Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways will be targeting premium high-yielding passengers following the announcement on Sunday of a hotel-style bedrooms on its Airbus A380 fleet.
“The Residence by Etihad,” its A380 premium class offering, features a living room, separate double bedroom and an ensuite shower room.
The concept of having actual beds on a plane is not new, however, Etihad looks set to be the first to introduce it on a commercial plane with the whole upper A380 deck reserved for the premium class.
In 2007, Lufthansa reportedly considered introducing “triple-decker bunk-beds” in its economy class. While it was also reported in 2007 that Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, had expressed interest of putting beds on Virgin Atlantics A380’s.
Prices for Etihad’s premium “The Residence” class were not released in a statement put out by the airline on Sunday. However, fares are expected to be high with passengers traveling in this class having their own personal butler.
Research and planning for their A380 offering began back in 2008 when the airline established Etihad Design Consortium (EDC), which brought together design companies, Acumen, factorydesign and Honour Branding. It conducted research workshops with Promise Commmunispace in Abu Dhabi, Sydney, London and New York.
The first class section on the A380 has been renamed First Apartments and will feature private suites with separate reclining lounge seat and a full-length bed as well as other amenities including a mini-bar.
The First Apartments will be configured in a 1-1 single aisle cabin with the passenger seat reclining to an 80 inch fully flat bed. First Apartment passengers will also have exclusive access to a shower room.
The Abu Dhabi government backed airline did not release the cost of fitting out the A380 nor did it say how many would be initially received. Its first A380 is reportedly due to be delivered in December.
Etihad also unveiled its plans for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, with the first set for delivery in October, in its statement on Sunday.
The renamed business and economy classes are now called Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat, will also feature on the Airbus A380.
The business studio, configured in a 1-2-1 format, has 20 per cent more space than Eithad’s current business class seat.
First and business class passengers travelling on Etihad’s 787 Dreamliner or A380 fleet will have access to The Lobby, a serviced lounge and bar.
Economy Smart Seat, a new seating offering, will have an 11-inch personal monitor screen.