guest can occupy each Apartment during takeoff and landing, The Residence has room for two.

Etihad A380 The Residence - Empty Bed

Sure, a private seating area and bathroom are nice, but the bedroom with its double bed is definitely the selling point here. I found it to be just as comfortable as my bed at home, though quite a bit smaller.

Etihad A380 The Residence - View from Bed

There’s a second TV in the bedroom, letting you watch movies and TV shows or track the flight from bed.

Etihad A380 The Residence - In Bed

I had to get special permission to try out the bed — don’t expect to get so lucky yourself, unless you’re planning to pay for The Residence, of course.

Bottom Line

Overall, The Residence is every bit as special as the marketing materials imply. I was more than happy with my Apartment, however, and considering the enormous difference in price — 60,000 AAdvantage miles vs. more than $20,000 in cash — The Residence is a very difficult sell for all but the most deep-pocketed of travelers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit