Long live the Residence: Etihad will keep flying its Airbus A380s
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Good news for fans of the superjumbo and Etihad’s most premium product the Residence, as the airline confirmed that its A380s are here to stay.
While all 10 of Etihad’s A380s are currently grounded due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, on Wednesday, Etihad quashed rumours that it will stop flying the superjumbo.
“The Airbus A380 remains an important part of the Etihad fleet and is well suited to a number of key routes, which are planned to be gradually reintroduced once international restrictions are lifted, and global travel picks up”, an Etihad spokesperson told Executive Traveller.
In the same announcement, the airline expressed its commitment to the delivery of the 20 A350-1000s that it has on order.
By keeping the A380 in its fleet, Etihad is retaining its famed Residence product, which is only available on the superjumbo. The Residence is one of the most exclusive ways in the sky to travel.
In total, Etihad operates two routes to the U.K. — London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN). The A380 only operates on the Heathrow route. In the U.S. the A380 operates the Kennedy to Abu Dhabi route.
Related: The ultimate guide to the Residence
Cash tickets to fly the Residence are often astronomical, as are the mileage costs. A one-way flight between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and London (LHR) will cost 2,198,487 Etihad Guest miles. Yes, you read that right — more than two million miles. Keep in mind that you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest miles at a 1:1 rate.
You won’t be able to use your AAdvantage miles for the $32,000 Etihad Residence Suite that TPG founder Brian Kelly himself flew in back in 2015, but they could get you an Etihad first class apartment.
Availability on Etihad’s only nonstop, A380 flight from the U.S. — between New York-JFK and Abu Dhabi (AUH) — is very hard to come by in first class departing JFK, though it’s a bit better from AUH. In either case, it can be a spectacular use of AAdvantage miles; you’d need just 90,000 miles each way — though unfortunately you can’t book these online anymore.
As an alternative, you could book one of Etihad’s other A380 flights into or out of Abu Dhabi. Currently, there are four other cities served by the superjumbo, and award rates vary:
- London-Heathrow (LHR): 62,500 AA miles each way
- Paris (CDG): 62,500 AA miles each way
- Seoul (ICN): 50,000 AA miles each way
- Sydney (SYD): 100,000 AA miles each way
Again, none of these flights are bookable on AA.com, and pay close attention to the flight you book. Many of these cities currently have multiple daily flights, and not all are operated by the A380.
Your first-class flight on a 777-300ER would still be quite comfortable — just not the full experience of Etihad’s First Apartment.
Business class booked via Etihad on the A380 direct from JFK to AUH was just over $7,200 round-trip, and first class would carry an even higher price. The cash price to book the Residence from JFK to AUH on the A380? A cool $38,000.
We’re seeing fewer and fewer A380s in the sky thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, the A380 has been high on many airlines’ list to ground because of the number of seats to fill, the cost to operate the aircraft and decreased demand. If you had a never-ending supply of Eithad miles, you could book the flight from JFK to AUH in the Residence for a cool 2,115,556 miles plus $11.50 each way. Ouch.You could also do business class for about 716,000 Etihad miles.
Long before the arrival of the coronavirus, the impending death of the mega-jet has been ongoing since February 2019 when the Airbus factory in Toulouse announced it would stop the production of the A380 entirely.
Related: Inside the Residence with TPG video
Related: Booking the Residence with points
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Etihad no longer flies to London Gatwick.
Additional reporting by Nick Ewen and Clint Henderson. Featured image by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees